Subject: Re: the source, so to speak, of the SCO lawsuit
From: <tony@egovos.org>
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 15:00:29 -0400 (EDT)

This cries out to be investigated by the FTC/DoJ and EC. They should open
up shop inside Microsoft like they did with IBM and look over every
transaction. The onus should be on Microsoft to show them that there is no
ulterior motive behind any of their transactions. It is far too easy for
them to use their money to do sham transactions with willing companies to
do indirectly what they are prohibited from doing directly.

The FTC/DoJ should immediately investigate the terms of the arrangement
with SCO and see if the licensing fees bear any reasonable relationship to
how much UNIX product Microsoft ships. If the fees are as significant as
they would need to be for Microsoft to bankroll the fight against IBM, it
is a prima facie case that the transaction is a sham and it should be
treated as though Microsoft itself is conducting the case, with the
antitrust implications that has.

I would be surprised if the Microsoft lawyers would leave such an audit
trail behind, since I have seen them be much more nuanced than that. It is
more likely that they are giving SCO moral support for the case with a
small fee reasonably tied to their UNIX products to show that intellectual
property rights are important, so as to help establish their [false] claim
that Open Source ignores IPRs. This will be the basis for a major FUD
campaign to governments and big business. But I've seen Microsoft getting
more and more desperate and that can cause dumb gambles.

Nonetheless the transaction deserves scrutiny by the regulators to see on
which side of the line this transaction falls.

Tony Stanco
Founding Director
The Center of Open Source & Government
http://www.eGovOS.org
tony@egovos.org

Associate Director
Open Source and eGovernment
Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute
George Washington University
[NSA Center of Excellence in Information Assurance]
2033 K Street, NW, Suite 340
Washington, DC 20006
tel        202-994-5513
fax       202-994-5505
http://www.cpi.seas.gwu.edu
Stanco@gwu.edu


> Hm - Even with my own "issues" about MS, I find that a little excessive.
>
> After all, if you look at SCO's (minute) revenues, a very large chunk of
> that is prurely licensing the original UNIX code (which speaks volumes
> about their own producs).
>
> I will stick with the buyout strategy interpretation. Of course, once MS
> sees that it can make a point out of licensing and GPL, tossing some
> cash in the direction of the Linux problem is no big deal. But remember,
> M$ used plenty of BSD code for its licensing stacks and builds a few
> interoperability modules.
>
> They do not need a license, but they will gladly buy one if that makes
> the point that all Linux distro assemblers should as well.
>
> -F
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Seth Gordon" <sethg@ropine.com>
> To: <sethg@ropine.com>
> Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 13:07
> Subject: the source, so to speak, of the SCO lawsuit
>
>
>> Ah, I see it now.
>>
>> MS attorney: We'd like you to sue IBM on the grounds that Linux is
>> violating your intellectual property in Unix.
>>
>> SCO attorney: What?  That's crazy!  We have no proof that they've
>> violated anything, and we can't afford to drag them through the courts
>> for a case we're certain to lose!
>>
>> MS attorney: We'd like you to sue IBM on the grounds that Linux is
>> violating your intellectual property in Unix, make as much noise about
>> this lawsuit as possible to the people who purchase Linux
>> distributions, and drag out the case and the associated negative
>> publicity about Linux for as long as possible.  We are prepared to buy
>> a Unix license from you at a price which will more than adequately
>> compensate your department for these efforts.
>>
>> SCO attorney: Let me talk to my CEO and get back to you on that....
>>
>> --
>> "Ernie and Bert are not gay.  They're puppets.  They don't even have
>> legs."
>>   --The Children's Television Workshop
>> // seth gordon // sethg@ropine.com // http://ropine.com/sethg/cv.html
>> //