(Cross-posted to Gay Geeks) A few words on the ongoing SCO versus IBM situation, rapidly...

(Cross-posted to Gay Geeks)
A few words on the ongoing SCO versus IBM situation, rapidly evolving into SCO versus the Entire World of Computing. Today, SCO threatened to revoke IBM's licence to UNIX on Friday unless it settled the case. This isn't going to mean anything for IBM, but it does mean something to the world of computing that is rather too big to ignore.

Now, see, spreading FUD about Linux is one thing -- you have a real chance of scaring away some potential Linux users that way. But AIX? It's old-school, like prehistorically old-school. It's firmly entrenched into the legacy systems of some of the biggest corporations in the world, and they not only don't want to get rid of it, they are in fact completely unable to do so without hugely expensive redevelopment and massive disruption. It is far cheaper for the AIX users of the world to pour money into the defence of UNIX than attempt to abandon the platform. SCO is just waving a red flag in front of one hell of a bull, and they are going to get seriously trampled.

This just brings into very sharp focus the kind of problems that are going to crop up everywhere, not just in computing, in 10 years time unless the currently increasingly nonsensical system of copyrights and patents is ironed out. It can be easily explained even to somebody who doesn't know anything about the world of computing at the moment.

UNIX is ancient. Everything is based on UNIX these days -- Apple computers run on it, even the Windows developers say they're just trying to be more like UNIX these days. But now SCO has claimed to own the copyright to that entire model (and it has used a sneaky trick of claiming copied code to sink its claws into Linux, a free version that follows the UNIX model but isn't actually UNIX). To a non-computer person, claiming a copyright on UNIX would be like trying to copyright the idea of a "car" in 1950. Sure, we know who invented cars, but we're not gonna pay him anything, it's history. But that's precisely what they're trying to do.

Forget whether or not their claim is valid. It shouldn't even be possible. How can we innovate if people own the copyrights to the most basic ideas? But that's what some people are trying to do with the most basic features of web interfaces. Change is essential. If they can do this, then there is something wrong with the system. Maybe giant IBM, finally bothered by this system, will throw its weight behind some change -- but I doubt it. They will weasel out, and delay the inevitable confrontation, and in the meantime, the Internet will stagnate in a mire of frivolous "Intellectual Property". Fuck you people, you're killing my baby, and I am going to fight tooth and claw to defend it.