Monday, October 30, 2006
10/30 SNR II
- Greetings, Boies, Schiller & Flexner employees! Thanks for stopping by again. I tend to cover your boss's adventures fairly extensively here, due to his involvement in the SCO saga, so feel free to check back regularly. And if you'd like to pass along any hot tips or juicy gossip, the identity of anyone who sends me stuff is always held in the strictest confidence. Or better yet, get a Yahoo or Hotmail or other account -- using an anonymous proxy to log in if you're paranoid -- and mail me from there, so you don't have to rely on any assurances from me. So thanks, and I hope you enjoy the show.
- Gartner's encouraging people to check out Oracle's Linux. Gartner's never taken an evenhanded approach to Linux, so this announcement suggests that someone in up Redmond isn't totally opposed to the latest Oracle move.
- A thread from comp.sys.ibm.ps2.hardware (!!!) mentioning that Firefox 2.0 is available for AIX. In a sad note for retrocomputing fans, it seems that, Firefox 2 will not build on AIX 1.3 for PS/2, circa 1992. One poster describes AIX 1.3 as an "antique", which is obviously true, and suggests using Linux or SCO OpenServer instead. OpenServer!?! Sheesh. Talk about trolling.
It's not often remembered that once upon a time there was an x86 version of AIX. IIRC there was also a mainframe version, and I heard somewhere there was even a version for the AS/400, although I don't think it was ever very popular. So all this nonsense about AIX being nonportable until SCO came along and worked some Itanium-o-licious Monterey magic is just crazy talk. Incidentally, the previous link informs us that AIX stands for, or once stood for, "Advanced Interactive Executive". So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
- A piece about the shiny new Fedora Core 6.
- A thing I didn't realize: Back in the mists of time, MS Word was born as a Xenix product. So really, it's fair to say that Darl and Clippy share a common origin.
- Some uber-schweet-sounding boxes & networking gear from a startup called Liquid Computing
- The Age (the local paper in Melbourne, Australia) has a piece about IBM mainframes. In what must be a bit of perplexing Aussie dialect, they've titled it "IBM tries still bangs profit out of mainframe business". Huh? The article itself is rather interesting, and (better yet) is written in standard English, so I don't know where that title might have come from.
- A new mega yacht for Esker, thx. to ruidh on the boards.
- Word on the street now has it that the rumored layoffs at SCO are in the 20-40% range. This is still unconfirmed news. Nothing on FC about it so far.
- Also from c.u.s.m., a question about what to do about Daylight Savings Time next year, since Congress has decided to inflict another week or so of it on us. The poster has a customer on OSR 5.0.6 who wants his box to display the correct date and time, but without having to upgrade anything. Good luck!
Actually this is one time it's unfair to blame SCO. Who could have anticipated that the government would go and change DST, without considering the technical issues (i.e. stuff breaking) that would result? Someone ought to explain to them the new DST rules are going to cause some major kinks in the "series of tubes".
At least this debacle will probably result in future calendar code that doesn't hardcode everything, so that future changes won't be as painful. That way, when Congress starts renaming months after major campaign contributors (say hello to "Exxonuary" and "Starbuckstember"), all we'll need to do is change a config file here and there, and we're good to go. Yay!
- Just in time for Halloween, another "phantom server" story. This one involves an ancient SCO Unix box, lurking in a dark closet behind some buckets of spare parts. Unlike the well-known story about the Netware box at UNC that was accidentally sealed behind a wall, where the box quietly went about its humble job for years without any maintenance, this SCO box drew attention to itself by causing mysterious disruptions of network traffic. That just sorta figures, doesn't it?
- David Boies fils, the son of "our" David Boies, is following in dad's footsteps and involving himself in New York politics, except that Junior is funding Republican candidates. I guess that's one way to rebel against one's parents, if one has the money.
- The amusing thing is that the Democratic candidate in the NY Attorney General's race has a big backer in Andrew J. Farkas, of Baystar infamy.
- An interesting post about the Spamhaus case, by the guy who (among other things) is the CEO of UnSpam, the company behind Utah's do-not-spam registry. Interesting how he argues in the article that Illinois courts shouldn't have jurisdiction over London-based Spamhaus, and yet Utah's quite happy to try to drag accused spammers from the UK, Singapore, and elsewhere into court, on the idea that the Utah courts have jurisdiction over anyone, anywhere, who sends email to someone within the state. Talk about expansive. Sheesh.
- RHAT: not dead yet.
- SCO cases are far from the only things occupying Judge Kimball's time. He seems to have gotten a lot of high-profile fraud cases of late, involving an greedy ex-cop, a suspected evildoer from Jordan, and a crooked mortgage broker. The last link goes to a list of short blurbs about recent cases, and the relevant item is at the bottom. If you have a weak stomach, do not, not, not read the top item, titled "Body fat causes funeral home fire". Yecch!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
- Yesterday we got the Declaration of Wayne Boyer, an engineer at IBM. Seems SCO's claiming to own some test suite that Boyer worked on, because it's used to validate whether Linux (or any other Unixish OS) complies to POSIX standards, and SCO claims it owns those. They seem to think they even own the fundamental concept of complying with the published standard. In SCO's universe, you can't even write a program that checks whether an OS complies with POSIX "methods and concepts" without violating those same methods and concepts. Un-freaking-believable. I know I say that all the time, but this really is.
- While we're covering GL, the latest bits about Jeffrey Leitzinger, paided BS&F shill.
- Leitzinger was even involved in the BRE-X debacle, believe it or not.
- There's no shortage of search engine hits about Leitzinger's previous work for BS&F. The thing I find most interesting is an article he helped out with titled "Economists as Experts - How to Manage and Present Them To The Jury". Some fun tidbits:
Experts are routinely cross-examined about their fees (sometimes before anything else) and their testimony derided as purchased, needless and incomprehensible. In our firm’s experience, economists’ testimony is ineffective more often than not.
A good economic expert will not merely carry out the discrete assignments given him according to the instructions of the lawyer. A good economist will be proactive, suggesting themes, models, and possible lines of attack.
It'd be interesting to know just how much involvement Leitzinger has had with the SCO case, and when his involvement began. Could he be the origin of the infamous "billion dollars a week" damage claim, by any chance?
- A few items contributed by resident trolls on the message boards. They're annoying but basically harmless, and once in a blue moon I actually check out the links they post. Here's a recent selection. First, veggie-boy has an article about the FSF and DRM, and another about the GPL3 debate, and neither supports the point he's always trying to make, insofar as he has a point. As is his wont, neither article is recent. It's still early September in his world, I guess.
- And Biff posted another link about the troubles at Xandros. I don't see why he's so surprised. Open source doesn't repeal the basic principles of economics. If your competitors are vastly larger than you are, and your product is kinda similar to theirs but not quite as good, chances are you won't last long. Like, duh.
If I wanted to indulge in cheap national stereotypes, I'd make a crack here about how Biff's from Belgium, headquarters of the EU, so naturally he'd have no idea whatsoever about how free markets work. But that wouldn't be very nice, lumping all of Belgium in with Biff. Think what you like about the EU, but Belgium does make some awfully decent beer, and I'm told the fries are quite excellent as well.
- And another bit from DDT, another piece about Linux device drivers. I don't think he realized the poster he linked to has no kind words for Windows, but trolls tend not to be very careful.
- Ok, enough with the trolls. Here's an interesting post by sk43999 about the origin of "SysV-style" IPC in Linux.
- When searching for SCO news items, I keep coming across these weekly announcements:
SCO TOASTMASTERS meets noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays at 400 Encinal St. in the Harvey West Business Park, Santa Cruz. Information: 427-6785.
400 Encinal St. is the location of the old OldSCO office in Santa Cruz, California. SCO was supposedly going to move its last employees out of the building to new and much smaller digs in Scotts Valley, a few miles away. So either that didn't happen, or it did and these people are meeting in a vast and otherwise vacant building, or the group has evaporated and nobody bothered to notify the paper to stop running weekly announcements. The group was always an oddity, perhaps the only one of its kind where they drew a pentagram first before getting down to the public speaking and such. Perhaps an unspeakable, ghastly something escaped from its crypt in the unholy catacombs beneath the SCO building, craving a few slices of toastmaster for breakfast, and afterward nobody was left to report back to the newspaper. But that's just my personal theory, and I've been rereading a bit of Lovecraft recently, what with Halloween coming up and all. So I may be biased.
GL is doing a series of "IBM's Greatest Hits", various declarations accompanying the recent PSJ filings that seem especially damaging to SCO. Today we get the Declaration of Paul McKenney, an ex-Sequent guy, disputing SCO's claims about where RCU came from. There's a fun semantic argument we can have concerning Dynix vs. Dynix/ptx; these are fairly distinct OSes: Dynix was pure BSD, while Dynix/ptx was SysV, or at least made to look highly SysV-like (as asserted here. I'd always been under the impression that Dynix/ptx was SysV, but that may not actually be true.
Years ago, I worked at a local nonprofit org, and Sequent donated a box to us. A dual-processor 386 box, about the size of a refrigerator. That was far faster than anything else we had in the building, and we joked we ought to be sacrificing goats to it or something. We never actually did that, I hasten to add. It came with Dynix, and proved to be a nice machine for running Rogue, or Nethack, or one of those old-school games. This was but a brief interlude, however, and the machine was eventually wiped in favor of Dynix/ptx, since the suits needed it to run some boring accounting package or something, and that was the end of our fun. Sigh. This may be one early origin of my dislike of SysV.
Friday, October 27, 2006
- Word on the street is that layoffs are underway at SCO. I'd caution that this is an unconfirmed rumor, but Bob Mims is asking around about it, and he isn't wrong very often.
If the rumor's true, it's hard to say whether this is good news or not. Obviously it would be a great sign that SCO's in real trouble. On the other hand, layoffs would reduce their burn rate and let them hold out longer, at least in theory.
I doubt they're at the point yet where they become just a Pink Sheet ticker symbol with no assets or revenue, operating out of a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands. I expect the people losing their jobs (again, assuming the rumor's true) are most likely worker bees, ordinary people with kids and mortgages. They aren't going to lay off anyone who can id the skeletons in the closet. Hell, they'll probably all get bonuses. That, or plum new busywork jobs, quietly shuffling TPS reports somewhere behind the Black Gate of Redmond.
- Hamjudo2000 on IV points out that on October 31st, SCO will finish writing off the value of their Unix technology. (Also see this followup, or even better, read the whole thread.) I'm not an accountant, nor do I play one on TV, so I don't have much of anything to add about this. However, it's the only measure we've got of what SCO thinks its Unix IP (if any) is worth, so these numbers just might come up at trial, in the current cases and/or a future BK case.
- I try to avoid political topics here, but Boies is involved, so I thought I'd pass the item along. Seems there's a new Dixie Chicks concert film out, and NBC and the new "CW" network won't show ads for it. The distributor isn't happy about that, and has recruited Boies to make some threatening noises about free speech and whatnot.
Call me cynical, but when Big Media companies argue over free speech, you can be sure they're really arguing over money.
- Meanwhile, Brent Hatch (from SCO's other law firm) is keeping busy as well, and it's possible he's got a much bigger damage control job on his hands than anything he's had to do for Darl & Co. He represents a Utah company called UnSpam, part of the state's cottage industry of "online child protection" outfits. UnSpam maintains a registry of kids' email addresses. Parents can add their kids' email addresses to this opt-out registry, and purveyors of "bad spam" are supposed to not spam anyone on the list of addresses. Their business model works a lot like CP80's, in that it only works if there's a law on the books making the technology mandatory, with fines or prison time for violators. Make it mandatory, and then start a business to provide the newly-mandatory service. Unlike CP80, UnSpam actually got their law passed in Utah and Michigan. The list of addresses was supposed to be super-secret but it, um, leaked out earlier this month. Oops. This comes in the middle of a suit by an industry group called the "E-mail Service Provider Coalition", which argues the law is unduly burdensome. They've moved for an injunction to block the law, and the hearing on the motion is on Nov. 9th, in the courtroom of none other than our own Judge Kimball.
- A new Shankland piece about Oracle's move into Linux support. I'm no analyst, myself, but I can see Oracle database customers going for this, so they'll have one support deal that covers their whole stack. If you aren't running any Oracle products, though, I don't really see the point. It might be cheaper than RHAT if that's really all you're buying, but you'll probably get weekly visits from Oracle's legendary, aggressive sales force. You might think military recruiters put on the hard sell, but you ain't seen nothin' until you've met an Oracle sales rep. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, necessarily; just that you ought to be aware of what you're getting yourself into.
- Yet another thing for Darl & Co. to lose sleep over: Utah has pelicans, and today's pelicans aren't just fish-eaters anymore. Don't be so surprised; Steven Spielberg figured it all out years ago. Remember the shot at the very end of Jurassic Park, where you see a flock of pelicans over the ocean and for a moment you think they're pterodactyls? There's a reason for that, is all I'm sayin'. The odds of having actual velociraptors prowling the streets of Lindon are fairly remote, so pelicans may be our best bet at this point.
- A funny list of The 50 Worst Video Game Names of All Time. I am a complete and utter non-gamer, and I only recognize a couple of the names on the list. I think I played the arcade version of "Bad Dudes" once or twice, but that's it.
I've never seen anyone compile a list of "worst software product names". If anybody's working on that, I'd like to nominate "SCO Me, Inc. HipCheck".
- And from the same gamer site, a piece about the Gizmondo con job. Darl and Ralphie ought to take some lessons from this Eriksson guy and learn how the game is played. If you're running a litigation/stock scam, incurring public wrath, ruining your reputation, risking prison, and running the whole company into the ground, and you don't even get a Ferrari out of the deal, what's the freakin' point of it all? If Darl was really a big-league player, he'd still be swaggering around and living the good life and burning company cash like there's no tomorrow, regardless of how bad the financial and legal details look. Instead, he rarely speaks to the media, and during conference calls he drones on like a broken man. Pathetic.
Which brings us to another Fundamental Law of Business: If your business is just a song-and-dance, be sure you can sing and dance well -- and be ready to dance til dawn if you have to.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
- A new SL Trib article about Judge Kimball's refusal to stay SCO v. Novell. This is the only coverage I've seen about that so far, and I'm actually kind of surprised it got even the one article. An amusing tidbit from the end of the piece:
SCO spokesman Blake Stowell would not discuss the developments other than to say the company was pleased with its arguments against Wells' decision and looked forward to an eventual trial.
I'd have to go back and check on this, but the article states Novell's asking for a dismissal, and I'm not sure that's true. I was under the impression they were asking for a PSJ in their favor, rather than just having the case dismissed.
- A thread on c.u.s.m. about HipCheck, the latest Me, Inc. service. It starts out as a "look at our new cool doodad" announcement, and degenerates into an irritable back-and-forth about whether it's really a good idea for the product to be shipping root passwords and other around in plaintext form. Seems there's an option to do an https connection, but plain old http is the default, and SCO's position is that this is 100% perfectly fine, dammit, and people should just shut up and stop asking impertinent questions.
- Also, a post about the probable demise of comp.unix.unixware.moderated. Seems there haven't actually been any posts there since June 1996. So either there's just no demand for the group, or it's got a moderator who's either incredibly strict or incredibly lazy.
- A couple bits about Oracle's foray into Linux tech support. They aren't doing their own distro after all, and instead they're going to sell cut-rate support for RHEL, competing with Red Hat in supporting RHAT's own product. I'm still trying to make up my mind whether this is a positive or negative thing. I do think it's probably motivated by spite rather than rational business reasons. Red Hat bought JBoss and incurred the Wrath of Larry, and at Oracle Larry's every whim is law. Maybe, coincidentally, this is a good business move for Oracle. Perhaps, coincidentally, the Linux community at large will benefit. But right now it's way too soon to say. Call me crazy, but I have a funny feeling MySQL won't be welcome on Oracle-supported boxes.
- On the other hand, one of Oracle's big bullet point items is that they're indemnifying their users against IP suits, and they mention SCO by name. You could argue, cynically, that beating up on SCO is an easy and painless way to win hearts and minds in the OSS community. But hey, whenever someone beats up on SCO, I'll always be happy to cheer them on, regardless of what their underlying motives might be. PJ's take on the Oracle thing, and the talk about SCO and indemnification, is here.
- Say hi to SLERT, a new niche distro from Novell with real-time SMP support. Seems they're using technology originally developed by a company called Concurrent. Concurrent makes specialized hardware and had to roll a bunch of their own Linux kernel features to support their hardware. It just might be that this stuff is somehow derived from older code they developed in house to run Unix on their previous generation of hardware, something SCO insists is a mega-humongous no-no. SCO hasn't sued them, or made any threatening noises about it, so I guess they're ok with it. Or, just maybe, the notion of suing IBM for basically the same thing was a sham from the beginning, nothing but an attempt to extract a huge settlement or buyout. I know, I know, earthshaking theory and all that.
- An article about Xen. Right now XenSource isn't too worried about M$. It's always nice to see that kind of confidence, although it also sounds like a good candidate for "famous last words".
- In other virtualization news, a bit about Sun's BrandZ, which lets you host non-Solaris OSes (primarily Linux) inside Solaris 10 zones.
- In other Sun-related news, here's their Project Blackbox, a portable $500k datacenter built into a shipping container. If your significant other tires of you filling up all corners of the house with gadgets and gear, you can just park one of these babies in the driveway instead.
- Like Oracle, Cisco is another big co. losing some ground to open source alternatives.
- A bit about the reorg at Xandros, brought to my attention by DDT on the Yahoo board, oddly enough. You have heard of Xandros, right?
- Also, oddly, via DDT, a couple of pieces ranting about the state of video drivers on Linux. I'm no kernel guru, but the guy does make some compelling arguments. At the very least, it's clear the current state of affairs is more than just a little ugly.
- A post about contracts with silly "no open source" clauses.
- OT: Another fun use for google maps: Detecting when monstrous insects are attacking your city. Sadly, Lindon is not the city under siege, at least not yet.
- I think this was on slashdot a few days ago, so maybe I'm behind the times a little, but PCWorld has rounded up a bunch of old computer commercials from the 80's. It's too bad SCO's never done TV advertising (that I've ever heard of, anyway). That would be a real hoot.
- PC-BSD got a commercial backer a while back, and already one pundit's claiming it just may be the "next Linux". I'm going to have to take a wait-n-see attitude on that, as much as I like BSD and all that.
- A pundit at the Inquirer has a cow because adding real-time antivirus scanning to Linux requires techie skillz. Ok. When the great plague of Linux viruses hits, I guess he can say he told us so, but I'm not losing a lot of sleep over it. If you're interested, the Dazuko project he mentions lives here.
- A BSD user is forced to use windows for a week, and reports on his experiences.
- From the message boards, an article about a toad-licking dog. It would take far too long to explain why this isn't totally OT, so either you know, or you don't, but it's a funny story either way.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
- GL reports about the very latest hearing in SCO v. IBM. This is the one where SCO was going to beg Judge Kimball to reverse Magistrate Wells' ruling throwing out most of their case. Taken under advisement, blah, blah, snooze. It's looking more and more like the current trial schedule isn't going to work out, and things are going to get dragged out even longer. Which is fine, I guess. We've gotten used to that by now. I have a feeling this further delay will mean SCO's going to need another visit from the PIPE fairy.
- Also, yet more delay in SCO v. Novell.
- SCO has made the Software 500 list again, checking in at #280. So, ok, back in 2003 they were #231. But if time ever reverses direction and starts flowing backwards, they'll be a heck of a growth company.
- Now that some recent versions of OpenServer and UnixWare finally offer USB support, sorta, here's a super-duper high-tech flash drive that'll go perfectly with your ultra-advanced SCO operating system.
I think I'll get one and put my local source control repository on it, just so I can whip it out if anyone ever asks about my "branching strategy". The downside will be that I'll probably have to practically beg people to ask me that question, which will make the joke seem even lamer than it otherwise would. Oh, well.
- Enderle gibbers on about the forever-rumored "iPhone" and then wanders off into M&A fantasyland again.
- Apparently SGI sees a bright future for itself as a SCO-style IP troll. The bastards.
- SGI does have some new NAS hardware out, too, if you're interested. Yawn.
- Far less yawn-inducing is this tidbit about the future direction of Intel's Xeon MP product line. 16 cores.... Droooool......
On the other hand, that could get awfully expensive. Recall that a single CPU SCOSource license started out at $699, and was supposed to ramp up to $1399 after October 15th, 2003. SCO's never really explained what the license terms are for multiprocessor / multi-core boxes, so for lack of any other information we can assume it's a simple multiple of the single-cpu fee. So a box with four of these shiny new quad-core Xeon MPs would set you back $22,400, even before you paid a cent for actual hardware, and SCO still won't point out what code they think is theirs. So you could do an EV1 and pay up anyway, or you could be like everyone else and ignore SCO's silly demands, and spend the $22k on something that actually exists, instead.
- Fedora Core 6 is out, and Ubuntu 6.10 should be out on the 26th. Oh, and there's Firefox 2.0, too.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Just a couple of items to pass along today:
- Jeffrey Leitzinger, BS&F's damage$ expert (i.e. the guy who's paided to come up with enormous pie-in-the-sky damage numbers), seems to be SCO's latest liability. The ever-relentless Panglozz has dug up some fascinating tidbits about his record with BS&F, his financial dealings, and even a bit about his marlin-fishin' hobby. And it's true, he's no match for Esker. Esker has a mega-yacht at least 10x as long as the boats this guy uses. Understandably, SCO would love to have a coverup of the guy's financial particulars; GL has the motion here.
- Leitzinger isn't the only SCO partisan with serious credibility issues. Just in time for Halloween, here are a few fun articles that touch on Laura DiDio's prior career as a paranormal researcher, and specifically her role in the so-called "Amityville Horror" thingy. Granted, Hollywood made a movie about it, plus a whole bunch of sequels and remakes, so clearly the ooky-spooky ghost hypothesis must be true, therefore I guess we can't really criticize DiDio too much for that. On the other hand, there was all that easy-sleazy Tinseltown dinero floating around back in the day and she didn't grab her share of it, so that now she's reduced to shilling for Microsoft. That's kind of sad, and it's a sign of really poor business sense. Readers should keep this in mind whenever she tries to play economist.
- Right now, DiDio's stoked about something Microsoft calls a "Virtual Hard Disk", where "virtual" means virtualization, this year's fancy PHB buzzword. MS is (yet again) embracing & extending someone else's technology, and for some reason ol' Laura thinks this means MS is turning over a brand new leaf. Ok. Riiiiiiiight.
- A bit about the latest IP suit, this time IBM vs. Amazon. My position is that this stuff should not be patentable, period, and therefore I'm not rooting for either side.
- For those who want to follow Jeffro's antics in the Wikipedia community, you can keep tabs on the guy here.
- "Paul Murphy" rambles on and on, ostensibly about identity management. Take a random bit about Solaris 10, a random passage about MacOS, even a goofy bit about Plan 9, mash them all together in a wacky stream-of-consciousness way, and voila, instant "Paul Murphy" post.
- SCO's former Canopy stablemate Linux Networks has scored some tasty VC moolah.
- On this, the 5th birthday of the iPod, a retrospective of analyst comments about the product launch way back in '01. Enderle had this to say:
It’s certainly a high-end product, both in terms of price and in terms of capability… Short-term, I think they’re going to sell every one they build.
One of the great things about being an analyst is that you only deal with the trade press, and they're too lazy to ever ask you to define "short term". If asked now, I'm sure Enderle would say 5 years is "short term", and M$-Zune is a surefire iPod killer, any day now. But that's probably not what he meant by "short term" at the time he said it.
- Lyons is back on the warpath again. Linux-bashing is so 2003, but he hasn't gotten the memo. He seems to think the GPL3 thing is a super-huge "wedge issue" and has a new piece out titled "Torvalds the traitor? Huh?".
- Meanwhile, Adobe has concluded that e-Books have a future, and that future is a mutant offspring of (recently-acquired) Flash and Acrobat Reader. Run away! Run away!!!
The problems with e-Books are many. First, I just plain don't want to read books on a PDA, because reading actual books is easier, and even the best PDA screen makes my eyes water if I sit there reading it for hours on end. Oh, and physical books have as much "battery life" as you need, which is awfully nice. Second, actual, physical books don't have weird and intricate and threatening DRM arrangements. If you want to lend a real book to a friend, you can, at least for now. If you want to borrow a book from a library, you can, for the time being. If you're done with a book and want to give it away, or sell it, you can. In the e-book bizarro world, none of these things are possible. Recall that back in 2000, Adobe was the company that released a DRM-ified e-book version of "Alice in Wonderland" (a public domain work), with a license agreement forever barring you from reading the book aloud. You know, because people who listen to a public-domain work being read aloud, instead of buying their own copy, are evildoers who steal precious money from poor little Adobe. And there's no site license provision, so if you want to read the thing to your kid at bedtime, your kid needs to go buy his or her own "Alice in Wonderland" license, and even then you still can't read it aloud to your kid, or else it's off to Guantanamo for the both of you.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
- First off, I fixed another bad link in an earlier post. A link that was supposed to go to a story about Darl's "billion dollars a week" claim actually went to that "Paul Murphy" story about programming languages. The link now works correctly, although I ought to mention the original story is in French.
- I realized I actually haven't linked to SCO's recent OSR6 PR insisting that some of their existing customers are migrating to the new OS, for real, honest. So there it is.
- The local Provo newspaper's coverage of day 2 and day 3 of the big Utah trade mission to China. SCO has a rep on the trip, but the paper's only mentioned this on day 1 so far.
- Things haven't always gone smoothly for the Gov. & Co.; just today, a saleswoman accused the Governor of Utah of trying to pass a counterfeit 100 yuan bill, even though he speaks Mandarin fluently and everything. Maybe she's heard of SCO.
- But you can tell China's arrived as a modern country, because the Governor's trying to sell Utah as a place for Chinese tourists to visit.
- A bit about how Gov. Huntsman lost out on becoming ambassador to China. Instead, the job went to one of the president's old drinking buddies.
- Well, on the other hand, it turns out that he finds Asia really crowded and claustrophobic, at least according to his wife, who's campaigning to pass an open-space protection ballot measure this November.
- A piece about the trade trip from a non-Utah source, which mentions NuSkin and all the other quack medicine companies on the trip, but again, not a single word about SCO. Apparently SCO is even less legit than homeopathic remedies.
- A couple of new patents granted to Lindon-area companies you might've heard of: MaxStream, a Canopy company, has gotten a patent for "Radio modem having a chamfered sheet metal shield", while MyFamily.com has gotten one titled, quite expansively, "Systems and methods for storing and retrieving data in a Web server environment".
- As seen on IV, here's an article about Sleepable RCU. Of course, if you read the article, you're exposing yourself to some of SCO's sooper-seekrit Methods & Concepts, to the infinite peril of your immortal soul. Yes, even though SCO had nothing whatsoever to do with developing any form of RCU, and the company owns none of the patents around the concept, and they distributed RCU under the GPL as part of their late, lamented Linux distro. Still, you apparently owe Darl beeeelions if you read this article. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either.
- An actual sensible article about Apple's marketshare. Even Enderle makes sense, or his comments were edited so that they make sense.
- Enderle also chimes in about WinXP SP3, which will be delayed a tad. He doesn't care. Actually I don't care either. Oh, and don't expect Win2k3 SP2 any time this year, either, in case you were holding your breath.
- Scott Gant, who until recently was one of BS&F's lawyers on the SCO case, once coauthored a paper that tried to explain how Bill Clinton could become president again, with a scheme involving some patsy (Hillary?) running as president with Bill as veep, and then the patsy resigns, and Bill escapes the presidential term limit on a legal technicality. I voted for Clinton twice, and I know I wouldn't stand for that sort of trickery. And I doubt Hillary would stand for it either. I mention this to illustrate the sort of mindset that thrives behind the black gate of BS&F. This Gant guy is one of the clowns who dreamed up things like "non-literal copying" and "methods & concepts".
- The matter of Steve Wynn's clumsy, clumsy elbow has morphed into a leak investigation, following the political scandal script of the moment. Because it's always the leak that's the real crime, not the offense itself. Nora Ephron denies leaking the story, so now suspicion falls on more of Wynn's wide and rather colorful social circle. I have to agree with Gawker here; I blame Barbara Walters, and I'll continue to do so even if it turns out not to be true.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
10/18 SNR III
- Another SCO user group to report! A keen-eyed reader over at IV ran across something called the "Committee to Maintain an Independent Xenix", or COMIX, which seems to be just one guy who posts to c.u.s.m a lot. Here's the guy's account about the "group" and its history:
email@example.com (Rico) hath wroth:
>"Organization: Committee to Maintain an Independent Xenix"
>Thought MS owned this?
There's a really long old story behind COMIX. In a previous life, I sold and supported SCO Xenix and Unix. Although Microsloth started Xenix somewhat before PCDOS/MSDOS, they sold most of the rights to SCO when IBM appeared on the scene and wanted PCDOS.
Fast forward many years, and we have one of the numerous battles in the Unix wars. The one that inspired COMIX was when AT&T invested in Sun Microsystems, and precipitated a revolt among Unix license holders, who claimed that Sun would get preferential treatment in Unix releases. I'll spare you the details. I saw this as an opportunity to establish a competing organization, where I would sell membership subscriptions for exorbitant amounts. That's where the "independent" came from. Absolutely nobody was interested and the idea died. I missed the chance to register the domain somewhat later, but the idea was dead by then. I also had a background in publishing pornographic comic books while going to skool, which somewhat inspired the acronym.
Jeff Liebermann firstname.lastname@example.org
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
So that answers that, I guess.
- This is only semi-on-topic because MacOSX is a *Nix: A silly bit of fun with AppleScript.
- While we're talking about Apple, didja know you could get a virus from your Windows iPod, right out of the box? That's... not so good. And talk about an unprofessional reaction to the problem. Jeez.
- The SCO saga explained via Gilbert & Sullivan, and The Dukes of Hazzard.
- A piece crowing about Sun's Unix strategy, getting in a few digs at the "Linux faithful" in the process.
- And yet, there's this piece about the declining Unix marketplace.
- And here's another Solaris-to-Linux migration, this time in Chicago. Go figure.
10/18 SNR II
- Darl gets a nice friendly letter from the SEC. Well, ok, he actually got the letter way back in May, but they didn't put it on EDGAR until October 12th. I'm not enough of a financial type to know whether this kind of delay is normal or not. Basically the feds want a bit of clarification regarding a previous Baystar-related filing, asking:
Selling Stockholders, page 8
1. Please confirm, if true, that neither of the two selling
stockholders are broker-dealers or affiliates of registered
Item 12. Undertakings, page II-2
2. Item 512(a) of Regulation S-K was recently amended in Release
No. 33-8591. Please revise your undertakings as appropriate.
As of right now, we don't have a copy of SCO's response, assuming they responded.
- Poking around on Flickr, it turns out there are over a thousand images tagged "SCO". Many of them (800+) are from one guy who has a trove of OldSCO pics from the late 90's, mostly of Christmas parties and other corporate events.
- Nobbutl (with some help from stats_for_all) has put together a great chart of SCO's allegations and what's become of them.
- More precious SCO IP discovered! Seems that while they've got basically no patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets, they do "own" a few IANA assigned ports, although their SCO Copy Protection Daemon (!) doesn't play nice, and runs on port 488, which is assigned to someone else.
- A couple of howto pieces on setting up MMDF or Sendmail on your SCO Unix box and configuring either one to talk to your Exchange server(!).
- More quips from the Age of SCO Fatigue at Blogging Ottinger, The Prepiscene Review and Pan's MySpace blog.
- Another mention of the IP-Wars story about SCO that made Slashdot recently.
- SGI's just emerged from Chapter 11, and is soon to be a pure Linux-on-Intel company. Is it too much to hope for that they'll also bring back the old logo while they're at it?
- A blog post at LinuxWorld daydreaming about Google's data centers.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
As you might've noticed, there's a new category in the links sidebar called "Pro-SCO" (it seemed only fair), although so far I'm having a bit of trouble populating it. I've got SCO's new "Unix Blog", which (in a typical bit of SCO cluelessness) appears to be a discussion forum, not a blog. I've also got iXorg, a SCO resellers group. The news section on iXorg's main page has a definite pro-SCO slant, although it hasn't been updated since last June. So if you know of any other links that might belong here (or elsewhere in the link bar) either drop me a line or just post it here.
I did run across a number of interesting tidbits while searching for pro-SCO websites, user/reseller/integrator/vendor groups, and so forth...
I did run across a number of interesting tidbits while searching for pro-SCO websites, user/reseller/integrator/vendor groups, and so forth...
- A piece that mentions SCO as a poster-child company that's had great success attracting resellers, with its strategy of crisscrossing the country and holding lots of "Get Connected with SCO" seminars. The article dates from 1994.
- This UnixWare FAQ from 1998 mentions the existence of a "SCO Users Group" or "SCOUG", with a "xenitec.on.ca" domain name, and talks extensively about a freeware site called Freebird.org. Neither of these sites exists anymore.
- Also from 1998, OldSCO was pleased to announce the formation of the first SCO user group in Singapore, known as the "SCO Unix Professionals Group", or "UXPG" for short. If you google for the group name, the announcement is the one and only mention of the group on the entire net. Well, until now, anyway.
- I saw a few mentions of something called the "Unixware Technology Group", a UnixWare vendors' association. But it seems this organization no longer exists either. There's an obit for UTG and related organizations. Seems OldSCO morphed UTG into an internally run org called the "Unix Computing Forum", for which very little info exists on the net, but their PR about the change can be found here. After that, the org seems to have vanished without a trace.
- Rudy, er, "Paul Murphy", is smoking crack again. His latest goofy scheme proposes that IBM should settle up and pay SCO a few gazillion, and then turn around and buy both Red Hat and Novell, which is what it's going to take to make Linux "free again", so he says. I wonder what color the sky is in his world?
- His piece about programming languages is not so utterly bozotic. What puzzles me is how veryone says VB is a serious, popular language, but I've never actually met anyone who did it for a living. At least not that they were willing to admit.
- Fresh details on what IBM's new Power6 chips are going to look like. I'm not so sure about that hardware binary coded decimal support they're going on about, but it ought to keep the Cobol grinders happy.
- An interview with one of Intel's Itanium architects, over at HPCWire. SCO could've gotten in on the party, they could've had one of the OSes on the list in the article, they had multiple chances to get in on the ground floor. But they botched it, and now all they've got left is the path of litigation.
- And an article about Intel's Itanium strategy. Hint: Giving SCO yet another chance to build the chip's default OS is not part of the strategy.
- A piece about the possibly-schweet MINIX 3 OS from none other than Andy Tanenbaum himself.
- We're nearing the 3rd anniversary of Darl's interview where he claimed SCO was suffering a billion dollars per week in damages [note: article is en francais], all because of IBM & Linux. So that makes a cool $156B, if we're going by that date. But it's probably more "accurate" to go by the date the IBM case was filed, that tacks on another $30B or so. By the time the thing goes to trial, which right now is supposed to be in late February 2007, the damages are surely going to top the $200B mark. Which is really pretty damn remarkable, considering how small SCO is. That's over a billion dollars in damages per employee, although somehow I doubt any winnings in the IBM case would be divided up evenly like that. Compare this figure to the estimated $80B-$200B cost of Hurricane Katrina. Which really helps to point out the truly astonishing amount of damage SCO's apparently suffering at the hands of the Linux rabble. Even more astonishing is that SCO is still in business after that horrific level of damage. Perhaps Darl is a vastly better businessman than we all thought.
- The governor of Utah is leading a delegation to China to try to drum up business (which is getting coverage by the Utah press, and hardly anyone else.) Sadly, SCO weaseled their way in, and as we speak someone is in China shilling for Me Inc., for all the good that's going to do. They probably figure their best bet is to do business somewhere where nobody's ever heard of 'em.
- Too bad that Linux got there first.
- David Berlind chimes in about the recent EV1 revelations. He's not sure which is worse, this, or the HP espionage scandal. Which is to say, this is major-league scandalous stuff here.
- You can read all you want about the EV1 thing, but this photo explains what it's like to be EV1 better than words can ever convey. Hint: EV1 is the grey cat on the bottom.
- ZDNet UK rounds up some of their user comments re: the Goldfarb/Baystar mess.
- Dana Blankenhorn mentions the SCO saga again, in this piece about open-source indemnification. His take is basically "Who really cares about indemnification anymore?", which is a good question. Funny how everyone stopped "caring" as soon as the issue fell off the Redmond-approved list of analyst talking points (*cough* Didio *cough*).
- Enderle comments on Sony's PS3 Linux plans. While he sounds dubious, he doesn't actually froth at the mouth or call anyone a commie, at least not in the comments that made it into print. So possibly he went off on an hourlong drunken rant, swearing up a blue streak about all things non-Microsoft, and what you seen in the article are the only couple of sentences printable on a family website. It wouldn't surprise me, anyway.
- Anybody know what the AdTI guys (Ken Brown, Gregory Fossedal, et. al.) are up to these days? So far as I can tell, AdTI is a nearly-inoperative shell these days, I haven't seen Fossedal's investing column appear up on UPI in a long time, and Ken Brown seems to have completely vanished from the Earth (or at least the net) shortly after his big "Samizdat" flameout.
A quick note to any other think-tankers out there who fancy getting their hands on some of that sweet, sweet Micro$oft astroturfin' cash: You know you're in a heap of trouble when BillG's voice turns all deep and metallic and sorta-British, and he starts saying crazy stuff like "You have failed me for the last time, Admiral". I doubt you guys will listen to a mere anonymous blogger from thousands of miles outside the Beltway, but let the record show I sincerely tried to warn you, you poor bastards.
- Seems that there's more than one person named Daniel Lyons, and it turns out that one of the other Lyonses is a kickboxer in Japan. There's also a pro boxer named Kevin McBride, who beat the aging, washed-up Mike Tyson a while back. I usually have zero interest in boxing, but I wouldn't mind seeing "Kevin McBride vs. Daniel Lyons" on a fight card, even both of 'em are the wrong guys. If they were the right guys, well, I'm not sure I'd fly to Vegas to see it in person, but they might get some money out of me by putting the whole sorry spectacle on Pay-Per-View. It'd be like two bugs in a jar, except with fewer legs flailing around.
- IT Jungle reports that it may be curtains for Flex-ES, a mainframe emulator that does, or did, run on Linux & SCO Unix. I'm not a mainframe guru, and I'm not clear on why you'd want to emulate a mainframe on x86 hardware, what possible advantages there might be to that, and so forth. I could see them running into technical issues, though, with SCO's products having inadequate and buggy punchcard support. Ah, there I go with the cheap shots about punchcards again. Well hey, nobody's complained yet.
- Also, here's yet another cheap shot based on the fact that "SCO" is an acronym for more than one thing. Here's a piece psychoanalyzing Kim Jong-Il, by a distinguished professor of East Asia & SCO Studies at Moscow State University. If you devote your career to trying to figure out SCO, I guess Kim Jong Il suddenly won't seem quite so incomprehensible.
Monday, October 16, 2006
10/16 SNR II
- Others have been much more diligent than I in following the Jonathan Cohen / TICC thread of the SCO saga. Cohen, as you may recall, is one of SCO's big investors, and so far as we know he hasn't bailed out yet, in spite of everything. So it seems like he's a SCO True Believer, for whatever reason. On the other hand, TICC just pumped a pile of cash ($15M) into a company called FusionStorm, which then turned around and purchased Jeskell, Inc., described as a "top-tier IBM Premier Business Partner and Government solutions provider".
- Also, TICC's Q3 earnings call is coming up on Nov. 2nd. FYI, in case you feel like calling to ask about SCO, or whatever.
- Gartner's ever-namby-pamby George Weiss, who just recently was cautioning people that they'd better be ultra-cautious and maybe pay SCO a few multi-gazillions just in case, now forecasts that Linux will keep on growing, and doesn't mention SCO. I bet he's hoping we won't remember.
- Also, "hypervisor" is a white-hot buzzword these days, and Weiss jumps on the bandwagon in his own special milquetoast fashion, affirming that yes, "hypervisor" is indeed a hot buzzword, which means it's Definitely Very Important. Feh.
- More about Transmeta v. Intel. While I don't know all the details of the case right now, I tend to think Transmeta's morphed into just another IP troll, which is beyond sad.
- While we're on the topic of lurid IP cases, here's OJ's latest legal saga. No, he hasn't killed anyone else, at least not yet. No, one of his many hangers-on has some exclusive video of OJ partying, and the Goldman estate wants a cut of the dinero.
- Kevin McBride is hiring, or at least he was a year ago, and the job posting is still live. He needs a network administrator with Win2k3 experience, and Solaris/UNIX is a plus too. It would be funnier if he was advertising for a Linux admin, but Kevin's not cool enough to use Linux. Still, you'd think he'd have advertised for someone with OpenServer or UnixWare experience, if he really had his kid brother's best interests at heart.
- NewCanopy's obit for Ray Noorda.
- And it's worth noting that the NewCanopy website once again lists their investment portfolio. Yes, Solera's on the list, but I doubt it's because of ol' Jeffro. The PHB's probably just lump him in with the rest of us weirdo engineer types, sad to say.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
- 2 SJVN pieces about why Debian is teh st00pid. It's not the code, it's the people. The fundie mindset always works the same way, regardless of what someone's being all fundamentalist about.
- Speaking of fundamentalism, here's a bit about "Christian Linux". Apparently it's not just a dumb joke anymore. Umm.... Okayyyyy....
- More SCO v. IBM semi-esoterica: Panglozz has put together a list of the exhibit citations in IBM's recent filings. Enjoy!
- In a bit of belated PSJ-deadline coverage, the Copyfight blog over at Corante has a new piece about SCO v. IBM. It's the usual "Is that STILL going on?" thing, and really that's not an uncommon or unusual reaction. Those of us who've followed the case raptly the whole time have got to be a tiny minority, even of hardcore geeks. The piece has a few links to IP-Wars and Zen's Den, so I figure the piece originated with the recent /. story.
- SCO merits a couple of small paragraphs in this piece about IBM's upcoming Q3 earnings. Nothing new here, but it's the rare media mention of SCO, so I'm passing it along.
- David Boies's buddy Steve Wynn, the Vegas casino impresario, managed to instanly lose a cool $40M recently when he accidentally poked his elbow through a Picasso. Kind of puts the whole SCO thing in perspective, in dollar terms, doesn't it? It's also interesting that David & Mary Boies (allegedly) agreed to help cover up the incident, since Wynn was in the midst of trying to sell the painting at the time and didn't want to lose the sale. Didn't work out in the end, though. Funny, that.
- The latest indemnification thingy: A company called OpenLogic is offering indemnification for 160 open source projects. I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm also kind of surprised the piece has no Didio quote, considering all the noise she used to make about this stuff. Maybe it's no longer on the list of Redmond-approved talking points. I dunno.
- A (sorta) cute lil' Linux doodad from a company called Gumstix. It's got a 200Mhz XScale cpu, and it's about the size of a pack of gum. Awwwwwww..... Actually, I mention this because it competes with a similar product from Realm Systems (One of Mikey's former companies). According to Gumstix's CEO, if you cluster a few of these widgets together, the result is known as a "gumwad".
- If you want a small Linux box, but the Gumstix doohickey is maybe a bit too small, how about an x86 Mac Mini? A German company is selling a PBX system that uses Mac Minis running Linux instead of OSX. It looks like they don't actually wipe the Mini, they just boot it into Linux off an iPod Shuffle. Weirdness.
- A Register piece about the oft-rumored upcoming Oracle Linux distro. I'll believe it when I see it.
- Apparently Marc Rochkind isn't the world's most stupendous C++ coder. More about Roachie's "Ux" library here.
- haven't heard much from MOG lately, which is fine, of course, but I just thought I'd mention that she's got her own Wikipedia page these days.
- Meanwhile, the Bleppster shows up on some sort of techie social networking site. I don't know more because I can't quite bring myself to join just to see the guy's full profile.
- Yet another example of SCO's ultra-advanced bleeding-edge industry leadership: Here's a posting from comp.unix.xenix.sco, from a guy looking for the PDP-11 version of Xenix. Feel free to lend a hand if you know anything about this, because I sure don't. Golly. If Xenix was portable way back in the day, I really don't see why porting to Itanium (i.e. Project Monterey) was supposedly such an intractable problem for SCO, especially with the help of IBM, and of HP before that (in the abortive "Summit 3D" joint project). It almost makes me wonder whether SCO might be lying when the rant about how Unix-on-Itanium sank their battleship. Perish the thought!
- And for your entertainment, a "thread" from comp.unix.xenix.misc relating to "fuzzy logic operating systems". I'll bet you money the guy behind this is CS undergrad, someone who just had a fuzzy logic class and still thinks it explains the whole damn universe. Note to current CS undergrads: If you sign your real name to something like this, future prospective employers will find it via Google and ask you about it during the technical interview. So if you're going to babble about it, you'd damn well better be right. Just a little friendly advice here. Thanks for listening.
Friday, October 13, 2006
- Here's a list of the latest batch of sworn declarations in SCO v. IBM, courtesy Panglozz on IV
- Slashdot ran a story recently where some random clown was bragging (in pseudo-lament form) about his oh-so-terrible dilemma of having to choose between job offers from M$ and Google. One wag suggested he ought to consider SCO instead, which was moderated "4, Funny".
- A piece wondering whether it's time to "reconsider" Intel's Itanium. The author seems to have recently discovered that Itanium may not be the default Unix hardware of the future, and offers several rather obvious suggestions on where to go from "here". SCO gets a mention in connection with the ill-fated Project Monterey. If a CPU architecture can be doomed by the mere absence of a ported AIX, well, it can't have been on very firm ground to begin with.
- Computerworld Australia picks up a mid-August piece by PJ titled Linux's legal world after SCO. The phrase "after SCO" has a nice ring to it, but I'm not entirely convinced I'll see it in my lifetime.
- PC-BSD, a fork off of FreeBSD, has been "acquired". The article attempts to explain what "acquire" means in the BSD context.
- Elsewhere in the BSD world, MacOSX has been a BSD since the old NeXTStep days, way back in the 80's, but it hasn't been an official certified UNIX(tm), in the eyes of The Open Group, owner of the "UNIX" trademark. A while ago, it looked like Apple and the Open Group were going to lock horns over the trademark's validity, but instead it looks like Apple's going to get the upcoming OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") release certified as an Official UNIX. Which is fine, so long as they don't have to add all sort of useless cruft just to meet some arbitrary standard.
- And for the true geek, a piece about the nuts & bolts of binary emulation, including a section on how FreeBSD's Linux emulation works.
- If you search Google Scholar for "SCO Group", the #1 hit relates to a form of male infertility. (*snort* *giggle*). So I'm not 100% sure whether this paper refers to "our" SCO or not.
- Right now, if you search MySpace for "SCOX", you'll get a banner ad offering you the chance to buy SCO stock for $4. Which would be a great deal if it was actually trading over $4, which it isn't.
A few recent articles about patent trolls:
- "Beware the Patent Troll" at GameDaily
- A piece at WRAL LocalTechWire is more sympathetic to the trolls' perspective. Needless to say, the author is a lawyer, not an engineer.
- A press release claiming that patent trolls foster innovation and market liquidity. Again, the author is a lawyer, not an engineer, and it seems likely that a lawyer and an engineer would define "innovation" in starkly different ways. The press release is by the law firm itself, so we can pretty much chalk this one up as "scambulance chasing".
- EDN writes about a pending SCOTUS case that just might make it easier to challenge the validity of patents. Towards the end, the author daydreams about how a favorable judgment might encourage companies to invest more in basic R&D, and says hopefully:
And if the value of a patent depends on my ability to defend it, might I not want to give the actual inventor—remember her?—a piece of the benefits, rather than making her sign a confiscatory assignment agreement upon hiring?
Yes, that would certainly be nice. Wake me up when it happens.
- A piece about Audible.com vs. the trolls.
- A panel discussion at Law.com discussing thorny issues around patents, copyrights, and trademarks. One panel member states:
Defining patent trolls reminds me of how comedian Jeff Foxworthy defines what it means to be a redneck. For example, you might be a patent troll if: You make no products and you sell no services; your only employees are patent lawyers; and you actually like Marshall, Texas.
For those of you who don't know, Marshall, Texas, is one of those so-called plaintiffs' paradises. It's where patent trolls like to file litigation for a number of reasons, not the least of which is 90 percent of the jury verdicts are in favor of the patentee. Awards in the hundreds of millions of dollars are not uncommon.
- Besides being a paradise for patent trolls, Marshall, TX, is also the self-proclaimed "Pottery Capital of the World", according to Wikipedia. Keep that in mind when the locals hand out another major decision that impacts the tech industry. Yikes.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
- Buried among the avalanche of docs filed during the PSJcalypse is a certain declaration of Robert Marsh, the honcho at EV1 Servers. In it, we learn how SCO bullied EV1 into signing up for a SCOSource license, and immediately turned around and misrepresented the deal to the media, in violation of the license deal's confidentiality agreement. Exhibit 5 to the declaration is a full copy of the SCOSource license. SCO tried to keep the terms of this thing top secret, and it's not hard to see why. The terms are fantastic, so long as you're SCO, otherwise they're just godawful. It reads like something from back in the mid-80's heyday of copy-protected floppies. Which was SCO's heyday too, come to think of it.
- Daniel Lyons dives in to the Goldfarb fracas, noting many areas where Goldfarb's declaration differs from what Goldfarb told Lyons a couple of years back. It appears Lyons is suggesting Goldfarb lied under oath, because (apparently) that's much more likely than lying to some no-name hack journalist at Forbes. Well, it's a free country, and Lyons is certainly free to believe that if it suits him. Me, I'm not so sure. Call me crazy, if you like.
- Lyons also has what appears to be a gloatfest about the current GPLv3 ugliness. I haven't read it since you have to register with Forbes to do that, but it's titled "Toppling Linux" and he leads in by mentioning "software radical Richard Stallman". Which is about all you really need to know. I expect the rest is his usual steaming pile of deliberate misquotes, sleazy cheapshots and crude red-baiting, the usual Lyons stock-in-trade. Yawn.
- The very latest on the awful Hans Reiser situation. Freakin' evil murdering scumbag. Yes, yes, ReiserFS development will continue, perhaps under a different name. But really, should that be the primary concern in people's minds? Those twerps on Slashdot need a little perspective here. Sheesh. (I could go on a long rant here about why it's always, always wrong to name anything after living people, but that would be digressing.)
- We haven't heard from Kevin McBride, Darl's bro, in a long, long, time, but it turns out he resurfaced back in July, joining with fellow SCO veteran Morgan Keegan to lend a hand to "Affinity Technology Group", a patent troll outfit out of Columbia SC that focuses on parasitizing the online banking sector. This is kind of weird, considering Morgan Keegan itself is part of a bank, RegionsBank if I remember right.
- More remembrances of Ray Noorda: Obits at The Washington Post, NetworkWorld, The Inquirer and IT Jungle, a longer Computerworld article, and a memorial podcast. The last two both quote Darl, for some reason. At one point, Darl says:
"He was always forcing competition," says SCO Group's McBride. "When people think about the saying, 'Lead, follow or get out of the way,' there was no question which camp he was in. He was always leading."
Yes, ok, that's nice, Darl, but which camp are you in?
- CNet presents a slice of the blogospace concerning Noorda.
- Remember Transmeta? They're suing Intel now. I guess they heard somewhere that the courtroom is a great place to salvage business models that don't succeed in the marketplace. Anyway, Enderle gets in a few words, remarking that Transmeta was overhyped. Stunning insights like this are why he makes the big bucks, I guess.
- Another Intel piece with an Enderle quote, this time an article about how Intel's now better chums with Apple than it is with MS.
- A piece from BYU mentioning some local charitable work by someone named "Ralph Yarro". It's not clear if it's the Ralph Yarro or not. Either it's a different guy, or he's trying to atone for something, or there's a nasty hidden gotcha to what he's doing that the article fails to mention. I mean, the guy's only genuine interest in kids involves swiping his victims' firstborn.
- Another random industry analyst says mean stuff about Linux. Yawn. Seems that now the big Windows vs. Linux battlefield is in server virtualization & hypervisors. So it's not TCO anymore, or indemnification, or whatever, but it's always something.
- A piece on the recent "decapitation" at McAfee. I haven't seen anyone remark yet that this is their second consecutive CEO to depart under a financial/regulatory cloud, although the last one (Bill Larson) was a few years back, when they were still known as NAI. I mention this because (IIRC) our old friend Gregory Blepp ran NAI's German operations under the Larson regime, until that pesky palace coup came along. You remember the Bleppster, right? He was the guy with the amazing n-dimensional suitcase packed with gazillions of lines of SCO's evidence. I sure do wonder what ever happened to that suitcase...
- A misanthropic list of 5 things that are going to hell. I'm not so sure about the other 4 things, but I quite like that Darl merited one of the 5 slots all by his lonesome.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
As I've noted on that other blog, I'm in the middle of a nasty cold right now. I'm still trying to keep up with current events, since it looks like the Baystar story has legs after all, but I may miss a link or two. As always, if I've missed anything, feel free to post it here as a comment -- anonymous is just fine -- or mail me about it and maybe I'll fit it into the next SNR. Also, let me know if there's anything I should add to the Links sidebar.
- There's now an AP story about the MS-Baystar thingy. OregonLive has it (among other things) here. As you can see in the above photo, the Big O's dead tree edition has the story as well.
- A couple more pieces in CBR's great continuing coverage of the MS-BS debacle.
- A predictably weird and clueless take on the story at The Register. They argue that all the MS "conspiracy theories" have now been conclusively debunked, and sneer at anyone who thinks otherwise, all because MS welched on their verbal agreement to guarantee Baystar's investment. Apparently it would've been bad if the $50M was actual MS money, but because MS got someone else to spend their own money instead, it's all perfectly fabulous, in the eyes of Mr. Orlowski. What a maroon.
- Another slice of the blogoverse, concerning MS-BS: ITWorld Today, LinuxToday, digg, Ted's Radio Weblog, Jeremy's Blog @ linuxquestions.org, FreeRepublic (unsurprisingly, many commenters there take the MS/SCO side), Jeran's Den, LWN, ITToolbox blogs, tuxmachines.org.
News from Boiestown
- In other news, when he's not burning the midnight oil on SCO's behalf, David Boies is busying himself with a sleazy Hollywood family feud.
- Convicted Tyco baddies Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz are appealing their guilty verdicts. Among other things, the jailbirds are attacking Boies' testimony in the case. I really can't find anyone to root for here, but the battle itself ought to be interesting.
- Boies's wife, Mary McInnis Boies, a lawyer with the firm Boies & McInnis, is also a member of a creepy-sounding group called Business Executives for National Security, which to me just screams "military-industrial complex". Seems the group toured East Africa recently. In the article, Mrs. Boies is amazed that Africa is full of poor people. Who knew?
- Stephen N. Zack, one of the BS&F lawyers on SCO's case, is now an offical member of Miami Beach Senior High School's Hall of Fame. If he's made the Hall of Fame, what are the school's other graduates like?
- BS&F's NYC offices are in this ugly building, which has just been sold for $400M, to the same guy who paid beeelions for the WTC shortly before 9/11. So please, no snarky user comments about history repeating itself or anything like that.
- And here's a piece about software that's supposed to support the discovery phase of complex litigation. An ex-BS&F guy has jumped into the field, which is kind of ironic, since BS&F never seriously attempted to analyze all the stuff IBM sent them in the SCO case. If you've built your law practice around harrassing people with expansive and frivolous discovery requests, you aren't really going to need this software, now are you?
- A piece about one of the guys who helped David Boies lose Bush v. Gore, in which he dispenses his wisdom about the Supreme Court, and admits he actually knows more about Texas Hold-Em than about the Supremes. Seems he's argued 16 cases before the SCOTUS, and has won the last 4. Obviously, Bush v. Gore was not one of the last 4.
- I'm sure this is just a weird coincidence, but the Pennsylvania state capitol features a large statue of a very large man named (creepily) Boies Penrose. Ugh. From the article:
As recently as 20 years ago, a Democratic state lawmaker suggested in floor debate that Penrose's statue be taken down because he was corrupt. A GOP lawmaker responded that Penrose may have been corrupt, but he's part of history now and the statue should stay.
- In yet another case of stupid IP litigation, a local Portland nightclub is about to be litigated out of existence, because a cover band played there a while back, and the club didn't pay exorbitant royalties to the record industry.
- The latest of those exceedingly rare birds, new product announcements that mention SCO. Seems that now you can access Visual SourceSafe from your SCO box. That's, like, a marriage made, um, somewhere. I hate, hate, hate SourceSafe. Suuuure, your source is safe, except when it crashes and corrupts your whole source tree. Even ClearCase is an improvement over SourceSafe, although that's not saying much. OTOH, Subversion is your friend, plus it's free.
- Yet another Anderer bit, another doc about Realm Systems' mobile widget patent [PDF]. To be clear on this, I'm not arguing that Mikey & friends are currently associated with SCO. As far as I can tell, they got burned by SCO and moved on, but it's still kind of an interesting sideshow to keep tabs on.
- From c.u.s.m, a question about how to enable large file support on OSR5 (*snort* *giggle*), and how to run circa-1993 SCO Unix 3 under VMWARE.
- And from c.u.s.p (comp.unix.sco.programmer(!!!)), a bit of STREAMS-related ugliness.
- A photo of an old UnixWare t-shirt, from wayyyy back when it was still ok to be seen in public wearing UnixWare schwag. In other words, back in the days when Univel stalked the earth. Wait, here's another t-shirt, from the same era.
- And some fun archaic Unix ads, direct from Bell Labs.
- XENIX user(s), rejoice! Here's aclock a Curses-based analog clock app that's been ported to many, many platforms, even XENIX. I can't vouch for the XENIX port, but the MacOSX version works as advertised. It may yet displace xclock in my retrocomputing affections.
- There's a site in Italy called unixware.it, which doesn't seem to be devoted to UnixWare, generally. I don't read Italian, but this funny photo requires no translation.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The latest developments in the MS-Baystar saga
- MS has responded to the story, denying the allegations.
Microsoft has no financial relationship with BayStar and never agreed to guarantee any of BayStar's $50 million investment in SCO. The BayStar declaration confirms that no guarantee was ever provided. Microsoft does have a deal with SCO that has been widely reported. We paid SCO for licensing rights to ensure IT interoperability for UNIX migration technology, currently in use in Microsoft Utilities for UNIX-based Applications.
Yeah, right. A.) The Baystar declaration confirms no such damn thing. B.) Nobody believes the money was really for SCO's super-schweet, ultramodern Unix SVR4 utilities, even if that's what the contract says on paper. We're not idiots. We know a wink-wink, nudge-nudge deal when we see one. MS could've gotten much better, non-obsolescent code for free by using BSD code. Doing that is perfectly legal, the BSD folks even encourage it, it's free as in beer, and MS has done it before. So the suggestion that they suddenly needed $25M worth of SVR4 code, right at the precise moment where SCO's Linux litigation was ramping up, well, I'm sorry, but that just defies all logic and credibility.
- Other stories about the MS denial at Computerworld (which also covers the Baystar declaration here); TechWorld, and CIO Magazine.
- A story at InternetNews quotes Rob Enderle, who rushes to Microsoft's defense, of course:
But at this point, it's just one man's word of a conversation with one former Microsoft executive and no paper trail, points out Rob Enderle, principle analyst with The Enderle Group.
"Bay very well may have wanted Microsoft's business, but whatever that belief was, nothing ever resulted. So you don't know what was wishful thinking or not. We're hinging off one person's conversation. You'd think for a $50 million commitment there would be something on paper," he said.
Enderle doesn't think Goldfarb is lying, just that any conversation between him and Emerson probably never went beyond that.
"There may have been a conversation between the two and Emerson went to management, who decided they didn't want to do it. There is no evidence of commitment from Microsoft in any way," he said.
The story neglects to mention that Enderle is paid by MS for his opinions on a regular basis, and he's been paid by SCO at least once, for his SCOForum screed a couple of years ago. This is not conjecture, it's not a conspiracy theory. It's Enderle's business, and he's pretty open about how he works. The trade press doesn't seem to mind -- they don't care whether he's biased, so long as he's quotable -- and so you almost never see any disclosure of the financial angle. He's their crutch, and he knows it, and milks it for all its worth. This is one of many reasons I don't have a lot of respect for the trade press. They're pretty much the hardliest-working folks in all of journalism.
- At least the UK trade press can manage a lively editorial now and then.
- Back in August, Darl attended a tech CEO forum with Utah's governor. Photos of the event are here. Darl appears in at least 3 of them. He's easy to identify because he's the one guy in the room wearing jeans and not wearing a tie. Oops! This pic is pretty priceless. He really isn't a very tall man, is he? There's also a glimpse of his ugly mug here, and a shot of his, uh, business end here.
- Dana Blankenhorn has a piece remembering Ray Noorda.
- And here's the SL Trib's obit, in which Yarro sheds a few crocodile tears. In reality, he's only sad that he didn't end up with all of Noorda's money.
- Remember the bit I posted last week about the blogger who used to work at an Anderer company? Apparently SNR has kind of a mini-Slashdot effect, and he's not thrilled about all the attention. So be nice to the guy, ok? I don't do this out of a desire to hassle ordinary people who just happened to have a tenuous link to one of the SCO case's many circus sideshows.
Monday, October 09, 2006
- Today's big story is the latest twist in the MS-Baystar-SCO debacle. Seems that MS allegedly promised to somehow "guarantee" Baystar's investment in SCO. Since, I guess, otherwise SCO looked too risky even for Baystar, which has a focus on doing PIPE deals with troubled companies. So MS promised Baystar wouldn't lose money on the deal, and then stopped returning Larry Goldfarb's phone calls after the deal was finalized. Because, I guess, backing BS up in real life would've been a recipe for antitrust trouble, or it just would've cost MS some money they didn't feel like spending. Which makes sense, in a cold self-interested way: Why spend your own money when you can get someone else to spend theirs? Why get your hands dirty when you can get somone else to do the dirty work?
- Updated: GL has Goldfarb's declaration up for the world to see. Not only did MS stop returning his calls; even Boies stopped talking once SCO had the cash in the bank. From the declaration:
Thereafter, I had meetings with David Boies and asked him to provide me the evidence supporting SCO's case against IBM, so that my consultants could analyze the strength of the claims. Mr. Boies promised to provide the evidence but never did. Eventually Mr. Boies stopped returning my calls.
Recall the Rule #1 from the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: Once you have their money, you never give it back.
- From the same GL article, Ray Noorda has passed away at age 82.
- Plenty of trade media coverage of today's MS-BS news. Groklaw has it, of course. Other stories at The Inquirer, ZDNet, LinuxWorld, Slashdot, Ars Technica.
- Haven't yet seen any general (non-trade) media coverage of the story yet, but I'm guessing we might in the next couple of days since MS is involved. It'll be interesting to see whether this latest story has legs or not. I should probably just give up on trying to figure out which SCO stories will catch the media's fancy, but it's an interesting puzzle.
- In the "Too Much Sharing" department, we learn an unsurprising personal detail about Darl:
Eve Tahmincioglu interviewed 55 CEOs about their backgrounds for her book "From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top," on sale Monday. The book includes chapters on such things as how CEOs attacked their first jobs and how they overcame bad bosses, but Chapter One is called "Parents: Less Carrot, More Stick."
She found that most CEOs had tough disciplinarians as parents. Among those who told Tahmincioglu that they had been spanked were Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, Shell Chemicals Executive Vice President Fran Keeth, Alliant Energy Resources former CEO Erroll Davis, SCO Group CEO Darl McBride and United Way CEO Brian Gallagher.
What I don't understand is who came up with the notion of talking to a bunch of Fortune 500 CEOs, plus Darl. Why Darl?
Now that he's shared this tidbit, I have to be curious what exactly he did to deserve being spanked as a child. Tried to swipe the other kids' toys, maybe?
- From Y! SCOX, it seems SCO has officially lost its bid for the "Unix Systems Laboratories" and "USL" trademarks. Nelson: Ha, ha!
- A recent c.u.s.m. thread explores a limitation of RAID 5 support under OpenServer 5.x. On the other hand, I hear that OSR5's punchcard support is really world class.
- Speaking of punchcards, IBM is trying to deal with the upcoming mainframe crisis: Everyone who knows how to work the damn things is close to retirement age, and nobody new is entering the field. So they're planning to spend $100M over the next few years to try to make their Big Iron easier to learn.
Yes, yes, I realize modern mainframes don't use punchcards anymore. That was a cheap shot, and I apologize. I just needed a lead-in from the previous SCO item, that's all.
- In Linux news, the maybe-upcoming $100 Linux laptop is now being touted for its security measures. Of course, that $100 doesn't take into account that $699 SCOSource license you're supposed to buy (*snort* *giggle*).
- Meanwhile, on the other end of the hardware spectrum, a piece about large Linux clusters based around the shiny new Cell chip. I mention this because it's never too early to start writing that Dear Santa letter.
- Also, here's a bit about Flash Player 9 for Linux. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
- Elsewhere, FreeBSD 6.2 beta 2 is out. And if that interests you, you might also be interested in this bit about FreeBSD's 64-bit x86 support.
- And this article would like to clarify some conventional wisdom: "NetBSD: Not Just for Toasters". Although it probably will run on your toaster, though. Even if you have a vintage CPU-less toaster from 1950, the NetBSD folks will eventually find a way, somehow.
- An amusing piece at CIO magazine that tries to answer the age-old tech industry question of what "open" really means. From the article (which uses "OS" as an acronym for "Open Source"):
Looking at OS products such as Nexaweb studio, Zimbra and Scalix collaboration, Open-Xchange groupware, Qlusters system management, Zenoss monitoring, Zmanda backup, Xinit storage software, Xen and Mozilla Firefox, the name of the OS game suddenly becomes clear. The important factor in open source is to have a name spelled with a Q, X or Z - which are all essential letters for getting a high score in Scrabble.