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    Linux Un-American?
    Another View of the SCO Lawsuit

    From our latest Opinion/Editorial web pages.

    Linux as a computer operating system, and OpenSource as a unique way to distribute software, has been frazzling some of the national industry money makers. 

    "How can a FREE operating system and FREE software applications be taken seriously," they wondered several years ago.  Today, a full out legal and marketing battle has emerged between giants who apparently can not stand to lose even a few dollars from their multi-billion dollar war chests verses a unique blend of enthusiasts, technology professionals, and big companies seeing a means to freedom. 

    Could Linux use eventually be considered un-American?

    After all, a significant portion of Linux development and support does not even originate in the U.S.  Other countries, not just businesses, are using Linux as a powerful tool to break free from U.S. world dominance in the software market.
      France, Spain, Germany, India, China to name a few.  Perhaps soon, as marketing heats up, we will see a strange portrayal of Linux as un-American?  Perhaps software mega-giants here in the U.S. who cling to their fortunes will slap the red-white-and-blue flag on their products and make a point of it?

    Initially it was hoped by some that as litigation occurred against a conceivably large and wealthy corporation that dominates the entire world in software sales, somehow the American legal system would be able to reasonably address an overt monopoly. 

    The lawsuit against Microsoft fizzled.  Some blamed the power and money of the defendant as key to success.  Others pointed blame at an unknowledgeable federal judge who could neither understand the issues nor the technology being described in court.  But more than likely the failure was not the result of either, as much as it was the result of an obvious failure of the American justice system itself.

    Am I simply exaggerating? 

    Is the American legal system really so weak and broken or is this just tomfoolery on a part of one lone technology writer? 

    Let me give an example and you can decide for yourself.  If someone were to purchase a DVD of Gilligan's Island 1st Season (which I highly recommend) then duplicate it and give copies to friends for a dollar each (which I do not recommend) then they could stand to go to prison for five years and receive as much as $250,000 in fines. 

    Five years, $250,000 for DVD duplication. It's a federal crime to duplicate and sell DVDs.

    However, if instead this same person chose to walk down the street, break into a home and rape a woman, they could stand to receive 3 years and $10,000 fine or in some cases be set free after one year even if they had multiple rape convictions. 

    Three years, $10,000 for raping.  Most rapists get less.

    So, the potential lesson to be learned in America?  The potential lesson to people is that raping someone is less serious than stealing money from the wealthy industry leaders.  In fact, if I steal from wealthy industry giants I am so dangerous as a citizen that I need to be placed in a cell and kept there a very long time.  In America, money tends to foster a reaction more than rape.

    It is therefore entirely likely that soon the marketing against Linux, the free Operating System cutting into big money players, will simply be depicted as un-American.  To use Linux you would "have to be a product of pure evil" or "a madman" and "dangerous to society."  While other issues such as increased murder, rape, child molestation well they will need to take a back seat in court to the issues where money is made or lost. 

    Today, instead of a legal system supporting and fighting for what is overtly right, defending the innocent and addressing the guilty, the judicial process imposes a new twist.  All by using the two excuses for failing to defend right from wrong: "precedent" and "law."

    Linux as a software cannot be sued, but any major players who choose to try to use Linux can be sued in court. 

    Instead of a monopoly being challenged, the only potential competition is being challenged.  If the SCO lawsuit even achieves the next stop of deliberation by a federal judge, it will validate for this author and for substantially large numbers of others that in America
    Right loses to Greed

    Therefore, if eventually it will be un-American to dump software being produced and forced through a broken system upon the world by American corporations, so be it. 

    I prefer to take hold of Linux and stand once and for all for something, some tangible thing, that is overtly good and beneficial and not based on greed.  Linux is no longer simply an operating system, it has become the instrument of light to uncover a deeply rooted greed that drives much in America.  Let us hope that Linux will prevail.

    Walter V. Koenning Jr. is a freelance writer and contributes his voice to the technology industry on global technology issues. 

    This brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the opinions of the author at the time of publication. could not find information in this article that at the time of publication was inaccurate.  However, the opinions posted do not express the opinions of and are not endorsed in any way.  The Op/Ed web pages on this site are only for perspective and allow members of the general public to express their views from time to time.  Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally.  SCO is a registered trademark of The SCO Group Inc.  Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.  All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.  The term "America" is applied interchangeably in this opinion piece to represent the terms "United States."

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