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SCO, Groklaw and the Monterey mystery that never was

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Analysis Over the past two years, the influential web site Groklaw has become a focal point for open source advocates discussing The SCO Group's litigation against Linux companies. The community of knowledgeable experts has helped with clarifying contract technicalities, dug through news archives, and filed on-the-spot reports from the Utah the courtroom, much to SCO's discomfort.

But over the past month the site's maintainer Pamela Jones has run a series of articles which could offer SCO some elusive ammunition to discredit the site. [We now understand this series, after some input from your reporter, has been amended.]

Given the internet's well documented "echo chamber" tendencies, what we'll call the Monterey Mystery is now cementing into an orthodoxy. From a Google search for "Project Monterey" the top six results are either the Groklaw articles, or articles about them.

At least five articles published this month suggest that Project Monterey, the joint Unix that was being co-developed by IBM, the Santa Cruz Operation and Sequent beginning in 1998 was only a "stop-gap" measure. The participants, she asserts, had from the start bet that Linux would supplant their proprietary Unix offerings. And more damningly, she claims that SCO knew this at the time, and has declined to reveal this secret strategy.

"Project Monterey was the stopgap, in a way, I gather. It worked for the enterprise right away, and it was a path to smoothly move to Linux as it matured," wrote Jones.

There is a serious problem with this hypothesis: it isn't true.

(Your reporter bases this conclusion on first hand experience with representatives from IBM, SCO, Compaq and Sequent which included attending four of the week-long SCO Forum events between 1998 and 2001 - reports from which have been cited in the litigation, and widely quoted at Groklaw itself).

Let's examine the Groklaw conjectures, their merit, and see how much damage they could do to the open source defense against SCO, which until now has been both exhaustive and exacting. But first, some history.

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