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Unix Operating Systems Software

Microsoft Not Underwriting SCO's Legal Fees? 239

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-pretty-funny dept.
An anonymous reader wrote in to say "Linux Business Week carries this morning a claim that Microsoft only bought a Unix license from SCO Group because there's been a prior development project underway at Redmond that warranted it. "The license was not seen as a way to underwrite SCO's legal fees," says a source within the company. "The idea of getting a SCO license had been under consideration prior to the IBM lawsuit." "
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Microsoft Not Underwriting SCO's Legal Fees?

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  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkArcher (676201) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:14AM (#6046520) Journal
    There is no way of either truly confirming or denying this. Microsoft won't, i am prepared to bet, actually say what they are working on, and Very few people trust M$ to be telling the truth. End discussion, really.
    • right on. (Score:3, Funny)

      by RMH101 (636144)
      shall we end this discussion now?
    • Re:So? (Score:5, Funny)

      by bob_jordan (39836) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @08:13AM (#6046906)
      I still find it odd that Microsoft licensed SCO code on May 19th.

      http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030519/tech_microsoft_un ix _1.html

      And on May 20th ...

      http://table.finance.yahoo.com/k?s=scox&g=d ... SCOs stock closed at 6.66

      Coincidence?

      Bob.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      Lets assume the story is true and the deal has nothing to do with the lawsuit. According to the author the deal was "initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we've been saying about IP".

      Microsoft is spending $10 to $20 million dollars on this deal. The primary motivation was to make a statement. Actually having a use for the deal was a secondary consideration.

      That's seriously f*cked up.

      -
  • by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) * <cydeweys@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:15AM (#6046530) Homepage Journal
    Maybe SCO won't engage in ultra-frivolous lawsuits now since they can't get funding for them? This is good for Linux: Microsoft is rejecting a part that would lead them directly against Linux. Kind of makes you wonder what Microsoft is thinking, though. Did they drop the ball on this one? Or are they trying to survive longer by not appearing to be a monopoly (which they would if they used legal means against Linux)?
  • by subreality (157447) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:15AM (#6046533)
    Always remember these two words:

    "Plausible Deniability"

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:15AM (#6046538) Homepage Journal
    <voice style="Dr. Evil"> Riiiiiiiiiight </voice>
  • Exactly. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:16AM (#6046542)
    "The idea of getting a SCO license had been under consideration prior to the IBM lawsuit."

    Exactly. They thought of it (the lawsuit), then implemented it.
  • And? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    That doesn't disprove the allegations. It could only mean they were aware of what SCO was going to do before they did it.
  • Wait and see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jpmahala (181937) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:19AM (#6046562)
    The fact that the license would make it easier to enhance future versions of Services for Unix was a deciding factor.

    I guess we'll have to wait and see if Services for Unix remains a half-assed endeavour...

    • Re:Wait and see (Score:5, Insightful)

      by golgotha007 (62687) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:34AM (#6046644)
      Microsoft has been distributing their Services for Unix software for some time now. If you will remember, the entire purpose they attended LinuxWorld last year was to show this product and even hand out free CD's to try.

      Basically, Services for Unix runs on Windows and is designed to replace UNIX servers by offering some similiar services such has NFS and NIS. The idea here is for companies to gracefully migrate their servers away from UNIX and lock them into a MS products.

      I just don't understand why Microsoft didn't purchase this license years ago when the Services for UNIX was first started.
      • Basically, Services for Unix runs on Windows and is designed to replace UNIX servers by offering some similiar services such has NFS and NIS. The idea here is for companies to gracefully migrate their servers away from UNIX and lock them into a MS products.

        I just don't understand why Microsoft didn't purchase this license years ago when the Services for UNIX was first started.

        The funny part is that Services for Unix is mostly GNU software, gcc among other things.
        "Supporting our IP position"? Yeah, rig

      • Re:Wait and see (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:01AM (#6047328) Homepage Journal
        I just don't understand why Microsoft didn't purchase this license years ago when the Services for UNIX was first started.

        It makes sense to me.

        For the purposes of their "Services for UNIX" effort, there is no need for a license whatsoever. They could just install linux and *BSD on a flock of development machines, with no license required. Software that runs on all these is going to be highly POSIX compliant, so porting it to other unix-like systems should be easy. Buying a few Solaris, HP-UX, OSX, AIX, etc. unix test machines would suffice for the rest of the market. They could even buy a few Caldera/SCO boxes to add to the test lab.

        Unless they really want to muck around in the innards of SCO's commercial offerings, there's no need of a license at all. The only reason to do this is to supply non-portable apps that run only on SCO.

        So what remains is the only reasonable explanation for their licensing SCO's stuff: They want to give SCO a big chunk of money for some purpose other than developing software for the unix market. One guess what this reason might be ...

      • I just don't understand why Microsoft didn't purchase this license years ago when the Services for UNIX was first started.

        You said it yourself, they only thought of the lawsuit a year ago. Their desire to kill Unix is as old as NT and their half assed "Unix Services". Real M$ innovation takes time and PR planning. If they had thought of this back in the day they were making NT, they would have bought Unix Software Labs and carried out the anti-BSD suit themselves. Oh wait, that was a failure. Do you

  • Why not ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    There's been a development project underway for some time, he said, that would have required a SCO license to go forward.
    Shucks, and the conspiracy theory looks so good in print.
    Anybody buying this?


    That's possible, why not ? after all, I doubt Microsoft developed Passport to run on top of Windows, since it's mission-critical.
    • There's been a development project underway for some time, he said, that would have required a SCO license to go forward.

      I bet the project was a piece of software that compares source code to try to find any similarities.

  • Not surprising (Score:3, Informative)

    by SamBC (600988) <s.barnett-cormack@lancaster.ac.uk> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:20AM (#6046572)
    For one, do you really expect Microsoft to admit publicly to any underhand tactics - unless you count halloween documents.

    For two, it's been a reasonably popular view that SCO are a Microsoft Puppet for some time. I can't say whether it's true or not - I don't know. All I can say is that it seems to fit the evidence quite well.
  • by defishguy (649645) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:21AM (#6046577) Journal
    Dateline OZ.... As reported earlier the Wicked Witch and her consortium of mean little monkeys has licensed rights to the Ruby Slippers from Glenda the Good Witch. Glenda, who is suffering financial problems, and was unable to leverage her IP against the Dorothy Corp (NYSE-DC) and with little opportunities elswhere in the Good Witch market it was assumed that the Good Witch franchise (NYSE-GWF) would soon collapse under the weight of farm houses. Timing IS everything!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft is starting to remind me of the pyromaniac character in the Movie backdraft. (Donald Sutherland)

    "Tell me Ronald, what you would you do with the world if you could do anything you wanted?"

    *trembling, eager voice*

    "I would burn it! Burn it all!"

    or

    "Develop them! Develop them all!"
  • The sad part. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Badgerman (19207) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:22AM (#6046582)
    Let's say this is true. Hey, it may well be.

    There's still something to be learned from all of this - namely Microsoft's problem with people not trusting them is very real.

    In short, Microsoft is not a company that a lot of people would give the benefit of a doubt.

    After so much FUD, how can we trust them?
    • Re:The sad part. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by john82 (68332)
      No. We don't trust Microsoft. For better or for worse, this community is predisposed to not trust them. I'm sure that keeps us on our toes but it also puts us at odds with the majority of the Microsoft-using world.

      Microsoft has the money to buy whatever publicity it wants (as well it would seem as other things that one would think should not be for sale). So as much as we'd like to think that the rest of the world distrusts MS as we do, I think we're deluding ourselves on that point.
    • After so much FUD, how can we trust them?

      I don't trust most people I know on a first-name basis. I'm certainly not going to trust a "faceless" corporation of any type. The fact that it's Microsoft just means they have no chance to be trusted, whatsoever.

  • by tclark (140640) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:24AM (#6046588) Homepage
    Then the suit came along. The lawsuit was seen as indirect supporting our position on the value of IP. Since other software vendors who depend on software licenses haven't been exactly falling all over themselves to support our position, seeing something that supported it was welcome. The idea of going ahead with the license was initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we've been saying about IP.

    Translation: SCO was looking to f*** over Linux and IBM, and we liked that. Most of the other software vendors, traitorous bastards that they are, have been all too happy to port their stuff over to Linux.
    • elaboration (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter (104583)
      The idea of going ahead with the license was initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we've been saying about IP.

      So, SCO is parroting everything M$ wants. That's what a whore is good for. If there's a technical basis for the suit, SCO has yet to present it. All they've said is stupid and untrue stuff about the accountability of free software and innovation being a corporate exclusive. Sounds like the same old M$ bullshit people never believed in the first place, but n

      • Re:elaboration (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301)
        Another point the article makes, that I think is all too obvious: yonder is BSD, free for the taking; what could SCO-UNIX have to offer M$ that BSD doesn't?? Since when does M$ pay for what they can simply take??

        And has the SCO-UNIX codebase been updated in living memory, at least to where it is interoperable with current M$ OSs?? Does it actually have any technical advantages over BSD??

    • Most of the other software vendors, traitorous bastards that they are, have been all too happy to port their stuff over to Linux.

      Perhaps you mean "Most of the other software vendors, traitorous bastards that they are, mercenaries and murderous rascals, have not at all ported their stuff over to Linux. There are no infidel Linux servers in the Data Centre. Never!"
  • Coming soon to a Reatailer near you . . . MS Windows X?
  • by gaijin99 (143693) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:30AM (#6046620) Journal
    MS, of course has no intention of doing anything to undermine Linux.

    What bothers me is not the lie, but the pervasiveness of this sort of attitude. They don't want to admit their true motives, so they lie and the mass media doesn't call them on it.

    My question is simple: why are they bothering? They have financial interest in seeing Linux, and MacOS, failing. If Linux's market share expands, theirs contracts. Nothing difficult to understand here.

    Unfortunately, that their pathetic lie being allowed to go un-challenged means that otheres will keep right on lying in ever more pathetic manners. Let's have some artistry here, if someone wants to lie to me I expect it to be plausable, not rediculous.

    Its rather like the political "doner's" lie: "Oh, no, I'd never bribe a politician. This particular politician just wants to give me special favors because its part of his political philosophy, I'm just giving him money to express my support of that philosophy."

    Since that excuse works so well in politics why not everywhere else: "Oh no officer, I wasn't paying that woman for sex, she simply has a philosophy of giving oral sex to strangers, I'm merely expressing my support for that philosophy."

    Really, MS, politicians, their lies are just too transparent to be amusing. We need a better class of lies damnit. Either that or some honesty, that would be original too...

    • I am a little confused by this case, and have not really followed the details, but what could be the effect, if any, on BSD and therefore OSX? Are SCO saying they own unix? Isn't BSD a form of Unix, and also both free and Open Source? Will they come after Apple too?
      • Re:speaking of OSX (Score:3, Insightful)

        by walt-sjc (145127)
        From what I understand, Apple already has a license (someone please correct me if I'm wrong...) Also, SCO claims that IBM took SCO code and put it in the Linux kernel, which would not affect BSD at all. Of course, there is nothing stoping SCO from claiming that (for example) Apple did the same thing - releasing SCO IP back into the BSD tree.

        The whole thing is just SO full of crap of course that no sane person believes anything SCO says anymore.
        • Re:speaking of OSX (Score:3, Informative)

          by rot26 (240034) *
          From what I understand, Apple already has a license (someone please correct me if I'm wrong...) Also, SCO claims that IBM took SCO code and put it in the Linux kernel, which would not affect BSD at all. Of course, there is nothing stoping SCO from claiming that (for example) Apple did the same thing - releasing SCO IP back into the BSD tree.

          SCO's predecessors already tried this same thing with BSD a long time ago, and got smacked down HARD (although the details are sealed by court order for some reason.)
    • What bothers me is not the lie, but the pervasiveness of this sort of attitude.

      Actually the problem here really has nothing to do with Microsoft.

      The problem here is the pervasiveness of the attitude that every action done by Microsoft or any other company is a move to destroy Linux. This attitude is further problematic in that every reasonable explanation is accused of being a lie.

      It makes the "Linux Community" look like a bunch of 2 year old children.
      • every reasonable explanation is accused of being a lie.

        The newspeak accusation works both ways. The best way to disarm your enemies when you're actually doing something nefarious is to accuse them of lying about *you*, putting them on the defensive instead.

        So who do you trust, baby? Microsoft or the "Linux Community"? Who has a reputation for openness, and who for secrecy? Who has been caught in lie after lie, scheme after scheme, extinguishment after extension?

        It makes Microsoft look like a bunch o
      • The problem here has everything to do with Microsoft. After the so-called "Halloween" documents it's blatantly clear that they ARE trying to damage Linux.

        The pervasiveness of the attitude that every action done by Microsoft (though not every other company - you made that part up yourself) is done to harm linux does not exist but the attitude that anything Microsoft does in the Unix market, whether it be purchasing a product, funding someone who is doing something ridiculous in the market, or otherwise pou

    • My question is simple: why are they bothering? They have financial interest in seeing Linux, and MacOS, failing. If Linux's market share expands, theirs contracts. Nothing difficult to understand here.

      I don't think you can put Linux and MacOS in the same boat here. MS develops software for the Mac, they are not really direct competitors in the OS world. You can't take a Windows box and install MacOS on it. If you could, you would definitely see MS's attitude change towards them as a competitor. They c

  • And ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by altp (108775) *
    And penguins might fly outta my butt.
  • Oh right.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by MongooseCN (139203) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:32AM (#6046634) Homepage
    "I didn't mean to give that gun and 10,000$ cash to the murderer just before he killed my *&*(&$# cheating POS ex-wife. It was pure coincidence."
  • by mrkurt (613936) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:34AM (#6046643) Journal

    [*sarcasm*]I'm sure everyone believes that. But even if it isn't true, Microsoft could be "licensing" SCO to uphold their own position on intellectual property, which is that you must obtain a license and pay for everything. It fits in perfectly with their business model, and should hardly come as a surprise: we always knew where they stood. That this could be a little "down payment" on what they hope to get out of the litigation against IBM is a bonus.

  • I don't think so (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stoev (103408) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:36AM (#6046660)
    They don't need SCO code for any UNIX emulation.
    1. They can take (F,N,O)BSD code and get a perfect UNIX(ish) layer.
    2. If they want to pay somebody, they can go to http://www.windriver.com/products/bsd_os/index.htm l and I guess they will get actually better support for what they probably want to do

    Just tell me what is the benefit of SCO code from the MS point. I'll tel you - they know SCO was going to do something and now they are covering their traces with smoke.
    • Speaking of WindRiver...an article [eetimes.com] at EE Times quotes Dave Fraser of WindRiver spouting FUD against Linux and reports that the Alameda, CA company executives decided against their own Linux distribution because of "fear of legal action":
      • Wind River executives said last week that fear of legal action caused them to abandon their own Linux program, which was quietly moving into high gear three years ago. After investing more than a year in Wind River Linux, they said they decided against releasing it because
  • by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:37AM (#6046665) Homepage Journal
    If it smells like a duck and craps like on..then most problably it is a DUCK!

    Side Note: The Bank loan secured by the Founder listeed in the financials pays for monthly cash flow needed to keep afloat..its due in October with a promise by founder to keep SCO Group afloat through end of Novemeber..thus they do not have the monye for a legal fund .. the only way they can get it is through license fees.. :)

  • by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:42AM (#6046689)
    ... Bob in MS's UK accounting office said, "I really like SCOnes for breakfast". Coincidence? We think not! What did he mean by that? What is MS planning now?
  • by borgdows (599861) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:47AM (#6046712)
    The license was not seen as a way to underwrite SCO's legal fees ...

    a) ... but to damage Linux reputation
    b) ... but to be good citizens
    c) ... but underwrite Cowboy McNeal's PR services
  • A few thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KoolDude (614134) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:48AM (#6046722)

    I have a friend who works at Microsoft and about two months back, he invited me to discuss about "Linux people and IP infringement". Although the discussion didn't actually work out, after seeing this SCO vs. IBM lawsuit, I can imagine what he was planning to talk about.

    Whether MS is directly supporting SCO on this or not, we can be sure that that Microsoft has its eyes laid on writing off Linux as an "Intellectual Property Issue". Look at the statements made by the MS executive in the story on XBox we discussed two days back:

    Q. Folks have even built a Linux-Xbox computer. How can you control this?
    A. Electronic hobbyists will do what they want to do...the numbers are not really that big. It's not a commercial as much as it is an intellectual property issue and we always pursue those. If someone finds a way to cheat, we close it down and do an update so people can't anymore.

    Towards the beginning of the browser wars, Bill Gates wanted Microsoft to be synonymous with "Internet" and I feel what Bill wants now is to make Linux synonymous with "IP issues". Not sure how well the FUD strategy works, but we have a few problems ahead. What if this SCO thing is just a beginning ? With 2 or 3 more of these suits, MS can possibly keep Linux out of expanding. What can we do if some company X complains about IP infringement in Linux in the future ?
  • by beacher (82033) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:49AM (#6046726) Homepage
    Getting tired of her. Previous story about the SCO Threatens to Press IP Claims on Linux -$99/cpu [slashdot.org] was written by her and a lot of the comments were made that it lacked any real references. Now it's

    "A Microsoftie fresh back from vacation decided to try to find out the real story behind Microsoft's controversial SCO license. (If you don't know what we're talking about see story below.) This is the explanation he came back with. Note that it is second-hand. "

    Look, I know Microsoft has it's NDA agreements, but too many of her stories are uncited, unsubstantiated, and just plain dumb.
    Is this really Microsoft's attempt to extend Windows Services for Unix? 3 years ago Microsoft announced that Windows Services for Unix works with all Unix variants including SunSoft Solaris and Red Hat Linux 5.0 [gcn.com], so why bother buying SCO licensing now? Did they pay Redhat as well (GPL yah yah I know), did they pay anyone else?

    The timining of this is too coincidental, but c'mon no more Maureen O'Gara stories. Let me know if more get published, I know some tinfoil manufacturers that I need to invest in. -B

  • that Microsoft only bought a Unix license from SCO Group because there's been a prior development project underway at Redmond that warranted it

    I know what project they're referring to... it is the "Kill Linux" project! *grin*

  • CYA Situation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:51AM (#6046740) Homepage Journal
    I still Believe that this is more of a Cover your @$$ issue than it is a IP Rights Issue or a Bash Linux Issue.

    I mean they've been sued once by SCO already and lost because of DRDOS and SCO is now suing IBM Over Unix. Guess who's next in line that has a big pile of money sitting in a corner of a room that has Unix IP. Most likely Microsoft Lawyer XP(TM) is advising Bill that paying the Royalities is cheaper than going through yet another reputation damaging lawsuit over Unix.

    MS is taking the bullseye off of it's back to allow them to work on their Unix Stuff without worry and forces SCO to go after other companies such as Sun.
    • SCO needs money to pursue legal case. Microsoft has money and wants to cover their ass. SCO also wants a high profile license to help bludgeon IBM. It makes sense for all involved, especially if Microsoft was considering it for a while.

      They probably got a license on the cheap. Should SCO beat IBM, the license fees would go up. I'm pretty certain that the bean counters made this decision.

      If we pay now, we pay X. If we don't pay now, there is an 80% chance that we pay 0 in royalties, but pay between .
      • I had the same thought -- that M$ looked at the probability that IBM will just buy SCO as the cheapest way out of the situation, and that IBM's licensing terms would be far more expensive than SCO's, and decided there was less financial risk in just paying up front.

        Which, of course, does not preclude a little under-the-table bargaining, likely of the form "If you pay now, we won't sue YOU when we're done with IBM. And meanwhile, look at the really cheap licensing terms we'll give you! Remember, if we win t
    • aftermath. (Score:3, Funny)

      by twitter (104583)
      MS is taking the bullseye off of it's back to allow them to work on their Unix Stuff without worry and forces SCO to go after other companies such as Sun.

      I'm not sure which is more comical, M$'s "Unix Stuff" or that M$ was ever scared of being sued by SCO. "Unix Stuff", is that the "Unix killer", New Technology (NT) by any chance? Well, yes it was [microsoft.com]. Gee, we all need a license for common unix commands, after all if we are not paying someone we must be stealing! M$ has shown such respect for other firms

  • Riiiiiiiighhhttt... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkVein (5418) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:55AM (#6046767) Journal

    At first, I think "Okay, they could legitimately need a license for either of SCO's Unix products". Then, I realized something: Both of SCO's Unix product lines are completely inferior to every other form of Unix on the market. SCO's one strong point--uniproccessor speed--is surpassed by the BSD-licensed BSDs, which Microsoft has been legally borrowing code from for nearly a decade.

    A far more believable reason to license this code is to make a political statement: that you support IP as a barterable asset instead of a development/creation incentive. MS made their fortune under a distribution network that mimics the idea of IP-as-asset.

    This perspective is profitable but on extremely shaky ground right now As quoted, "[s]ince other software vendors who depend on software licenses haven't been exactly falling all over themselves to support our position, seeing something that supported it was welcome." In other words, this lawsuit is their first good opportunity to throw their support with another party to support this idea. Unfortunately for MS, it's also a pretty pathetic opportunity [opensource.org].

    The best part about this is that MS didn't have to buy the license at all. They tried it, then they bought it to support a company they (conditionally) respect. Bloody pirates.

  • The lawsuit was seen as indirect supporting our position on the value of IP. Since other software vendors who depend on software licenses haven't been exactly falling all over themselves to support our position, seeing something that supported it was welcome.

    Microsoft have pushed themselves onto this very high moral ground, and when they looked round to see if everyone had followed them, they were strangely alone....

    Digital rights management, and self destructing emails are all to cover Microsofts own
  • by ebooher (187230) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @07:59AM (#6046784) Homepage Journal

    Last week I received this months copy of SysAdmin magazine in the mail. What happened to accompany my magazine in the shrink wrap? None other than Microsoft's Services for UNIX 3.0 which used to be Interix Services. It's possible that this product has the potential to contain code that could be obtained from other sources.

    I don't remember much about Interix before Microsoft bought them, but I do remember using a demo copy of the Interix Services package and what it did do was pretty cool. It gave a UNIX functionality layer to the NT system. You could log in via SSH and perform all command line functions that you would find on any *BSD, *Linux box. Including cross compile. I seem to remember the demo package including GCC that had been compiled specifically for this package.

    Unfortunately I don't have a single MS box in my current possession to install this on to play with. One of my poor, ailing, FreeBSD boxes might get wiped to play with this for a few weeks.

    Since everyone else is throwing out conspiracy theories, I suppose I'll throw my own into the arena. CAUTION the following is frivolous bullshit that has no way to be proven except in my own mind. But isn't that true of most of these theories people have?

    Interix starts out as a company to build a UNIX compatibility layer for the NT kernel. What better way than to look at the source that is freely available to decide what road to take. Looking at *BSD and *Linux they find that with a little effort they can write a compatibility layer and run pure *NIX apps right on top of NT. (They even have a XR11 port for this layer) All fun, all native, all fast.

    Since this is starting out as an exercise in theoretical mechanics of getting UNIX to operate directly on NT, they borrow some "free" code to figure out how exactly to get it all to fit together. Purely with the intention of yanking all "borrowed" code later should this prove to work as they can afford to.

    Their compatibility layer works better than expected, apps can easily cross compile to their pseudo-kernel and anyone that isn't directly in front of the box doesn't know they aren't talking to UNIX. This causes Uncle Bill to take notice. He likes what they are doing, and since his own Services for UNIX is pretty piss poor he does what he does best. Buys the company. (I'm not just an Interix client, I liked them so much I bought the company.)

    So now, instead of ripping out all the "borrowed" code that is working so well, the new team, who is partnered with pieces of the old team, continue to develop along side each other, integrating the MS UNIX codebase that was Services for UNIX into the Interix codebase to build SFU 3.0.

    SCO comes along and starts the whole lawsuit procedure but isn't giving any examples of code. Uncle Bill, preferring to stay quiet and in control, doesn't know if they need to scrap the project or not. Easiest solution? Buy the rights to the problem. License the technology you've already stolen and improved upon, gaining the legal right to use it, before the originating company realizes what you are doing and comes after you.

    MS may have deep pockets, but they aren't bottomless, and I believe the legal battles with Apple taught them one very important lesson. End it quick and as painless as possible, keep the government out of it, because they have a tendency to side with people who may be my enemy (MS almost lost the anti-trust suit before Clinton left office?) So make it go away quietly so as not to draw attention to us.

    End Rant ..... just my two cents.

    • by walt-sjc (145127) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @08:37AM (#6047097)
      I highly doubt that MS would have bought Interix if there was any question that their product contained or was tainted by any GPL code at all. The legal threat of the GPL would hurt them MUCH more than SCO. With SCO, they could easily settle. Somehow I don't see the FSF settling for any reasonable sum. BSD is a non issue due to the license.

      So nah, I don't buy it. You can't license linux code from SCO and be free of the GPL. Since the SCO case is against Linux and not BSD, and licensing SCO wouldn't help with a Linux GPL violation, it has to be something else. MS must be either using or is planning to use true SCO code, libraries, etc.

      Remember SCO's fuss a while back about companies using some SCO libraries on Linux to run old SCO apps? What if MS licensed these libraries to allow companies to run old SCO binaries on NT via MSfU? That would give MS a leg up over LINUX, BSD, etc. for these companies that need to run old SCO code.

      SCO is going down. Everyone knows this. Companies that need to run old apps compiled for SCO need options. My "guess" is that MS is looking to provide a legal option for these companies - for a price.
      • MS Complies w/ GPL (Score:3, Informative)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)


        I highly doubt that MS would have bought Interix if there was any question that their product contained or was tainted by any GPL code at all. The legal threat of the GPL would hurt them MUCH more than SCO. With SCO, they could easily settle. Somehow I don't see the FSF settling for any reasonable sum. BSD is a non issue due to the license.

        The GPL is a non-issue for Microsoft too. After all, Microsoft complies with GPL requirements for the code they sell. Note the Licensing and Purchasing [microsoft.com] page fo

  • What if *gasp* They actually USE some of what they license, or do in SCO's eyes? Does that make it such that they have to continue to pay SCO's royalties from now until whenever they decide to be sued by SCO, if SCO were to somehow actually win against IBM/SuSE/RedHat/World?

    As much as I want to see SCO stomped into the ground, I'll admit that if SCO wins, This would be a nice form of poetic justice...
  • by Nutrimentia (467408) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @08:02AM (#6046811) Homepage
    Cringely's current article [pbs.org] has his take on SCO. He mentioned that he wouldn't be surprised to find Microsoft bankrolling the legal,even though he wasn't predicting it either.

    In the end though, he concedes he doesn't know what is going on, and neither do other people in the field. Me? I'm guessing it will end up being a totally ill-informed upper managemnet decision that is going to roll heads.
  • Microsoft claims it's not underwriting SCO's Legal Fees.

    Microsoft claimed in its anti-trust case that divulging its source code could undermine national security. Then it proceeded to give the source code to India, China, and to former Soviet nations.

    Also in the anti-trust case, Microsoft claimed again and again that Windows could not run without Internet Explorer. Until the government showed how simple it was.

    Microsoft claimed that there was no DOS in Windows 95, I clearly remember the "DOS is dead" s
  • This just in...

    The Iraq invasion wasn't really about oil, or even about euros.

    The Supreme Court didn't really prevent Florida from counting its votes for fear that the candidate it had chosen to appoint wouldn't get in.

    That big tax cut really is meant, and expected, to stimulate the economy.

    That face on Mars really was carved by space monkeys.

  • by KoolDude (614134)

    This CNET article [com.com] hints that Microsoft bought them at SCO's request. From the article:

    A Microsoft representative said that the deal was simply in response to SCO's request. "Microsoft respects legitimate licenses, and Microsoft took that license (from SCO). That's it," the representative said.
  • source? (Score:3, Funny)

    by borgdows (599861) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @08:19AM (#6046960)
    The license was not seen as a way to underwrite SCO's legal fees," says a source within the company. "

    Is it the Microsoft Information Minister ?
  • Maybe the license is for Interix [microsoft.com], which "provides a UNIX environment that runs on top the Windows kernel, enabling UNIX application and scripts to run natively on the Windows platform alongside Windows applications"?
  • by magi (91730) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @08:22AM (#6046984) Homepage Journal
    Another article in the magazine gives a reference to a short analysis [gartner.com] about the SCO case by Garner a month ago. It's a pretty interesting read, as Gartner is a highly regarded research and consulting company around the world. What they think and say may have more weight than what is written in a Linux magazine.

    It also contains interesting notes about due diligence to companies involved in open source development:

    IS departments using Linux or other open-source code should have an internal process, possibly with advice from their legal departments, to perform due diligence (see Note 1) on the nature and origin of open-source code for possible infringement of patents. System administrators must be admonished to submit open-source code to inspection for potential violation of patents. An open-source quality assurance process should determine and approve allowable code for production systems. Such efforts may slow adoption of Linux in high-end production systems of critical applications.

    (Note 1) Due Diligence Options

    1. Name and reputation of source and origin of software code
    2. Names of the contributors and developers
    3. If outside libraries are included, the source of the code, its use and deployment
    4. Checks with the Free Software Foundation on patent infringement claims
    5. Negotiations for indemnification from liabilities, or support from the vendor
    6. References and contacts
    • I found this sentence particularly telling:

      "If the SCO lawsuit is not upheld, the SCO installed base would face a potentially weakened SCO and should then plan for migration from OpenServer and UnixWare within the next five years."

      Ooops...

    • Gartner is a highly regarded research and consulting company around the world

      In their dreams. They are a MS shill as sadly thats the only way they can stay in business.

  • And Bill Clinton did _not_ have sexual relations with that woman.

  • "The idea of persuading SCO to launch a lawsuit against IBM had been under consideration prior to the idea of getting a SCO license"

    Just my opinion.
  • I bet the purchase of the Unix license went to fund SCO's battle. It's the best way to funnel money to them. We should have SCO's books audited.
  • by Paul_murphy (570459) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:17AM (#6047507)

    There's a lot of FUD being spread around this but, in reality, Microsoft is merely one of around 30,000 Unix source code licensees and is using the opportunity associated with the current SCOsource initiative on renewals to throw a little FUD at the Linux community.

    The history here is interesting. When SCO first started, its target was the Tandy line of MC68000 add-in boards and similar computers while Paul Allen (developer of MS BASIC) was arguing with his marketing guy that they should port Unix to the Apple II.

    When IBM asked for an OS demo from Microsoft, they specified a piece of hardware based on a chip, the i8088, that simply lacked the power to run Unix. It had, after all, been produced as a downgrade from the 8086 (which wasn't selling well against the MC68000) to enable compatibility with older 8bit devices and could barely handle CP/M.

    To get a real OS as a later follow-on to PC-DOS, Microsoft licensed AT&T Unix source and did a partnership deal with SCO that resulted in Xenix for the 8086 before that plan got pushed aside by the astonishing commercial success of the PC.

    SCO, however, was left paying Microsoft royalties on its contributions to the intel port - a situation that continued until SCO cleared the last Microsoft code out of OpenServer in the mid ninties.

    That worm turned when SCO bought the USL properties from Novel and eventually discovered that they now held the source licenses for most of the material Microsoft had been licensing to them - and on which Microsoft has just renewed its license.

    So, with apologies to the conspiracy theorists, the MS rebewal doesn't signal anything beyond normal business practices - with the bonus of being able to sow a little free fear and confusion among the Linux troops; itself, of course, another normal business practice for MS.

  • by iceT (68610) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:34AM (#6047678)
    "The idea of getting a SCO license had been under consideration prior to the IBM lawsuit...."

    It's just a happy coincidence that we decided to do it NOW, before SCO Group folds in December due to lack of funds. If a simple purchase of a "UNIX" license will let two of our competitors duke it out, with one or both of them dropping out of the market because of it, then it's a small price to pay.

    Plus, of SCO wins over IBM, then they can go after Redhat, and Suse, and all those other companies that don't hold the MS principles dearly.

  • slight contradiction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ripplet (591094) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:51AM (#6047855)
    "The lawsuit was seen as indirect supporting our position on the value of IP" ......
    "The license was not seen as a way to underwrite SCO's legal fees"

    Just a wee contradiction here. Perhaps that 'not' slipped into the second sentence by accident!!
  • Yeah Sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuackQuack (550293)
    I don't buy this...

    When I buy a license for a product that I'll be using for a project, I don't put out a press release. I can only assume that Microsoft doesn't either. What are the chances that the MS PR department even knows that there is a SCO project underway, and if they did, why would they think it worthy of telling the world?

    The only thing I can conclude is that at the very least, MS is trying give the SCO claim some validity (due to the timing). At worst, they are actively funding this effo

  • This really isn't about SCO lawsuit - SCO has enough cash in the bank to pursue it.

    Microsoft recently came the realization that one of their products "Services for Unix" wasn't licensed according to their new aggressive IP stance - ie, anything that is Open Source exposes you to liability and needs to be avoided.

    Purportedly, the product derives code from BSD. Rewriting the code would remove the copyright issues, but not the underlying IP issues that Microsoft is sowing FUD about.

    So the only solution is t
  • Sco = Rambus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bigpat (158134) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:48AM (#6048435)
    Rambus tried to sue everyone a few years back, they didn't benefit and neither will SCO. Regardless of how "dispassionate" business is supposed to be, people remember how you treat other people, a litigious company is not someone you want to do business with bcause they might just turn around and bite you too.

    This time hopefully SCO will not survive the bad publicity. Just don't buy any of their products and they will shut up or shut down. Leaving Microsoft to do their own dirty work.
  • by bstadil (7110)
    This is really a win-win situation. Regardless of the "real" reason for MS' sudden urge to get religion they will be seen as a party to this suit in the eyes of the IT community meaning they get all the bad press and they can't really contribute much in monetary terms.

    Maybe this goes for this whole debacle as well. Some challenges to the GPL were certain to surface sooner or later, so if you accept this precept what better partner to have than IBM.

    No money is being drained from Linux efforts from w

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