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IBM to enlist Eric S Raymond?

Unix historian to scuttle SCO lawsuit
Mon May 19 2003, 08:20
OVER THE WEEKEND Linux and Main reported that IBM might be about to hire Eric S. Raymond as a trial consultant to assist with its defense against SCO's billion-dollar intellectual property lawsuit.

Raymond (ESR) is President of the Open Source Initiative and author of the celebrated 1997 Open Source manifesto The Cathedral and the Bazaar and other essays as well as the forthcoming book The Art of Unix Programming .

ESR is also a historian of the Unix operating system, a chronicler of hacker culture as maintainer of The Jargon File , and the recipient of the Halloween Documents -- a collection of leaked Microsoft internal memos describing the Vole's strategic plans to kill off competing software.

According to Raymond, IBM is interested in retaining him in his role as Unix historian. ESR is also infuriated by SCO's denigration of the Open Source development process in general and SCO's explicit insults to the skills of the Linux community in its Complaint versus IBM in particular.

The story at Linux and Main quotes Raymond as having emailed:

"SCO picked a fight with IBM, Then, by insulting the hacker community, they picked a fight with me.

"Picking a fight with IBM isn't smart. Picking a fight with me isn't smart either. Picking a fight with both of us is mind-bogglingly stupid, especially when the facts ain't on your side."

After SCO filed its lawsuit against IBM on March 6, Raymond immediately wrote a blistering, detailed analysis and refutation of SCO's claims.

He initially intended to develop that into a formal amicus curiae (literally, "friend of the Court") brief in support of IBM, but settled on a position paper at the time, upon the advice of counsel. OSI retains the option to file an amicus curiae brief, at the proper time.

I am not a lawyer. However, unless both parties to a Federal civil suit agree, the Court must grant its leave before a third party is permitted to file an amicus curiae brief. At least, that's what Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (PDF) seems to say.

Anyway, the Court may or may not give any weight to such a third-party brief. So, Raymond will be in a much better position to contribute his knowledge of Unix to IBM's defense if he's a consultant hired by IBM.

In his words, "I'm a historian who knows where the bodies in the history of Unix are buried."

Clearly, he intends to do all he can to help IBM add the Rambus-wannabe company SCO to the body count. He is certain that SCO's lawsuit against IBM, and its jihad against Linux, will both be entirely unsuccessful:

"In fact, I strongly suspect that by the time IBM and I are done with them, any sleazeball thinking to run a bogus IP shakedown against Linux will remember what happened to SCO and shudder." µ

L'INQS
Linux and Main
OSI's Position Paper on the SCO-vs.-IBM Complaint

See Also
SCO declares war on Linux
SCO lawsuit as dark comedy

 

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