Is Darl McBride really as evil as he is made out to be?

Back in June, there was a protest by Linux users at SCO headquarters, which received some coverage in the press, including here on Groklaw. I now have a transcript of the conversation between SCO CEO Darl McBride and the protesters. I've also listened to the tape to verify the accuracy of the transcript, and you can do the same if you can play .ogg files, here. There are a couple of places where the sound isn't clear, so I've indicated that in the transcript.

McBride talks about a number of issues, such as SGI, whether SCO intended to sue end users or commercial only, how and when they discovered the alleged "infringement", Caldera's contributions to Linux, and whether Debian is a safe version of GNU/Linux to use because of its noncommercial nature. He also tells them that SCO isn't interested in suing individual users or even small commercial users. Its beef, he says, is with the "Unix vendor community", UNIX-licensing companies switching to Linux and donating code to Linux so they don't have to pay any more royalties to SCO for Unix code, "the vendors that are getting an economic incentive to reducing the amount of royalties that they pay by virtue of taking our property and putting it into Linux, then turn around and saying it's a free system." He mentions that they were talking about 64-way systems, not home users.

He also says they found "hundreds of thousands of lines of code that are infringing against our contracts." Note the plural on contracts. He claims the increase in functionality in Linux is because of "vendors" that SCO has "confidentiality agreements" with. Again, note the plural.

A lot has changed since June, but it's clear that when this began, SCO had in mind a very small pool of targets, UNIX vendors being a small group of companies. What stands out is that I think you'll see how polite the Linux group is, how friendly the conversation was even when strong points were being made by each side, McBride praising them several times and at the end thanking them for their input and calling them "awesome". How different this reality is from the ugly portrait he has tried to paint in the media of users of GNU/Linux software allegedly "attacking" SCO. And when you hear or read it, ask yourself, how accurate were news reports of this event? But judge for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

I for one, have changed my opinion of the SCO situation after reading this article. Ok, certain elements of their claims are... dubious, but you can see to a certain extent some of the legitimacies of their claimes.

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News source: Slashdot

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