RealTime IT News
OSI Leader Asks Hacker to Stop SCO Attack
By Thor Olavsrud
August 26, 2003

A sophisticated denial-of-service attack, which took down the Web site of SCO Group through the weekend and into Monday, was the work of an "experienced Internet engineer," according to Open Source Initiative (OSI) President Eric S. Raymond.

The attack has since ended and the SCO Web site is back online.

In a posting to internetnews.com sister site Linux Today, Raymond, while noting that he does not know the identity of the person responsible, said, "I had been hoping, and actually expecting, that the attacker would turn out to be some adolescent cracker with no real connection to the open-source community other than a willingness to stand down when one of its leaders asked. But no; I was told enough about his background and how he did it to be pretty sure he is one of us -- and I am ashamed for us all."

SCO has raised the hackles of the open source community with its claims that the Linux operating system is an unauthorized derivative of its Unix operating system. SCO has begun selling licenses that it says will protect firms that run Linux from copyright infringement suits. But Raymond said many members of the Linux community see SCO's license as an attempt to hijack their years of volunteer work on Linux.

"This attack was wrong, and it was dangerous to our goals," Raymond said. "I realize the provocation was extreme; since March, SCO has threatened, grossly insulted, and attacked our community and everything we've worked for. I'm certainly not without sympathy for the person who did this."

However, Raymond argued that the open source community must use the truth, not criminal methods, as its weapons.

"Nevertheless, we must never make this mistake again, whether against SCO or any other predator," he said. "When we use criminal means to fight them, no matter what the provocation is, we bring ourselves down to the level of the thieves and liars now running SCO. That is unethical and bad tactics to boot."

Raymond said the attacker agreed to call off the attack in response to a request Raymond published to the LWN.net site Saturday, in which he asked the attacker to stop.

"With whatever authority I have, I ask that the DOS attack cease immediately. Please stand down *now*. We have better ways to win this fight," Raymond wrote.

He argued that the open source community's best weapons include keeping the moral high ground, using facts, and allowing SCO's spokespeople to "dig their company's grave a little deeper."

The weekend's attack marks the second time SCO's site has been taken down by a DoS attack since tackling Linux and launching its multi-billion lawsuit at IBM, which it alleges breached its contract with SCO by releasing portions of its Unix-based AIX operating system to the open source community.