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SCO Plans to Bill 1,000 US Linux Users by October

SCO Plans to Bill 1,000 US Linux Users by October

Before the end of this month, according to a CNET Report, about 1,000 Linux users in the US will find an invoice from the SCO Group in their mail - threatening court action if the users fail to pay. SCO will concentrate on US corporate Linux users in its first round of billing, but eventually companies in the UK and Europe will be invoiced as well.

Blake Stowell, director of public relations at SCO, estimates that roughly 2.5 million servers are running Linux based on the 2.4 kernel, and all of the owners of these servers could face billing from SCO.

"Companies that refuse to pay the invoice may need to have this resolved through the courts, which we're very willing to do. But our hope is that we never have to take that step," said Stowell.

"SCO has to protect its copyrights and, if we have to use the courts to enforce those, we certainly will."

The CNET report observes that "sending invoices, while a more-aggressive move, still stops short of the kind of legal action the company has threatened before" and reminds that in July, SCO Chief Executive Darl McBride described the licensing program as "a solution that...gets you square with the use of Linux, without having to go to the courtroom."

Stowell's position is that the invoices mark an intermediate stage in SCO's efforts to get a company to pay up, before taking it to court, but in the meantime the company has plenty to occupy it: the German Linux advocacy group LinuxTag has brought a suit against it barring an SCO letter sent to 1,500 large companies, warning them that using Linux could pose legal problems.

CNET explains: "SCO removed some sections of its Web site to comply with the judge's order. However, LinuxTag then told the court SCO was violating the order by showing its business partners a link to the letter, and the court agreed and fined SCO 10,000 euros ($10,800)--a ruling that SCO has appealed."

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Most Recent Comments
Birte Tevs 07/22/04 12:05:37 PM EDT

All Inclusive Urlaub und Pauschalurlaub Angebote. Hier können Sie Ihren All Inclusive Urlaub Last Minute, oder frühzeitig buchen. Darunter auch zahlreiche Club Urlaub und Pauschalreise Angebote.

Ferienhaus Bretagne 02/25/04 05:05:18 AM EST

that still leaves some of the code copyrighted by someone other than SCO. So, if I don't want to pay the fee, how do I separate SCO code from the non-SCO code unless they tell me?
I hope they send just one invoice to someone with backbone and financial means. I would think then that someone could force SCO to show the lines they think they own.
Ferienhaus Bretagne, Ferienhäuser Toskana.

Ferienhaus Dänemark 02/25/04 05:04:20 AM EST

that still leaves some of the code copyrighted by someone other than SCO. So, if I don't want to pay the fee, how do I separate SCO code from the non-SCO code unless they tell me?
I hope they send just one invoice to someone with backbone and financial means. I would think then that someone could force SCO to show the lines they think they own.
Ferienhaus Dänemark, Toskana.

Ferienhäuser Toskana 02/25/04 05:02:45 AM EST

So ein Ferienhaus in der Toskana ist eine der schönsten Sachen der Welt.

Mark 12/14/03 01:07:09 PM EST

Now I made it out why many people turned to BSD. I was wondering why it is becoming that popular nowadays. :)

Janine Gwether 12/14/03 06:30:25 AM EST

I don't believe SCO will do this.

Jason Glove 12/14/03 06:25:59 AM EST

Interesting headline, I hope that won't happen.

tim dewery 11/16/03 11:00:36 AM EST

Surely I believe the law in the US won't let them get away with this.

Grover Righter 11/08/03 11:46:35 PM EST

I have moved several servers over to FreeBSD to avoid the risk of getting an invoice. I do not trust the SCO Group. (BTW, this is really Caldera. They bought the SCO name when they bought other properties. What a shame. While the old SCO had some hard times, they did seek to be better Un*x people than this lot by far.)

Cesare 10/30/03 07:49:14 PM EST

It's about time to put the SEC on Mr. McBride/SCO 's tail for manipulating SCO 's stock exchange value

Steve Jones 10/29/03 12:10:24 PM EST

While the articles are interesting reminiscences, I was going by my personal experience of being an OS/2 developer and User Group contributor at the time, having sold my own commercial software for it and developed and trained other developers in it since version 1.0 in 1987. IMHO OS/2 was dead at version 2.1, having failed in its battle with Windows to be the replacement for DOS. OS/2 1.3 was great, true secure multitasking in 3MB on a 286, but IBM released the first 32 bit version, 2.0, well before it was finished and admitted at the time that it wouldn't really be ready until 2.1. Windows was bug-ridden, but OS/2 was marketed as the robust and crash-proof alternative, and when people found that it crashed just as often as Windows, didn't really run Windows apps, and had very little software of its own, they didn't see any point.
At the time I was running seminars on 'the battle of the desktop' which was a basically a comparison of Windows vs OS/2, and Unix/Linux etc generated almost no interest - at the time Unix was suffering from having so many incompatible variants even just on the PC that it was not taken seriously as a desktop OS. OS/2 was not Unix-based in any way, shape or form, by the way, which seems very strange looking back.
By the time IBM introduced OS/2 Warp version 3, Windows was already firmly established and the battle was then to try to replace it. I remember being on an exhibition stand for the OS/2 user group at the time, trying to argue the benefits of reliability, true multitasking etc, but joe public wasn't interested. And yes, at this time various Unixes were also joining the fight, but the battle for the mainstream desktop was already lost (meaning that if you bought some desktop software from a shop, it was assumed it would run on Windows, nobody even asked any more). We could have a long discussion about marketing here, but the fact that 'Warp' was intended to mean 'warp speed' but IBM's marketing department changed this to mean warped as in 'bent' sums it up.
In 1996 I got some marketing from IBM telling me that Windows NT should be my server of choice, and IBM the best partner to support it, which I took as their final admission of defeat.
Microsoft have two major divisions, legal and marketing, together with a small offshoot that writes software. Their marketing strength killed OS/2, and their legal team killed Netscape (which had definitely stopped breathing and begun to smell before open source got involved). It was also distressing how the US president let them off the legal hook over this. Two things that are causing Microsoft distress at this time are Java, thanks to open source initiatives like Apache Tomcat, and security, due to the vastly superior software also coming out of the Apache project. Linux is great, and finally gives us a standard PC Unix to develop for, but on the desktop it still has the same problem OS/2 Warp had - why should I change if I'm happy with Windows.
I've been in this game since the 70s and every few years there is a discussion about how an alternative commercial product is going to kill Microsoft, but it never happens. Open source just might.
By the way - OS/2 Warp was basically free software. You could buy it for less than the cost of the floppy disks it came on. People really did buy it and reformatted the disks.

Chojin 10/29/03 11:03:08 AM EST

Steve Jones, please take a look:

"Linux vs. Windows NT and OS/2
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 1994 by Bernie Thompson"



And that's just a small article I found in a few secs searching on Google that's talking about Linux Vs. both OS/2 and NT at the time of writing... that was 1994...

And just another article to remember some of OS/2 story:

That points out that in 1994 IBM released OS/2 Warp .. that was v.3.0

Windows 3.x and NT were full of bugs as well, they were less advanced than OS/2.
Yeah, IBM had poor marketing and its management didn't have a clue about what to do with OS/2 after all.. BUT.. Microsoft was way worse AND Linux existed at the time.

It's a fact that Linux actually helped kicking OS/2 out of the market. Since OS/2 was the only commercial OS with UNIX derived elements that IBM was putting on desktop from its estabilished commercial UNIXes like AIX.
I bet that if Linux didn't appear to destroy Microsoft competitors then we would have seen a new version of OS/2 with many more UNIX elements and a totally revised architecture.
What's for sure is that if a new non-commercial product appears that's given away for free and resembles UNIX environments because almost all of its code has been copied from original UNIXes as its the case with Linux, then whoever didn't want to buy Microsoft product and support Microsoft monopoly was left with the option to get another OS for free and so completely abandoned OS/2 and any other competitors.

That's the only thing that Linux and the open-source community actually achieved thru the years. They allowed Microsoft to actually estabilish its OS monopoly and avoid any competitors to enter the market. The same happened with Netscape Vs. InternetExplorer... The open-source movements actually killed Netscape as a competitor although at the time it was much better than IE..

If SCO would be successfull in getting 100% full copyright over all Linux source code and stop the open-source thing then maybe in the not so distant future it might decide to compete with Microsoft.. unless SCO has "some sort of agreements" with MS as well, just like the open-source movements obviously had to help Microsoft kick all competitors out of the market whenever someone had a chance to give Mr.Gates some troubles...

Steve Jones 10/29/03 10:18:32 AM EST

Sorry, off subject but I couldn't let Chojin get away with blatant misinformation like that. OS/2 was a real commercial product by the biggest of big companies, IBM. It was killed by Windows, the fact that version 2.0 was full of bugs, and unbelievably poor marketing. Absolutely nobody was talking about Linux at the time of its demise, it was a straight battle between OS/2 and Windows.

Chojin 10/28/03 06:03:40 PM EST

The truth is that Linux was first assembled by copying commercial UNIXes codes and that's the reason why now SCO and other groups can decide to sue.
If the Linux community was smarter it would have done what DiVX Network did. They first hacked and copied a beta MPEG4 Microsoft Codec, then to avoid being sued by Microsoft they first started the Project Mayo which only made the XviD as open-source while the DiVX one became a real commercial application. DiVX and XviD were re-coded from scratch, probably by learning some "Microsoft tweaks" using reverse-engineering and such but they should have recoded everything from scratch and should have used non-Microsoft code for hacked DiVX 3.11 compatibility.

Now, if Torvalds and the Linux community ever cared about being a bit smarter then they would have replaced all the Linux code, practically recoding everything from scratch in a different way.
Instead commercial UNIXes code is still everywhere and many "contributors" probably added commercial code to it over the years, instead of putting different code than that they were using at work....
This is what , as per pure logic, has happened with Linux.

Anyway, I don't care about open-source.
Linux would be useful IF AND ONLY IF it was a real commercial product with either a big Company or a consortium of Companies behind it and with true industry support and APIs.

If SCO or any other manages to stop Linux and open-source and then decides to re-release a new commercial, customized, standardized version of it then it would be much better for everyone in the long run. In a few years or maybe even less Microsoft could face some real competition since the demise of OS/2 which was caused by Linux too, other than big IBM management mistakes.

Richard Hamilton 10/15/03 12:49:45 AM EDT

What's a matter $C0? Trying to fund your lawsuit with extortion money? Save your postage stamp money for the trail and just send a bill to HP for their customers. I'm sure they'll pay you if their customer's don't. Customer's and HP will probably buy ocean front propery in Oklahoma before they pay you. Oh, if you do get some one to actually pay you. Let me know who they are. I've got a sweet deal on a bridge they can by.

Fred Grott 10/14/03 09:05:38 PM EDT

Under the US Fari Credit act of he arly 1970s its illegal to send out an invoice that is fradualent and the penalyt is $10,000 per infraction..

Since SCO cannot charge users with copyright infringement as its illegal under most laws.

No invoices will be sent out..

You can only recoop damages in copyright infringment from the infringer..users are not defined as infringers under copyright law..

Please darly send me an invoice, I infact dare you!

Stephen Hutcheson 10/14/03 09:02:33 PM EDT

No, a company paying a license fee does not count as any kind of legal precedent. When Honeywell took on Univac (30 years ago), contesting the validity of the patents that (at that time) had every other computer company paying large royalties, all that mattered was: could Honeywell find prior art? They did, and the patents were toast, and everyone else _stopped_ paying license fees.

Tsu Dho Nimh 10/14/03 08:45:01 PM EDT

"SCO has to protect its copyrights and, if we have to use the courts to enforce those, we certainly will."

Utterly ludicrous. You don't protect copyrights with invoices and threats of legal action to collect the fees you are invoicing for. You protect them by filing suits against the infringers (not the end users, the actual infringers) in a federal court, using USC-17 (US Copyright law) as the basis for the complaint.

Richard McKenzie 10/14/03 06:08:11 PM EDT

The reality is IBM is in bed with US Govt for the RFID chips for inventory and later on for lowjacking people. These contracts are worth billions for IBM and if US Govt was a discount, they will have to deal with SCO. Eventually, this will get stopped.

alain 10/09/03 03:03:56 PM EDT

Darling MCBride is smart enough to jack up SCO's stock with his publicity stunt of suing the biggest IT company, then the whole planet. If he can exit with the jacked price then he laughs to the bank and doesn't care that you know he cheated. However, Darl MCPride may not be smart enough to exit in time and, I predict (because like a Hollywood star who can't resist the attention, whatever type it is) he gets caught in IBM's return salvo.

Ken 09/25/03 03:30:49 AM EDT

Let's face it. SCO just sucks. They can bill me all they want. They can pry my linux disto from my cold dead hands. Until then piss off.

wpsmoke 09/23/03 07:17:38 PM EDT

I think David Boies was initiallly impressed by the The SCO Groups "duplicated code" presentations and perhaps a little dazzled at the prospect of taking down IBM for buckets of money. But once he became more informed in the matter I believe he is started to personally disassociate with the case.

I don't believe invoices will ever be issued. It is a legal minefield. I further do not believe SCO will ever appear in court against IBM. They tried to bluster with the aim of being brought out and did not succeed.

My opinion is Darl MCBride will have brought in the four consecutive profitable quarters (thanks to negotiated payments from Microsoft) that are required for his reimbursement scheme to pay off big for him personally, value in the company will have been drained off by various mechanisms back toward the parent Canopy Group and the company will be declared insolvent.

IBM lawyers, the ones that beat the US government, understand all this (and more). They are circling like sharks but the focus of their attention, I feel, must be the Canopy Group itself not the puppet structure of the SCO Group and it's short term hire, Darl McBride.

If I were Ralph Yarro, one of his friends or investors, I would be very very worried. It has not worked out to the original plan and any ammended plan will only delay the inevitable.

For well researched background I suggest visiting


Julio Monroy 09/19/03 01:56:48 PM EDT

Sending an invoice does not necessaarily amount to mail fraud. Do you think David Boies, who has a client list of companies that make billions, would allow the executives to make that step and risk fraud charges? Highly unlikely.

Just because you get an invoice, no one is putting a gun to your head to pay.

Now if, within the demand letter, they threatened to sue if they did not pay the demanded license fee, now that is an enttirely different case. For now they are in safe waters.

It's amazing how stupid Mr, McBride appears. While Ralph Yarro and Ray Noorda are beaming with delight in regards to their avaricious CEO, the general public thinks much less. Narcissistic, egotistical, greedy, ignorant are words that come to mind when I hear the name Darl McBride.

Dee-Ann LeBlanc 09/08/03 04:27:07 PM EDT

There seems to be this sentiment that SCO will pay people back if they lose. They have already publicaly stated that they will do no such thing. If you pay them, the money is theirs. No refunds.

finiteman 09/07/03 02:36:13 PM EDT

SCO is just hedging thier bets. Even though thier claims are sketchy at best they are aware that many large companies are conservative and will lay down rather than fight back. They also know that billing individual users would not work as most of us in the community are activists in spirit if not in the flesh. Here is the downside, if SCO can get companies to pay they have set a new precedence that would be difficult to reverse after the fact. Not to mention that if they loose they could go bankrupt before paying back a red cent to anyone. In conclusion, if thier claims are true(lol) they win. If thier claims are false they win.

alandd 09/05/03 06:51:35 PM EDT

Assuming that SCO's claims are true and much of the 2.4 kernel code is "controlled" by them, that still leaves some of the code copyrighted by someone other than SCO. So, if I don't want to pay the fee, how do I separate SCO code from the non-SCO code unless they tell me?

I hope they send just one invoice to someone with backbone and financial means. I would think then that someone could force SCO to show the lines they think they own.

Invoiced company: "Your honor, I want to comply with the license by removing the code SCO aleges to own but they won't tell me what code that is."

Judge: "SCO, show the code."

SCO: "We can't, your honor, because then they won't pay."

Judge: "That's extortion. Invoice dismissed. You are under arrest."

as6s 09/05/03 04:01:13 PM EDT

Now if all those people getting bills would turn around and file a small claims suit against SCO, we would be 1/4 the way to saturating there lawyer bandwidth. ;)

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Mike Gordon 09/05/03 04:59:56 AM EDT

I think they are hoping that some companies will pay it. The liscense will cost substantially more if SCO wins the lawsuit. If they loose, they will probably only have to pay back what they made, and not a dime more. So, the way I see it, they put themselves in a win/win situation. New revenue from cheaper liscenses now, will result in stock rising stock prices, whether or not they win the suit.

Derek Snider 09/05/03 12:42:28 AM EDT

I don't see how SCO can seriously justify such an action before an official ruling has been made in their favor. They have become a public nuisance and will have to pay the consequences of their indiscretions.

Shaun Marolf 09/04/03 06:32:16 PM EDT

Actually I hope SCO sends me an Invoice so I can sue them for illegal billing. I will also file a complaint with the FTC and the US Post Office immediately for Scam and Fraud. SCO has not proven they have any legal claim to Linux yet (nor do I think they will be able to prove it) and until such time the course they are taking definitely smacks of fraud. Just my 2 cents.

Dean Kutryk 09/04/03 03:05:58 PM EDT

I think that if SCO goes ahead and gambles in this way that they should either win or else if they don't win than they should face criminal charges resulting in prison sentances. This is definately criminal activity if you ask me.

mauricio 09/04/03 03:03:23 PM EDT

I don't know how the things work on US, but in my country, if you receive a letter like that, you can go to a police station and fill a complain of black mail and extorsion; see, as far any person could tell, the linux is free, and SCO would first prove they have any right over it before demand something.

Jez 09/04/03 08:00:52 AM EDT

Hey, good idea, maybe we should all do this. Get a lawyer to write a contract which costs $500 and promises nothing other than the fact that we (probably) won't sue the person who buys one. Then mail it out to a bunch of people and hope some are gullable!

Bruce Burns 09/04/03 06:30:04 AM EDT

How do we know that SCO did not copy the could from Linux to thier Unix?

vikas 09/04/03 12:09:33 AM EDT

i would doubt that sco will do this before gettign any thign substential to prove that linux/unix uses sco code.Or it si a gimmick with microsoft GOD knows or bill knows

Mitch 09/03/03 07:34:36 PM EDT

I would doubt that anyone will actually receive an invoice from SCO, especially considering the doubt around their claims and their refusal so far to provide any verifiable proof.

As for BSD:

BSD has a flaw in their copyright which makes it deadly for the open source community.

EAC 09/03/03 05:16:19 PM EDT

One more reason to use *BSD....this is getting out of hand.