Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 11/10/2006 More news from America, where the serpent of the SCO vs IBM lawsuit is stirring in its sleep.
Written by Rupert Goodwins, Contributor

Wednesday 11/10/2006

More news from America, where the serpent of the SCO vs IBM lawsuit is stirring in its sleep. The latest information — and the one thing in the past three-and-a-half years that rings the truest — comes from Larry Goldfarb, one of the chaps in charge of BayStar, an investment vehicle that coughed up $50m for SCO just before the company strapped on the breastplate of truth and grasped the trusty sword of righteousness, all the better to ride out into the Utah night and save fair maiden from evil dragon.

So far, the evil dragon is winning. However, Larry has now put a sworn deposition into the court saying that he was promised — PROMISED — that the dragon would turn tail and flee at the first sight of Brave Sir Darl, leaving a Huge Pile of Gold for all to share (especially Larry). And even if that didn't happen, he was promised — PROMISED — that the mighty king ensconced in Castle Redmond would see him right, know what I mean, guv?

Based on those promises, Larry handed over the Baystar bucks. It didn't take long for him to have misgivings, although he doesn't say exactly when he had the first nagging suspicions that in grown-up land, promises made without legally binding contracts are worth little more than fairy tales.

Perhaps it was when SCO's legal counsel didn't manage to show Larry the copper-bottomed evidence it said it had, which guaranteed the court case. Perhaps it was when Microsoft stopped returning his calls. Perhaps it was when he told SCO that he'd rather they concentrated on the lawsuit than making software which, if they lost, would be worth nothing, and if they won would be insignificant — and SCO ignored him.

In the end, the court statement sighs, he cashed in his chips and walked away some $35m the poorer. This is a fascinating insight into the way money works over there, and leaves me full of wonder.

According to Larry, three senior named Microsoft people were directly involved in convincing BayStar to hand over the money — something Microsoft has chosen not to deny.

No doubt we can expect some interesting statements to come from those people, courtesy of the IBM lawyers. In fact, there's a whole slew of new court documents coming to light, including — to his delight — an article by our very own Graeme "Scoop" Wearden, who also gets mentioned in dispatches by PJ at Groklaw for his recent article on the Goldfarb statement, which hooks in a lot of useful background. Which was, of course, triggered by Groklaw bringing the thing into the light in the first place.

One set of people have good ideas, then other people add their own particular brand of useful, so both sets of people receive a handsome return on their investments — and everyone else gets it for free.

Editorial standards