|| ||Andy Oram <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|| ||Irresponsible SCO|
|| ||Mon, 10 Mar 2003 14:49:56 -0500 (EST)|
I haven't seen much discussion of this in the Linux
community, perhaps because the charges are so vague, but I
thought something meaningful could be said.
A lot of brickbats are coming the way of SCO since it launched a
lawsuit against IBM on the grounds of trade secrets. What's scandalous
is not the choice to resort to a lawsuit--because companies have to
defend these sorts of things in court in order to preserve their
meaning--but the disregard for the needs of Linux users, developers,
vendors, and watchers everywhere. SCO chose a low road indeed, trying
to maximize its legal flexibility instead of acting like a member of a
Linux supporters are worried about this for good reason. The lawsuit
inevitably recalls the suit AT&T brought against the Berkeley
developers of BSD in the 1980s. Then as now, the issue was that
developers had access to UNIX during the time they developed their own
code. The AT&T complaint involved copyright rather than trade secrets,
but the parallels are unmistakable.
Although my memory may deceive me, I believe AT&T never demonstrated
that a single line of BSD code originated in UNIX (which officially
should be written in all-caps). The lawsuit was resolved after many
years, but a lot of people blame the confusing around the suit for the
stagnation of BSD and its inability to take off at the crucial moment
when people were looking for a free software operating system. (I
doubt that suit was the problem, but it did waste time and make a mess
AT&T sold its rights to UNIX long ago, apparently recognizing that it
was managing every aspect of that valuable technology with the same
incompetence that it had conducted the BSD lawsuit. As intellectual
property, UNIX bounced around for a while and ended up at SCO. It's
probably no coincidence that SCO decides to act the heavy around this
period when many observers believe UNIX is dying and that Linux will
take over where it stood.
But they know very well what problems and bad feelings the BSD lawsuit
reached. They know how many people (roughly) depend on Linux day by
day. What would a responsible company do to uphold its rights while
allowing the world to continue?
SCO could have examined Linux code and determined where their
purported trade secrets lay. They would then have widely publicized
the disputed code. They'd say, "Don't use JFS" (or whatever it
happened to be); "we're litigating it." Whatever components were in
dispute could quickly be pulled out of the kernel; users could depend
on other components for whatever functionality they needed.
Of course, SCO's lawyers wouldn't tell them to do this. I'm sure the
lawyers want as wide a field to play on as they can get. And it is not
they who will be appalled when play is done and they discover the
whole field has been turned into a desert.
SCO can still overrule its narrow-minded lawyers and take a high road.
If they've got a claim, make it clearly. That is what the public
deserves. Judging from the scattered news reports I've read, they
refused to be specific even in the legal complaint they sent the
And this hand-waving is a tell-tale sign of weakness. We are all
justified in assuming, till we have evidence to the contrary, that
SCO's lawsuit will go the way of the evidence the Bush administration
waved about excitedly for months concerning aluminum tubes purchased
by Iraq, now revealed by weapons inspectors on the ground to bear no
relation to weapons of mass destruction. But millions of users around
the world are in limbo until we know for sure, and there is no reason
for that except malice or hamfistedness on the part of SCO.
Comments (none posted)
|| ||Alex Bennee <email@example.com>|
|| ||In defence of RPM!|
|| ||07 Mar 2003 16:00:36 +0000|
I was reading the distrowatch artcile (Is RPM Doomed?
contained was a long rant against the incompatabilities of binary RPM's
across distributions. Although the article did point out a few ways
things can be improved I feel as though I must jump in with a little
pro-RPM evengelism :-)
Firstly a quick question. Why is binary compatibility required?
The majority of applications your likely to look at are source based. If
the binary RPM exists then there should .src.rpm nearby. In my
experience 99% of dependancy problems are solved by simply building the
binary RPM yourself. I can't believe your suggesting moving over to a
source based distribution because:
saves a few lines over:
rpm --rebuild application.src.rpm
rpm -ivh ~/rpm/RPMS/applictaion.rpm
I'll grant that Gentoo's source based system offers a lot when it comes
to large multi-component builds. However if your really that up for the
bleeding edge you'll find living on Manrake Cooker (or Debian unstable)
costs you less time in the long run than constantly rebuilding common
In fact I run Mandrake Cooker on my main desktop and I've had very few
problems with running a:
every few days. I can leave the heavy lifting to the Cooker people and
concentrate on the apps I'm actually interested in.
But arguments about ease of building asside the biggest difference rpm
makes to my life is knowing where all the files on my PC come from.
Having in the past lived/survived a windows environment where your never
quite sure if a DLL is left over detruitus or an essential system
component I find the ability to do a:
rpm -qf /usr/bin/randomfile
a godsend. As a bonus I know if I un-install a package from my system
all its files go with it leaving nothing lying around.
As I have consistently found with open source tools its easy to get
frustrated at percieved inadaquacies at first but if you invest a little
time reading the documentation/playing with the app your experience is
drastically improved and you'll wonder how you got along without it.
Briefly returning to the problems of people who distribute binary only
rpm's (of which is concern mainly to the commercial software people)
there is a solution. Build your binary RPM's for the big 3 (RedHat,
Mandrake, UnitedLinux) and build a forth statically linked RPM for the
Alex, homepage: http://www.bennee.com/~alex/
Everyone is a genius. It's just that some people are too stupid to realize it.
Comments (1 posted)
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