Has mainstream acceptance made the Linux community less edgy? Is the penguin getting soft?
Even the serious implications of the SCO Group's legal attacks on Linux are fodder for the renegades of the IT world. Nowhere is this more evident than at the new Web site titled We Love the SCO Information Minister.
The site is a parody of, but not associated with, another satirical site, We Love the Iraqi Information Minister, which poked fun at Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the bombastic Baathist blowhard who taught folks how to laugh at propaganda.
Talk about edgy. Talk about poor taste. The anti-SCO site, a "coalition of the hysterical," is dedicated to SCO CEO Darl McBride. He's pictorially portrayed both as a member of the cast of Goodfellas and as Saeed al-Sahaf, who became the target of late-night comics when he seemed to take liberties with the truth during the U.S.-led war in Iraq, offering gems like, "The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad" (which he said right around the time U.S. troops were taking the city).
We Love the SCO Information Minister isn't the only site that walks on the wild side of the SCO vs. IBM issue. In fact, the site links to several of the others out there: One re-imagines the players as cast members of the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard (SCO plays Rosco Coltrane; Linux, the short-shorts-wearing Daisy Duke). Another site pictures McBride as rapper Vanilla Ice. Still another, named the "Pink Fairies" site, advocates a SCO code "bounty hunt."
Founded by Will Dunn, the Pink Fairies site offers a reward to the first person who can prove there is SCO code in Linux. (Current level of the donation-funded bounty: $328.82.)
The commentary isn't entirely in the realm of metaphor and money, however -- We Love the SCO Information Minister also excerpts several comments SCO officials have reportedly made about Linux during the past year or so.
Among the more colorful, from company spokesman Blake Stowell: "I haven't been just drinking the SCO Kool-Aid."
Think people are shy about jokes that reference mass suicide and the war in Iraq? Nope. We Love the SCO Information Minister offers a link to a site that sells products with images of McBride dressed like the Iraqi information minister. The wares include T-shirts and mugs, described as "suitable for drinking coffee or SCO Kool-Aid."
The tension between SCO Group and the Linux community has been brewing for about a year. The Lindon, Utah, company alleges that Linux developers inappropriately copied portions of its proprietary Unix System V code into Linux. SCO has sought to collect license fees from Linux users and has also sued IBM Corp. for $3 billion (for allegedly donating Unix code to Linux). IBM denies the charges and has countersued SCO.
SCO's efforts have sparked outrage among many Linux users. SCO, meanwhile, says it is merely trying to protect its intellectual property.
That's not the only way in which the two camps disagree. Reached via e-mail, SCO's Stowell was decidedly unamused by We Love the SCO Information Minister and other sites -- and he said the jokesters are only making the Linux community look bad.
"I think this comes from a few individuals in the open-source community, which tends to paint a bad picture of the community as a whole," he said. "I think most in the open-source community are good, hard-working developers that want to create some great things. It's unfortunate that a few bad apples spoil the image of the whole group."
News writer Yvonne Guzman contributed to this report.