On March 3, 2004, shortly after hosting outfit EV1 appeared to have legitimized SCO's claims (regarding Linux) by signing a perpetual license deal with SCO, I wrote:
With Groklaw being the unofficial ground zero where the merits of SCO's claims are being publicly vetted--and for the most part torn to shreds--the mere thought that a company would view the specter of an SCO lawsuit as a risk worth mitigating, and therefore acknowledging (as EV1 has), is considered ludicrous by the open source community and others opposed to SCO's actions...
...I believe EV1's announcement is more a part of SCO CEO Darl McBride's public relations campaign than it is a legitimate business decision on EV1's behalf. On his Web site, EV1's "head surfer" Robert Marsh said, "[We made] a prudent business decision based upon our circumstances and our customers' needs and the need to bring certainty to their businesses." EV1's operation has 20,000-plus servers, including Windows and Red Hat Linux systems. While Marsh apparently wants to parlay such certainty into a differentiator that sets EV1 apart from its competitors, I'm not convinced that his customers aren't already concern free as long as the pendulum hasn't swung in SCO's favor.
In the same post on EV1's Web site, Marsh said, "We make no endorsement of SCO nor do we make any admission as to their claims." It appears as though Marsh is trying to distance himself from SCO, but at the same time taking out an insurance policy from SCO in the form of a perpetual site license.
But where was Marsh two days ago when he announced the deal? He was on tour with SCO's McBride. That isn't the sort of distance that I'd keep from SCO if I were trying to make a business decision while also claiming that I wasn't endorsing SCO's strategy.
Now, today, on Groklaw, where the gory details of the deal between EV1 and SCO are on public display for all to see, Pamela Jones writes:
As you will see, he paid a lot less than full price, after telling SCO if he paid full price, it would put him out of business. Part of the eventual deal was he had to do media interviews to talk up the license, for which he was able to negotiate a discount, and to induce him to sign, I note he was told he'd get lots of publicity. Heaven only knows that part came true, but it wasn't favorable publicity at all. SCO specifically mentioned that Forbes and Bloomberg would be very interested in talking to him if he signed. Blech.
I'm not sure what's worse. This blantant and fraudulent manipulation of people, companies, and the press or HP's invasion of privacy. But it's a reminder that you have to be on constant watch for the cesspools in this business.