Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

The Linux/SCO Controversy

Open-source software may not line vendor and government coffers outright, but what of the efficiencies corporate users gain and the supporting commerce that emerges? Just because open-source software might hurt the likes of Microsoft and Sun doesn't mean the business they lose won't be offset many times over by gains elsewhere in the economy.

2. Instead of using Windows or Unix, governments in Europe and Asia are moving to Linux, attracted by its low cost. U.S. vendors of competing software are suffering abroad because of Linux's "predatory" pricing model. It's touching that the SCO chief is so concerned about Microsoft and Sun, but if governments and other customers abroad deem Linux superior to Unix and Windows, that's their right. With predatory pricing, manufacturers set prices below costs with the intention of inflating prices once they've cornered the market. This has never been the strategy of open-source vendors or developers.

Unless it can be proved that Linux developers are breaking the law (more on that below), there's nothing objectionable about Linux unseating pricier software at customer sites worldwide.

3. Open-source software discourages tech innovation because it "frees the software that is proprietary, licensable and a source of income" from its developers. Here, McBride reiterates SCO's claim that Linux infringes the company's Unix intellectual property rights, but he goes on to argue that other open-source programs necessarily steal from proprietary ones. The former point is for the courts to decide; the latter is just a sweeping generalization.

Open-source proponents don't advocate "freeing" proprietary software. They advocate developing a free (or lower-cost) alternative to that software, leveraging the creative intellects of thousands of contributors. Let the best software win.

  • 1