SCO Letter: 'Stop Hack Attacks' - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

SCO Letter: 'Stop Hack Attacks'

SCO Group CEO complains that open-source community is behind denial-of-service attacks on the company's Web site.

After a brief lull, the battle between SCO Group and the Linux community over software copyrights and intellectual property resumed Tuesday when SCO Group CEO Darl McBride wrote an open letter to open-source software users.

In the letter, McBride says the SCO Group's Web site has been hit with three denial-of-service attacks within the past four months. The attacks prevented Web users from accessing the company's Web site and doing business with SCO Group. McBride's letter says, "There is no question about the affiliation of the attacker--Open Source leader Eric Raymond was quoted as saying that he was contacted by the perpetrator and that 'he's one of us.' To Mr. Raymond's partial credit, he asked the attacker to stop. However, he has yet to disclose the identity of the perpetrator so that justice can be done."

While some accuse McBride of using the Web and the media to perpetuate his company's claim that its Unix System V source was illegally used to enhance the Linux kernel in the absence of any court ruling, others say McBride's letter made several good points.

One point not to be overlooked, analysts say, is that the Linux community may be pushing its luck by attacking SCO Group's Web site and resorting to other forms of cyberterrorism. "This is an issue that's not going away for the open-source community," says Bill Claybrook, the Aberdeen Group's open-source research director. "I'm not a big fan of the way SCO Group is doing what they're doing, but I thought Darl did a good job of outlining things in the GPL model that people have been concerned about."

This includes a lack of protection that Linux providers such as Red Hat and IBM offer their customers against intellectual-property infringement claims and lawsuits. If a company is selling someone else's intellectual property, the customer should know that, Claybrook says. "This is something that should be considered by the open-source community as Linux moves into enterprises."

SCO Group's lawsuits against IBM and Red Hat have helped the company incur the wrath of an entire IT movement, and no letter or justification will change everyone's mind at this point, says Laura DiDio, a Yankee Group senior analyst. "I think all of the different participants have made up their minds and gone to their respective corners."

Some wonder if the Linux community is damaging its cause through such aggressive behavior. "This is going to hurt the open-source community's credibility as a whole," DiDio says. "I can't attest to SCO's claims, but they have the right to file a lawsuit."

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