Building Evacuated After SCO Unix Discovered

Fake News written by James Baughn on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

from the potential-superfund-site dept.

VINELAND, NEW JERSEY -- Entrepreneur Dee Dee Positt thought she had it made. Her small business was booming, profits were up, and a recent investment in a state senator had just paid huge dividends with the passage of a new law in her favor.

That, however, was Thursday. On Friday, disaster struck. One of the IT guys accidentally discovered that the company's phone system, purchased second-hand a few months before, was running on a SCO Unix server. In other words, the business was sitting on a toxic waste dump.

"We had no idea," the IT manager said. "It looked like a harmless rack-mounted server, the same as any other. We plugged it in, and it worked. But somehow we missed the little sticker on the bottom that mentioned something about UnixWare. Because of that oversight, we allowed an insidious disease to gain a foothold in our server room that could have decimated the financial health of our company."

The desperate situation required desperate action. "I had no choice... I had to evacuate the building and shut down all operations," Positt said. "I didn't want a repeat of AutoZone or DaimlerChrysler. If even one byte of code from the SCO machine had spread to another machine, we could have been sued for billions by SCO's out-of-control legal department. The risk was simply too great."

After the building was cleared, a team of decontamination experts -- copyright lawyers -- moved in to secure the scene. For three days, they went to work, checking for any sign that SCO's precious intellectual property had leaked. After no signs of additional infection were found, the hard drive of the SCO machine was wiped three times, and then the whole machine was incinerated. The whole process was captured on video to prevent SCO's lawyers from finding any pretense to sue (maybe).

Next, every computer, server, router, calculator, copy machine, microwave oven, and coffee maker was carefully audited to ensure that no SCO or SCO-ish software was installed. A detailed procedure was developed for auditing every future purchase to prevent a repeat disaster. Finally, once the toxic waste cleanup crew gave the OK -- and presented their US$10,000/hour legal bill -- the evacuation and quarantine were finally lifted.

"We thought we could save money by buying used equipment to run our phone system," Positt said. "We didn't know that our bargain purchase was going to include an unwanted parasite. Eliminating this infection cost us over US$225,000, but it prevented a much larger outbreak. The last thing we needed was a dollar-intensive lawsuit in which SCO accused us of stealing their code and somehow killing thousands of children."

The lesson is clear. Just as people with food allergies must carefully check the ingredient labels on groceries, any company that's allergic to lawsuits (i.e. all of them) should carefully check everything they purchase for potential lawsuit traps.

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