March 3, 2004

ESR: Linux community stands behind AutoZone

Author: Eric S. Raymond

To: Steve Odland, President and CEO of AutoZone
The Linux community, and the wider open-source software movement of
which it is a part, learned this morning that SCO is suing AutoZone, Inc. (and DaimlerChrysler Corp.)
over alleged IP violations related to its move from SCO Unix to
Linux. We regret that you have become the latest victim in the
campaign of barratry, fraud, and stock-kiting that SCO has been
waging. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that you have
in fact just made a great many friends.

Our news channels and Web forums are already full of people urging
everybody to go buy something at AutoZone, even if it's as trivial as
an air freshener -- that could be several million new customers for
you. You're also in the same corner with corporate powerhouses like
IBM and cutting-edge outfits like Red Hat Software. These companies
and others have already set up common legal defense funds in
anticipation of further SCO attacks

SCO has filed a complaint around allegations that were denied in
public and on the record two weeks ago by the former AutoZone employee
who led your move to Linux. To those of us who have been following
SCO's $5 billion lawsuit against IBM for the last year, this
is unsurprising; they have yet to produce credible evidence or even
settle on a coherent legal theory in that case, either.

Accordingly, we urge you to fight this lawsuit with every effort you
can muster. It's the right thing to do by AutoZone's shareholders, and
more generally as well. Thoughtful people everywhere are seeing in
meritless IP lawsuits an increasing drag on innovation and economic
health. AutoZone can both serve its own interests and do good by
helping make such parasitic tactics generally unprofitable.

We'll be with you -- and that "we" includes a lot of expertise on the
technical, legal, and historical issues bound up in SCO's lawsuit. If
there is any assistance that I personally or the Open Source
Initiative can reasonably provide, please do not hesitate to ask.


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