Tuesday: SCO plays King Kong

Tuesday 17/06/2003I've been avoiding the SCO Versus The World story: there's no shortage of outraged punditry to choose from, and in the absence of solid evidence from SCO to back up its claims one can but shake one's head sadly and hope it's over soon. But today's news, that SCO has revoked IBM's AIX licence and wants all copies of the software destroyed, is just breathtaking.

Tuesday 17/06/2003
I've been avoiding the SCO Versus The World story: there's no shortage of outraged punditry to choose from, and in the absence of solid evidence from SCO to back up its claims one can but shake one's head sadly and hope it's over soon. But today's news, that SCO has revoked IBM's AIX licence and wants all copies of the software destroyed, is just breathtaking. Together with the company's complaint that Linus Torvalds is unwilling to identify the intellectual property of each component in Linux, it marks yet another step into some deep corporate neurosis, where the real world seems increasingly detached from wherever the company imagines itself. As Linus himself points out, the nature of the Linux process means that every contribution to the source is superbly well documented. Much more than for commercial, closed-source software. And if SCO sees itself as staying in the software business, then telling everyone who may be inadvertently using their intellectual property that they must destroy it -- presumably at great inconvenience and expense -- instead of offering them a proper transfer programme is utterly self-defeating. I'm reminded of Donkey Kong, the charmingly surreal video game involving a large hairy gorilla hurtling barrels at a tiny character called Mario (whatever happened to him?). Universal decided that it was a rip-off of King Kong, and proceeded to launch huge lawsuits at everyone involved. For the whole process, it told anyone who'd listen that it had an impeccable case, that it was going to give Nintendo a right good spanking and that such an abysmal travesty deserved to get slapped down properly. Several companies caught up in the firestorm caved in and paid up, but Nintendo stuck it out -- and when it came to court, Universal had no case whatsoever. Corporate bluster doesn't count. Facts count.

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