Thursday, July 26, 2007
Ok, lemme see if I can get caught up on recent SCO event(s) here. Shouldn't be too hard, I expect.
- As I'm sure you've heard already, there's a new stipulated pretrial schedule in the IBM case. It doesn't explicitly say so, but it appears to push the first possible trial date out into 2008. Who ever expected this stupid case could drag on so long? Not I, and I like to think of myself as a fairly cynical person.
At least it means we should start seeing new documents in the case around October or so. Unless things get delayed further.
- New press release out today. They've found customer #2 for that Mobile Order app they sorta-announced through a previous press release. This time it's an Italian food distributor that claims to be America's leading olive importer. The Sopranos is off the air, so making knee-jerk mafia jokes every time one sees an Italian name is back to being un-PC again. But when someone does business with SCO, even indirectly... Well, you just have to wonder, a little. Or at least I do.
- There was another press release a couple of days ago. Seems now they're trying to sneak onboard the iPhone bandwagon. Seriously.
Since there is as yet no such thing as a third-party app on an iPhone, this has to be something other than what they're implying it is. Most likely what's going on is that Genisys has slapped a web UI on top of their crufty old green-screen vertical market apps, and it just so happens that this web UI works OK in the iPhone's version of Safari.
What really gets me is that the iPhone runs OS X, which is a BSD+Mach variant under the hood. Darl & Co. used to occasionally threaten to go after BSD users, which I think was a veiled (and failed) attempt to extract SCOSource money from Apple. Unless... the effort didn't fail, and the reason iPhones are so expensive is that you do get a SCOSource license when you buy one. That's a scary thought. Can't be true though; we'd have seen a SCO press release about it if it was, NDA or no NDA.
- I think I know why we've seen a flood (relatively speaking) of PR coming out of SCO lately. They have to get 'em out there while there's still a media organ that takes them seriously. And they'd better hurry, because the Weekly World News is going under! I gather that Elvis, Bat Boy, and the aliens all finally got fed up with the unwanted attention and decided to play a little hardball.
- Here's a ">positive take on the Genisys PR, from someone who's all starry-eyed about the iPhone, and knows squat about SCO.
- Here's a funny anti-iPhone rant.
- And here's a more serious negative review of the iPhone, from someone who used one for a month.
- SCO gets a quick mention over at InfoWorld. Of course it's an ancient-history mention, a funny nightmare story involving the corporate Xenix server and a clueless Unix n00b.
- Another MS-backed standardization effort, this time for the HD Photo file format they introduced in Vista. No word about patent encumbrances, licensing issues, whether you can use the format on an OS besides Vista, etc., since when MS uses the word "standard" it often means they've found a few partners to go along with their latest monopoly.
One of the people quoted is the standards body rep from Hasselblad. I'm not an expert on $30,000 cameras, but something tells me that one typically shoots in RAW format with one of these bad boys, and a new compressed file format isn't going to attract a lot of interest. Even if MS insists it's the greatest thing since Windows ME. Besides, anyone who will spend that much on a camera probably hooks it up to a shiny new 8-core Mac Pro anyway.
- Linux kernel code may not be poetry, exactly, but sometimes the comments are.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I've been at OSCON 2007 the last couple of days, so I haven't put together the usual long list of news items. My full(ish) OSCON report is over on that other blog, if you're interested. It's not really the most sober, comprehensive, or journalistic piece you'll read about the event, but hey. Nobody paid me to write it, and you aren't paying to read it. If you just want to look at the pictures, they're on Flickr here.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
- SCO loses yet another customer, understandably. Quote:
By 2001, however, Spruce was ready for a change. Its software had been rewritten and updated as much as possible. The software’s “bones were old,” says Robert Fitzpatrick, President, Spruce Computer Systems, and updating the software again would not have been its best long-term solution. Given the relative paucity of SCO UNIX software, Spruce had to create much of the ancillary functionality for its solution itself, rather than acquiring plug-and-play applications that could complement the core functionality provided by Spruce. Perhaps because customers were also feeling the “old bones” of their SCO UNIX environments, they’d long been migrating those environments—to the Microsoft® Windows® operating system.
Seems that even .NET was better, and more open, than sticking with SCO. Ouch! Oh, and they migrated with the help of DTR Business Systems, a company that's allegedly still a SCO Partner. With friends like these...
I'd never be able to keep track of these things without you Astute Readers out there. Thanks again^6. You know who you are.
- SCO has a new partner in India, some outfit called "iBilt". That poor Rustaghi chump still seems to think he works for a real company, not just a publicly traded lawsuit. I almost feel for the guy, in a way. SCO must've realized that overseas bagholders are even cheaper than domestic ones.
As a former British colony, it seems India's PHBs are not immune to the siren song of the golf course, a.k.a., the Scottish Disease. I realize that sounds ethnically insensitive, but I don't know how to explain this deal any other way. At least in this country it would've involved golf. And illegal Cuban cigars. And possibly a lost weekend in Vegas, if the terms were especially unfavorable. The details may vary by time and culture, but every PHB has his price, I'm afraid.
More at EFYTimes.
- The photo is of a tour bus I ran across along trendy E. Burnside St. here in Portland. Because I'm not a hip-n-trendy twentysomething anymore, I've never heard of the band that sold its soul to the Beast of Redmond. You guys sold out to The Man. I hope you're happy. I hope every single pathetic Zune buyer out there (yes, both of them) buys a song of yours, tries to "squirt" it to their buddies, and runs afoul of the dire DRM consequences. Serves 'em right, the bastards.
- From c.u.s.m, a thread about hidden files in / on OSR 5.0.7. Hidden man pages in the root directory?! Feh!!!
- Via /.: Another court victory for GPLv2 in Germany.
- The president of Acer is disappointed with Vista, at least if the third-hand translations are accurate.
- A bit about the HP-Ubuntu tie-up. I'm afraid I've failed y'all here; I'll be at OSCON the next couple of days, and reporting on it over at that other blog, but I somehow forgot to register for Ubuntu Live. If that's conclusive evidence I'm a real person and not a shadowy cabal of IBM lawyers, so be it.
- From comp.unix.xenix.sco, a guy who needs help with his Xenix 2.3.4 system. I'm usually inclined to mock people who use old SCO OSes, but he uses the magic word "retro-computing", so I have to sympathize. I'm afraid to tell the guy he probably already owes Darl a few billion SCOSource dollars for daring to encroach upon the realm of SCO IP, but if you happen to know anything about Xenix, give a brother a hand, OK?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
- Still nothing from the courts. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But SCO's stock has been climbing, in the absence of any news whatsoever. The stock manipulation theory is always a popular one, and I'm often inclined to believe it myself. But it's also reasonable to imagine SCO's attracting real, live speculators, and the recent price jumps weren't just engineered into existence. If that's true, the obvious question is "Why now?". I can think of a few reasons. First, IBM reported some great numbers last week, and people who haven't been paying attention might see a cash-rich IBM as a positive for SCO (bigger settlement/winnings, etc.). Some people really might think that, the poor saps. We're probably also seeing people effectively betting on the Novell case, buying tickets for the "Linux lottery" Darl & friends used to go on about. Sure, the odds are terrible, but apparently some clown out there thinks the ticket price is about right. There's one born every minute, you know, and if there's one thing the SCO saga has no shortage of, it's minutes.
- Matt Asay interviews Iain Gray, Red Hat's VP of Global Support Services at Red Hat. It's mentioned in passing that Mr. Gray once worked at SCO, or "SCO Group (back when it was a Unix company, not a law firm)" as the article puts it. This is one of the biggest mentions of SCO in the media over the last week, believe it or not.
- Here's another mention in passing, this time in a comment on Slashdot. When I'm linking to individual comments on Slashdot, you know it's a slow news week. The article's about dark energy and extra dimensions, actually, so the mention of SCO is just a cheap shot, not a real cameo appearance. And it's really not that clever of a cheap shot, even. But still, it's a mention of SCO, paired with M$ this time.
- Boies's son David III loses a big case.
- >Lookee here, another BS&F guy has written a book.
- InformationWeek seems to have widespread non-grokkage of GPLv3, not just the DeJean guy we've heard about already. C'mon, guys, it's not that complicated. Sheesh. It's almost as if you didn't want to understand it. But surely that can't be the case, can it?
- A piece on the latest, shiniest new Blackberry. No mention of any bundled Me Inc. apps. Ok, that was a cheap shot, and not a very clever one, but I'm trying to stay on topic, and it isn't easy in the absence of news. And seriously, Me Inc. doesn't have a future unless SCO can trick a mobile carrier or two into bundling it. As I've said before, it's pretty rare for mobile phone users to install third party apps after getting a phone, so unless you can get your app preinstalled, you aren't going to be making any money. I don't know exactly how these deals pencil out, but my guess is that the mobile app vendor typically pays the carrier in order to get preinstalled, not the other way around, and SCO just doesn't have that kind of money.
- While we're on dubious advances in telephony, here are two articles on Ooma, the "peer to peer" phone gadget announced last week. The thing seems oddly archaic, a throwback to the late dot-com era when "P2P" was a hot content-free buzzword.
It's a heck of a lot of money to pay, just to maybe avoid some long distance phone charges now and then, if you're lucky. I await the inevitable article where someone figures out how to wipe the thing, put Linux on it, and use it as a firewall or a DNS appliance or something menial like that, purely for the "because it's there" points.
- Meanwhile, here's Gizmodo on ultra-tiny Linux boxen. I think I've covered some of these individually before, but hey. It's a slow news week, and I need material.
- Cringely: "Is Vista an Orphan?"
- We've gotten our hopes up before, but maybe this time patent reform could finally happen Although I ought to point out that Rep. Howard Berman, the bill's sponsor, is a big friend of the RIAA & MPAA in the copyright arena. So we oughtn't get our hopes up too high just yet.
- Speaking of the RIAA, they've got some attorney's fees to pay. It's a drop in the bucket so far as they're concerned, but it seems like a step in the right direction. Too many of these, though, and they'll just raise CD prices a bit more to compensate, and then complain when sales decline a bit further, and sue even more people. Always a cynic, I am.
- More news from last week: Xandros bought Scalix, a Linux-based competitor to M$ Exchange. Combine this with the recent M$-Xandros deal, and it's serious tin foil hat time.
- Apropos of nothing, here are Utah's 2007 regulations on amphibians & reptiles. 'P' means "Prohibited", "C" is "Controlled" and "N" is "Noncontrolled", if you're wondering. The notorious, toxic (and allegedly hallucinogenic) Cane Toad is prohibited statewide, in case anyone's wondering.
Monday, July 16, 2007
- We'll get to the photo in a moment, but first we have some actual court-related news for once. Three new docs in the IBM case to be precise. IBM-1072 is IBM asking for a 30-ish day extension of of those alleged "pretrial deadlines" they agreed on back in May. IBM-1073 is SCO opposing the motion, and IBM-1074 is Kimball quickly granting IBM's motion.
The funny part about this episode, besides the fact that it's another minor defeat for SCO, is that IBM's proposed schedule conflicts with the Novell trial. They say they'll be happy to stipulate a further extension if needed, it's just that SCO hasn't told them when they expect the Novell trial might be over. SCO naturally couldn't take IBM's "yes" for an answer, and objected to the motion, while insisting they too would be delighted to stipulate to a further extension. They didn't make a concrete counterproposal about the dates though. So Kimball went ahead and granted IBM's motion, and unless there's a further stipulation SCO will soon be fighting on two fronts at once.
- It looks like Biff finally got himself banned from the Y! SCOX board. The offending post has been deleted, but it's been saved for posterity here in all its vileness and malice. The guy had no redeeming qualities at all. Good riddance.
...or is he really gone? This post by a brand-new nym has a certain bifflike style to it. Although it also might be a second-rate Biff impostor, and if so, how would we be able to tell?
- Oh, and about the photo: It's a page from a peculiar little book called "A Day With Biff". It looks like a children's book about the adventures of a small black dog named Biff, but in fact it's meant as a showcase for clip art by a pair of Bay Area graphic designers. There's a Mac-formatted floppy in the back full of EPS versions of various illustrations in the book, along with a restrictive EULA, appropriately enough. So if you want to see any of the illustrations for yourself, you'll need to check your local library / used book shop, or Amazon if neither of them have it. In case you're really that interested, I mean.
- Panglozz on an OOXML standards "committee" being packed with M$ pawns.
- A new interview with PJ, in which she insists she isn't a superhero. Which, of course, is exactly what they all say when asked about it directly. C'mon, everybody knows that.
- I forgot to post this last time, and GL's already covered it now, but here's that clueless anti-GPL fud piece by that David DeJean guy. If you read it when it first came out, you might want to take another look. He's given the pig's lipstick a touch up, backpedalling about what he said about SCO earlier, while leaving his GPL 2 vs. 3 drivel intact. The comments section is rather... entertaining, as you might expect.
I swear, I think the less scrupulous parts of the trade press (i.e. all of them) have figured out that nothing drives page views like an ignorant doofus columnist spouting off about issues he doesn't have a clue about. Dvorak perfected that way back in the dead-tree days, and it works even better on the interwebs. Sure, what DeJean generated was a tidal wave of geeks showing up to taunt the guy, but that still meant a big pile of banner ad revenue.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
- There's a pretrial schedule for the Novell case now, so events should finally start ramping up in the near future. If the schedule is to be believed, at any rate. There's a bit more about the schedule in a recent GL article.
- We got a new SCO press release yesterday. It looks like another boring Me Inc. "customer win" tale, but hidden cleverly within it we learn about a brand new Me Inc. app SCO hasn't mentioned before, something called "Mobile Order". (SCO's marketing guy(s) must've worked overtime on that name.) The fine print indicates "Mobile Order" is a custom-built app requiring
Atlas Paper makes paper bags, btw. Insert clever "bagholder" joke here.
- Enderle gets quoted in an article about rising concert ticket prices. Wearing his ill-fitting music industry guru hat, bemoans how kids these days aren't loyal to favorite bands anymore, not like it was back in his day when everyone picked a band and followed it to the bitter end. As a grumpy ol' boomer, he might be pleased to know that not one but two competing versions of Jefferson Airplane/Starship are still touring and putting out new material. Wikipedia says one of them was on the Today show a couple of weeks ago. I suppose that's a step up from doing the county fair circuit, which is where Night Ranger is these days, touring in support of their latest (2007) album. They'll be at the Umatilla County Fair out in Hermiston OR (pop. 15,030) on August 10th. Tickets may still be available.
Remember, kids, be very, verrrrry careful when you pick a favorite band, because then you're stuck with 'em forever, at least if Enderle has any say in it.
- The trademark troll Leo Stoller gets a smackdown, delivered with wit and style. Meanwhile we're still waiting for any word from Utah. Maybe Kimball's trying to deliver something like the Stoller ruling and came down with a bad case of writer's block or something. It makes as much sense as all the other theories do.
- Sony sues its own rootkit vendor. I've seen this movie before. The plan goes awry, and then the perps turn on each other. Sort of like Reservoir Dogs.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Ok, it's been a week. So sue me. It's not like the judges ruled on anything, or any new filings showed up on Edgar. Heck, I even checked the USPTO site this morning to see if either SCO or Ralphie's CP80/ThinkAtomic cabal have anything new over there. No dice.
- ServerWatch on the "Ghosts of Xenix Past", about M$ code that lived on inside SCO OSes long after Xenix was put out to pasture. I actually remember reading about this years ago, but people are acting like it's a big new revelation. No, it isn't new, and no, I don't think it explains the murky M$-(Old)SCO relationship. M$ wanted to impede Linux, and needed a proxy to do it. NewSCO needed money, and M$ offered them some. I don't think it's any more complex than that.
- SCO gets a rare mention as a possible threat to open source, a spin we rarely see anymore. This pops up in a consultant report that babbles on about technology in local government in the UK. The piece mentions the Birmingham library situation as a Linux "win", not mentioning how they bungled it. So someone's obviously not on the ball here. Apparently they're trying to be successful, highly compensated global consultants without reading SNR regularly. Beats me why they think that'll work out ok. With the posting traffic here of late it's not like it'd be that hard to keep up or anything. Oh, well....
- If you check Google News for "SCO", you'll occasionally see old stories pop up as if they were new. This often seems to happen if someone's just done a site redesign, for whatever reason. In any case, today's example was this 2005 NetworkWorld story, which discusses the rapid decline of SCO. And that was two years ago, and they're still declining. Asymptotically, it seems.
- If Darl's starting to think this may be a good time to change careers, I've got just the thing for him, and he won't even need to relocate. Seems that Lindon, UT needs a new mayor, as the current guy is stepping down and leaving the country. He'd better hurry, though; the deadline is tomorrow, July 11th. But if he's learned anything at SCO, it's the importance of always filing papers at the absolute last moment. Or even later than that, if at all possible.
- While I'm still in the mood to give useful advice to SCO folk, which is a rare thing, I'd like to offer them some helpful hardware hints. In the last few years they've gone on about cutting preinstall deals with white-box vendors nobody's ever heard of. Hello!? Nobody's ever heard of those guys because their puny white boxes are boring. If you want to move any product, you guys need to make like Apple and come up with hardware that reflects the OS within. And with a product like OpenServer, the "steampunk" look would be quite appropriate. The Steampunk Workshop offers several promising -- and functional -- designs, including a brass and marble flat panel monitor, and a keyboard with manual typewriter keys, among other delights. And check out this case mod gallery on Flickr, for a machine the creator dubs the "Telecalculograph". Look at it. It practically demands a SCO operating system. This is your big chance, guys. Trust me on this.
- A few local bloggers here in Portland posting about the iPhone: Jeff the Great (no, not that Jeff), ~stevenf, i, viddy, and the local paper's Silicon Forest blog
- It's almost old news now, but here's Slashdot on the MPAA spyware scandal.
- I went out and bought a Roomba over the weekend, and -- I say this at the risk of losing nerd points -- so far it remains unmodded. Right now we're still in the phase of watching it scoot around the rug, going "awwwww, it's so cuuuuuute!". Surprisingly there's only one real hit on the entire net for "LOLROOMBA" right now, and it just comes up as "Service Unavailable" at the moment.
- A bit of a setback for Steorn, the very latest perpetual motion machine that, uh, doesn't work. Actually can't work would be a better way to put it. They aren't based in Utah (surprisingly), but they do have an entertaining history of making ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims, and they've stuck around for far longer than anyone reasonably imagined they might. Sound familiar?
If you get a kick out of this sort of thing, or even if you don't, you might enjoy The Museum of Unworkable Devices. Steorn isn't there yet, but it's only a matter of time.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Still nothin' from the Utah Courts, of course. It's at the point where I'm getting concerned that the PSJ backlog will hold up the Novell trial date. September 17th is just about 10 weeks away, and both sides are going to want some prep time for the case once PSJ decisions are handed down, whenever that ends up being.
I suppose we could still see filings today, but I wouldn't bet on it.
In the meantime:
I suppose we could still see filings today, but I wouldn't bet on it.
In the meantime:
- Just one recent mention of SCO to report this time around. SCO makes yet another cameo as the canonical bunch of litigious bastards, in a recent Slashdot story about the RIAA.
- It's a shame SCO weaseled its way off delisting watch, but here's a small bit of consolation. The French company SCOR, which traded under the ticker symbol "SCO" (leading to much confusion over the years) is undergoing an eye-popping 10x reverse split, while also changing to the ticker symbol "SCR". Today's the day the old "SCO" shares were officially delisted from the Paris stock exchange. It's fun to imagine that their low stock price and ticker symbol change are due to confusion with "our" SCO, but that's probably giving Darl & Co. far too much credit.
- Although I'm sure Boies is spending most of his waking hours right now feverishly prepping for the Novell trial of the century (ok, maybe the centicentury, or the nanocentury at the very least), he's still managing to find a few spare moments to party with Kennedys and hedge fund billionaires. It sounds like nobody put an arm through a Picasso this time around, so that's something, I guess.
- EETimes has a detailed piece about the innards of an iPhone. I just played with an iPhone today, down at my friendly neighborhood Apple store. They're lucky they designed the things to be drool-proof. I used to think my Blackberry was a cool gadget, and all of a sudden it just seems impossibly old and clunky. I can only imagine what those poor saps with Windows Mobile phones must think.
- Naturally people are already tinkering with the thing. Some early results here and here.
When I was playing with that iPhone, I pointed the browser right here at SNR to see how it looked. It looked fine, if a bit on the small side. It identifies itself as Mac OS X, with the browser string Safari 2.0
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3. The screen resolution is reported as 320 x 396, 32-bit color. FWIW.
- And the weird open source metaphor of the day, which doesn't concern computers at all. No, it's about junk food and obesity:
The FDA doesn't have to give you permission to not enter the drive-through. The U.S. Patent Office doesn't have to put its seal on your decision not to supersize. It's here, it's free, it's open-source. It's dietary Linux. It doesn't discriminate by race, gender, religion, or income.
And it couldn't be simpler:
All you have to do is eat something besides junk food.
Dietary Linux, eh? Which reminds me, McDonalds is still a SCO customer, right? So every time you avoid buying a Happy Meal, you owe Ronald McDonald another $699, I guess. And come to think of it, can it really be a coincidence that the names "Ronald McDonald" and "Darl McBride" are so similar? They even possess the same impeccable fashion sense. And as far as credibility in the tech industry goes, it's a dead heat between the two guys. It can't be pure coincidence. It just can't, I tell you.