October 28, 2003

The GPL is unconstitutional!

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

We know this because a respected American company, SCO, has said so. Right here, in its Answer to IBM's Amended Counterclaims (pdf download), part of their 8th Affirmative Defense says, "The GPL violates the U.S. Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws...." I guess that means all Real Americans need to stop using Linux or any other GPL software immediately. We don't want Attorney General John Ashcroft knocking on our doors, do we?You non-Americans who read NewsForge can move on to the next story right now. We know you don't hold our Constitution dear and don't understand the ideals that make the United of States of America the greatest nation on earth, so there is no reason for you to read this.

But you, my fellow Americans, had better listen up: Linux is unconstitutional, and if you use it you are obviously not a patriot. Aside from not being able to rent a movie starring an Australian, you are probably violating the Patriot Act, and that can land you in serious trouble.

The U.S. federal and military oath of office says:

I, [your name here], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

In other words, all U.S. government and military personnel are sworn to stomp out the GPL -- and anyone who uses GPL software, one presumes.

This may be a little hard on federal employees and military people who use Linux either at home or in their jobs, but perhaps they can get some sort of special dispensation. Either that, or they all might want to resign -- and possibly leave the U.S.

Worse, SCO itself uses Linux and admits having distributed it under the GPL, and still distributes other GPL software.

Obviously, the first target of a federal (criminal) investigation into the constitutional evils of the GPL ought to be SCO, and SCO managers and attorneys ought to be the first ones convicted of non-patriotism and sent to prison for GPL use.

Since NewsForge runs on Linux (and other GPL software) and I run Linux (and other GPL software) in my home office, I suppose I'll end up in federal prison with Darl McBride and other SCO executives.

But that's okay. There will be millions of others in that prison with us, ranging from Linus Torvalds (unless he escapes to Finland before the hammer falls), to all my LUG friends. So I won't need to socialize with the SCO crowd; I will have plenty of nicer people to associate with whenever they let me out of my cell.

What about you?

Are you prepared to defy the U.S. Constitution and keep running Linux? Or are you going to cave in and move to Windows (or at least commercial Unix) to save your sorry butt from Ashcroft's minions? Or, worse, are you going to become a turncoat and testify in court (possibly in a "closed door" hearing as authorized under the Patriot Act) against Linux users and their possible links to Saddam Hussein, North Korea, the Democratic Party, and other unAmerican forces?

Or -- ludicrous as this may sound -- have SCO's management and lawyers truly descended into madness?

Or -- even more ludicrous but more plausible with every new SCO announcement -- is this all a giant prank?

The SCO soap opera has gotten so silly that any day now I expect to see a press conference where a laughing Darl McBride, arm in arm with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, says, "Hey! Gotcha! You thought we were serious, didn't you? Ha ha ha ha ha."

The next April Fool's Day is more than five months away.

That's a long time, but we're patient people. We can wait that long for this joke's punchline, can't we?


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