Open Source Criminals ???

OK. In addition to my normal disclaimer, please read the following only if you accept that the opinions expressed here are solely my one and may not be shared by my employer or my co-workers.


I often read the musings over at Slashdot. Not because I think there is anything of real strategic value to be found there anymore (not like their earlier days) but simply for comic value. The forums are regularly rife with ramblings of conspiracy theories, all of which purport to be driven by Microsoft. The only valid “Microsoft Conspiracy” that I’ve ever been aware of is the one where we strive to deliver maximum value to our shareholders and customers.


But if you want to talk about conspiracy theories, let’s look at some interesting circumstantial evidence against some fraction of the open source community.


Earlier this year the MyDoom.B virus (more here) was running around the internet. United States Federal Law defines this activity as criminal.


Now you don’t have to be a genius to guess that many of the hack attacks focused on and Microsoft technology originate in the radical “non-commercial” competitive community.


Recently, The SCO Group began legal actions concerning Linux and SCO’s contention that Linux distributions encroach on SCO’s intellectual property rights.


Needless to say, the Linux/GPL community is very unhappy about this. They seem to feel that the value of intellectual property should not be owned or protected at all.


Now here’s the suspicious part, when Doom.B started attacking in February, it also attacked According to eWeek magazine’s “The Buzz”  (2-9-04) “Microsoft’s main web site showed no ill effects”, but MyDoom (A & B) attacks “completely crippled”


Mmmmmmm, a criminal developer or developers that started out attacking Microsoft  suddenly decide to include SCO in their criminal activities. Who might Microsoft and SCO have as a common detractor. (Especially early this year.)


I could guess where to look, and I wish I knew who the culprits are. I could use the money.


Think of how bad it might be if they had SOURCE code for Windows & SCO Unix on which to base their crimes. J


Do you think this was just a coincidence ???




PS: I’ve disabled comments for this post. Thanks to all who participated in an intelligent discussion. Unfortunately a couple of folks did as I expected and dropped by to offer personal insults and name calling.


My interest in the dichotomy of the targeted MyDoom victims seemed less interesting to my feedbackers that an opportunity to hammer SCO (and me J )


This post was simply predicated on the “coincidence” highlighted in eWeek magazine.


For the record, I love competition (personal and professional) and I use some open source software. I’m NOT anti-OSS, but I not a fan of the GPL.


I’m not defending SCO or making a legal judgment about their lawsuit. What I am doing is suggesting that there are hacking criminals out there whose affiliation can be defined to include a dislike for anything that competes with Linux (and I’m not endorsing competition by litigation, though some folks seem fine with that model when it is to their advantage.)


Malicious hackers are not just costing Microsoft. They are costing everyone who uses a computer.  SCO’s lawsuit is one issue – hacker’s criminal activities are another

Comments (10)
  1. Fer says:


    SCO has been suffering from supposed DOS attacks ever since they first started ranting about their ridiculous Linux and Unix claims. Not only did they not suffer from those DOS atacks, their claims on Linux and Unix are also blatently wrong and misleading. is a target because of its sheer size and presence, not because it’s the target of some grass roots campaign to wipe out all commercial software. SCO might have been a target, but in all likelihood played it up for all it was worth, just as they have been doing in the past.

    And you’ve bought into their hype. Duh.

  2. Joe Stagner says:

    Hey, an ANONYMOUS descenting opinion – what a suprise.

    You said "their claims on Linux and Unix are also blatently wrong and misleading". Based on what actual information (rather than GPL Hype) do you base your opinion.

    Acquaintances of mine in the technical media (and not Microsofties) have seen bits of the code in question and feel the court system should decide.

    Why shouldn’t SCO have the right to have their day in court ?

    After all, I’ve heard a lot of OPINION about how wrong SCO is, but I haven’t heard ANY facts that support the Open Source Community’s contention.

    Perhaps we need a new legal ruling. It’s O.K. to steal stuff as long as after you steal it – you give what you stole away for free ??

    Anyway, it seems clear to me that the issue will be litigated. (… and litigated, and litigated.)

    That my opinion differs from yours doesn’t mean I’ve “bough hype” but rather it means that I think SCO’s question deserves an answer.


  3. Joe, I think that your opinion on the SCO cause is based on hype. I don’t know how anyone who has actually looked at the lack of facts presented by SCO (and SCO’s inability to present any facts to the courts when asked) can believe there is anything to this case other than a dying company’s last grasps at cash.

    SCO will not have a day in court. The case will be dismissed due to SCO’s inability to present a case.

    This has been going on too long for me to relay everything I am basing my opinions on, a search on Google news will supply you with more than enough information.

    Disclaimer: I make every penny of my income via MS-based products and have for years. The only Linux I own is a Knoppix CD and I don’t plan on using Linux for anything in the near future.

  4. Joe Stagner says:

    Thanks for the follow up Shannon.

    You say that your opinion is not based on Anti-Microsoft sentiment, and I say mine is not based on hype.

    The legal system in this country says we have the right to have a court of law decide whether or not we have been wronged. The data that I have been privy to indicates that SCO has a valid request to be heard. In our (USA) legal system a LACK of evidence can not be used as proof of anything.

    If SCO is given the opportunity and fails to make a case – then they will have had their day in court – and they will have lost. (Which may well happen.)

    …. and just because I work for Microsoft doesn’t mean I’m anti-Non-Microsoft. (I especially dig PHP)

    I just think it’s possible that Torvalds nipped some IP and I SCO should have the opportunity to TRY to prove their case.

    In any event – thansk for the exchange.

    PS: I checked out your blog – interesting stuff.


  5. "I just think it’s possible that Torvalds nipped some IP "

    Not sure if it is you or me, but one of us doesn’t understand what this case is about. When was Linus brought into this? The suit against IBM doesn’t involve Linus as far as I know. SCO had threatened (on TV) to sue him for patent infringement but that is the only thing I had heard about Torvalds.

  6. Joe Stagner says:


    To my orrigional understanding, one of the original parts of the claim (and I’m not necessarily referring to the IBM lawsuit as I have not read the filing) was that portions of the Linux Kernel code was "lifted" from code whose copyright SCO had acquired.

    Since Linus has been the primary developer of the Kernel, I assume that he would factor into that discussion.

    Like personal damages lawsuits, I suspect IP litigation will get VERY polluted before trial traffic reduces to only the truly necessary cases.

    I’m curious as to your opinion. Since SCO seems only to be perusing it’s issues with large companies, what do you think would happen to Linux as a whole IF SCO prevailed in court ?

    The likes of IBM and HP have the pockets, but wouldn’t the finding of a copyright violation in the Linux Kernel break the whole Linux development model ?


  7. SCO is suing IBM for breaking their contract and also for copyright violation. If Linus worked at IBM at the time and nipped the code, as you say, then your understanding is correct.

    SCO is going after a couple large-ish companies for using Linux but decided against going after the "big dogs". I would be much more interested in the case if they had gone after BofA as they had originally considered doing. The fact that they went after AutoZone instead makes me down their commitment to Sparkle Motion. Er… I mean I have to question their confidence in their case.

    If the Novell case goes to SCO, then the AutoZone case has a chance, otherwise, it will be dismissed. The IBM case would probably be dropped as well, but perhaps not all of it.

    If SCO won the Novell, IBM, and AutoZone cases, then BofA and the rest of the Linux world would be right under the gun, so to speak. I would suspect this could be a good thing for MS-based developers, but I don’t know. I think that many companies would just pay the SCO license fee and continue as before. Contrary to what many people say, licensing cost is not a factor in OS decisions when compared to other factors (preferred language, stability, customization, ease of the above, etc).

    BUT… I do not know the legal basis for the AutoZone suit. Would a jury make me pay for licensing costs for using Linux when my source claimed it was fully legal? A very similar claim was made not too long ago regarding some MS SQL Server code and I thought as little of that as I do of SCO’s claims against AutoZone.

    As for what would happen to Linux, the offending code (if it existed) would be removed (with a blinding quickness) and the "paper trail" of all code would become much more thorough. I assume the latter will undoubtedly happen regardless.

  8. Anon says:

    So not only are Open Source developers thieves we/they are also digital vandals?

    I’m sorry to say I think someone has been spinning you a line … and you bought it.

    Human beings most of them you know, nice ones too on the whole 🙂 Also actually quite bright, OSS developers don’t need to steal code or IP.

  9. Simon says:


    So far all code that SCO have demonstrated has been in the public domain, or licensed under a bsd style license prior to being incorporated into SCO’s unix.

    I tend to use whatever product is right for a job, so I can stand back and see myself as relatively unbiased. Obviously not completely unbiased, since nobody is.

    My opinion based on my current knowledge: SCO is a fraud.

    They are attempting to defraud their investors, and succeeding – the Linux IPO case is a mute point – so far the actual court proceedings have been extremely unfavourable to them; for example they now have a deadline to show proof since they simply haven’t before and another case between them and Novell has been thrown out completely – Novell have more than adequate proof to say that they really own the code SCO is using in this dispute.

    Since Novell have ownership of the unix codebase, the point is mute. Since when you read the license IBM have with Novell for a copy of that codebase it states it permits reuse and is irrevocable, the point is also mute. Even if the code was copied, it was copied from Novell’s IP – who you are likely aware are perfectly happy with this since they’re heavily Linux oriented now.

    That is before even getting into the realm of the GPL – which is just one more license. And SCO did ship a copy of Linux, with the offending code in, under the GPL. It was their choice to ship it with that license – which surely is just another nail in the coffin, correct?

    Lastly, don’t get me started on security through obscurity. It is a stupid idea – your product, and the linux products, and any other like TronOS should be able to survive an attack even with the source code available to the attackers. Otherwise you’re shipping something that is flawed.

    Stand by some decent principles like protecting your work when you try to justify things, don’t use a false sense of security as your reasoning.

    I for one couldn’t care less if the source code for Windows 2003 server was available in academic institutions, available to just licensees, or everyone on the net – I would still use it as it is a better product.

    When Linux supercedes it, as it did with Windows 2000, I will happily use Linux instead.

    When Windows Longhorn server comes out, if it is better than Linux I will use it.

  10. Simon says:

    > So far all code that SCO have demonstrated has been in the public domain, or licensed under a bsd style license prior to being incorporated into SCO’s unix.

    I would like to reiterate that they removed the copyright notice placed there by the original authors, as is not permitted by a bsd license. So basically they are in breach of copyright if the original authors ever decide to go get them.

    This is what happened in a case a long time ago between AT&T and I believe berkley university. The case was settled, but it would have eaten both alive for copyright infringement as they were both doing it.

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