Thursday, October 04, 2007
Another busy week in Delaware, and once again I've fallen behind in my chronicling duties, as it's also been another busy week in my humble cubicle. So here are the thrilling highlights of this last week in the ongoing SCO soap opera...
- Most SCO items these days are purely schadenfreude news, but today we got one that matters. Novell just filed a motion in Delaware to lift the automatic stay on SCO v. Novell and let the case go to trial. Which it was just about to do, before being so rudely interrupted by all this BK excitement.
So that's important, but I have to say the Novell trial doesn't seem as critical as it once did. Kimball sorted out the copyright issue, and ruled that Novell could waive SCO's claims against IBM and AutoZone, and the remaining bit left for trial was about exactly how much money SCO owed Novell. The exciting part about that was wondering whether losing the case would force SCO into bankruptcy. Now we know the answer to that was "no"; the mere prospect of possibly losing the case forced SCO into bankruptcy.
What I still really want is a ruling on IBM's CC10, a judgement that Linux doesn't infringe on any Unix SysV "IP", regardless of who that "IP" belongs to. In some ways I'm not sure even that is as critical as it once was. The FUD brigade hasn't given up, of course, but these days they always talk about those notorious Microsoft patent claims, and not so much about SCO anymore.
- In further rearranging-the-deck-chairs news, Bert Young is out as CFO, replaced by a temp with a background in Utah's vibrant health food industry. I imagine that anyone with a tech background would've heard of SCO already and refused the job. I almost feel bad for the guy, in a way. He probably has no idea what kind of swamp he's just waded into.
- Oh, and Sandy Gupta just got a "big" promotion to President of SCO Operations. SCO Operations being SCO's wholly owned legal subsidiary nobody'd ever heard of prior to the BK filing. No word on what his duties are in the new job, or who's replacing him in charge of SCO's remaining engineering work. Possibly they just don't need anyone for that anymore.
But who cares about job duties at a time like this? The important thing is that Sandy got himself a $40k raise. That's the problem with handing out big raises, like the one Ryan Tibbitts just got. Once word gets out, everybody wants a big raise. It's a tough spot to be in if you're bankrupt, not that it's stopping SCO any.
- Here's the biggest schadenfreude item I've seen in quite some time. As a bankrupt company, SCO is required to file monthly reports with the court, explaining what they're doing with their money. We just got the first one of those the other day, and (as you've probably already heard) SCO's supposed to pay $10,500 to a certain Maureen O'Gara. You know, the one who went around shrieking that PJ was a paid mouthpiece for IBM. Granted, we don't actually know what the $10.5k is for. Maybe MOG dabbles in a little VBScript coding in her spare time or something. Or it's an old gambling debt. Or they bought a used car from her, possibly. We don't actually know. But common sense suggests that the money flowing one way and favorable media coverage flowing the other are not wholly unconnected. I bet none of 'em ever figured this would see the light of day, did they? Nelson: Ha, ha!
- Lost in the commotion, SCO got a second delisting notice, this time for their stock being under $1 for a month. They've been there before, and the stock magically (and temporarily) recovered a bit later. It may be more difficult now, though. This is probably not a big deal, they've got 6 months to levitate their shares over a dollar for ten days straight, and they'll probably be delisted for some other cause long before that becomes an issue. Speaking of which, there's a hearing on the earlier delisting letter (the small matter of the BK filing) scheduled for November 8th. So SCO really did manage a significant delay in being delisted. I still have trouble imagining what they'll say at that hearing, though.
- Meanwhile, Darl's been giving a ton of interviews lately, always putting on a brave face and playing tough guy, like it was still 2003 or something. The latest interviews, soon to be major exhibits at a SCO v. Universe court case near you:
Salt Lake Tribune: "SCO chief confident". Apparently they have some super-exciting reorg plans in the works that we'll be hearing about Real Soon Now. No details yet, though. Film at 11.
As other people have already noted, the piece quotes an analyst named Bill Hughes, who has some nice things to say about Me Inc. It just so happens Mr. Hughes was the keynote speaker at SCOForum 2006. Not that a hefty speaker's fee from SCO would color his analysis or anything, certainly not. Heavens no. Perish the thought.
Oh, and DiDio gets a word in too. She argues SCO's mistake was in suing corporate customers. It's not made clear, but the implication seems to be that SCO ought to have gone around suing individual Linux users instead, RIAA-style, even though there's no money in it, certainly no $5 billion instant payday. Seems to me this illustrates the big difference between SCO itself and its longtime media defenders. I've always thought SCO got into the lawsuit business purely for the money. They figured IBM was the biggest bag of money around (other than Microsoft, and they'd already sued M$ back in the Caldera days), so they sued hoping for a big, quick payday. When that didn't pan out, it's been one idiotic backup plan after another. I've lost count now, but we're probably at about plan 9 by now. SCO's media shills, in contrast, tended to be blinkered ideologues (DiDio, Enderle, & Lyons, for example), people who didn't know or care much about SCO itself, and cheered simply because SCO was going to crush the smelly Linux hippies once and for all, clearing the way for our glorious all-Microsoft future, or something like that. Gentle Readers, if you ever see a story where a "successful" tech analyst has gone over the wall and become the successful CEO of a profitable, non-litigious company, let me know, ok? I've never heard of such a thing, and I suspect there's a reason why.
- Oh, the other media story's just as good. From ComputerWorld, we have "SCO's McBride: Rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated" . More of the same, basically. Here's a new bit of classic Darl for ya:
"[There's] the view out there that we're just dead and everybody's claiming victory over SCO," he said. "It's almost like the World Series is over and the only thing that hasn't happened is the victory parade. It's like the Linux faithful are lined up ... for the bad news. They've got their confetti ready to throw and everybody's all excited, and they have their floats. Sam [Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM] has his, Linus [Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel] has his and everybody's pitching in. Groklaw [a Web site that has been monitoring the SCO-IBM case] and their followers are all there. Everybody's saying this thing's all over and now let's have a victory parade."
There's an old Next Generation episode called "Darmok", in which the Enterprise encounters a bizarre alien species which communicates entirely in metaphors. What we're witnessing here is "Darlmok", in which we encounter a bizarre alien creature which communicates entirely in sports metaphors.
That Darl, he sure is a big athletic supporter, that's all I can say.
- Meanwhile, more semi-relevant news over on the Unix Heritage Society mailing list, where someone's ported Version 7 UNIX to the x86 architecture. Version 7, you might recall, is one of the ancient Unixes released under a BSD-like license by Old Caldera. Although since Kimball ruled SCO/Caldera didn't get any copyrights in the APA, it might be Novell's code instead. Unless it's public domain and owned by nobody, which is entirely possible under the copyright laws in effect back in the 70's.
Right now the port is only known to work on 80486 and above. Being the Unix Heritage list, people are naturally wondering if there's any reason it can't run on, say, an old 4.77 MHz 8088 box, since both Coherent and [Old]SCO Xenix once did back in the day.
It's interesting how stories about nearly 30 year old OSes almost always have a SCO angle, and stories about current ones almost never do. Funny, that.
- Oh, and here's a fun post at LinuxWorld: "Can SCO's mobile stuff really justify Chapter 11 instead of Chapter 7?". The author doesn't think so. I think I've said before, either here or elsewhere, that it probably would't be too hard to put together an open-source equivalent to those ultra-delectable Me Inc. apps, if anybody needed such a thing. The post sweetens the pot a bit:
Anyway, someone want to write open-source equivalants of SCO's "Me Inc." mobile apps -- none of which looks like a whole lot of work? I'll pay you for an article about it, and you can release the code under whatever license you want, and include the article as online or bundled docs. And you'll probably get a link from Groklaw, which means that if you have Google ads on your site you'll make more money from mobile development than SCO will.
That sounds promising. I'd be tempted to do it myself if I had any spare cycles, which I don't. But hey, maybe that's just as well, since I don't have Google ads here either. So feel free to volunteer, I guess that's what I'm trying to say here.
- And now we come to perhaps the real reason the SCO charade has to be dragged out a bit longer. From CNet: "Windows Vista SP1 beta lacks 'wow'". So maybe they'll have this all sorted out whenever SP2, or Vista ME, or whatever, finally hits the streets. Unless that fails to impress as well, in which case SCO will have to figure out how to declare double-bankruptcy or something, thus putting the BK proceedings on hold and keeping the nonsense alive for a few years more.