Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 24/02/2004Don't all rush at once, but you can now buy a licence for Linux. This exceptional opportunity comes courtesy of those nice chaps at SCO, who have found the time between their busy legal schedules of suing and being sued to put an online ordering service up for all to enjoy.

Tuesday 24/02/2004
Don't all rush at once, but you can now buy a licence for Linux. This exceptional opportunity comes courtesy of those nice chaps at SCO, who have found the time between their busy legal schedules of suing and being sued to put an online ordering service up for all to enjoy. And it's a bargain -- just $49 gets you an annual desktop licence.

Of course, SCO declines to identify exactly what parts of Linux this covers, so you'll just have to trust them that there's stuff in there worth $49. You'll also have to trust them that they actually own the Unix copyright they claim, not trust Novell who claim otherwise, and take SCO's word for it that you couldn't get rid of the Unix components in Linux even if you knew what they were. Which you don't: even $49 doesn't buy you that information. There's also the little matter of believing them when they say that when they distributed Linux under the GPL they didn't know what they were doing and thus can't be held accountable.

Back from getting that nice, warm, licensed, $49 glow? Good. You'll be pleased to know that you're among an army of.. oh, how many licensees is it now, SCO?  Hello? The company isn't going to tell us exactly how many, but we can trust them on that too. You get a lot of trust in return for your money with SCO.

Unfortunately, some cynical people don't feel the love. One is Fyodor, the singularly named author of the hacker's favourite network tool, nmap. He's got a new release out with many improvements and additions -- and one significant retraction. SCO, he writes, is no longer allowed to distribute nmap with any of its software -- and all the SCO platforms are no longer supported.

It's a token gesture: anyone can download nmap and use it as they like, so no actual users will be inconvenienced. But it may be the start of a much bigger movement disconnecting SCO from the rest of the world. That'll be a big price to pay for those 49 dollars.

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