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Neutered SCO no longer on the offensive

McBride puts lawsuits on hold

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IDG News Service's reporter Robert McMillan must have a soothing tone because he appears to have tamed one of the IT world's most vocally savage beasts - SCO's CEO Darl McBride.

McMillan pushed McBride on a number of points during a recent interview, goading the SCO chief into declaring that his company will not pursue any more lawsuits against Linux users and forcing McBride to admit the SCOsource licensing program has been far from a success. McBride's tone differed dramatically from his usual end of capitalism, everyone must pay rants. One might go so far as to suggest the Unix IP battle has gotten to McBride in a big way.

"I think right now we've got the claims in front of the various courts that we need in order to get our complaints heard and to get them argued and to get resolution," McBride told IDG News Service. "With respect to being more vocal or going after new targets at the customer level, we don't see the need for that. We had the need to get the basic issues on the table, but we're fine to argue the merits of what we have out there right now (in) the current litigation setting."

Compare this to McBride's comments back in March when SCO filed suits against AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler. At that time, McBride likened SCO to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), saying a steady stream of lawsuits may be the only way to deal with Linux users. "We believe that the legal actions that we have taken and will continue to take will have a similar impact (as the RIAA suits) on end users of Unix and Linux," he said.

SCO, however, became less ambitious after a judge largely tossed out its claim against DaimlerChrysler. SCO can ill afford a series of thrown out suits that make it look like a litigation hungry open source ambulance chaser. Oh wait.

SCO has also toned down the enthusiasm it once expressed for the SCOsource "we'll get you clean" licensing program. Long gone are the days when the company actually expected Linux users to fork over cash now even though SCO may well lose in court to IBM and Red Hat later.

"There have been a lot of third parties that have jumped into the fray and put indemnification programs in place -- big vendors coming out trying to say 'Don't worry about it, it's not a problem,'" McBride told IDG News Service.

"Rather than trying to pound through all of those issues on a daily basis, we've been content to say, 'We're going to work our issues through the courtroom, and when everything is resolved there, we'll be good to go, and then customers will know exactly where everything is.' In the meantime, customers that want to move now and remove the cloud of uncertainty, we have a program for that. So we're fine with where things are right now."

Somebody get Mr. Clean a Viagra. This is a clear case of depression caused by premature indemnification.

Without doubt, SCO has tucked away its bluster in a Utah storage closet. This is quite a shock for a once too bold firm. The many months of fighting open source world+dog may have taken its toll on SCO and McBride or the lawyers might have ordered a more conservative approach. We think SCO would have benefitted from this reserved method long ago.

Check out the rest of the interview here. ®

Related stories

New date for SCO v IBM hearing
Rampant capitalism upsets delicate Reg reader
Judge junks most of SCO's complaint against DaimlerChrysler

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