SCO: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

The embattled company plans a pro-SCO Web site to counter the success of Groklaw.net

Ever since The SCO Group Inc. (SCO) first went on the warpath against IBM Corp. 18 months ago, open source advocates and Big Blue backers have turned to one resource for news: Groklaw.net, a Weblog-cum-clearing-house for SCO-related information founded by paralegal and Linux enthusiast Pamela Jones.

Depending how you look at it, Groklaw has either been a consistent—and consistently fair—thorn in SCO’s side or (from SCO’s perspective, at least) a partisan rallying point for the open-source community.

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. SCO appears poised to enter the fray this November by kicking off its own Weblog clearinghouse for SCO-related information.

Blake Stowell of The SCO Group public relations notes, “There are a lot of SCO customers, partners, developers, investors, and others that simply want access to information regarding our litigation. There are plenty of sites that offer an alternative point of view to SCO’s, but for people who want our point of view, this will be the place to visit.”

Groklaw started out as Jones’ brainchild, but—like many open-source software projects, including Linux—it’s now enabled by the contributions of hundreds of participants, many of which collect, post, and dissect legal filings and other SCO-related information.

As SCO’s move demonstrates, Groklaw has attracted the attention of more than just open-source advocates and worried SCO executives. For example, an executive with a prominent services firm heavily involved with the mainframe Linux movement confesses that he’s an avid reader: “I love the dissection job(s) done on them by [Pamela Jones] on Groklaw. It really gives me a good feel for just how feeble SCO's case has been up until now,” he says.

SCO has suffered several major setbacks this year in its legal battles against IBM and Linux—both inside the courtroom and out.

In August, for example, IBM filed a motion seeking the dismissal of SCO's claim that it had violated the terms of its Unix contract. Big Blue took issue with SCO’s argument that it has control over any software that is derived from the Unix System V source code.

“The individuals who executed the licenses and were involved in their negotiation, on behalf of both AT&T and IBM, have offered unequivocal testimony that the agreements were not intended and should not be understood to preclude IBM's use and disclosure of homegrown code, and contemporaneous documents reflect this interpretation of the licenses,” IBM said in its filing.

Earlier this summer, SCO suffered a major setback in its lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler, a prominent enterprise user of Linux. In July, a Michigan circuit court dismissed all but one of the claims lodged by The SCO Group Inc. against automaker DaimlerChrysler AG.

On the IBM front, SCO struck back last month, filing a motion in which it asked the presiding judge to stay IBM’s motion for a summary judgment, even as it reiterated its demands that IBM share software code and internal company memos.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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