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Analysis of SCO vs. IBM 282

Posted by michael
from the paper-pushing dept.
icantblvitsnotbutter writes "An excellent -- and clear! -- article over at LinuxWorld.com has a multipoint analysis of SCO's 40-page complaint (this is a brief?!). For all those IANAL's out there, here's something to sink your teeth into. On the balance, the outlook seems positive for IBM. Still, the parallel invocation of a contractural clause potentially nixing AIX lends some credence to claims that this is a just way for SCO to coerce IBM into buying them out..." Some old documents from a similar lawsuit have surfaced, and naturally ESR has his own take on the case.
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Analysis of SCO vs. IBM

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  • by presroi (657709) <neubau@presroi.de> on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:02AM (#5511369) Homepage
    IBM has released a notification that they finally understood the argument in the SCO paper.
  • Aww... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:05AM (#5511399) Homepage Journal
    This alleged action strengthens Linux, and, because Linux is no-cost or almost-no-cost, it cuts the legs out from under SCO's market.

    [intense cynical sarcasm]

    Damn free stuff always screwing us over.

    [/intense cynical sarcasm]
  • by watzinaneihm (627119) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:13AM (#5511453) Journal
    Almost nothing new there which you couldnt have found by not sifting through earlier slashdot stories. What I would have really liked is something on the lines of "Here is patent number 1" and here is how linux is different/same.....
    It is not as if SCO patent reads like "WE patent UNIX and everything that looks like it. And that is that.They have to patent some feature of the OS which they can accuse IBM of violating"
    • by PerryMason (535019) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:19AM (#5511497)
      What I would have really liked is something on the lines of "Here is patent number 1" and here is how linux is different/same.....It is not as if SCO patent reads like "WE patent UNIX and everything that looks like it. And that is that

      Quoting from the SCO complaint;
      18. SCO is the present owner of all software code and licensing rights to System V Technology.

      Pretty much summarises what they are saying.
      • by Tony-A (29931) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:55AM (#5511792)
        Looks like that ownership may be a bit tainted. (emphasis added)

        The suit was settled after the University threatened to countersue over license violations by AT&T and USL. It seems that from as far back as before 1985, the historical Bell Labs codebase had been incorporating large amounts of software from the BSD sources. The University's cause of action lay in the fact that AT&T, USL and Novell had routinely violated the terms of the BSD license by removing license attributions and copyrights.

        The exact terms of final settlement, and much of the judicial record, were sealed at Novell's insistence.

      • Quoting from the SCO complaint;

        "18. SCO is the present owner of all software code and licensing rights to System V Technology."

        Pretty much summarises what they are saying.

        Ah, but a distinction - it seems the SCO people are willfully blurring the patent/copyright issue. Yes, they have patents on Unix. No, it doesn't extend to EVERYTHING about Unix. And I bet they don't have a patent, say, System V startup script formats.

        At this point, they only have copyright, which they accidentally (or incompetent

        • Ah, but a distinction - it seems the SCO people are willfully blurring the patent/copyright issue. Yes, they have patents on Unix. No, it doesn't extend to EVERYTHING about Unix. And I bet they don't have a patent, say, System V startup script formats.

          SCO has no patents at all. None. Follow the Patents, People [ssc.com]

  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:13AM (#5511456) Homepage
    IBM: Here's one.
    Judge: Ninepence.
    SCO: I'm not dead!
    Judge: What?
    IBM: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
    SCO: I'm not dead!
    Judge: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
    IBM:Yes, he is.
    SCO: I'm not!
    Judge: He isn't?
    IBM: Well, he will be soon. He just filed a 9000 word legal brief.
  • Nice brief (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nenolod (546272) <nenolod@gmail. c o m> on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:19AM (#5511499) Homepage
    Looks like it was written by a high school student, but none the less, what a nice brief. Dont those SCO People work hard?

    Plus, their case doesn't hold water because, the SCO that we're talking about is not the same SCO as the SCO that provided Unix, after AT&T.

    This SCO is caldera. The old SCO is SCO. Do the math, Caldera != SCO. Therefore, I do not see their grounds at all.
  • by TaranRampersad (650261) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:20AM (#5511504) Homepage Journal

    If SCO is just about to sell out, and is attempting to inflate it's 'intellectual property equity' in the hope that someone with money may buy them? Or maybe there are already talks underway?

    If not, this appears to be a horrid act of desperation.

  • by DJPenguin (17736) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:20AM (#5511506)
    Amicus Curiae - what the hell does that mean? Is it latin for Anonymous Coward?
  • If only.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:21AM (#5511511)
    IBM would countersue, based upon restraint of trade, for $2B.


    I think they'd have a pretty good chance of ending up owning all of SCO.


    Not that it's worth much.

  • Random Programming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechnoWeenie (250857) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:23AM (#5511528)
    Averment 41
    Shared libraries are by their nature unique creations based on various decisions to write code in certain ways, which are in great part random decisions of the software developers who create the shared library code base.

    It's interesting to note that SCO considers the decisions of programmers to be basically random.
    • Hmm, that could explain why SCO is nearly dead. :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It is also interesting that SCO actually appears to believe that. Even without the headers the API to any library can be reverse engineered with nm and gdb in about two days.

      As for "Shared libraries are by their nature unique creations..." I'm not even sure where to start. How is some code a "unique creation" simply because I have compiled it as a shared library? If I build it as a static library, is it no longer unique? Do SCO not understand that one of the points of using shared libraries is that th
    • I think yo are quoting out of context here. SCO is refering to the compiled code. This was another one of the places where SCO hints at something being the case very strongly yet if you know the truth you can see they didn't actually say what any reasonable reader would imply from their writing, so they can lie without committing perjury.

      What they assert is that

      1) SCO enterprise applications require SCO libraries to run
      2) By random chance Linux developers could not create libraries which are binary co
      • by Anonymous Coward
        However you leave out item 3. In their complaint, SCO goes on to say "Therefore, the mathematical probability of a customer being able to recreate the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries without unauthorized access to or use of the source code of the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries is nil." In other words, SCO assert that it is impossible to create a compatable library without riping off SCO's source code. This is demonstratably rubbish, as anyone with the knowhow can reverse engineer the API to a shared lib
        • the mathematical probability ... is nil
          Rubbish. That's like saying it's statistically impossible for all Brits to drive on the left hand side of the road. There's lots of parameters to lots of functions, but there's always a lot of effort put into making them as consistent as possible. This means that a very few design choices dictate how everything else is put together.
          Move source,destination -or- Move destination,source

          Further, access to almost any code that uses the library gives most all the informa
    • The decisions of programmers are indeed mostly random, that's why we have testing. As an insightful Slashdot contributor pointed out, you can consider programming as random mutation and then the test suite as natural selection - so software evolves rather than being designed. This is not quite the whole truth but it is pretty close, at least for any developer who has the comfort of a good set of regression tests.
  • by ebuck (585470) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:27AM (#5511552)
    I would think that after all of the legal (and pseduo-legal) stuff that gets posted and referenced here at ./, nearly everyone would realize that in legal circles, "Brief" is a technical term neither describing the length of the document, nor the time it takes to read one.

    Or should I just make an analogy to a brief COBOL program?
    • Briefs are infact supposed to be short.

      Judges can get very testy when this is ignored. This can include the offending lawyer being forced to dance around the courtroom with the offending brief hung about his neck.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:27AM (#5511553) Homepage Journal
    I don't remember it this was posted already in previous discussions, but in this interview with IBM Kernel Hackers [slashdot.org] from last year, some points are raised, some good and some bad for IBM, specially in the 2nd question. In short, the people at IBM that was into the linux kernel development can't take parts of i.e. AIX code and put into Linux and viceversa, but some interchange of ideas could have been happened if a developer of one team talks with one of another.
    • by binaryDigit (557647) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:34AM (#5511615)
      some points are raised, some good and some bad for IBM, specially in the 2nd question

      They answered:

      We are definitely not allowed to cut and paste proprietary code into any open source projects (or vice versa!). There is an IBM committee who can and do approve the release of IBM proprietary or patented technology, like RCU.

      I don't see how this is "bad" for IBM. It shows that they are actively protecting any proprietary interests to the point that they actually have a committee.

      but some interchange of ideas could have been happened if a developer of one team talks with one of another.

      Again they replied:

      Having solved the problem once, our non-Linux peers can help steer us without spelling it out for us, allowing us to still develop solutions that can then be open sourced.

      Again, IBM seems to be keenly aware of the cross pollenation issue and actively taking steps to avoid any issues. It reads to me like it's all pro IBM?
    • by Picass0 (147474) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:41AM (#5511666) Homepage Journal
      I'm reminded of a few(!) years ago when I was reading about development on the Atari 8-bit computers. A columnist for Analog magazine wrote about how he could not divulge certain information about memory mapping of the 400/800 computers because of his Non-Discolsure Agreement - BUT - that if he found out the same information from a third party he could then treat said information as public domain, and then was not bound by the NDA.

      I would be interested in knowing if the knowledge shared here had slipped into the public domain, because if so then NDAs do not apply.

      IANAL
      • Thier was a similar one to this back with the Amiga. Thier were people using various variable names and making references to variables names and function that were in the chips and O/S. This lead to claims that people who had access various properitary code had released it, then it came out that all this was in a published book that anyone on the street could get.
      • I dunno. I would think that if you signed an NDA, you signed an NDA, and disclosing the information would violate the NDA, whether or not it was already common knowledge. For instance, if I signed a non-disclosure agreement stating that I couldn't tell you my eyes are blue, seems to me I'd be in violation of the NDA if I said my eyes were blue, even though you can see for yourself that they are, in fact, blue.

        However, I doubt there would be any reason why I then couldn't say, "I'm sorry, I signed an NDA an
    • I was one of the reviewers of the IBM opensource guidelines back in 1996 or 1997.

      Stealing code was a paramount concern. It's accounted for.

  • by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:34AM (#5511610) Homepage
    Reading the Linux world article SCO claims that Linux advanced features such as failover SMP etc could only come about after many years of development. However I do find it a bit narrow sighted in that they think that IBM is the only one who could procduce this software and port it. There are other blue chips out there who have written failsafe software and ported it to Linux. Personally I think SCO is talking rubbish (well at least on this point at least). I really need to read all 40 pages of their document but don't really have the time. (heh who does :)

    Rus
    • Reading the Linux world article SCO claims that Linux advanced features such as failover SMP etc could only come about after many years of development.

      One would think IBM has substantial in-house experience with failover SMP, journaling filesystems, logical volume management, NUMA, and hot-swap hardware. I believe their mainframes had most of these features long before any UNIX machine did. I mean IBM has only be developing operating systems for what 50 years or so?
  • by leomekenkamp (566309) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:39AM (#5511646)

    Averment 77: Related to the development of the open source software development movement in the computing world, an organization was founded by former MIT professor Richard Stallman entitled "GNU."

    RMS may be surprised to learn he is a former MIT professor.

    He is not; he is a former GNU/MIT professor.

  • SCO's case (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alomex (148003) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:41AM (#5511672) Homepage

    While I have no idea if SCO has a case or not, I see that many here assume IBM had nothing to do with making Linux enterprise stable, and scoff at SCO's claim.

    Yet, if you take the time to google the web you'll find that IBM dedicated an entire internal group to Linux and hired several external companies during 1999-2001 with the sole purpose of making Linux entreprise strength (even Linus has said so).

    Now, to be clear, this does not yet prove that any illegal transfer of technology took place (and I doubt SCO will be able to prove it, IMHO they are fishing hoping to find the smoking gun during discovery), but it does verify one of the main three claims from SCO.

    • It's not a claim. (Score:3, Informative)

      by rjh (40933)
      ... Not in the legal sense of the word, at least. You can't walk into a courtroom and say "your Honor, I claim the sky is blue". Sure, in the English sense of the word it's a claim; in the legal sense of the word, it's not a claim because it lacks standing before the court. I.e., great, the sky's blue: why should the court care? Great, IBM helped Linux get ready for the enterprise: why should the court care?

      A claim is basically a statement of "... and this is why the court should care". So far, SCO's
    • Re:SCO's case (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jbolden (176878)
      Absolutely they did. IBM has done a great deal of stuff to make 2.6 a much better kernel. The problem is those aren't the features that SCO can claim came from SCO, unless they want to claim they were so secret they didn't share them with their own development staff -- i.e. they aren't part of SCO either. The features they can claim are the ones that were in Linux prior to IBM's involvement.
    • that's not the issue (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ender Ryan (79406)
      We all know that IBM has contributed to Linux development. However, IBM's contributions to Linux pale, or become transparent to be more accurate, in comparison to the dedicated hackers from all over the world who contribute to Linux.

      Furthermore, Linux was already far more advanced and "enterprise ready" before IBM even touched it than SCO gives it credit for NOW.

      I was using Linux on SMP machines before IBM ever came on the scene. IBM's LVM was turned down. IBM's JFS is probably the least used JFS in

      • However, IBM's contributions to Linux pale, or become transparent to be more accurate, in comparison to the dedicated hackers from all over the world who contribute to Linux.

        If IBM went to the trouble of hiring companies to improve Linux then some development that they wanted to see through wasn't being done. How important it was? important enough for IBM to spend millions of dollars on this.

        Keep im mind that some of the work that makes an OS entreprise strength is nitty gritty optimization that the hack
      • by DenOfEarth (162699) on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:57PM (#5512952) Homepage
        the thing you are ignoring here is that there are some things that IBM will put into Linux that not many teams of dedicated hackers would or could, due to access to large scale hardware along with the funding that goes along with it.

        It's well and good to say that ext3 or Reiser beats out JFS, which is probably true, because all installations of linux are going to use those things, including the hacker's box sitting at home. However, not everyone has the time, money, nor interest to develop those areas of Linux that need to be developed in order for it to compete on the level of enterprise class servers. IBM sells those products, and thus they contribute to Linux in ways that a desktop user might not quite see.

        Maybe when I'm running a wackload of processors at home on a huge rackspace (when I own my own island too), I can try and contribute to scalability or some such other thing, but until then, IBM fits the bill perfectly.

        • Linux kernel developers have access to all those things, without IBM.

          I didn't say IBM has contributed nothing, but the level of contribution is greatly exaggerated by SCO. Furthermore, SCO's claims imply that Linux, in it's current form, is far behind where Linux was in actuality before IBM came on the scene.

  • by dentar (6540) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:42AM (#5511673) Homepage Journal
    These folks have pretty much turned on us. I spent a great deal of effort learning UNIX, getting my SCO CUSA, ACE, and Master ACE. SCO ruined that by no longer being competitive, not keeping up with technology, not marketing their products well, and mistreating their reseller channel. They got their asses kicked by a college student in Finland because they got lazy and stupid. It serves them right. I am now questioning whether or not I should have tried to become a dealer of their wares when I struck out on my own.

    I'm finished when 'em. I'll support their products while my clients still have them, but as soon as the first opportunity to upgrade comes along, we're migrating!

    Here is an excerpt about who the money grabbers are, and when they acquired for .001 per share:
    http://biz.yahoo.com/t/s/scox.html

    Here is my new policy:
    http://www.dentar.com/index.php?scoproble m
  • by bert33 (655799) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:46AM (#5511704)
    Hoe could they release a document with so many factual and grammatical errors? I would have thought the lawyers would at least do a little proofreading and fact checking.
    Regardless, since UNIX was licensed to universities to study couldn't the concepts SCO claims were "stolen" by IBM simply have been studied by the Linux developers when they were in school?
    • Lawyers are neither programmers nor Unix historians. Most of the lawyers I've met can use Word, Excel, read email, but that's about it. Furthermore, much of the work (and especially fact-checking) is done by paralegals making $12/hour who try and look this stuff up on Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw, or the like. Most of their information comes from the mainstream press and prior cases. Stating that AT&T didn't know what to do with Unix at first is lousy reading (for a mainstream audiance) and practically begg
    • Hoe could they release a document with so many factual and grammatical errors? I would have thought the lawyers would at least do a little proofreading and fact checking.

      Well, as far as I can tell this is not the final form of the document that will be submitted to the court. The title gives it away:

      Brief of Amicus Curiae in SCO vs. IBM (draft)

      This is a draft and as such may contain spelling and grammatical errors.

      (I assume your comment was directed at the ESR brief, but you were not specific. If
    • This is a draft, and all spelling issues wil most likely be fixed.

      More importantly by putting this document out for review the OpenSource model itself is being used to improve the Amicus Brief. All facts will will have needed documentation, and a list of people to testify will most likely be available.

      This is very clever and it's recursive nature would be poetic justice if indeed it helps defeat the SCO claim.

  • by Mr.Phil (128836) on Friday March 14, 2003 @10:51AM (#5511746)
    I know it is the "hip" and "cool" thing to rag on ESR for his views on pretty much anything, however this brief is a very well written document and worth your time to read it. Whatever his precieved faults, he is able to put this issue in clearer prospective for me than the the original posting did.

  • D: the humble start of an opening towards the IBM SNA protocols
    D: libmodem author
    D: IBM Turboways 25 ATM Device Driver

  • by rpiquepa (644694) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:10AM (#5511938) Homepage
    As some of you said, there were many stories published about the SCO vs IBM lawsuit. But I don't think I saw any comments about this Forbes [forbes.com] story. Here is a short quote: "Not only has SCO Group filed a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM for misappropriation of trade secrets, but the tiny company says it will yank IBM's Unix license in 100 days if it does not cease what SCO deems are anti-competitive practices."
    • The first, important point: SCO doesn't own AIX.

      I don't know the details of the "Unix contract" that IBM is said to have with SCO. According to ESR's brief, Unix vendors continued to buy licenses to the original AT&T/Bell Labs code long after that source code ceased to be relevant to the marketplace. If IBM bought such a license, it presumably would have been transmitted to Caldera, then Novell, then SCO.

      He also points out that none of the "Enterprise Scalability Features" such as SMP, NUMA,
  • by Bull999999 (652264) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:13AM (#5511962) Journal
    Remember the movie Dogma by Kevin Smith? Here's the rundown of it.

    "A female decendant of Christ and two unlikely prophets are called upon by Rufus, an unknown 13th apostle, to stop two angels, that were cast out of heaven, from unknowingly erasing all of God's work by restoring their souls by entering a new church. Restoring ones soul by entering a new church is a part of the Catholic Dogma, and by restoring their souls the angels could reenter heaven thus revealing there is a loophole to return to heaven. This would prove God was not perfect and upon proving this all of God's work would immediately be erased."

    If IBM buys SCO outright or from the smothering runins, IBM will gian the rights to UNIX and may also chose to release it under GPL. If someone decides to use the UNIX kernel using GNU O/S, it will become GNU/UNIX.

    GNU's Not UNIX/UNIX???

    This contridiction will bring calmady to the IT world and bring end the free software movement (including GPL).
  • ESR's Amicus brief (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tmasssey (546878) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:16AM (#5511991) Homepage Journal
    Interesting...

    I just finished reading the brief. I must say that for the first half or so, I was very impressed with it. It was simple, logical and factual. However, by the end, it seemed to devolve into a statement of beliefs and feelings that, to me, did not feel right in a court brief. For example:

    SCO's complaint, in all its brazen mendacity, is the last gasp of proprietary Unix. The open-source community and its allies are more than competent to carry forward the Unix tradition. We pray that all assertions of exclusive corporate ownership over this tradition be given a swift and merciful end.

    Am I the only one who thought that this was not the forum for such OpenSource flag-waving?

    • On Point (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bstadil (7110) on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:55PM (#5512934) Homepage
      The avertment below aimes directly at OpenSource competency, so even though it reads as flag-waving it is on point.

      Avertment 84: "Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car. To make Linux of necessary quality for use by enterprise customers, it must be re-designed so that Linux also becomes the software equivalent of a luxury car. This re-design is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (1) a high degree of design coordination, (2) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (3) access to UNIX code, methods and concepts; (4) UNIX architectural experience; and (5) a very significant financial investment."

  • by jms (11418) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:21AM (#5512025)
    Except for SCO, none of the primary UNIX vendors ever developed a UNIX "flavor" to operate on an Intel-based processor chip set. This is because the earlier Intel processors were considered to have inadequate processing power for use in the more demanding enterprise market applications.

    Sun Microsystems needs to improve its marketing efforts for Solaris x86.


    Not to mention that IBM released AIX/PS2 back in the early 1990s -- a version of AIX that ran on 80386 based PS/2 hardware.

    It sucked to the extent that the hardware it ran on sucked. A big, bloated Unix kernel running on an 80386 with a maximum of 16 megs of memory and a 60 meg ESDI hard drive was pretty close to a non-starter.

    • by walt-sjc (145127) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:53AM (#5512377)
      As for Sun's Intel work, they created the "Corporate I386" WAY back in the 80's, but due to the fact that it blew away (out performed and less expensive) machines built on Scott's pet chip (sparc) he killed the project. Full circle, Scott. Full circle.

      Note: my wife was on that project team. They later went on to create the Sparc 5. Scott did a lot of killing of good projects and is Seriously holding back the creativity of the engineers at Sun. There are some Really good people there.
    • Except for SCO, none of the primary UNIX vendors ever developed a UNIX "flavor" to operate on an Intel-based processor chip set. This is because the earlier Intel processors were considered to have inadequate processing power for use in the more demanding enterprise market applications.

      Errmmmm...wait a sec here... I seem to remember something called "Microsoft Xenix", which was licensed from AT&T and then later SOLD OFF to SCO, well before they acquired the rights to AT&T code.

      So, SCO is effecti
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:22AM (#5512029)

    This is not about UNIX!!! This is about PROJECT MONTEREY!!!

    Monterey was a real, live, flesh and blood endeavor in which SCO and IBM partnered to write a new, 64-bit, proprietary Über-Unix on Intel hardware. SCO committed real, live, flesh and blood engineers to the project, and real, honest to goodness, cold, hard cash. IBM walked away from the table. The question is: How much SCO intellectual property did IBM walk away with, and how much of it found its way to IBM's Linux projects? If, through discovery, SCO can prove that a substantial number of IBM's Project Monterey engineers were re-assigned to IBM Linux projects, then SCO will have a reasonably solid foundation on which to proceed with the case.

    This is no different than Intergraph's highly successful court cases against Intel, in which Intergraph proved that Intel had stolen substantial amounts of Intergraph intellectual property.

    Google on Project Monterey SCO IBM [google.com]

    Google on Intergraph Intel [google.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The key to this case is the discovery phase. If the judge allows SCO to go forth with discovery, they can begin to prove their case that IBM Monterey engineers were re-assigned to IBM Linux projects [by examining employment records], and then go from there to showing the actual loss of intellectual property [by examining email records, memoranda, minutes of meetings, and unpublished IBM Linux code & unpublished IBM Linux documentation].

      IBM lawyers, on the other hand, will do everything in their power

    • Based on the level of expertise SCO has shown in their own Unix product, the notion that IBM could have stolen anything from SCO is highly dubious.

      SCO simply has nothing to steal.
    • by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:21PM (#5513157) Homepage Journal

      Yes Monterey was a real life project, but that's completely irrelevant. Why is that the case? It's quite simple, if SCO had some sort of contractual obligation from Monterey that they could hold over IBM then they almost certainly would have mentioned it in their court filing.

      Read SCO's original filing and you will find absolutely no reference to Monterey and any contracts involving Monterey. SCO's filing is quite explicit in its mention that their claim comes from the fact that they own the original System V UNIX source code (which IBM licenses and includes in AIX).

      I would agree with you if SCO had even mentioned their recent work with IBM, but they didn't (probably because the IBM lawyers wrote a contract that is unassailable). The entire case stems around the original UNIX source code that SCO acquired from Novell. As such it is a ridiculously specious case. Don't believe me, go read SCO's filing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I would agree with you if SCO had even mentioned their recent work with IBM, but they didn't (probably because the IBM lawyers wrote a contract that is unassailable). The entire case stems around the original UNIX source code that SCO acquired from Novell. As such it is a ridiculously specious case. Don't believe me, go read SCO's filing.

        From THE COMPLAINT ITSELF [sco.com]:

        Project Monterey

        50. As SCO was poised and ready to expand its market and market share for UnixWare targeted to high-performance ent

  • nixing? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Spudley (171066) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:22AM (#5512034) Homepage Journal
    Somehow, "nixing" seems to be an oddly appropriate word usage here.... :-D
  • by Featureless (599963) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:31AM (#5512107) Journal
    This alone, from SCO's complaint:

    Averment 86: It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM.

    I hope the rest of their case shows the same degree of arrogance and technical ineptitude. IBM would have little to worry about.
  • by cenonce (597067) <anthony_t@mac. c o m> on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:37AM (#5512179)

    I'd really be interested to see what kind of damages SCO can prove. They may end up racking up millions in dollar of legal fees for a very small reward, if any.

    Even the IBM/AT&T agreement is valid, I'd be surprised if IBM wasn't smart enough to isolate engineers with knowledge of SCO Unix source code from engineers assisting in the Linux development. I mean, c'mon, IBM has been in the computer industry since ENIAC and has been in business almost twice that long! Does anybody really believe IBM can't write a non-disclosure agreement and isolate its employees? SCO makes it sound like the 7,000 IBM engineers working on Linux are the only engineers IBM has, thus, IBM must have violated trade secrets! PLEASE! IBM employs hundreds of thousand of people and probably 10 times the number of engineers they have working on Linux.

    Just because IBM has thrown some effort into Linux, doesn't mean they are tossing AIX out the window. It is probably a wait and see... if Linux really catches on, we can move AIX enterprises over and add Linux enterprises with the benefits of the GPL. IBM is now a service provider, and the reality is, the only way you make money with Linux is providing service.

    It'll be interesting to see how much the lawyers end up making out of all this.

    -Anthony



  • by 0xB00F (655017) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:38AM (#5512205) Homepage Journal

    One of the major gripes of SCO is that Linux would not have been able to have SMP support if it weren't for IBM lifting SCO Unix code and handing it out for the kernel developers.

    Perhaps they should read this article [ibm.com] at IBM DeveloperWorks. This page pretty much explains why IBM decided to go the way of the fat penguin.

    It should be worth pointing out this quote from the article:

    One of the areas where Linux has an advantage on the FreeBSD community is in SMP, or multiprocessor support. Linux has supported SMP for about five years while FreeBSD has supported it for about two years. As a result, the Linux's support for SMP is considerably more mature than FreeBSD. Due to the open source nature of both systems, this will not be the case for long. FreeBSD developers have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the Linux developers.
    Linux has had support for SMP waaaaaay long before IBM adopted it and apparently this was one of their reasons for adopting Linux. I also read in a magazine once (I think it was Time or Newsweek c.a. 1998 IIRC but someone please correct the date :-D) that in one of the numerous Linux shows, one of the participants was able to make Linux run on a machine with 4 Xeon processors.

    Plus there is also the fact that a year before IBM adopted Linux, they (among others)made large hardware available to Linux developers for testing and benchmarks [linuxjournal.com].

    0xB00F disappears in a puff of smoke...

  • From ESR [opensource.org] document: The truth is otherwise. SCO never had significant enterprise market share either before or after its purchase of the Unix source code from Novell. Examination of SCO's 10Ks reveals that, even were we to assume that every dime of their revenue came from the enterprise market, their 2002 share could not have exceeded 3.1% [4] This is at the level of statistical noise.

    Your Honor, this is known as the SCO Uncertainty Principle (it as also known as Schroedinger's sales figures). SCO may have
  • Wonderful writup.

    However, I think it is a mistake to throw in DRm at the end. It bears only passingly on the issues at end and is controversial in its own right even within the open source community. The facts are strong and stand on their own.

  • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:07PM (#5512498)
    The author of the LinuxWorld piece is doing advocacy, not analysis. SCO's case is far more subtle than most in the Linux community seem to think.

    As an example, the author takes issue with the SCO's claim that IBM must have stolen SCO trade secrets in order to improve Linux by saying "OK, then, diff the code." It's true that such a diff would provide prima facie proof of violation, but there are plenty of violations which would not require any code to leak at all.

    Suppose part of the validation test set for Monterey consisted of a stress test written by SCO and owned by SCO. That code wouldn't ever be in the final product, and it would certainly be SCO's intellectual property, shared with IBM in order to make Monterey work better. Let us further suppose that code was used in the Linux development work, and found a key set of bugs. (Don't tell me it isn't possible that it would have been -- developers tend to think of tools as just tools, and forget that they may be encumbered.) At that point, there would been a misappropriation of IP.

    (Disclaimer: I have not ever seen any of the code covered by any of these agreements, nor have I ever seen any tests in the Monterey test suite, nor had any contact with any of the principals in this lawsuit. I'm merely criticizing the LinuxWorld piece; any resemblance between the situation outlined here and reality would be purely coincidental.)
    • Look at the ESR document. Some of the things SCO are claiming that IBM took from them are techniques that SCO do not possess themselves yet, others (the original 2-processor coding) were developed by Alan Cox using a machine lent/donated by Caldera themselves.
      I agree with you on the LinuxWorld article though. Mod it as 'overrated' and the ESR one as 'insightful'.
    • by 0xB00F (655017) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:24PM (#5513184) Homepage Journal
      As an example, the author takes issue with the SCO's claim that IBM must have stolen SCO trade secrets in order to improve Linux by saying "OK, then, diff the code."

      Perhaps. But if I were you, do what I did: download the kernel changelogs for 2.4 (and if you like 2.2) and grep them for ibm.com (i.e. commits from someone at IBM).

      For example, I fetch the changelogs from here [ibiblio.org]. And then I ran:

      $ grep -il "ibm\\.com" *
      in the directory containing the changelogs to get the filenames with commits from an IBM email address. Use a pager with regexp search capability (like 'less') to view the files, in this case the changelogs for 2.4.19 and 2.4.20.

      What?!? You're not running linux?!? Shame on you!

      As you will see, most of the checkins involve bug fixes for IBM's JFS, some patches for IPV6, and few ones for s390. Gotta love version control, eh?

      Suppose part of the validation test set for Monterey consisted of a stress test written by SCO and owned by SCO.

      Project Monterey was a plan that never happened. It was a plan to put Unix on IA-64 machines that died during conception. What we have is a lot of white papers on the subject but no written, working code. Of course I could be wrong, and if there was working code it would have probably been written by IBM developers anyway with a "Copyright (c) 2000 IBM Corp." near the top of the sources.

      Let us further suppose that code was used in the Linux development work, and found a key set of bugs. (Don't tell me it isn't possible that it would have been -- developers tend to think of tools as just tools, and forget that they may be encumbered.)

      Probably, but one of the accusations SCO makes is that IBM allegedly handed out Unix code owned by SCO to Linux kernel hackers. And that Linux would not have advanced if IBM had not handed out said code. But so far, all code commits from IBM appear to be mostly patches to existing code. What's more SCO accuses IBM of handing out code from SCO Unix to improve Linux's SMP capabilities. However, Linux's SMP support was one of the primary reasons why IBM adopted Linux in the first place (for proof, see my earlier post in this thread). Ergo, by adopting an Open, Freely Available variant of Unix with SMP support would lessen their development efforts.

      What I find rather interesting is Caldera's Logo on the IA-64 Linux page [linuxia64.org]. And it lists them as one of the players in this project. And even more interesting is the missing links on SCO's website pointing to details of the Itanium Netfarm they have presumably made available to IA-64 Linux developers.

      - casts polymorph other spell on grue... 0xB00F!

  • Blatantly wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:20PM (#5512595)
    Some of SCO's accusations are so blatantly wrong, they make my head hurt doing the necessary mental gymnastics needed to validate any part of SCO's twisted logic:

    "Averment 23: [omitted for brevity]"

    This is entirely irrelevant. Linus started Linux on the '386 because it was available and had the features needed for his pet project. Intel processors' ability/inability to function at "enterprise level" at this point in time doesn't matter one iota.

    "Averment 78: The primary purpose of the GNU organization is to create free software based on valuable commercial software. The primary operating system advanced by GNU is Linux."

    The primary purpose of GNU is to provide a high quality, freely usable/modifyiable/redistributable implementation of an operating system that functions similarly to Unix. I argue that the value of commercial Unix was collapsing until the widespread use of Linux with the GNU system.

    The primary operating system advanced by GNU is GNU. The Free Software Foundation has long been grudgingly accepting Linux until the Hurd is ready to replace it. SCO is completely distorting reality here.

    Averment 79: In order to assure that the Linux operating system (and other software) would remain free of charge and not-for-profit, GNU created a licensing agreement entitled the General Public License ("GPL").

    Have the SCO lawyers ever read the GPL?? The GPL specifies, in plain language, that it encourages profit motives for GPL software. You can sell it for as much as people are willing to pay for it. You just can't make it closed/proprietary. The GPL was created to ensure that people would never have the rug pulled out from under them by a greedy/unscrupulous company like SCO.

    Averment 82: Linux has evolved through bits and pieces of various contributions by numerous (italics mine) software developers using single processor computers

    I italicized "numerous" here. A large group of highly motivated individuals can accomplish wonderous things. I wonder if SCO thinks that complicated software just spontaneously comes into existence all by itself. More likely, SCO thinks that only it has highly talented and highly motivated people. Looking at what happened to Unix after SCO bought it, I'm doubtful that SCO employs any of the latter.

    In the last several years, multi-processor systems have fallen in price enough that groups of low-paid individuals could afford to buy shared systems. More importantly, the price of dual processor systems have dropped in price enough that individuals can afford to buy them privately. (sarcasm on)But since Linux is developed solely by poor hippies, that couldn't possibly have happened(sarcasm off).

    Also, there is nothing that disallows IBM from providing commodity hardware and publicly available specifications to some developers with the explicit purpose of providing access to otherwise prohibitively expensive hardware for expanding Linux's capabilities.

    To comment on the author's closing remarks:

    "This case serves as a reminder that organizations take non-disclosures seriously."

    This case serves as a reminder of just how incredibly important the GNU and Linux projects are to the computing industry. Once this type of nonsense can be swept into the historical shitcan, we can all work in a more peaceful environment.

    I hope IBM shreds SCO with legal fees and then countersues to recover them. Let SCO end its life in unrecoverable debt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @12:50PM (#5512887)
    One trivia point: SCO's SMP implementation was not written by SCO but was licensed from Corollary.

    Two more i386 ports that ESR has forgotten about: Altos (later purchased by Acer). I was one of the engineers that ported SCO 3.2.0 (or was it 3.2.2?) to the Altos 1000 (see Google groups for info). The second is the "Sun 386i" 80386 computer which everybody seems to have forgotten about. Again, see Google groups.

    IMHO the only thing of value SCO was to contribute to Monterey was the X server.

    I believe that from a legal standpoint AIX is licensed SVR3 code (although having seen AIX kernel code, SCO OpenServer and UnixWare source, and "pure" virgin SVR3 code I can attest that AIX is a complete overhaul and bears no resemblence to pure SVR3 (or SVR4) except in the bowels of STREAMS).

    full disclosure: ex-SCO employee who worked on all kernels including Monterey prior to Caldera.
  • The native file system for OS/2 was HPFS. JFS was originally on AI/X, and was later ported to OS/2. Admittedly, a lot of the work on JFS on OS/2 was used for JFS on Linux, but that still does not change the fact that JFS is indeed from AI/X.
  • Methinks SCO is in for a slaughter. Perens dissection of the complaint is impressive to say the least. If half of it is proved in court SCO has no case whatsoever.

    His skills and knowledge is very valuable to us and i think many people underestimate just how important people like Bruce Perens is to the open source community.

    Thanks Bruce!
  • > and naturally ESR has his own take on the case.

    I don't understand why slashdotters so harsh on ESR. Atleast he took the time to file a brief and "Take action". How many of you did?

  • by cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:32PM (#5513253)
    One thing they missed is the whole BSD "fork" of UNIX. Back in the old days, AT&T gave pretty much every University a site license. One of these of course was UC Berkeley, where they did some some pretty core work, such as this unimportant thing we call TCP/IP. For a long time folks referred to TCP/IP as "Berkely sockets". Hmm, they also gave us C-shell, so maybe they shouldn't get off unpunished. BSD got folded into the "one True UNIX" in SVR4.

    As far as "getting up to enterprise grade" speed comparisons goes, they're at some level irrelevant, at least in the way SCO framed it. UNIX vendors had to blaze trails, find their way, mess up, and find the true path again. Linux followed these trails in the form of POSIX. It's much quicker to code to a spec than have to code and lay out the spec, distribute the spec as it changes to your development team, and see how well it integrates after all at the same time. Having the spec also makes all that super coordination "magic" that SCO was talking about seem a little less fairy tale-ish. Lay out a spec, give parts to different people, have them code, and then at the end it all comes together. Who else has been burned by Linux' version of select()? It's coded to the BSD select() man page, unfortunately BSD select() isn't and neither is any other commercial vendor, and Linux select() is not bug compatible with other select()s. There's your miracle for you, the magic of troff. (at least it's not info pages, god no...)

    BSDi also had a commercial UNIX, BSD based of course, on x86. I did some work on it. At the time wasn't enterprise ready, at least the version I worked on (the SMP implementation was pretty basic, the kernel was forced to run on a single processor) but in later years it got better and in fact I thimk FreeBSD SMPng is based off ideas from BSDi. My non-lawyer mind wonders how many statements of "fact" in the complaint have to be shown to be false before the case can be dismissed.

    On other IANAL notes, I wonder if IBMs law firm is reading these posts and all the other arguments on the other web sites and saying "yeah, thats a good point.. yeah, write that one down."
  • by PiotrK (16050) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:40PM (#5513337) Homepage
    Please help others moving from SCO to Linux and post links to documentation like this:

    UnixWare to Linux Porting Guide (development tools and the API)
    http://people.redhat.com/drepper/ [redhat.com]
    http://people.redhat.com/drepper/sco-porting.pdf [redhat.com]

  • Averment 82 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maltese Falcon (11786) on Friday March 14, 2003 @01:45PM (#5513371)
    I love this thought:
    ...Virtually none of these software developers and hobbyists had access to enterprise-scale equipment and testing facilities for Linux development. Without access to such equipment, facilities, sophisticated methods, concepts and coordinated know-how, it would be difficult or impossible for the Linux development community to create a grade of Linux adequate for enterprise use.
    I think Jon "maddog" Hall [http] might disagree with this statement!
  • ESR pretty much... (Score:3, Informative)

    by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:05PM (#5514657) Homepage Journal
    kicks SCO in the nuts.

    "...The author [ESR] personally ran two of these -- Microport and Yggdrasil -- and a third not listed, which was the Dell own-brand port.

    SCO competed directly against these ports, and cannot fail to have been aware of their existence. SCO's claim to have been unique in supporting Unix for PCs is therefore not merely false, it is a deliberate and egregious lie."

    Everyone who thinks they know anything about this issue but who is under -- say -- forty years of age owes it to themselves to read ESR's brief.

    My first experience with UNIX was in '86 -- using SCO Xenix -- on an NEC 80386 in an auto parts store.

    SCO as an "enterprise computing environment" UNIX?

    Yeah, right...

    t_t_b

  • ESR kicks... (Score:3, Informative)

    by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:53PM (#5515162) Homepage Journal
    ...SCO in the nuts again:

    "...When OSDL spun up, IBM gained a choice: work with one small partner that lacks demonstrated expertise or focus on the enterprise market, or join a large consortium of industry heavyweights with man-centuries of relevant experience.

    That seems just about enough time for an astute IBM strategist to conclude that SCO was the less likely alternative to sustain a serious Linux development and support effort over time. To any technical person, SCO's own failure to develop expertise beyond its small-business roots seems a more plausible explanation for the switch to OSDL than some nefarious anti-SCO conspiracy by top IBM executives..."

    God, I love ESR...

    t_t_b

  • by talks_to_birds (2488) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:01PM (#5515210) Homepage Journal
    "...If Darl McBride and complainants did not know at the time of the complaint that their own company had played a lead role in the very development they accuse IBM of having unfairly and unlawfully pursued, they are incompetent. If they did know, their complaint appears to verge closely upon perjury..."

    You go, ESR...

    t_t_b

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