Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 7/1/2004The world might have taken a fortnight off, but that hasn't diminished the intensity of last year's chewiest story -- Linux Versus The Rest Of  The World. SCO continues to issue bizarre challenges to Linux' legitimacy while presenting not one piece of recognisable evidence -- latest fun question: as SCO knew its copyright was being disputed by Novell, how come it didn't mention this in the various financial filings it's had to make?

Wednesday 7/1/2004
The world might have taken a fortnight off, but that hasn't diminished the intensity of last year's chewiest story -- Linux Versus The Rest Of  The World. SCO continues to issue bizarre challenges to Linux' legitimacy while presenting not one piece of recognisable evidence -- latest fun question: as SCO knew its copyright was being disputed by Novell, how come it didn't mention this in the various financial filings it's had to make?

But Microsoft is champing at the bit to become Open Source Enemy Number One. It's kicked off the year with a major campaign seeking to prove that free software is actually more expensive than its own paid-for stuff.  You can, and doubtless have, read both Microsoft's pitch and the manifold ripostes that are even now clogging the Webwaves, but there's one simple question that I'd like answered. If, as Microsoft says, the actual cost of software licences is as nothing compared to the business of running and supporting it (the fabled Total Cost of Ownership figure), then how come Microsoft makes such enormous amounts of money by selling software licences?

I think the healthiest attitude to all this nonsense comes from the Alameda County Computer Resource Center, slogan "Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination." These people recycle old IT stuff, handing out old computers to people who need them. As you can't easily move software licences around, they often slap SuSE Linux on computers before passing them on. The executive director, one James Burgett, has worked out that on SCO's terms, the Center now owes SCO more than five million bucks.

His conclusion? Come and get us. Sue us. Please. "As you represent no threat and can only bring us press, I humbly request that you use us in your act of corporate self-destruction… Thanks for promoting our message on your dime."

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