Aren't the Iraqis suffering enough already?
As protracted debacles go, the US-led invasion of Iraq and the SCO Group's fruitless prosecution of IBM over Linux have a few things in common. They were both ill advised. Both wasted huge amounts of money. And both draw near universal contempt and condemnation. Now they have another connection. One of two private investors …
On a purely literal construction, assuming maximum honesty, the politicians who made the decision to invade Iraq had been advised by the security services that it had a weapons programme well beyond that which it actually did. They put quite a bit of weight onto those reports in their arguments to the public.
Since those reports were largely inaccurate, the politicians were clearly ill advised. Whether Iraq is better off as a result of the invasion is irrelevant, strictly speaking.
This really is one of the worst beat ups el Reg has written for ages. Seriously.
It is pretty much a given that we all have a deep dislike for SCO, and most people feel very uncomfortable with the Iraq war. However this article seeks to draw a line of taint that defies any reasonable logic.
What we have is a company that has worked in Iraq to help rebuild it. One of the most obvious and critical aspects of bringing a lasting peace to Iraq is the rebuilding of the internal economy and infrastructure. But it seems that even doing that draws the ire of some commentators. "Profiteering" is not the same as making a profit. The former is egrarious corrupt practice gouging money, the latter simply ordinary business. It seems that doing ordinary business helping to clean up the mess left by the war in Iraq is still not good enough for some.
The sale of the profitable part of SCO is also something that has nothing to do with the bad aspects of SCO's behaviour. SCO is legally obliged to protect what it can of its shareholder's and creditor's remaining assets. If there is some part that is worth money, that can be sold, they are really obliged to sell it. They have deep obligations, mostly to Novell. The sale of this division does not somehow get them out of gaol, it tops up their cash, possibly to a point they can pay Novell, or at least provide a reasonable fraction of what they owe. A CEO that did not pursue such an action would be derilict in his duty. We might all cheer the demise of SCO, but none of this changes the real obligations that any company has to avoid such a demise and the destruction of its shareholders assets, and indeed its ability to discharge its other obligations. A CEO that simply walked away from the mess and let the company be wound up, destroying any residual shareholder value would be, and should, be subject to legal action. Yet somehow when it comes to commentary on SCO this is what people seem to expect should happen.
The sale carves away from the bad part of SCO the remaining good part. If SCO were wound up Novell would almost certainly take title to the remaining assets anyway, and would then seek to sell off this same division in almost exactly tthe same manner. It is mostly a matter of ordering.
That is all.
I really hope that SCO has its day in court.
With a fair minded reasonable judge whose seen enough corporate shakedowns to spot BS when he sees it.
On a practical note does anyone recall the UK FCO planning to run secure (presumably encrypted) email and office apps across a network of 286 SCO servers at all UK embassies abroad.
Over budget. Over schedule. IIRC abandoned.
"the politicians who made the decision to invade Iraq had been advised by the security services that it had a weapons programme well beyond that which it actually did. They put quite a bit of weight onto those reports in their arguments to the public."
Only in an alternative universe. The security services have stated often enough that the intel on the ground they had for this was at best shaky (practically no HUMINT or double confirmation), and a great amount of ruckus has been had in both US and UK for discarding the caution in those reports and use them as excuse to go to war. The weight was a New Labour production, put on to make sure they could join the rich pickings to be had by invading an oil state - not that it worked, the war transferred an awful lot of money to a very small set of people, causing the crisis we have. Of course, the B3 (Bush/Blair/Brown) economic mismanagement wasn't exactly helping either.
The real reason, btw, appears to have been Saddam's switching from dollar to Euro for both reserve currency and energy sales. Not only did that create a direct risk to the US' habit of borrowing gazillions of the rest of the planet without anyone being able to do something about it, it also carried the huge risk that others in the Middle East would follow suit as he was making a tidy profit as well. The whole war was thus, in summary, a bullying exercise with a humanitarian byproduct of unseating a dictator (AFAIK one that was formerly trained by the US, but I may have that wrong). That quite a lot of people died as a consequence was just that paragon of euphemisms, "collateral damage".
There's another time bomb under all of this. Look up on Youtube, "the day of the dollar", it's about an hour long I think. Check on the start conditions - we're past that point, and China has already fired the first shot by asking the World Bank for a new reserve currency..
Wars take massive amounts of weapons, ammunition, medical equipment, food, tents, vehicles, aircraft, the list goes on...(including computer equipment and software).......
Should the manufacturers of these products donate them to the cause for no profit? I think their shareholders may have a point of view on this.
As horrendous as war and conflict is, organisations make money from it - that's the way it is, get over it.
Peace & Love
"They were both ill advised. Both wasted huge amounts of money. And both draw near universal contempt and condemnation"
Crucially number of people dead due to sco/linux spat is none, the number of people dead due to the not very well thought out toppling of a mass murdering dictator is almost uncalculable. Please get a sense of perspective.
AC wrote: "So it would be better if Iraq were still worse in every way than Iran?"
It is worse. The companies which used to be owned by the people have been sold cheaply to foreigners. The rights to their oil and other natural resources are now owned by foreigners too. There might be more of a "democracy" but it's a commonly held assumption that this is little more than a sham to keep us westerners happy.
Francis Vaughn wrote: "What we have is a company that has worked in Iraq to help rebuild it."
You mean a company that now effitively owns the two largest cement factories in Iraq? How a shift in ownership away from the people (who require the rebuilding) to a foreign investor helps the rebuilding or the people is a mystery to me. All it does is siphon off funds that would otherwise be reinvested in Iraq.
"One of the most obvious and critical aspects of bringing a lasting peace to Iraq is the rebuilding of the internal economy and infrastructure."
You mean the economy and infrastructure that the west destroyed in the first place? I fail to see how rebuilding them equates with "bringing peace". We invaded under false pretences (and demonstrably so) and now this smokescreen has been erected which propigates the lie that we were somehow doing the Iraqi's a favour. Yeah, killing Iraqis in numbers that even Saddam would have balked at - that's doing them a favour and helping their country, isn't it? The number Saddam killed in his entire time in power is overshadowed even by the number who died as a result of the sanctions placed on the country *before* the invasion.
It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that the company who could win (sorry, steal) the countries assets and the rights to rebuild the infrastructure would make a fortune. Companies were falling over themselves for these contracts because they're so lucrative. The contracts wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for a war based on lies.
Yes, Iraq needs rebuilding but selling the means to do so to foreigners so that they can profit is just not fair.
Although there are legacy users of SCO operating systems they are replacing those systems with OS with a more predictable future. No-one in the right mind would specify SCO software for a new project.
The transition from OpenServer is particularly easy - OpenServer binaries run on FreeBSD. Bye-bye OpenServer/Unixware.