Wednesday, January 10, 2007
You can't count on SCO for much, but they usually manage to do something interesting right when I'm in the middle of a cold. So here's what's going on in the SCO universe these days -- and if the post isn't up to my usual standards of wit and wisdom, you can blame the Benadryl. If it is up to my usual standards, there's only me to blame. Well, whatever. Here's the dirt:
- SCO's filed a weird new 8K, actually a nice, cozy, optimistic personal note from Darl to SCO's remaining partner(s) and friend(s). It's not clear to me why they filed this with the SEC, unless the true intended audience is someone other than the alleged addressees. Someone like, oh, I dunno, the SEC, or certain federal judges, or the PIPE fairy. Just as random examples off the top of my head, I mean. Possibly our old friend the "safe harbor" provision makes it safer to do it this way. A thing that would be a baldfaced lie when told directly to a reporter is merely a "forward looking statement" when stated in an 8K filing.
The letter appears to be in response to the "imminent bankruptcy" story from a few days ago. The story got a surprising amount of play, considering it was just Novell saying some mean things about SCO's finances, and nothing material has actually occurred. But it got a lot of play, and SCO apparently felt this couldn't wait until the CC on the 17th. SCO's been maintaining strict radio silence for months now, and there's been nothing but rumor and innuendo about what's going on at the company these days. Maybe they're starting to realize that radio silence in the face of vocal opposition wasn't such a super-genius plan after all. I guess that would be a useful, if sadly belated, lesson, insofar as they're capable of learning from past mistakes.
- As for that Novell story, a few more stories to cover:
- SJVN's take on the story.
- Lamlaw on same.
- The Register, likewise.
- A blog post about the latest excitement.
- The AntiBrokers ask "How much time does SCO have left?". Their graphs suggest about 6 months.
- SJVN's take on the story.
- Don't think I've forgotten the thrilling new Me Inc. whatzit they announced for CES. Here's some fresh Me Inc. PR from India. Which for some reason contains the immortal lines:
MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "maildirect.qlc.co.in" claiming to be www.me-inc.com.
MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "maildirect.qlc.co.in" claiming to be www.shoutpostcard.com
So they're resorting to spam to advertise their spamming service. I guess that's consistent, if nothing else.
- Here's an actual technical article mentioning SCO Unix. It talks about writing Mesa 3D graphics drivers for advanced, custom video cards for a DOD project. Of course this was like 10 years ago, and the piece has a distinct tone of reminiscing about the old days.
- An ex-SCO employee about the mess that is NewSCO.
- Elsewhere on the court front, SCO's asking for a do-over on the recent "final" deadline for expert reports and such.
- Ask Technologies, the folks who brought you the big Me Inc corporate rollout at Musco Foods (you remember that, right?) has gone global. Not with Me Inc., silly, with some sort of SCO-based system clone/backup tool, to help out a cement company in the Netherlands. No mention of Me Inc. in there at all, actually, and I'm sure you're just as shocked as I am about that.
- The Inquirer has a fluffy puff piece about SCO BOD member Ed Iacobucci. Ignorant observers might assume Dayjet is an aviation company, since that's basically what they do, but he sets us straight:
Dayjet, he says, is "an intellectual property company." But there's no way to pirate the software by distributing millions of unauthorised copies. "The whole notion of vertically integrated systems that provide differentiated value in some unique way is really where a lot of the next round of successful start-ups will be."
This doesn't necessarily mean that new frivolous lawsuits are on the horizon, but then again it might.
- He's not the only SCO BOD member who's keeping busy. According to a blurb for a recent seminar at the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum, "Dr." J. Kent Millington "recently returned from teaching at the University of Science and Technology in Heifi, China". I suppose it's possible, in theory, that he could be providing close oversight of SCO management on the shareholders' behalf at that distance, because that's what BOD members are supposed to do. I'm certainly not suggesting that SCO doesn't have its BOD members' full attention, and I certainly wouldn't want to imply that's why they were selected for the job in the first place. Oh, no, I certainly wouldn't want to do that.
- A piece about a patent troll outfit called "Fenner Investments". Seems they think that they own precious IP connected with game console joysticks, so they're suing all the big game console companies. The second link compares them to SCO.
- Patent trolls suffered a blow recently, when the US Supreme Court ruled you still have standing to challenge the validity of a patent even if you'd previously been bullied into paying royalties.
- Want to see some more of SCO's precious super-secret proprietary methods & concepts? You know, stuff they didn't invent and don't use in their own products but want to control anyway. The O'Reilly book "Linux Kernel in a Nutshell" has now been released as a free download under a Creative Commons license. Read it, if you dare.
- Acrobat Reader 7.09 for Linux, Solaris (Sparc), & HP-UX is now available. There's an AIX version of Acrobat Reader too, but it's not clear if it's been updated as well. No word on any ETA for an OpenServer or UnixWare version, so it's best not to hold your breath.
- Learn Linux programming with a series of simple Flash-based tutorials. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I suppose it's high time Flash was useful for something.
Meanwhile, the OpenServer tutorials now come packaged as a set of tastefully inscribed papyrus scrolls, suitable for framing. if you've ever wanted to know what the hieroglyph for "file frivolous lawsuit" looks like, now's your chance. A spokesman described the papyri as similar to the existing cave-painting-based format, with added portability for today's busy on-the-go lifestyle.
- We just met Microsoft's "Home Server" product, now meet the "Sync" OS for cars. This kind of announcement is a real problem, since the cheap shots basically write themselves. Some combination of "Windows" "cars" and "crashing", or possibly "virus". I'm dealing with a virus of my own at the moment, so let's just pretend that I've come up with a clever new cheap shot about this and take it from there. My actual point with this is that the Windows-in-your-car idea is not new, not even close to new. Some years ago they tried something they called AutoPC, which was just a headless form of Windows CE. I don't think it ever came preinstalled in anyone's car, but it briefly showed up in a handful of car stereos, IIRC. The MS way tends to be to keep retrying a poorly-executed idea long after everyone else has written it off, in the hope that they'll eventually come up with something the public won't reject. WinCE itself has gone through a long series of unsatisfying upgrades, and has found a niche as a mobile phone OS. I don't know anyone who actually likes it, but it syncs with Outlook reasonably well, and kinda supports most Office document formats, sorta, which makes it Good Enough. WebTV didn't pan out in the end, but look how long MS stuck with it, long after the public abandoned the thing. And I don't think we've seen the last of Windows-on-your-TV. Some people have predicted the demise of Zune in 2007, but past history suggests we'll see a Zune 2.0 instead. And a 3.0 soon if 2.0 doesn't take off.
In related news, it's reported SCO's working on a competing product that targets "them newfangled horseless carriages", with advanced compass-and-sextant-based navigation, and a media player compatible with most major wax cylinder formats. The purchase price includes a free BuggyWhipSource license, which permits you to use SCO's advanced, proprietary methods of motivating the horses you don't have.
- Still, Zune schadenfreude is fun. Here's a piece calling it Microsoft's new paperweight.
- A CES day 3 report at core77.
- CES is one of two concurrent trade shows in Vegas. Gizmodo has a brief comparison of the two. You'll never look at a Bluetooth headset the same way again.
- Bloggers gone wild about the iPhone. Inexplicably, this blog is not mentioned anywhere. Maybe I didn't go wild enough or something. I'm keeping my blogowildness in check for the time being, until I find out whether the thing runs Emacs or not. Besides, I'm stuck with my Blackberry for the time being. And I'm quite happy with my Blackberry, honestly, but that iPhone sure is purty.
- Another iPhone piece at InternetNews
- Steve Jobs gets in a fun cheap shot about Jim Allchin's recent Mac comments.
- A list of unanswered questions about the iPhone.
Word is that iPhones will be locked down and you can't add your own apps. It's not clear whether they'll actually run existing OSX apps anyway; Steve said it ran OSX, but didn't say what kind of CPU it has. The OS itself is highly portable; it started out as NeXTStep on Motorola 680x0 hardware, then went to x86, then was ported to at least Sparc and PA-RISC, then moved to PowerPC after the Apple buyout, and now it's back on x86 again. Which isn't that unusual, really. Windows NT-based OSes have run on MIPS, Alpha, PowerPC, and Itanium architectures at various times, and I heard once there was a PA-RISC variant that never hit the market, too. Solaris runs on x86 and Sparc, and there was a brief PowerPC foray in the Solaris 2.5.1 days. Besides the POWER architecture, AIX has run on x86 and mainframe systems in the past, and briefly ran on Itanium during the infamous Project Monterey. And Linux runs on just about anything, and if it doesn't, NetBSD probably does. Everybody seems to manage the porting trick except for SCO. They'd rather just sue people.
- Microsoft expresses its frustration that PC vendors are allowed to preinstall whatever they want on a Vista box, because of those awful, awful antitrust regulators. They do have a point, sort of; they call these programs "craplets", although a lot of people call them "shovelware", but whatever the terminology, preinstalled software tends to be lacking in both quality and features -- well, at least that's true if you're on Windows, anyway. But their proposed alternative is to give the convicted predatory monopolist more power. Um, no thanks. If a box comes with awful, buggy shovelware, I can simply delete it, or ignore it.
- An amusing LKML thread wherein Linus talks trash about the O_DIRECT flag for file I/O. And it sure would be nice if Linux doesn't need something like this, because direct I/O is a real pain. OTOH, engineers working on at least one *Nix OS told me that it was essential if you wanted to improve disk I/O performance on their OS, and timing tests I ran bore that out. So I think the jury's still out on this one.
- An argument, apparently, that windows will turn into linux, or vice versa.
- Your retrocomputing fun for the day: Someone wants to update SCO Unix 2.1.3 for the recent daylight savings time changes. By that name I think they may mean either UnixWare 2.1.3 circa 1995, or Xenix 2.1.3 from 1987. If you're in that sort of tight spot, good luck! You'll need it.
- The latest spy scare, this time involving microchipped Canadian money. Supposedly. Yikes, eh.
- For the geek contingent: What's wrong with Make.
- And: Is this the best compiler error ever? I just report, you decide.