OK, I can't be objective about this toad-faced slimeball, so I might as well give up pretending.

HOWTO: Earn the hatred of every Free Software user alive

Darl McBride (a.k.a "Dunce McBribe", "Darth McBride", "Darling Darl") is the ruthless thug who currently serves as the CEO of the Utah extortion operation technology firm The SCO Group. He is a venomous loathsome reptile who has managed to rise to the level of infamy it took even William J. Gates III a lifetime of hard work to achieve, in just four short months. He has given rise to a whole new breed of Slashdot troll, the fake SCO press release, and could easily declare himself "The Second Most Hated Man in the Computing Universe", without lying. However, he doesn't do a whole lot without lying, so there's fat chance of that.

Lawsuits for Fun and Profit

The slippery gnat has a Bachelor's Degree in Science from the Brigham-Young university and a subsequent Master's Degree from Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign, and has been working for a number of technology firms for the last 19 years, including Novell, IKON, PointServe, the consulting company SBI and Company, and several others. All these companies are (with the recent exception of Novell, but this held true while McBride was working there) governed by strictly old-line industrial mindsets, flooded as they are with trademarks, patents and corporate secrecy. All these were companies that did business as it was done before Open Source came along; and perhaps this explains why McBride cannot seem to understand the concept of a development community, or how the traditionalist a-sale-by-the-competitor-is-a-sale-lost mentality doesn't really hold in Linux and open source development. For most of these firms, he worked in management or by raising venture capital.

When his old employer IKON fired him in 1997, he reacted with a lawsuit and managed to wrest three million dollars from them. Or at least that's what he claims, his former employer disputes the amount. It is fitting that he would end up working for a technology firm that deals in lawsuits and protection money rather than technology.

From Caldera to SCO; a saga of horror and infamy

He took over the reins of the struggling Linux distributor Caldera International on June 28, 2002, replacing its former CEO, Ransom Love (who, as an aside, has the coolest name in the entire computer industry). Shortly before Darl was hired, Caldera had acquired the rights for the UnixWare operating system as well as the UNIX licensing rights from the old California-based UNIX vendor the Santa Cruz Operation, a father-and-son code shop turned public company, who in turn had bought licensing rights for the ancestral AT&T UNIX source from Novell, the current owners of the UNIX copyrights -- while "old SCO" weren't known for making the best software in the world, they also weren't evil thieves and liars like the company that currently calls itself SCO (the old SCO is now called Tarantella). Caldera had published all its UNIX source prior to System V ("ancient UNIX", as they called this program) under a BSD-like open source license, for free download to UNIX enthusiasts, researchers and academics, and had even explicitly stated that Linux hackers were welcome to use it. Makes sense, Linux was what put food on the table for Caldera.

Exactly how many of the events that led to Caldera's reincarnation as the evil SCO Group and its subsequent metamorphosis from technology company to what is essentially a intellectual property lawsuit factory were a direct result of Darl McBride's leadership and how many of them were a result of orders from Caldera's masters at The Canopy Group and other things outside of McBride's control is impossible to know. It is striking, however, that many of these changes happened shortly after he took over. At any rate, during Darl McBride's reign of terror, Caldera formally changed its name to "The SCO Group", and in March 2003, they sued IBM for a billion dollars, claiming that Big Blue had misappropriated SCO trade secrets, breached contract, and donated SCO code to Linux. It went downhill from there.

Throughout all this, McBride has been uncharacteristically vocal for a CEO. Instead of just letting SCO's legal department handle what should have been a regular contract lawsuit, the oily rat quickly took to issuing press releases which read as if they were written by some mutant clone of the Iraqi Information Minister with Tourette's Syndrome. Indeed, in the original version of the complaint against IBM, Linux was likened to a "software equivalent of a bicycle" while proprietary UNIX was a "software equivalent of a luxury car", and claimed that unlawful contributions by IBM was the only way Linux could possibly have reached the level of technical excellence it was approaching. Needless to say, the hackers, mad geniuses and no-life code geeks who have spent months of their lives working on the Linux kernel were infuriated with this insinuation, especially coming from a company that has a track record of producing piss poor code. When I say piss poor, I mean it in the most literal sense of the word; it's widely agreed in the industry that six barrels of human urine make a better server platform than SCO UnixWare.

SCO LinuxWarez

Throughout the SCO vs. Linux (or, more appropriately, SCO vs. The World, since they've also taken pot shots at SGI, the BSDs and even Apple Computers and Microsoft) saga, Darl McBride has amused, astonished and alienated with his asinine accusations. He has threatened to sue Linus Torvalds (without ever specifying exactly what he intends to sue the Finnish hacker for), "revoked" IBM's license to sell AIX (IBM's proprietary version of UNIX), slandered Free Software gurus Bruce Perens, Richard Stallman and Eric S. Raymond and started what can best be described as a protection racket, peddling "license"s for run-only binary use of Linux, although SCO does not own Linux and has not proven that its intellectual property is actually in Linux. Another of SCO's announced actions under McBride's leadership has been attempting to move to have the GPL declared invalid. His open letters show that he has absolutely no understanding of how Free Software works, and the (as of this writing) latest one even features a plan for turning Linux into a cash cow that companies can dump their intellectual property into and then demand payment from all Linux users. He lost whatever shred of respectability he had left when he compared the SCO Group's fight to take over Linux (for that is indeed what this is all about) to the RIAA's battle against file sharing technology. It amazes me why SCO hasn't come under criminal investigation for demanding license payment for something it cannot even prove it owns. Every bit of "evidence" SCO has presented in public has been proven false and misleading, and the fact that Caldera itself employed programmers (including the notable kernel hacker Chris Hellweg) and donated hardware to implement some of the technologies on Linux it now claims was stolen from them doesn't exactly help their case either.

After the SCO Group under Darl McBride's leadership started its lawsuit against IBM and started its Linux protection racket, SCO stock skyrocketed from about 0.6 dollars a stock to over 18 dollars a stock. This has led many to speculate whether this is all just a pump and dump scheme, since SCO officers started selling their stock when the trend peaked. For the rest of us, the SCO stock price is a useful tool for prediction: Whenever it dives to about 12 dollars, you can be sure Darl gulps up a new steaming pile of rhetoric within a couple of days.

Whether it's a pump and dump scheme, a cunning Microsoft ploy, demonic possession or an attempt to be bought out by IBM, the suit between SCO and IBM is set to April 11, 2005, and it is almost certain that whatever remains of SCO by then will be torn to a thousand bloody shreds and its carcass subsequently thrown to the hounds that are its investors to be picked clean. Unfortunately, it is likely that Darl McBride will walk away from it all as a very rich man.

References

  • http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darl_McBride
  • http://newsforge.com/newsforge/03/06/02/2246228.shtml?tid=9
  • http://www.caldera.com/company/execs/dmcbride.html

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