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 Nice Response from Sun - But One Question Please?

Recently, I posted a comment about Jonathan Schwartz's comments on eWeek (okay, so I have been busy lately and did not get a chance to write this when I should have); an article which I felt came off as less than stellar. Apparently, many other readers of that eWeek article felt as I did that the comments needed some clarification. That clarification came out in article in eWeek dated September 25, 2003.

It is nice to see that Mr. Schwartz did make the effort to do so, and in light of their recent announcement regarding a one-time charge and quarterly loss, I can only hope that Sun Microsystems maintains and does not suffer from negative press. Okay, I know that will happen, and it is tough to deal with. This can truly be infuriating at times, really. Having been there before, I know that it can be turned around, and I still think Sun can do that.

 (Submitted by Chuck Talk Mon Oct 6, 2003 )

  I truly don't have any animosity toward Sun, but I do wish they could drop their usage of the indemnification ploy in future communiqués. Indemnification is truly irrelevant when talking about the SCO Group, for they (the SCO Group) are quickly becoming a laughing stock of their own making. I honestly think that Baghdad Bob had a much better take on the whole shtick. In fact, I am surprised he hasn't shown up with his attorneys in Lindon to demand the SCO Group cease using his copyrighted act. I would imagine that there are people who would happily concur that they stole the idea from him after all, with their continual denial of reality and effervescent and glowing reports of their victories.

It’s nice to know the Sun is willing to indemnify its customers and all that, but who is really going to sue them? If the SCO group made any moves to sue Sun Microsystems customers, they would certainly be in deep manure for they are being directly funded by Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. I only wish that whoever is pulling that string at Sun would wake up and realize that the SCO Group are doing far more to push UNIX customers toward Linux than anyone else. My question to Sun Microsystems is quite simple, and not meant in any insulting way, just asking a question that I hope they will understand.

I am going to frame my question in order for the intent to be absolutely clear and understood that I mean this with the greatest bit of respect for all that Sun has done and continues to do for open source. It is appreciated.

First, since its initiation of litigation in March, the SCO Group has done more to harm the brand name of the specification that is UNIX than any other single lawsuit could ever achieve. The Open Group, which has insisted upon its stewardship and ownership of the single UNIX specification, has not done enough to protect the brand name of UNIX from the idiotic behavior coming out of Lindon, Utah. In fact, they have allowed the continual ramblings of SCO to not be challenged other than to say SCO does not own the Trademark UNIX or the specification that is UNIX. They have done nothing to make it crystal clear that UNIX does not belong to any one company, but perhaps that is because they lack any power to do so.

Second, Sun Microsystems has entered into a "clean-up" license with the SCO Group, has warrants for their stock, and is supposed to be making yet another multi-million dollar payment to the SCO Group in November, 2003. We know this because they state it openly in their 10-Q filed with the SEC, stated that they will receive $2.5 million dollars more from Sun Microsystems at that time. This means they will continue to be in a position to damage UNIX and all of its variants, as they threaten to sue every hardware vendor, every UNIX manufacturer and every Linux distributor and customer under the sun (sorry, pun not intended but it does work).

Whilst the SCO Group has any money in their coffers, they seem intent on making enemies the world over and denying anyone the reasonable rights of remediation. In short, they are hell-bent on the path of self-destruction and making everyone hate them. Maybe they have turned their target market into hateful, spiteful people who have no sense, are low on moral values, and are truly lacking of any character.

Perhaps that is why they continue down this path, or perhaps it is just so that they can continue to sell more stock and enrich themselves.

Whatever the reason, the entire spectacle leaves me wondering why Sun Microsystems would not see that damage being caused by their apparent support (at least financial support) of a truly universally despised company? These men are not anyone's friends anymore. They are pariahs, persona non gratis. They are ruining the brand names of every UNIX vendor. They are making UNIX the risky play, not Linux.

In other words, why continue to back the SCO Group in any way, when it is not good for business?

That is all I want to know. I think they are going to do more damage to Sun Microsystems and Microsoft in the long run than anything else. They certainly aren't being seen as the glory boys of intellectual property and by associating themselves with the RIAA they are already bringing heat on the RIAA as well.

The bullshit has to end. The SCO Group needs to stand on its own without being financially backed in this scheme. Let them play out their own hand. Let them hang themselves. I think they are going to drag everyone they can down with them. Ralph Yarro seems dedicated to doing just that if you can believe his own words that they are respecters off no persons.

That just isn't an image that Sun Microsystems should be associated with. You are a much better company than that. Please, whoever at Sun is pushing this: please stop. It hurts UNIX (and by extension Solaris). There is never a good time to back someone who is so clearly out of control. The perception (no matter how unjustly deserved) is that Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are both funding a group of crazed lunatics because they cannot compete in the open market.

If marketing really is only about perception these days, is this a perception any company would want their customers to see? I hope not. I do respectfully disagree with your decisions (and I do disagree in that manner, truly), but it is so because I do care. If I didn't care, I wouldn't even mention it.

That is my opinion. It is solely mine unless anyone else chooses to accept it and own it. You are free to disagree, and I don't mean any harm. I hope you don't take it that way, but if you do, then know that I am sincerely disagreeing based upon what I see as the certain future that awaits the SCO Group. It isn't pretty, and being involved with them is like being involved in a fatal attraction. If there is any bad karma to be had, they will bring it down upon themselves and anyone involved with them. Remember what Darl McBride said, "Contracts are weapons you use against someone."

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