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Don't say nothing to the SCO cops, Gartner advises Linux users

High performance systems? You seen any high performance systems, Rico?

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Is it just us, or could Gartner's latest advice for Linux-packing corporations have similar application in slightly different contexts? Is it, do you think, perhaps the kind of language Edward G Robinson might understand?

Gartner kicks off normally enough, sagely observing that SCO looks in some danger of being eaten by its own lawyers, but the concluding recommendations are somewhat wackier than usual. In the spirit of the top-level free consultancy for which The Reg is justly famous, we have inserted the appropriate legal language:

Keep a low profile and do not divulge details of Linux deployments.
"The cops! Quick, get a tarpaulin over that... Linux deployments? Oh no, no, we wuz at Rigoletto's..."

Until a judgment in a case would unequivocally warrant it, Linux users should not pay SCO the license fees it has asked for to settle its allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights.
"We don't owe youse punks nuttin' - come in and get it if you think you're tough enough, copper..."

Do not permit SCO to audit your premises without legal authorization.
"You ain't coming in without a warrant..."

Your legal counsel should monitor developments and understand the infringement claims.
"My client was at Rigoletto's. Do you have a warrant?"

Pressure high-profile Linux vendors to contractually guarantee against infringement claims by covering court costs. Evaluate Hewlett-Packard's willingness to indemnify Linux customers.
"Gee, wouldn't it be just awful if SCO found out what goes on at Rigoletto's?"

Fence off the innocuous Linux deployments (such as network-edge solutions) from the performance-intensive ones. Where feasible, delay deployment of high-performance systems until the end of 1Q04 to see what SCO will do.
"Just a few soft drinks and people going about their lawful business here, officer. No, we don't know nothin' about those bottles you dredged out of the river..."

If high-performance Linux systems are in production, develop plans that would enable a quick changeover in case SCO wins a favorable judgment and requires the Linux kernel code to be substantially changed. Unix systems are the best alternatives.
"Is there gas in the car? Yes there's gas in the car..."

For customers of SCO Open Server and UnixWare, an unfavorable judgment could cause SCO to cease operations or sell itself. That could harm future support and maintenance. Just in case, prepare a plan for migrating to another platform within two years.
"Machinegun MacBride's in way over his head and he's hocked himself to the DC mob. We'll need to work with somebody legit when prohibition ends. What about Noodles McNealy?"

The full Gartner advisory, by George "Scarface" Weiss, is available here. ®

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