June 11, 2004

Linux Wars

Brad DeLong points to an article about SCO vs the Open Source world (and the big guys who back Linux). SCO has claimed that the Linux OS contains SCO created source code and that anyone using Linux is in violation of SCO's copyright. If they win their claim, the Open Source community will suffer a serious, if not fatal, setback and the big software companies that supported the Open Source initiative will be badly hurt.

What is so interesting about this article is the revelation that Microsoft is actively backing SCO's push and that SCO has now hired the hottest legal technology talent, David Boies, to work on their behalf using Microsoft's dollars.

Why is this interesting? Perhaps it is because David Boies was the pitbull that was set on Microsoft in the US Government's prosecution of the antitrust case against Microsoft. Microsoft must be laughing up its sleeve that it has enabled the litigator that almost stopped them in their tracks to attack their worst nightmare: a free OS that could seriously jeopardize their monopoly and at the same time, throw a mighty damaging punch at their competitors.

Here was David Boies in 2001 when he thought that the new administration might still back the antitrust case against Microsoft. Wonder if it bothers Boies that he is now helping Microsoft maintain their monopolistic hold on PC operating systems.

Posted by Mary at June 11, 2004 08:07 AM | Technology | Technorati links |

As we curse Microsoft we must not forget who really got us into this mess. It was IBM. When they decided there was a future in PC's their influence was so overwhelming that they determined what the PC would look like. We live with the choices they made today. There were several microprocessors available at the time with 2 likely candiates; the Intel 8088 and the Motorolla 6808. They went with the Intel device, had it been me I probably would have gone with Motorolla. There were also several OS developers and they went with DOS. So next time you curse microsoft save a little curse for IBM.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at June 11, 2004 04:24 PM

True, Ron. And in fact, there was another nice little PC called Apple at that time. I think one of the better histories I've seen of that time was Robert X. Cringely's Triumph of the Nerds because it really was a lucky accident on how Gates got to be where he was with Microsoft based on IBM's choice.

Posted by: Mary at June 11, 2004 08:20 PM

An email news letter I got today says that SCO's UNIX (uh, that's \/#!% - don't want to violate their trademark!) profits are down 98% from last year, and all profits are down over 50%. They are getting desperate.

Posted by: pessimist at June 12, 2004 02:36 AM

actaully, you should curse somebody else along with IBM. back when big blue was looking for an operating system for their new PC, their first choice was CP/M, the OS from digital research in pacific grove, CA. IBM sent some representatives down to talk about a licensing deal, but they were met only by digital's VP -- not the president. (from what we understand, digital wasn't feeling any great pressure to deal with IBM since they were already selling CP/M to a raft of other micro manufacturers of the day) feeling snubbed, IBM called microsoft and asked whether they had an OS. Gates et al lied and said yes, then quickly bought Q-DOS, an OS developed by a seattle company, and slapped microsoft's name on it. the rest is history.

so if the president of digital research had had just a little more foresight, we'd likely have computers running some updated flavor of CP/M.

Posted by: Magpie at June 13, 2004 08:25 AM