SCO Web site down again, questions raised

Web site of embattled software maker The SCO Group was inaccessible again on Tuesday, fueling reports of another denial of service attack.

SCO's main Web site, www.sco.com, was off-line between 4 a.m. GMT and 2 p.m. GMT, according to the Internet monitoring company Netcraft Ltd.

That site had just recovered from a crippling denial of service (DoS) attack that lasted throughout the weekend (DoS) and for much of the business day on Monday, according to SCO.

The outage prompted Netcraft to declare that SCO was again the target of a DoS attack. However, the outage was actually due to preventative measures taken by SCO and its hosting service to mitigate the effects of future attacks, according to company spokesman Marc Modersitzki.

The Lindon, Utah software company has been the target of animosity within the open source community after it sued IBM Corp. for, among other things, misappropriation of SCO's Unix source code for the Linux operating system.

In May, SCO went a step further, announcing that it was dropping its Linux software business. At the same time, the company warned commercial Linux vendors that they may be liable for misuse of SCO's intellectual property.

The suit has fanned the flames of passion within the open source software community because it threatens to undermine the growing popularity of Linux, casting doubt on the legal status of the operating system.

The weekend DoS attack followed a similar DoS attack in May and was probably launched by individuals within the open source community, according to Eric Raymond, president of Open Source Initiative.

Following the attacks last weekend, Raymond and other open source advocates condemned the actions and appealed to those within the community to stop attacking SCO's Web site.

On Tuesday, Raymond said those appeals had been well received within the community and that he was confident that open source advocates will refrain from future attacks on SCO.

"It was surprising to me that it happened and don't think it will happen again," he said about the weekend attacks.

"We're ethical people," Raymond said, speaking of the open source community.

SCO has kept mum about the attack over the weekend, but company executives are contemplating issuing a statement about it Tuesday, Modersitzki said.

Modersitzki declined to comment on the content of that statement.

The company is hopeful that the steps taken Tuesday will blunt the effects of future DoS attacks, he said.

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