Groklaw: The Nazgul

I’m always on the lookout for bridges between English (and in particular, literature) and technology. However, the articles I come across usually concern how technology is applied to the study of literature or creativity. On Groklaw today, I found a well-written piece coming from the opposite direction: literature applied to technology.

For those who haven’t been following technology news, the story thus far in this strange soap opera: Linux is a product created by thousands of volunteers around the world, and is born of the Open Source philosophy of freedom of speech and the spread of knowledge. Last year, a firm named SCO (nee Caldera), a failing provider of Linux, and now a staunch advocate of its own UnixWare OS, claimed to own the intellectual property and copyrights behind the UNIX operating system, upon which Linux is modelled. They accuse IBM of “stealing” their code and contributing it to Linux, which has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years (to the dismay of Microsoft) and is a major focus of IBM, it all but decimating the market share for SCO UnixWare. SCO has threatened to sue Linux users all over the world for using their “property”, and has levied a lawsuit at IBM for several billion dollars (and well as initiating lawsuits against others such as Daimler-Chrysler). SCO stock, initially soaring to over $20 upon announcement of the longshot lawsuit, has been plummetting in recent months to now under $4, and the two major investors (the Royal Bank of Canada and BayStar Inc.) have cut their losses and walked away. The CEO, one Darl McBride, has been mouthing off about the legal issues quite regularly in the press, and is probably the “most hated man in IT” right now, due to the popularity of Linux among techies and advocates of freedom. SCO has been suffering many losses lately, and the courts, media, customers and investors have not been kind to them. The story gets far more complicated than that, and experiences twists and turns every day, but that is the gist of it. Groklaw is the community site set up to carefully watch and dissect the case, often digging up information that slowly puts nails into the SCO coffin.

That being said, here is the wonderful and hilarious send-up of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”, entitled “The Nazgul, A Derivative Work of the Intellectual Property of Edgar Allan Poe” by the Groklaw enthusiast Alanyst: The Nazgul.

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