Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SCO vs Novell

Well, it is almost over. Almost a decade watching SCO fight the world + dog about Linux having the right to exist unencumbered by license fees.

AT&T originally wrote Unix and owned the majority of the intellectual property pertaining to the Operating System. AT&T licensed Unix to many people, some for money, others (universities) for educational purposes.

When BSD came along with a version of Unix, AT&T got upset and petitioned the courts to stop them. The courts said it was too late, the source code for Unix had been seen by so many people that AT&T could no longer say that they had adequately defended their property. Unix became, for most intents and purposes, free.

Novell later bought the rights to Unix. The trademark was given to the Open Group, with Novell keeping the copyrights (and/or patents) pertaining to Unix.

SCO, a Unix licensee (dating back to AT&T), was interested in purchasing the source code and certain rights to Unix/Unixware from Novell. Novell basically agreed to "give SCO the Unix business", and in turn, SCO was also allowed to sell licenses for the Unix product to others. SCO retained 5% of the license fees, with 95% going back to Novell.

When the Linux was introduced, for free, the Unix licensees took notice. A Unix like product for nothing? Every Unix vendor, including SCO, began to see their sales dropping off.

SCO had several products, SCO Unixware (previously Novell Unixware), SCO Unix, and a recently aquired Caldera Linux. SCO actively developed code on all their products.

SCO fell on very hard times. In an attempt to regain the license fee's they were not collecting, they claimed the rights to the Unix intellectual property and began to sue anybody that was considering Linux as a replacement for a SCO product.

The legal battles have dragged on. IBM, RedHat, Chrysler, AutoZone and more were attacked. The attacks depended on SCO having the right to sue.

Yesterday a jury upheld Novell's ownership of the Unix intellectual property, essentially destroying any hope SCO had for getting license fees for Linux use.

Let freedom ring.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tribute to SAMM

SAMM, my friend in Jones, OK, left this life not long ago.

June, Donna and Cindy (SAMM's daughters), and Steve (son-in-law) helped her meet the challenge of the computer age after we sent one of my retired systems out to her. SAMM was brave. Nothing held her back. Printers, scanners ... whatever. She took computing head on.

SAMM enjoyed the system, the freedom, the new friends, new ways to communicate with old friends. Seeing her on Facebook or Google talk always put a smile on my face. I'll miss not seeing her on-line ... but ... I'm sure she is facing her new life with the same resolve she had with this one.

My oldest Linux box

I have a lot of antiques around here, in computer terms. But folks ask me what the oldest production system I have is.

CPU is P5 200Mhz (2,000Mhz is common today)
RAM is 128M (2,048M is common today)
DISK is 30G (1,000G is getting common these days)
S3 video card with 8M of memory

This machine sits in my unheated attic, temperatures range from -10F to 130F.

For 8 years this machine has been running file, mail and web servers ... non-stop ... no excuses ... the only thing this machines stops for is a power outage lasting longer than the battery can hold her up. It came from the factory with Windows 98, it is running Fedora 1 now.

I also have an IBM 600e Thinkpad, 400Mhz, 198M RAM and 80G DISK running Ubuntu 9.10 (soon to be 10.4) with wireless PCMCIA and wireless mouse (the track mouse died).

I have been toying with the idea of putting Slackware on a 486-133 with 128M of RAM ... that should be interesting ....