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Microsoft To License SCO's Unix Code 817

Posted by Hemos
from the the-world-just-keeps-getting-wierder dept.
The big news of this morning is that Microsoft will evidently be licensing the Unix code that SCO carries the rights to. Yahoo! is also carrying a brief WSJ report as well. Additionally, give a read to the OSI position paper on the issue. One thing that is worth noting is that Microsoft does do *some* work with Unix - like the interoperability package - but the other side is that Microsoft deals with intellectual property a lot, and licensing is standard way of dealing with IP claims.
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Microsoft To License SCO's Unix Code

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  • A Better Reason (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 1stflight (48795) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:18AM (#5990425)
    It's more likely there's some "borrowed" code in Windows. Anyone else remember the bzip bug that for some odd reason also affected Windows systems. Yeah go figure.
    • Re:A Better Reason (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nano2nd (205661) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:37AM (#5990495) Homepage
      It's very likely given that they owned the code in the 80's. The (very) abridged history goes something like this.. Micro$oft licensed Unix from AT&T and produced Xenix - a Unix-based OS for a variety of platforms including x86.

      Over time, this ended up in the hands of SCO. When you log onto a SCO Openserver box, the following is displayed:

      SCO OpenServer(TM) Release 5
      (C) 1976-1998 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.
      (C) 1980-1994 Microsoft Corporation
      All Rights reserved

      So one school of thought could definitely suggest that M$ are covering their own backs by licensing "borrowed code" they've been using for the last 20 years.

      However, what they have to fear from SCO I can't imagine.
      • Re:A Better Reason (Score:5, Informative)

        by cdrudge (68377) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:58AM (#5990549) Homepage
        As of 5.0.7, the Microsoft copyright has been removed.
  • No big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bwalling (195998) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:19AM (#5990426) Homepage
    SCO released whatever the technology was under the GPL in their Linux release (most likely), which means Linux is likely safe. That is of no use to Microsoft, they need a closed source license. So, they would have to license it from SCO.
    • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <`moc.coyote' `ta' `adoy'> on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:02AM (#5991129) Homepage Journal
      (Suddent the courtroom is silent, an man in a referee costume blows a whistle.)

      Illegal use of history and common knowledge. Five yard penalty against the defense!

  • by Ryan Amos (16972) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:20AM (#5990430)
    One simple reason: Licensing Unix from SCO strengthen's SCO's claim to Linux. Microsoft has pretty much publicly declared war on Linux (in as much as that is possible) and I don't think it's coincidence that this announcement comes days after SCO announced their plans to sue Linux out of existence. By licensing the offending code, Microsoft is essentially backing SCO up here by saying "They have a legitimate claim on this code and should be paid licensing fees." The fees are inconsequential to Microsoft, it's the implications of paying them that they want.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:36AM (#5990493)
      Absolutly. Its little more than a snide effort to point and snear at that "Linux" thing, that steals the Intellectual Property of companies such as SCO. Its not like you have to look far to find evidence of this attitude, either. Right there in the article (This one from CNet [com.com])

      Late Sunday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said acquiring the license from SCO "is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community's healthy exchange of IP through licensing. This helps to ensure IP compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like services for Unix that further Unix interoperability."

      Well gee Brad, why don't you just come right out , call us all theives and demand that Linus be given the electric chair?
    • Or MS could just be contributing to the SCO v. IBM legal defense fund through a veiled cloak.

      I'm not sure what their fiskle health is but it isn't great. This may be MS's way of making sure that the lawsuit happens.

    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:02AM (#5990563)
      One simple reason: Licensing Unix from SCO strengthen's SCO's claim to Linux. Microsoft has pretty much publicly declared war on Linux (in as much as that is possible) and I don't think it's coincidence that this announcement comes days after SCO announced their plans to sue Linux out of existence. By licensing the offending code, Microsoft is essentially backing SCO up here by saying "They have a legitimate claim on this code and should be paid licensing fees." The fees are inconsequential to Microsoft, it's the implications of paying them that they want.

      In my mind, it also lends weight to the theory that Microsoft has been quietly orchestrating this thing from the start. There are just too many signature signs.
    • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:43AM (#5990727) Homepage Journal

      Maybe, but don't be surprised if MS makes a few more of these "Licensing" payments a little further down the road. I think this is probably more about making sure SCO doesn't go out of bidness while they're twisting the knife. In short, Microsoft is funding the lawyers for the lawsuit because it will hurt Microsoft's competition. Remember, SCO *IS* 'financially troubled' so MS no doubt wants to make sure the air conditioning stays on.

      What troubles me is why doesn't Microsoft just buy SCO outright? Unless the lawsuit really is bogus and MS just wants to make sure SCO has the financial backing to cause as many headaches as possible before time runs out, it would seem to me that if they are going to make sure the gun gets used, they might as well own it so they can decide where and when the trigger gets pulled. Have you ever known Bill and Steve to **NOT** want absolute total control of everything?

      • by metamatic (202216) on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:22AM (#5991239) Homepage Journal
        Microsoft only buys stuff that has value to it, and even then it only buys when there's no alternative.

        SOP at Microsoft is:

        1. Approach a small company that has some cool technology.

        2. Get a perpetual license for the technology and source code, in return for a cash injection.

        3. Take the source, incorporate it into Microsoft products, and give those products away as bundled parts of Windows and Office, reducing small company's own products to zero value.

        4. Shed worthless husk of small company.

        Examples are too numerous to list, but VIVO is the classic that fits the model perfectly. Real would have gone the same way if they hadn't secretly worked on their G2 stuff in a separate code stream that wasn't covered by their agreement with Microsoft.
      • by dunstan (97493) <dvavasour.iee@org> on Monday May 19, 2003 @12:56PM (#5992234) Homepage
        How are Microsoft's interests best served? Simple: by making sure this suit goes on as long as possible. So this licensing deal is a good cover for them to put money into SCO to delay the point where SCO goes bust and the lawsuit gets rapidly settled by creditors. By toying with SCO in this way, they get to talk about the "impending lawsuit" for longer.

        The public comments about IP protection are minor asides: the real value to them is having thousands of sales blokes able to keep repeating " ... and the outstanding lawsuit ..." every time they have a customer who might use a Linux solution.

        Remember, this comes about a week after it came out that MS have directed their sales for "not to lose to Linux at any cost". They will play this for all it's worth - it's like an astroturf campaign which fell into their lap.

        Dunstan
  • If anything, this lends even more credibility to the theory that M$ was behind this all along.

    IBM, just go ahead and buy SCO, GPL everything they own, and let's put this silliness behind us.
    • by gol64738 (225528) <GAUSS minus math_god> on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:36AM (#5990492)
      IBM, just go ahead and buy SCO, GPL everything they own, and let's put this silliness behind us.

      as easy as that sounds, it literally makes me sick to think that SCO will be receive one single penny from this.

      SCO, in all of their selfishness, deserves nothing. it is not the fault of the community if SCO's business model did not put more focus into the linux market by establishing a distro and services very much like Redhat has done.

      Before even hearing that Microsoft is now involved, I had a hunch that this would be a perfect thing for MS to push. From the surface, it makes the GPL look shaky and raises doubts for IT departments allow linux onto production systems; what a perfect attack.

      however, having been involved with the linux and open source community for almost 10 years, i know how strong of a voice we have. you can bet the community won't sit idle and let this foolishness actually happen.

      good luck brothers! i fear this battle will be the biggest linux has ever faced, and i know we will stand together and not let corporate greed foil our plans for an open world of computing.
    • by arvindn (542080) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:39AM (#5990502) Homepage Journal
      If anything, this lends even more credibility to the theory that M$ was behind this all along.

      Actually there could never have been much doubt. SCO by itself doesn't have either much reason or power to play with IBM without covert backing from Redmond. Was there any other reason for their going directly after IBM and ignoring RH/SuSE?

      IBM, just go ahead and buy SCO, GPL everything they own, and let's put this silliness behind us.

      That's where we hit a snag. If IBM wants to buy SCO, M$ will offer to do so as well, and who do you think SCO will sell out to?

      • Actually there could never have been much doubt. SCO by itself doesn't have either much reason or power to play with IBM without covert backing from Redmond. Was there any other reason for their going directly after IBM and ignoring RH/SuSE?

        Hey, it's the UNIX Cold War. On one side you have an evil superpower secretly supporting small rogue states (the USSR, Microsoft) fighting against the good guys of freedom (IBM, Vietnam, South Korea, etc.). My personal conspiracy theory is that SCO (aka Caldera) le

  • by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:21AM (#5990435) Homepage Journal
    Brad Hill, Microsoft Attorney: "[This licensing] is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community's healthy exchange of IP through licensing. This helps to ensure IP compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like services for Unix that further Unix interoperability."

    Deweasler output:

    "See? Those Linux guys don't care about IP and we do! The Linux guys are nothing but a bunch of pirates! That's why you shouldn't use Linux!"
    • by dunstan (97493) <dvavasour.iee@org> on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:09AM (#5990584) Homepage
      Parent not funny at all.

      So many deweasler outputs here:

      "My enemy's enemy is my friend"

      "Now, here's a cracking source of FUD we can use - we can't fund this campaign directly, so we'll fund them indirectly and get additional FUD value"

      "Let's send out reps round saying 'did you get a letter from SCO - unlike these Linux pirates Micosoft ensures you're safe from this sort of thing'"

      Obviously MS has no interest in the outcome of the case, just in the FUD value while it's going on. The real danger is that they will help SCO keep the thing alive and unresolved for years. They're good at that. IBM and the OS community need to focus their attentions not on the rights and wrongs of the case - when did being in the right ever help when wrestling with MS - but on ways of getting the case to closure.

      I am suddenly deeply fearful of this lawsuit.

      Dunstan
  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by BigBir3d (454486) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:21AM (#5990437) Journal
    Looks at watch... checks date... not April 1st.

    I hate Monday's.

  • uh-oh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by estes_grover (466087) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:23AM (#5990441)
    Late Sunday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said acquiring the license from SCO "is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community's healthy exchange of IP through licensing. This helps to ensure IP compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like services for Unix that further Unix interoperability."

    read: "We will, we will crush you."
  • Let's keep calm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chthonicdaemon (670385) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:25AM (#5990448) Homepage Journal
    I have been following the whole SCO issue with some interest. This is exactly what closed source strategies cause: a lot of he-said-she-said finger pointing about use of 'our code' and not a lot of progress for mankind.

    On the bright side, even if the whole of Linux gets rejected, someone will come up with 'clean' code (like Atheos). There will always be free (as in speech) software. Unless DRM gets global support.
    • Re:Let's keep calm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zulux (112259) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:13AM (#5990605) Homepage Journal
      On the bright side, even if the whole of Linux gets rejected, someone will come up with 'clean' code (like Atheos).

      For me Free Software is all about the apps - if an OS can run Samba, PostgreSQL, Emacs then I'm happy.

      If Linux *disappeared* tomorrow - I wouldn't care one bit, becasue we have FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and to certain extent Mac OS X.

  • T'is evil (Score:5, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:26AM (#5990450)
    Late Sunday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said acquiring the license from SCO "is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community's healthy exchange of IP through licensing

    Only the minions of Satan work on Sunday
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:26AM (#5990451)
    Does MS still own part of SCO? Several years ago, they
    owned 10-15% of the old SCO (not Caldera).


    Microsoft and SCO go WAY back. In the early 1980's,
    Microsoft developed XENIX which ran on computers like
    the Tandy Model 6 and 6000 (68000 at 8MHz). SCO licensed
    XENIX, developed drivers and sold it initially into the 80286
    market (later 386). If I recall, the cost was $400 or so
    for an unlimited number of users (plus another $400 or so
    for the development suite).


    This is most likely a bid by Microsoft to do the following:

    1. Get "legal" on their UNIX tools
    2. Show good will (yes, we are good).
    3. Take a jab at IBM.

  • History (Score:5, Interesting)

    by norwoodites (226775) <pinskia@gmailBOYSEN.com minus berry> on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:26AM (#5990453) Journal
    Do people already forgot that an UNIX from M$ had happened called XENIX which became SCO OpenServer?
  • Simmer down now (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrianUofR (143023) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:31AM (#5990467)

    This isn't so crazy, so let's calm down. Windows NT is a POSIX-compliant operating system, so I'm not surprised if there's a non-trival amount of Unix-like development going on in Redmond.

  • by sql*kitten (1359) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:31AM (#5990468)
    Microsoft once had a Unix OS product of their own, Xenix. It ran on the old PC/AT processor (Linux needs at least a 386 for the hardware MMU). Way back in the day, Microsoft licensed Unix from AT&T, ported it to a variety of platforms (many of which no longer exist, this was in the 1970s), then sold Xenix to SCO, who ported it to the 386 and sold it as their own product for a while. Back then, while you could license source code from AT&T, the Unix name wasn't included, hence the name Xenix for what was essentially indistinguishable from "official" Unix. I believe a term of the sale was that Microsoft would not compete directly in the Unix space. I guess that condition must have expired. How amusing that Microsoft are now trying to license their own product back!
    • Microsoft also owned a stake in SCO. I beleive the maximum that they ever owned at one time was about 10% or so. Whether they still do I am not sure, but up until the previous version of SCO OpenServer 5.0.6, you would get a Copyright Microsoft message at every reboot.
  • by graveyhead (210996) <`fletch' `at' `fletchtronics.net'> on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:33AM (#5990476)
    Does anyone else find it ironic that one of the founders of SCO is named "Ransom Love"? I'm not sure exactly why, but in the context of the current lawsuit and now this possible merger, I find that extremely funny :P
  • by Sherloqq (577391) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:33AM (#5990477)
    At least all of us Linux zealots can now say:

    "See, Linux is so good, even Microsoft has seen the light and decided to license it!"
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:34AM (#5990481) Homepage Journal
    IBM should get an injunction against the Microsoft-SCO Deal.

    There is no real effective Unix IP for SCO to license [opensource.org].

    Microsoft's SFU and Interix products are in no way depended upon the IP that SCO holds, quite the opposite in fact - Interix/SFU actually owes more to the GNU-project [slashdot.org].

    Microsoft is just effectively bankrolling SCO's lawsuit. The EU Commerce Commission,the USA Federal Trade Commission and DOJ Antitrust should also look into this given Microsoft's recently disclosed anticompetitive predatory practices [iht.com].

    • by g4dget (579145) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:03AM (#5990565)
      Just to be clear, this isn't just an accidental effect, it seems almost certainly planned to me. Microsoft loves the SCO lawsuit because it validates their own unfounded rantings against Linux. But if they just handed money to SCO to go sue IBM and badmouth Linux, it wouldn't be very effective. Saying "we licensed SCO UNIX because we respect intellectual property" lets them both appear respectful of intellectual property and give money to SCO to act as their attack dog.

      However, I don't see anything that anti-trust regulators can do about that.

      What the open source community can try to do is deflect the PR impact back on Microsoft by making it crystal clear what a sleazy deal this really is. Than, rather than appearing law-abiding and respecting IP, Microsoft will come across as underhanded and deceitful.

      Of course, if anybody could leak the memo from inside Microsoft where this deal was discussed, that would help even more... any volunteers?
    • There is no real effective Unix IP for SCO to license
      I don't know which planet YOU are from, but in my book SCO (the f**kedcompany formerly known as Caldera) is an extremely innovative company. I mean, when I installed their version of Caldera Linux back in 1998, they had a game of Tetris that you could play while the installer ran. Tetris! WHILE YOUR OS INSTALLED! Now, if that's not real innovation worthy of IP protection, I don't know what is. So don't you dare come along mister and say that SCO has no real effective Unix IP to license :P
  • by Mr Europe (657225) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:34AM (#5990484)
    The reason M$ has not been willing to show the windows code is that they have borrowed unix-code to the NT. Especially the network and memory handling routines come to mind first.
    Now they licence it and get off the hook.
    If(when) MS buys SCO, how can they harm Linux. Definately MS will try it best to kill Linux. And money is no issue.
    • Nonsense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sql*kitten (1359) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:14AM (#5990607)
      The reason M$ has not been willing to show the windows code is that they have borrowed unix-code to the NT. Especially the network and memory handling routines come to mind first.

      Microsoft used BSD code, but the BSD license permits this. You can try this simple experiment on your own PC, assuming you have Cygwin:

      C:\WINNT\system32> strings FTP.EXE |grep -i copyright
      @(#) Copyright (c) 1983 The Regents of the University of California.


      Now why would Microsoft leave that in there if they were deliberately trying to hide it?
  • by Kefaa (76147) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:38AM (#5990499)
    Microsoft has a history of buying out competition and FUD. They have been watching as Linux constantly forged ahead regardless of the attacks they placed. Linux was not responding as a company would and MS could not deal with 100,000 developers, they needed a company.

    They just got one.

    My prediction: Every MS sales manager will be out in force over the next fews weeks. At every MS supported site they will be sending the same message:
    "I see you have Linux here. Just a word of advice, we are going to be pursuing litigation over some of "our" intellectual rights that have been stolen, and we really want to keep our customers protected. You may want to move to MS products before you get caught up in something ugly.

    For your own protection."


    While we don't like it, we should not be surprised by it. They have a $30 billion check book to keep this tied up in court for years. They won't want a resolution, they want litigation or the threat of it.
    • by Havokmon (89874) <{rick} {at} {havokmon.com}> on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:39AM (#5990705) Homepage Journal
      "I see you have Linux here. Just a word of advice, we are going to be pursuing litigation over some of "our" intellectual rights that have been stolen, and we really want to keep our customers protected. You may want to move to MS products before you get caught up in something ugly.

      For your own protection."

      "Hi. I see you've recently bought Kenmore Microwave model 1610. We here at Schitzo Microsystems are currently engaged in an IP suit agaist Kenmore for their methods of working with time. Kenmore has used our IP methods to determine that '90' was 90 'seconds' and 100 was 1 minute (60 seconds). We suggest you purchase the Schitzo 7000 to ensure you don't get caught up in something ugly."

      IMHO, If you purchase another product because the parent companies are bickering, you need to be flogged.

  • by g4dget (579145) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:39AM (#5990501)
    The OSI position paper is excellent and answers a lot of questions.

    SCO's case is so ludicrous (they don't even own the "UNIX" trademark) that one really does have to wonder what the motives of Microsoft are in paying them anything.
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:41AM (#5990511) Journal
    1) Get frustrated with the FUD Campaign against Linux
    2) License SCO IP and/or buy out beleaguered company
    3) Patent "Description of Linux-like O/S here" (We all know this would probably get by the patent office, greased with lots of greenbacks)
    4) Sue the pants off of anybody who runs linux as "infringers of M$ IP"
    5) Profit...

    See? no "..." step in this one... :)

  • MS goals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by christophe (36267) * on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:43AM (#5990515) Journal
    I think the goal of MS are :
    1) to make the current doubt on Linux future in PHB's heads stronger, and during much more time.
    - Why would MS pay some money to SCO if there was nothing important to license ?
    - It gives substance to the claim.
    - SCO has some fundings (and the trial could last years...)

    2) Have a valid license if IBM buys SCO to suppress the problem, reduce legal costs, and shorten the doubt on Linux's future (some people claim that SCO's goal is to be bought by IBM).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:46AM (#5990522)
    Remember when FreeBSD got sued by AT&T and lost market/mindshare to Linux during that mess?

    Now the situation has reversed.

    I wonder if FreeBSD will regain some of the lost marketshare as a result of this.

    After all, it was rewritten to get rid of intellectual property issues so people who migrated to avoid this particular risk might find it attractive.

  • by tomgarcher (604260) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:51AM (#5990531)
    Microsoft has a long way to go on this before it can kill free software. If it does nip the Linux "threat" in the bud then we move to FreeBSD instead. Repeat until that $30Bn or so has been wasted on Lawyers fees and finally in 2030 we will have a MS free world! In fact I'd advise you all to go to Law School right now as there is going to be plenty of work for you when you finish up!
  • by ctid (449118) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:01AM (#5990558) Homepage
    Microsoft is trying to create publicity for the court case. At this stage, all that SCO has achieved is to raise a few doubts about Linux, specifically in the area of "intellectual property". By licensing SCO's IP, they are drawing attention to the issue, and putting it onto Internet news sites' front pages. It's easy to then segue from there to the discussion of how Linux raises IP questions for those business that use it. From MS's point of view, this is just an extremely cheap negative advertising campaign, without the risk that MS will get criticized for negative advertising.

  • by aes12 (580531) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:08AM (#5990579)

    Maybe Microsoft just wants a peek at the code SCO claims has been stolen by Linux. While I understand that M$ owned all or part of this code in the 1980's, maybe they want to see what has changed since they sold it off.

    If the M$ lawyers think that SCO has a real case, they'll buy the IP and take over the lawsuits that SCO has been grumbling about... They will probably make little, if any, profit from the IP and lawsuits directly, but if they can manage to hurt one or more of the major distros, it could be enough to make some of the major consumers of high-end server OS's think twice about using Linux in the future.

    While I don't claim to know anything about the portions of code that SCO claims have been stolen, and IANAL, perhaps now is the time for the developers/maintainers of the affected packages to reexamine the code, just to be sure. If the code is based on SCO, it is probably rather old, and may need attention anyway. There's no need to admit any liability, but if the code is no longer recognizably 'SCOish' it may be easier to claim that there is no claim...

  • by PaddyM (45763) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:12AM (#5990598) Homepage
    What if SCO took linux code and put it in their unix code and then said, "Look, linux stole our code". How can we prove that they didn't do this?
  • Think about it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by platypus (18156) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:14AM (#5990612) Homepage
    I think this is actually a sign how desperate MS is. Yes, I wrote desperate.
    They are basically stabbing IBM in the back, and that seemingly for no apparent reason, except for the fact they want to hurt IBM's adoption of linux.
    And that is why I am inclined to call it desperate, because it will hurt them more than it helps. SCO will lose this suit big time, and IBM will be see that another proof that MS is unreliable, which will further underline the importance for them to go with linux.
    Basically, MS may have declared an end to a business relation with IBM, where both partners demonstrated a good relationship in the public while kicking each others shinbone under the table.

    They openly kicked IBM here, and they'll have to expect IBM to do the same when they get the chance. Therefore I think MS wouldn't have done that if they had felt themselves in a strong position against IBM/linux.

  • by standards (461431) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:19AM (#5990625)
    OK, it's clear to me (and most analyists) that this SCO/Linux, Sco/Microsoft, SCO/IBM, SCO/Anything is just a sophisticated "marketing" scheme designed to fool everyone in order to capture headlines, money, and marketshare.

    I am convinced that SCO, failing to release any evidence what-so-ever of any claim, is merely attempting to manipulate the market. Microsoft, who admits to be fearful of Linux, is looking for anything to confuse potential Linux customers.

    NONE of this is news. SCO hasn't been able to show if there has been any violations, likely because there are none. Microsoft has not been able to specify which code they were in violation of, if any, or what code they "licensed".

    Therefore, I believe that SCO is just making this all up. I believe that Microsoft is helping them. I believe they are doing this because the executives at SCO want to make money by damaging the reputation of Linux. I believe it is in Microsoft's best interest to help them, because Microsoft's data center business is being bashed by Linux.

    My belief and speculation should be the headlines. I suggest
    "SCO's new illegitimate business model?"

    Because given all the previous "press releases" by SCO, it is is the most likely truth. Maybe I'm wrong... but just lok at the evidence provided so far.
  • License not Buy (Score:5, Informative)

    by nuggz (69912) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:21AM (#5990633) Homepage
    MS is licensing, not buying.

    The headline of both articles clearly says so.
  • by plazman30 (531348) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:34AM (#5990683) Homepage
    SCO sues IBM claiming UNIX source is in Linux. IBM DOES NOT buy outr SCO, despite SCO's plan for them too.

    Microsoft sees this a great way to impact Linux, so in order to legitimize SCO's claim on Linux, they decide they're going to license SCO's technology from them. Though they probably don't need to, and don't have any IP issues, by spending some money, they help legitmize SCO's claims against Linux.

    The probably would have just bought SCO outright, but the would sicked the trust busters on them faster than you can imagine...

    And now SCO is threatening to pull IBM's UNIX license. Well both IBM and HP have announced that they plan to move to Linux as their primary OS for their midrange systems, instead of AIX and HP/UX.

    I don't want to say UNIX is dying here, cause it's not, but UNIX is definitelyu being looked at less and less by it's 2 biggest licensees. SCO sees this and doesn't like it. After all, they abandoned their Linux business in favor of UNIX, and now they're learning a lot of people have abandoned their UNIX business in favor of Linux.

    I think HP, IBM, RedHat and all those UnitedLInux companies should buy SCO and release all that UNIX source code under the GPL.

    But I don't think they should buy SCO till AFTER they lose in court. Don't give SCO what they want, which is a buyout.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:36AM (#5990692)
    First, Microsoft views Linux as a HUGE threat and would benefit tremendously if SCO wins.

    Second, Microsoft's polititical contributions have enabled it to get ridiculously biased outcomes in US courts. i.e. Anti-trust judgement "forcing" MS to give free copies of its software to schools, etc. which is ironic since giving away software for free was one of the problems.

    Third, you can expect Microsoft to let politicians know what they prefer as the outcome in the SCO lawsuit while they hand out big fat checks.

    Note the difference in the amount of political contributions from Microsoft before and after their anti-trust lawsuit. Expect the ROI from this year's contributions to benefit Microsoft exactly as it has in the past.

    In 1996 Microsoft contributed:
    $251,474 total
    $136,424 democrats
    $110,000 republicans

    In 2000 Microsoft contributed:
    $4,616,103 total
    $2,134,241 democrats
    $2,460,543 republicans ...

    For more recent campaign contribution info, see:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.asp? ID=D00 0000115&Name=Microsoft+Corp

    NOTE: Microsoft is simply playing by the rules and doing what is in the best interest of their shareholders. If you don't like it, help change the rules regarding campaign finance by taking ACTION.
  • by suds (6610) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:42AM (#5990719) Homepage
    I now see the reason why RMS has always insisted on keeping Free Software *free* (as in spirit) and never let any corporate interests to hijack the development of Free Software. The whole *open source* thing brought greedy corporations into play and we are now seeing the results!!

    Where is RMS when we need him!?
  • MS code in Solaris (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bazman (4849) on Monday May 19, 2003 @09:02AM (#5990789) Journal
    This is some of /usr/bin/clear on a Solaris 2.8 machine:
    #!/usr/bin/sh
    # Copyright (c) 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 AT&T
    # All Rights Reserved

    # THIS IS UNPUBLISHED PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE OF AT&T
    # The copyright notice above does not evidence any
    # actual or intended publication of such source code.

    #ident "@(#)clear.sh 1.8 96/10/14 SMI" /* SVr4.0 1.3 */
    # Copyright (c) 1987, 1988 Microsoft Corporation
    # All Rights Reserved

    # This Module contains Proprietary Information of Microsoft
    # Corporation and should be treated as Confidential.
    Strangely enough, /usr/bin/clear is essentially a one-line script using 'tput', and I cant see any other 'Microsoft' string in anything in /usr/bin.

    Baz

  • by NullProg (70833) on Monday May 19, 2003 @09:32AM (#5990945) Homepage Journal
    This isn't a big revelation. Microsoft previously had thier own unix distribution. They sold it SCO.

    http://www.sourcemagazine.com/articles/viewer.as p? a=695

    Enjoy,
  • by erat (2665) on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:00AM (#5991114)
    If I had to guess, I'd say most of the conspiracy theories that are posted here are nothing more than that: conspiracy theories.

    Let's think a bit about Caldera's history and how it relates to Microsoft. When Caldera bought DR-DOS from Novell, it also bought an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft. This lawsuit ended with Microsoft settling for an undisclosed amount of money. Unless I'm mistaken, any and all dealings with any IP that Caldera ever owned (alleged or otherwise) would be high on Microsoft's do-not-touch list. MS has lots of money, but I'm sure they'd prefer to keep it rather than give it out in more settlements.

    Fast forward to a few years back when Caldera purchased selected assets from SCO (engineers, IP, sales channel, etc.). Now, in addition to DOS stuff, Microsoft has to be careful about UNIX stuff. This comes at a time when Microsoft is desperately trying to make Windows more appealing to UNIX folks with their UNIX interoperability toolkit (as well as UNIX-ish internals to their OSes for all I know).

    IBM is a big fish, but it's only one big fish out of a handful of other big fish. Microsoft -- who didn't fare well the last time they were sued by Caldera -- has probably weighed the benefits of of purchasing a UNIX IP license against the cost of a potential lawsuit and decided to get a license.

    That said, there is one conspiracy theory that I've read here that I think may hold some water: by purchasing an IP license from SCO, Microsoft may think they're solidifying SCO's claims against Linux. I doubt that this would be more important to them than avoiding another lawsuit, but I'm sure the potential "benefits" of their actions have crossed their minds.
  • by GodHand (114203) on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:03AM (#5991137)
    This is so obvious:

    SCO is taking shots at linux on its own (and in part Microsoft's) behalf. I would bet that SCO has been working a deal with Microsoft to get some code licensed that SCO has. Suddenly SCO realizes that some of the code microsoft wants is already out. Seeing this might cause a problem with how "edible" they look to microsoft they start hammering away at whoever they can (IBM) for infringement on those same rights previously.

    So in part, I think its that they wanted to look better for Microsoft, but I don't think it was a ploy to have someone buy them out necessarily.

    I'd assume that in the end this will be a gestapo tactic like someone mentioned earlier and also a strategy to kill off linux as competition.
  • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:53AM (#5991407) Journal
    Microsoft is going to dig through the Unix code, and the Linux code side by side. They will find interoperability shortfalls to take advantage of, or failing that, will create them by extending APIs, or using undefined fields in APIs to their advantage (e.g. Java et al). If the majority of desktop systems can't interoperate with Linux, then their thinking is, "Linux is dead in the mainstream".

    Look for Microsoft to try to manipulate Posix standards toward proprietary extensions. Also look at them to support SCO in the patent infringement case.

    Urge your friends to boycott Microsoft products, buy systems without the 'Microsoft Tax' (without an OS - easiest way to do this is build a machine from parts), and reload Microsoft machines with Linux (my game box is going to be loaded with Linux exclusively in the next few days - directX is dead - long live OpenGL!)

    More importantly, support Linux and open source products/projects. Lets get the breadth and depth of computer games now available on Windows for Linux by buying/supporting Linux games/developers, and following through on open source game development. Desktop productivity tools are there, now lets get the other arenas up to speed as well.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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