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SCO's Claim re CA "Is Nonsense," Says Computer Associates

CA says it didn’t pay SCO no stinking Linux tax, says Maureen O'Gara

The Linux faithful have been hammering Computer Associates as a heretic since the British publication Computer Weekly quoting the SCO Group's CFO Bob Bench identified CA Thursday as one of SCO's rare Linux licensees.

CA senior VP of product development Mark Barrenechea says that Bench's claim is nonsense. CA has not paid SCO any Linux taxes, he said.

Drawing up short of calling SCO a liar, Barrenechea claims that SCO has twisted a $40 million breach-of-contract settlement that CA paid last summer to the Canopy Group, SCO's biggest stockholder, and Center 7, another Canopy company, and turned it into a purported Linux license.

As a "small part" of that settlement, Barrenechea said, CA got a bunch of UnixWare licenses that it needed to support its UnixWare customers. SCO, he said, had just attached a transparent Linux indemnification to all UnixWare licenses and that is how SCO comes off calling CA a Linux licensee.

But when CA agreed to that settlement, Barrenechea said, "It was not CA's intention to become a Linux licensee. It has nothing to do with CA's product direction or strategic direction," he said.

CA has absolutely no sympathy for what SCO is doing, Barrenechea said, and in fact, he said, reading from a formal statement, it stands in "stark disagreement with SCO's tactics and threats."

Barrenechea and CA's Linux chief Sam Greenblatt are worried that CA will be tarred with the SCO brush and that CA's considerable Linux ambitions will be damaged by a disaffected, if not hostile, open source community when in reality CA has "nothing to do with SCO's strategy and tactics," they said.

CA was the mystery company SCO was thinking of when it announced last August that an unidentified Fortune 500 company had supposedly become a Linux licensee. SCO privately described the deal as "significant."

CA couldn't disassociate itself from the rumors that identified it as that licensee because of an NDA that the Canopy side had insisted on hedging in the $40 million settlement with, Barrenechea and Greenblatt said.

Barrenechea said that SCO now regards that NDA as being off because of the legal discovery that's been going on in SCO's $5 billion suit against IBM.

See, SCO lawyer Mark Heisse in a letter dated February 4 to IBM lawyer David Marriott at Cravath Swain identified CA, Questar and Leggett & Platt as Linux taxpayers.

According to that letter, which is up on the Groklaw site, Heisse owed IBM a copy of the CA agreement on CD.

Barrenechea said that SCO was dropping CA's name to associate itself with the "third-largest software company in the world" and build support for its "lost cause."

But according to Barrenechea, not only are SCO's IP ambitions doomed, but its Unix interests are a "trailing negative" on the road to dropping from 10% of the market to 3%-5% in a few years and then "SCO will be irrelevant," he said.

By the way, CA doesn't have enough UnixWare licenses to cover all its Linux servers, Greenblatt said.

In answer to CA's contentions, SCO said its lawyers think that CA has a Linux license.

Meanwhile, Bench also told Computer Weekly, whose story was picked up by sister paper InfoWorld and maybe other properties in the IDG stable, that SCO had signed between 10 and 50 Linux licenses.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
riffraff 03/08/04 08:13:05 AM EST

"Lawn jockey?" Hell, McBride is Bill Gates' biotch.

xhtho 03/06/04 09:28:22 AM EST

SCO's giving licenses away and then claiming the recipients had 'purchased' them.

Nice ploy, but it's not working.

Say, McBride, is MS still funneling money to you via third parties, aka Baystar? How does it feel to be Bill Gates' Lawn Jockey?

Eric Damron 03/06/04 09:26:28 AM EST

>As a "small part" of that settlement, Barrenechea said,
>CA got a bunch of UnixWare licenses that it needed
>to support its UnixWare customers. SCO, he said, had
>just attached a transparent Linux indemnification to all >UnixWare licenses and that is how SCO comes off calling
>CA a Linux licensee.
>
>But when CA agreed to that settlement, Barrenechea >said, "It was not CA's intention to become a Linux >licensee. It has nothing to do with CA's product
>direction or strategic direction," he said.
>
>CA has absolutely no sympathy for what SCO is doing, >Barrenechea said, and in fact, he said, reading from a >formal statement, it stands in "stark disagreement with >SCO's tactics and threats."
>
>Barrenechea and CA's Linux chief Sam Greenblatt are >worried that CA will be tarred with the SCO brush and that >CA's considerable Linux ambitions will be damaged by a >disaffected, if not hostile, open source community when in >reality CA has "nothing to do with SCO's strategy and >tactics," they said."

So the truth comes out... SCO's "Significant" Linux license taker didn't pay a dime for the Linux licenses but rather had them slipped in uninvited so that SCO could make a misleading claim! Typical of SCO...

The race isn't always to the swift... but that's the way to bet!

mec 03/06/04 09:06:50 AM EST

Google this: "canopy ca settlement"

Canopy Group (parent of SCO) and Center 7, another Canopy subsidiary, had a joint marketing arrangement with CA. Canopy claims that CA welshed. Canopy and Level 7 sued CA. The suit was settled with a $40 million payment.

I seem to recall, but I can't find a link, that other terms of the suit were that CA buy some Linux licenses. That would fit in with Canopy's plans.

Web Cowboy 03/06/04 09:03:46 AM EST

Linux, which runs well on inexpensive Intel processor-based servers, has become increasingly popular despite SCO's actions. Linux has even spread to the Web site of the U.S. District Court in Nevada, where SCO filed its suit against AutoZone, according to site monitoring firm NetCraft.

Soooo...if the courts threaten to dismiss SCOs case and/or charge them with fraud, they can just sue the court system itself!

HMTKSteve 03/06/04 08:43:55 AM EST

I see no reason to worry about IBM after they win this case. A free open source Linux is in their own best interest. Was it not IBM who saw the cash cow being the hardware and NOT the software? To me the dominance of a "free" operating system is the dream of IBM ever since Microsoft starting producing DOS.

base zero 03/05/04 01:36:47 PM EST

I hereby rename all of this SCO stuff to: SCOgate . Let's refer to it as thus from now on ... I just like the sound of it. Apologizes to anyone who may have already named it the same.

Justice 03/05/04 01:35:50 PM EST

SCO's misrepresentations have tarnished CA's reputation. CA has a case for libel. Even if CA did not ultimately prevail, suing SCO would be a great PR boost for CA in the open software world.

ces 03/05/04 01:35:19 PM EST

Yea, it's got to be a pretty low blow when even CA employees start calling your company unethical.

I guess that shows just how slimy SCO is.

quill_28 03/05/04 01:34:56 PM EST

Someone at CA is worried about ethics?

Woohoo, that's a good one.

grub 03/05/04 01:33:35 PM EST

Assuming this court case is settled in Linux' favour, SCO will be irrelevant the next day. No company will want to deal with a firm that sues its own customers

Doc Ruby 03/05/04 01:31:55 PM EST

Attacking public targets to cause fear in the marketplace, as a strategy to control the people in the marketplace through fear, is terrorism.

SCO is a stock market terrorist group.

Where's John Ashcroft when he might actually do something to fix the economy and protect us from terror? Oh, right, down on his knees somewhere, while SCO hunkers down in the Mormon Kush run by Christaliban Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

spitzak 03/05/04 01:30:30 PM EST

Doesn't IBM end up with SCO if they win?

IBM could easily turn on everybody as soon as that nasty Microsoft is finished off. Watch out.

Ideally IBM should do something like put all the rights in the public domain. As a business decision it may make sense due to the enormous immediate karma benefits.

ifhty 03/05/04 01:28:34 PM EST

>CA did with Canopy Group regarding a breach of contract
>settlement totally unrelated to Linux. Associated with
>that settlement was a set of UnixWare licenses to which
>SCO has taken the liberty of attaching these 'Linux IP'
>licenses."

Isn't this right out of the MS playbook? When MS agreed to settle with the Justice department, part of the original settlement proposed millions of dollars of vouchers for schools redeemable only for MS software. Later when it's competitors complained that this just extended their monopoly, it was changed to any software or hardware

SCOsh5y 03/05/04 01:26:44 PM EST

Wow. Proof that not only is Canopy behind all this, but they're pre-meditating the lies they're feeding to the public.