Wired has a fascinating article on how SCO went from being a small-time Linux vendor to a big-time pain in the can under the steerage of CEO Darl McBride.
McBride has also received death threats, a challenge to a fistfight, and a flood of denial-of-service attacks targeting his company’s email servers and his home phone. He’s started carrying a gun for protection. Friends tease him that in two short years, he has displaced Bill Gates as the most hated man in high tech.
It took Gates decades of hard work to achieve that distinction.
What has the son of a farmer, a devout Mormon, and the father of seven done to so swiftly earn the honor? McBride has transformed SCO into a legal missile aimed at the heart of the open source software movement. His strategy threatens to undo the progress of Linux and other free operating systems developed by programmers who believe that collaborative efforts have produced the most robust and reliable code.
Long, but worth the read. The article makes it sound like McBride has a long history of questionable business deals and attempting to sue his way out of trouble.
Another point the article makes is that Linux could have avoided this whole issue if Torvalds had required contributors to sign copyright affidavits, as GNU did. But, the laissez-faire approach to the development of Linux is one of the things that really made it take off. Could it have grown as quickly if it had kept a paper trail?