Any way the wind SCOs...
OK, so I admit: I can’t get enough news about SCO. It’s like the best and worst parts of a soap opera, train wreck, and slapstick comedy all rolled up into one big, sticky ball. This week’s entry into their history of shame is a claim to own the standard Unix executable file format, which is ridiculous for more reasons than I feel like going into right now. What I took away from the whole circus, though, is that you’re playing with fire if you entrust your company or personal computing to proprietary software vendors.
You can think of free software licenses as “default allow”. That is, they allow you to use software in any way you see fit, with certain exceptions. However, proprietary licenses are almost always the opposite—“default deny”—in that they only give you permission to use the software in the specific ways the vendor had in mind.
The free licenses, then, provide built-in protection against a would-be SCO who would want to sue their customers.
I find it endlessly ironic that the main criticism against RMS is that he’s too idealistic.