End Game


June 15, 2008

My henchman and I sat down at the table across from Ralph and Darl.

“I suppose you can guess why I called you here,” Ralph said.

“We will be happy to dance at the wedding of your sister,” Flagon said. We all looked at her.

“What in the world are you talking about?” I asked.

“I don’t know, it seemed appropriate.”

I ignored her. “You are at the end game, and want someone taken out I assume.”

“No,” replied Ralph. “We want the rules of the game changed.”

I could see where this one was heading, but heck, we came all this way, might as well listen to it. I said nothing, but stared at him.

It was Darl that spoke. “We need you to go back in time,” he explained.

“How would that help?” I asked. “You had it all laid out, it didn’t work. What exactly do you want me to do to change things?”

“Put Unix code in Linux.”

“I thought you said you had a mountain of it already. Something about being ready for trial and not needing discovery?”

“So we lied.”

“And not convincingly,” Flagon observed.

“Whatever,” Darl said. “Can you do it?”

“Not easily. The SysV code was already antiquated, there would have been no good reason to include it. I don’t see where it would help you much anyway. You don’t own the copyrights.”

“Here,” Ralph said, handing me a piece of paper. “Ammendment 3, detailing the list of copyrights to be included. Slip it in the final papers for the signing.”

I read them over. “But didn’t the AT&T/BSD case gut most of these?”

“Oh yeah, we need you to change AT&T’s original policy too. As you can see, this one says the university can modify their code, but all changes and copyrights belong specifically to AT&T, and Berkeley can only distribute on campus after getting an NDA signed by all users.”

“Anything else?”

“Yeah, we want you to arrange it so Judge Kimball’s parents never meet.”

“I see. And you are planning to pay for all this, how?”

“Five million shares of stock. It should be worth a bundle when you get done.”

“Gentlemen, you don’t need me, you need a colleague of mine. He can do what you want, but he is real particular about contracts.”

“How so?”

“He likes them signed in blood.”

There was a puff of sulphurous smoke and Satan appeared. Flagon and I took it as our cue to leave. We never did hear if they came to an agreeable contract. Knowing Satan though...

2:25:25 AM

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