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SCO Drops Linux, Says Current Vendors May Be Liable 1105

Posted by timothy
from the so-they-read-the-gpl dept.
Hank Scorpio writes "Well, SCO is at it again. I just received an email from their Developer Partner Program stating that not only are they suspending all future sales of their own Linux product (due to the alleged intellectual property violations), but they are also beginning to send out this letter to all existing commercial users of Linux, informing them that they may be liable for using Linux, a supposed infringing product. They mentioned that they will begin using tactics like those of the RIAA in taking action against end-users of Linux. This seems like it will be about as successful as the whole GIF ordeal a few years back. Where is UNISYS today? Is SCO litigating itself into irrelevance?"
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SCO Drops Linux, Says Current Vendors May Be Liable

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  • by darrad (216734) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:00PM (#5958136) Homepage
    Here is a mirror location for the letter. Click [bangroot.com]
  • Unisys... (Score:5, Funny)

    by doppleganger871 (303020) <`nothanks' `at' `nocontact.org'> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:01PM (#5958145) Homepage Journal
    ...is fixing Dell comptuers now...

    They're at our place about twice a month or more.

    • Re:Unisys... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Watts Martin (3616) <layotlNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:32PM (#5958545) Homepage

      That's because Unisys is a $5.6B services company [unisys.com] and your company is one of the ones contributing to that revenue. Congratulations! By all appearances, Unisys successfully "reinvented" themselves and the GIF patent battle doesn't seem to have harmed them at all. (For photographic images JPEG would have supplanted GIF anyway, and GIF still has a commanding lead in the annoying animated image market on the web. Despite its technical promise, PNG is still, after eight years, a fringe player.)

      So, successfully extorting money from a dying patent and then going on to be a successful service company... yeah, SCO-Caldera would probably love to be the next Unisys. I'm aware the original story submitter was attempting to be ironic, but if he'd spent sixty seconds actually answering his own question about where Unisys is today he might have thought twice about it.

  • by nate nice (672391) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:02PM (#5958154) Journal
    LOL! You'll have pry my Linux from my cold, dead harddrive fucker.

  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:02PM (#5958163)
    So Linux vs SCO has reached the edge of the cliff. SCO stumbles around, looking for something to grab hold of. It yells in fear. It screams in terror. It hopes, desperately, that someone will either weaken it's opponent or will throw SCO a lifeline. SCO's foot slips out over the edge of the abyss...

    ... tune in at the Court to find out if SCO takes the fall. There are lots of people watching. If SCO falls, Linux will emerge from this with a lot a FUD put by the side as a very public failure to sue Linux out of existance fails.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:03PM (#5958168) Journal
    So, if I understand this correctly, they are sending out a letter, to Caldera's customers, telling them that they have are using a product that violates Caldera's intellectual property rights? Is there a possible suit for fraud there, as they appear to be revoking whatever licenses they gave when they sold Caldera Linux?
    • by Opusthepenguin (589974) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:21PM (#5958416)
      From this press release: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/030514/law099_1.html "SCO will continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers and hold them harmless from any SCO intellectual property issues regarding SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux products." So while they aren't going to sell any more Linux, they aren't going to be going after anyone who used SCO Linux or Caldera OpenLinux.
      • "SCO will continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers and hold them harmless from any SCO intellectual property issues regarding SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux products."

        I presume this means that derivative works created by SCO users who received SCO code under the GPL are still legitimate, and that this license to create derivative works has not been revoked, right?

        So any SCO user has the right to grant a license to any non-SCO user to make derivative works.

        Any SCO users out there want to pipe up and grant such a license to IBM, Redhat, etc?

        Actually, *are* there any SCO users out there? :)

        • by weston (16146) <westonsd.canncentral@org> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:24PM (#5959043) Homepage

          Any SCO users out there want to pipe up and grant such a license to IBM, Redhat, etc?


          That's an excellent point, and I can't help but wonder....

          Suppose for a moment SCO is right -- there's some dead-on, no quibbling, not even kidding evidence of code-lifting. However, Caldera/SCO has simultaneously been releasing the same code -- which they have rights to either way -- under the GPL. Wouldn't the very act of releasing that code effectively cancel the argument that it was proprietary?
        • Hey! Come to think of it, I *am* still a registered Caldera OpenLinux user. Back in the days when all I had was dialup, I went out and bought Caldera because RedHat didn't include KDE at the time (and, in fact, Caldera was the only major distro including KDE at the time).

          Okay, I hereby grant a license to any non-SCO user to make derivative works of all SCO GPL code to IBM, RedHat, etc.

          Oh, and while I'm at it, I hereby revoke SCO's license to its own code, citing violations of the GNU General Public License, which basically says that those that violate the license have no license to use it, so there. :-P
      • by zurab (188064) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:19PM (#5959003)
        "SCO will continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers and hold them harmless from any SCO intellectual property issues regarding SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux products."

        Which would constitute to their acknowledged and agreed to distribution of Linux binaries and source code under GPL; which would, in effect, void their claim against IBM and Linux vendors/users.

        Either that, or they have defrauded their customers. That's a good point.
  • by Vermifax (3687) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:03PM (#5958172)
    "Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software. This process is designed to monitor the security and ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the code. "

    Wait a minute. Someone designed the process by which commecrial software is built. Why hasn't someone patented it yet?
  • by doublem (118724) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:03PM (#5958175) Homepage Journal
    Great. SCO is giving Microsoft the best anti Linux ammo it could hope for.

    This is a disaster. Balmer and Gates will trot this out as a major drawback to Open Source. IT is, if true, the living proof of the Intellectual Property issues hey claim for Open Source.

    SCO is hurting Linux in the long run. It doesn't matter if this is the last gasp of a dying company. It's ample ammunition for anyone who hates Linux and wants to argue against it.

    I can guarantee that we'll be hearing about Linux being riddled with IP violations for years to come, even if this is the one and only example to ever come to light.
    • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5958255) Homepage
      "Great. SCO is giving Microsoft the best anti Linux ammo it could hope for."

      Only in the short term - in the long term it'll permanently dispell the SCO/UNIX/Licensing FUD that MS keep pushing so hard.

      Given the speed that the courts move, it should all be worked out just around the time of the release of Longhorn - giving Linux a clean bill of health just in time to get in the way of Windows 2005.
  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:04PM (#5958186)
    SCO UNIX systems continue to sell well - including an increase in OpenServer sales over the previous quarter.

    So SCO sold one this quarter?

  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Glock27 (446276) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:04PM (#5958190)
    Anyone ready for that "SCO Headquarters Shootout" Quake mod? =)

    Truthfully, this will go exactly nowhere - even if IBM has to buy SCO.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) * <richardprice&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:04PM (#5958193)
    Where do people stand if they bought SCO Linux? This has got to be the most interesting position ever, even if it doesnt turn out to hold water.

    Picture this: SCO warning customers that they may be liable, can those customers sue/claim compensation from the company that sold them the infringing product? Isnt this comparable to SCO sueing themselves?

    Whatever the outcome, people are going to feel this for years to come.
  • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp&freeshell,org> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:05PM (#5958200) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about the rest of you, but when I got here all I saw was a large blue

    "YES!"

    right under the question, "is SCO litigating itself into irrelevance?"

    (It's actually part of an Intel ad, but hey...it's a good magic-8 ball to me).

    This company reminds me of this article [theonion.com]. What makes them think they have enough clout to even attempt this? They're going to bully IBM?
  • Need Banner (Score:5, Funny)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:06PM (#5958214) Homepage
    OK, someone with gimp skills, please design a banner we can put on our web sites to tell SCO what we think.

    My suggestion: A penguin on the left, with Bender doing a lean-in from the right, saying "SCO can bite my shiny metal ass".

    • That's perfect! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dR.fuZZo (187666) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:41PM (#5959197)


      OK, someone with gimp skills, please design a banner we can put on our web sites to tell SCO what we think.

      My suggestion: A penguin on the left, with Bender doing a lean-in from the right, saying "SCO can bite my shiny metal ass".



      This is exactly what the Linux community needs. We need to rally against a lawsuit claiming we're infringing on SCO's intellectual property by using someone else's intellectualy property in web banners. That will really make us look innocent.

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @07:28PM (#5959600)
      > My suggestion: A penguin on the left, with Bender doing a lean-in from the right, saying "SCO can bite my shiny metal ass".

      Missing from SCO's "Linux Leaders Quoted Out Of Context" page:

      Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen a angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.

      -Linus Torvalds

      I want live streaming video of the look on Head SCO Goon Daryl McBride's face when he finds out in court precisely what that means.

  • by Compenguin (175952) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:06PM (#5958218)
    Here is the stolen sourcecode in question:

    arch/cris/kernel/traps.c:53: stack++;
    arch/cris/kernel/traps.c:126: stack++;
    arch/i386/kernel/setup.c:2327: k++;
  • by landley (9786) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:06PM (#5958219) Homepage
    They're trying to take back previous license terms, and make a retroactive change. "You may be liable for using the code we sold you."

    I realise that the ~$150 million SCO got from microsoft three years ago (after purchasing DR-DOS just so they could sue a recent antitrust-convicted abusive monopolist) has now run out, and at the rate they burn through cash they'll be out of money soon. But just because they managed to get a big windfall from Microsoft doesn't mean they'll get a big windfall from IBM next time they need money...

    IBM is going to have a ball with this...

    Rob
  • Prove it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by egburr (141740) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:06PM (#5958221) Homepage
    Don't they at least have to show some proof that Linux is infringing? All their letter says is "we believe" Linux is infringing, over and over again. Shouldn't they at least wait for their suit against IBM to be completed before sending out such an ambiguous threat?
  • by naph (590672) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:07PM (#5958234) Homepage Journal
    their quotes page [sco.com] just seems ridiculous. are these quotes meant to back up their case that linux is stealing from them?
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:08PM (#5958242) Homepage
    I cannot believe that this is actually happening. What can they possibly be thinking? Do they really think that by threatening almost every major corporation in the *world* with lawsuits that they'll somehow make more money?
    In the business world, you do not want to piss off you *entire customer base* like this!
    Please tell me this is an April 1 joke that got leaked late...
    • In the business world, you do not want to piss off you *entire customer base* like this!

      Have you considered sharing this particular bit of news with the MPAA/RIAA/TV Studios and anyone else accusing their customers of being thieves?
    • by updog (608318) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:26PM (#5959061) Homepage
      Perhaps they won't make any more sales or revenue, but their stock price has more than tripled [yahoo.com] in the last 3 months, maybe because of all the press?

      Maybe the management is just hoping that they'll draw enough attention so that gullible investors will drive their stock price up so they can cash out [yahoo.com] and do something useful with their lives.

      • by nihilogos (87025) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @07:21PM (#5959546)
        Perhaps they won't make any more sales or revenue, but their stock price has more than tripled [yahoo.com] in the last 3 months, maybe because of all the press?

        That was me. I had a spare $100 so I'm trying to buy a controlling interest. I originally had honest intentions of releasing all the Sys V code under the GPL, but now that I'm a high flying corporate mogul I fear I am being corrupted.
  • A last ditch effort (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binaryDigit (557647) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:08PM (#5958247)
    This is just a last ditch effort by a company that will be talked about in the past tense a few years from now. They are obviously angling to have someone buy them or pay them to shut them up. They're hoping IBM will think "hell, we could buy them and their patents for less than all this legal crap will cost". Going after customers (and how much you want to bet that the customers they go after will coincidentially be customers of a certain large computer corp, is just a way to enlist the customers into pushing said computer corp into resolving the issue quickly.

    Personally I think AT&T/Lucent/Avaya should form a company and bring the Unix rights back home.
  • by fuzzbrain (239898) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5958254)
    According to Netcraft [netcraft.com], their site is hosted on a Linux webserver.
  • by EvilAlien (133134) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5958260) Journal
    "Is SCO litigating itself into irrelevance?"

    I thought SCO was already irrelevant, and has been for years.

    I've only seen their useless OS used in a couple of times in almost a decade, and only in a dinky little home office. The only reasons people still talk about these guys is because of their rediculous lawsuits.

    Could someone please send SCO a memo to remind them that they don't matter, and it has nothing to do with alleged misuse of their intellectual property.

  • by rossjudson (97786) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5958263) Homepage
    Once again, such bullshit. Linux is 100% open source. If there are parts of Linux that are infringing, just indicate exactly where the infringement is. That they have not included this information either indicates that it doesn't really exist, or that they don't want to reveal just how small the suspected infringing area really is. We all know that if any actual infringing code was located in the Linux OS it would be gone and replaced with a non-contentious equivalent in no time at all.

    Which is why SCO is being so deliberately vague about all of this. They don't want an infringement to be eliminated; they want it to stay in the Linux code base so they can screw over users of Linux.

    This is an attack on a development methodology more than anything else. What they're saying is, unless you can PROVE the lineage of your code is clean, we're going to have to assume that it isn't.

    I suspect that IBM's lawyers are going to be smart enough to know all this, and will be able to effectively disarm SCO's actions. If there are infringing parts of the code, these will be revealed in a public forum (the courts).

    In the meantime, I suggest that the best recourse for a receiver of this letter is to repond, indicating that the entity known as "Linux" is actually composed of thousands of parts, each independently produced, and that SCO needs to provide information indicating which component is infringing.

    Or just ignore their f'ing letter.
    • by rick446 (162903)
      IANAL, but....

      If SCO distributes (distributed) GNU/Linux under the GPL/LGPL/etc licenses it's required to, doesn't that mean that anyone can freely copy and redistribute it? If this is true, anything that is in Caldera Linux is free game, regardless of whether reams of source code were lifted verbatim from UNIX because SCO licensed it under the GPL when they distributed GNU/Linux. Anyone have any insight on this? Surely there must be someone at SCO who read the GPL before they released software under it
    • A man has his house robbed. He and the police track down the robber and move to arrest him. As the police are about to break down his door, the robber comes out and says "Look, if you will just point out to me what in my apartment I took from you, I'll give it back and replace it with property I own."

      The victim of the crime considers this for a moment and then responds, "If I simply allow you to take my property and combine it with yours this time, what is to prevent you from doing it to me again? Ind
      • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @06:45PM (#5959219) Homepage
        Your analogy has nothing to do with the complaint. We aren't asking them to point out what was stolen so that we can give it back and forget the whole thing. We're asking for them to point it out becasue if they don't they have no proof a theft actually occurred. It's like claiming I took your car and parked in in my multi-level garage, without specifying where in the garage it is, when you had the keys to the garage the whole time, and my permission to go look around whenever you want, and you still won't point out where the alleged car you claim I put in my garage actually is.
    • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:45PM (#5958690) Homepage Journal

      As SCO's own source is closed, how can we possibly verify that they didn't merge Linux code into their Unix source? If there is code that matches, there is a public verifiable trail of Linux and GNU software development, with archives of that old code for confirmation.

      We aren't allowed to see any similar development history with SCO's code, not even the source snapshots that would have been purchased by IBM et. al.

      Finally there is the wee issue that the vast majority of *nix kernel algorithms have been analyzed and discussed to death in dozens of textbooks for operating systems courses. By definition those algorithms are not patentable, because they have been published to the public domain as part of those textbooks. If Linux and SCO both happen to implement those algorithms, SCO cannot claim infringement because they don't own that IP.

      I really can't think of any Linux features that aren't discussed in such texts. The kernel doesn't use SVR4 signal APIs or semantics. The network stacks are from BSD origins. Resource scheduling algorithms are a dime a dozen from the textbooks, as are approaches for process and application/user security. What does that leave for SCO to claim they "own"?

  • by moojin (124799) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:11PM (#5958287)
    Today, SCO filed a lawsuit against SCO for selling Linux based solutions with Unix properietery code that it had contributed to the Linux development project. The lawsuit is for irrepairable damages and seeks an award of $10,000,000,000 and legal fees. The CEO of SCO had this to say, "We expect a quick settlement to this case." He also added that "With the settlement money and our recouped legal fees, we can move on to other Linux / Unix distributors, such as Santa Cruz Operation or Caldera."

    ###
  • by bstadil (7110) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:12PM (#5958295) Homepage
    This has been posted before but they can not collect on any damages caused, as they have not published the allegdedly infringing portions.

    Not telling the world what the code is, is a legal blunder of the first order. This means that they have unclean hands, as they are supposed to try and mitigate the damage in order to receive compensation.

    You can't knowlingly add to the damage and then ask for compensation incl Punitive damages based on same. Any suit against Linux vendor in the future can site this as an Affirmative Defense" and pretty much get the suit tossed on that account alone

    • by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:50PM (#5958736) Homepage
      As an astute poster pointed out on OSNews, they cannot collect on any damages anyway.

      They distribute(ed) a version of Linux under the GPL, a licence that legally permits people to copy and branch the code assuming they put it under the GPL. Unfortunately for SCO, whether or not they knew they were distributing their own IP under the GPL or not is irrelevant to the rather compelling argument that they did put their IP under the GPL, and now that they continued to distribute linux after they found the alleged infringements means that no court would declare that licence invalid.

      They have knowingly distributed what is potentially their own code under the GPL for nearly a year now. The GPL licence should hold, infringement-free.

  • SCO (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zzxc (635106) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:13PM (#5958312)
    Well...

    1. They said that the infringing code isn't in the kernel, so thus it may not apply to all "linux users."

    2. If it does, then their own distribution would have contained code that violated their IP.

    3. If it contained this code, then under the GPL all the other Linux distributers would be free to use it.

    4. I'd sue them for harassment - without presenting any evidence or even exactly *what* infringes, they are issuing cease and desist orders. They are trying to scare people from using Linux. They are nothing but hot air.
  • SCO schmo (Score:3, Informative)

    by davmoo (63521) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:15PM (#5958335)
    When SCO actually presents some proof, instead of their current Microsoft-style inuendo, I'll think about what they have to say and my use of Linux. Until then they can kiss my fat white all-American penguin-lovin' commercial ass.

    As for the question "Is SCO litigating itself into irrelevance?", in my opinion no they are not...they were already irrelevant, and have been for several years. This is the last gasp of a dying company. If SCO were a horse, it would have already been shot or sold to a dogfood factory. A better question might be "Has SCO ever been relevant?"
    • Re:SCO schmo (Score:4, Informative)

      by JoeWalsh (32530) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:41PM (#5958643)
      I found some interesting stuff [olliancegroup.com] regarding the lawsuit. Basically, this analysis states that SCO's complaint about end-users is that they may be using SCO's intellectual property illegally to run UNIX applications. They want $179 per CPU from those who run UNIX applications on Linux.

      Does anyone know more about this?
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:18PM (#5958374)
    Isn't this SCO the same one who was quoted as saying they wouldn't attack Linux? That they were only going after IBM? This company is beyond contempt. They don't sell products anymore. They only exist to sue (read: extort) money out of other companies who do sell things. I doubt there's a better example of why the system of patents needs to be changed then SCO's abuses.
  • GPL violation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikeee (137160) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:18PM (#5958376)
    Heh. Did somebody at Caldera^H^HSCO finally notice that they were violating the GPL by shipping Linux while claiming property rights against it?

    The funny thing is, they've therefore stolen all the non-infringing code in the kernel, as it's from other people and they can only redistribute it by releasing their own.

    (Assuming, of course, that there is any actual infringemnet, which seems unlikely.)

    Expect increasingly shrill announcements as IBM blackens the sky with lawyers and SCO tries to give Linux a black eye to force IBM to buy them out before the case is thrown out of court.
  • Timeline (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:19PM (#5958391) Homepage
    SCO published a nice timeline [sco.com]. The few arrows connecting Linux and their own intellectual property go into the wrong direction. If I were them, I wouldn't present this document in court. The dotted heritage line isn't very convincing, either.
    • Re:Timeline (Score:3, Informative)

      by Smallpond (221300)
      Actually, they took the chart from here [levenez.com]. Note that they added the connection from Unix to Linux, since the original chart shows it based on ideas from Minix.
  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:20PM (#5958404)
    Is anyone wondering if SCO executives are on the take for Microsoft?

    Seriously, if companies start to think that using Linux could get them into legal entanglements- like what SCO is starting now, RIAA-style- then they might be more likely to go towards microsoft products, because Microsoft and their army of lawyers will make sure everything is properly licensed. Or so the reasoning should go.

    Moreover, Microsoft certainly has the cash and interest to put down bullshit claims that might arise like this, whereas the companies that sell linux products have much smaller resources to put into fights like this. Again, this is the line of thinking that they would hope to instill, to steer customers torwards MS products.

    Yeah, yeah, I've got my tinfoil hat right here....
  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:24PM (#5958454) Homepage
    As far as I can tell:

    In August 2000, the company known as SCO became Tarantella Inc.

    The SCO tradename was bought by Caldera (now a subsidiary of Microsoft)

    So this lawsuit isn't from the original SCO at all, but the new company using the SCO tradename.

  • by Flower (31351) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:25PM (#5958464) Homepage
    SCO will actually go after Linux and try to get an injunction to stop distribution of the kernel proper or try to go after Linus and try to force him to stop development of the kernel.

    Yeah, everything could be moved overseas and/or somebody like Alan Cox could continue to maintain a branch of the kernel like what is being done today but, if I really, really wanted to shake corporate confidence in Linux disrupting actual development would be the primary target. It would also make sense for SCO to attempt to do something like this. An arguement can be made that stopping distribution of the kernel sources and any binaries produced would put a halt on the continuing alleged infringement.

    Would it stop everyone from using linux? Nope. But it would totally derail business adoption of linux here in the States first. Elsewhere I don't know.

  • Order Yours Today (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scatter_gather (649698) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:26PM (#5958480)
    SCO may claim not to be selling Linux, but their web page says otherwise. Take a look at Buy Me! [caldera.com].

    Yet another case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.
  • by malakai (136531) * on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:32PM (#5958555) Journal
    Surely, they must be. Together, our combined slashdot brain power can fine some sort of damning evidence proving the Microsoft collusion in this.

    I have faith in all of you.

    Doesn't MS own part of SCO? If linux is going to die, WE MUST PIN IT ON MICROSOFT! Otherwise we won't have the Martyr effect we need.

    This won't hurt IBM. They still plan on selling big mainframes with their own software on it (largely helped on by free linux developers contributions). So what if IBM gets free slave labor and offers nothing in return other than cutting out the little linux consultants with their IBM Consulting Group behemoth.

    We don't care about IBM and how they exploit free software developers. Or Apple for that matter and their use expliotation of FreeBSD. We honeslt don't care about SCO. The heart of this is somehow MS is FORCING SCO TO DO THIS. They obviously are blackmailing them. WE MUST FIND THE PROOF!

    I eagerly await facts supporting what we all know must be true....

    -Malakai

    yes i'm friggin kidding.
  • by ctid (449118) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:36PM (#5958594) Homepage
    Erick Raymond has produced a very nice rebuttal of SCO's claims. In particular he draws attention to a number of logical problems with their case, for example:
    • SCO themselves loaned an SMP system to Alan Cox so that he could implement SMP in the Linux kernel.
    • SCO claims that the Linux community couldn't do scaling with > 4 processors without access to Unix intellectual property. However, Linux can do this, but SCO's OpenServer and UnixWare products cannot. So according to SCO, the Linux community stole SCO's IP so that they could do with it something that SCO was not able to do.
    • The Bell Labs Unix code, of which SCO is now the owner, is not capable of SMP.

    I highly recommend reading ESR's comment [opensource.org].

  • by Wesley Everest (446824) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:38PM (#5958611)
    Let me get this straight... SCO owns the copyright to Unix source code and therefore has the sole right to grant people a license to use it. SCO claims that Linux contains Unix source code that was released under the GPL without SCO's permission. But SCO itself has released this linux code under the GPL. It would seem to me (IANAL-BIPOOSD) that by distributing their source code under the GPL as a linux distribution would mean that it's legal.

    The only out they have would appear to be that they unknowningly released they code under the GPL and that therefore they have the right to revoke the license. That would be like Microsoft accidentally bundling MS Office with Windows XP. And then trying to tell me that even though the proprietary license says I'm entitled to install the software on one machine, that they are revoking the license and I am a software pirate if I don't wipe it from my harddrive. Something tells me they'll have a tough time convincing a judge of that -- especially with IBM's lawyers fighting them.

    • by dwsauder (309614) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:09PM (#5960194) Homepage Journal
      Yes, it is a very interesting legal situation. I guess it's not surprising they have hired the big guns like David Boies.

      Presumably, timing is important. Caldera was originally a Linux company, not much different from Red Hat. But over the course of events, they negotiated to get ownership of the Unix IP. Now, I presume that if they act in a timely manner, they would be permitted by the courts to get their house in order with respect to IP issues. Therefore, they would be allowed to go ahead with lawsuits that seek to protect their Unix IP. But, if what they claim is true, then Linux is a mix of copyright and copyleft code. Obviously, copyright and copyleft are polar opposites. SCO cannot simply collect royalties from anyone using Linux, as that would be attempting to damage the copyleft of the GPL. I mean, it seems that in that case what we have is an IP no-man's land. SCO has no right to Linux, and the general public has no right to it. I can't see any alternative, then, to a painstaking process of separating copyright and copyleft code. (Okay, copyright is probably not the right term, because they are more likely to claim violation of trade secrets. But it's the same idea.)

      So, what then of Caldera, the Linux company? Presumably, their license was similar to Red Hat's license, which disclaimed any indemnification for IP violations. In other words, Caldera was a service company, providing support contracts for Linux. So, maybe they would be free from lawsuits from their customers. However, they would be required to consider their customers as committing IP violations against the Unix IP. There is absolutely no way they could violate the GPL and grant any kind of waiver of royalties to customers who bought Caldera Linux.

      In any case, we have to wonder what kind of due diligence the Caldera executives undertook before they acquired rights to the Unix IP. And does that due diligence, or lack thereof, affect their legal position. I mean, imagine if they knew that Linux contained violations of the Unix IP. If, at the same time, they were negotiating to acquire rights to the Unix IP, and they knew the requirements of the GPL on Linux, then they made a horrible business decision -- one that cannibalized their Linux business. I mean, what were they thinking?! That they would use the Unix IP to dominate the Linux market? That they didn't understand the GPL, which prohibits using IP to dominate copyleft software?

      The way I feel right now, it's like that duck in the AFLAC commercial, which walks out of the barbershop shaking it's head and going "Aaaaahhh!"

  • Read the GPL ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FonkiE (28352) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:40PM (#5958633)
    Just a few comments:

    From Section 0: "Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software
    patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free
    program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the
    program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any
    patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all."


    So if you distribute you have to grant everybody a free license ...

    From Section 7: "If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
    infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
    conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
    otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
    excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot
    distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
    License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
    may not distribute the Program at all."


    SCO realizes, the their lawsuit terminates their GPL license to the kernel ...
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:40PM (#5958635) Journal
    I guess this means we're going to start using OpenBSD instead of Linux? AFAIK, the BSDs are unencumbered because of their original lawsuit with AT+T, and their rewriting of all affected code (this was a couple of decades ago). Plus, if you're using BSD, you're mostly using the packages collection, right? If you decide to use a Linux port, you can decide on a case by case basis whether you have to worry about anything.

    I hope SCO is totally humiliated in this lawsuit.

  • by Sxooter (29722) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @05:51PM (#5958742)
    1: IBM finds that the code added, if any, came from Caldera, forcing SCO to sue themselves.

    2: IBM, in discovery, demands a receives the source to SCO's flavors of Unix and finds evidence that SCO stole GPL'd source code to put into unixware / openserver. Sco is forced to release the whole shebang under the GPL.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @07:37PM (#5959667)
    I worked for a major SCO distributor until 1997, and I know a lot about what went on in the SCO word up until that time.

    In the complaint SCO mentions 4000 application developed for their operating system. I remember a higher number being mentioned back when I was involved. I also remember a catalogue of the applications, and a lot of them were really silly apps obviously put there just to make the catalogue bugger. Also, if you'd could count the number of Linux applications, I'm sure you'd reach a number a couple of magnitudes greater.

    SCO is as bad (or worse) as Microsoft. They were back then too, although I was blinded because I worked with the stuff all the time.

    For example: Back when OpenServer 5 was released, it used a product activation scheme almost identical to Microsofts, which the difference that while corporate customers don't have to activate their copies of XP, every single SCO customer had to call in to activate their system. The activation scheme itself worked pretty much the same.

    OpenServer 5, when released, was a huge improvement to the old version, but at release it lacked a lot. One of those useful things was threads. In order to get a pthreads implementation you needed buy DCE. And, if I remember correctly, DCE was shipped by a third party. (I believe that third party is owned by IBM these days, but please double-check that information before you pass it on as fact).

    While I worked with SCO products I kept hearing how great SCO was, and how they were the market leaders and the largest UNIX supplier in the word (1 million installations was a common number being passed around). At the same time very people outside the POS (and a few other businesses) business had heard about SCO. As far as I know, SCO got _very_ few new customers during the 90's, but mainly kept selling copies to providers of various POS systems. Another common customer was coporate telephone switch providers.

    Most SCO customers, after installing the base OS, started off by installing the full GNU toolchain. The provided tools sucked too much.

    There were 3 different C compilers available for OpenServer 5: SCO's compiler, the Intel conpiler, and GCC. GCC was free, so most people used that. Intels compiler provided the best code (but compiled slowly). SCO's tools were somewhere in the middle. I'm still not sure why people payed for them (I'm desperately trying to remember why _I_ used them... I guess I was blind... But me not having to pay for then helped, I guess :-) ).

    I still remember the Monterey launch tigether with IBM. I remember having doubds back then even, especially when the SCO representative said that Monterey would take over after AIX as IBM's main UNIX system.

    The Monterey launch wasn't the first major launch of amazing new products that was supposed to show the world just how great SCO really was. After SCO purchased UnixWare I remember it being touted as the next big thing, and the product that would change SCO. Naturally, it didn't.

    Somehow I doubt the statement SCO made in the complaint about them having Monterey finished in 2001, ready for release. As I mentioned, I left the SCO world in 1997 and even then the star had begin to fade (it didn't take long), after that, nothing was heard about Monterey. Would they have continued working on it for 4 years and then be suprised no one wanted it? I don't think so.

    I really hope that this goes to court, and SCO becomes required to show the allegedly finished Monterey product. I'm not so sure they will have anything to show.

  • by GuNgA-DiN (17556) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:09PM (#5960199)
    REDMOND, Washington - March 10, 2003 - Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), the proven owner of the patent for Most Hated Company of All Time, today announced that it has filed legal action against The SCO® Group (SCO) (NASDAQ: SCOX) in the State Court of Washington, for misappropriation of corporate image, torturous interference, unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that SCO made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the monetary value of Microsoft's image as Most Hated Company of All Time, particularly Most Hated Company of All Time in the Information Technology sector, to benefit SCO's licensing division.

    Taken from: Microsoft files lawsuit against SCO [pclinuxonline.com]

    It's funny. Laugh. :)
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @09:25PM (#5960276)
    Many companies find that changes in their external environment demand changes in their internal environment.

    For example, when folks began downloading massive quantities of music from various Internet channels, corporations realized that this posed a threat to their current methods, as did the CD to tapes, tapes to LPs, LPs to live performances, etc. However, the top management and boards of directors of these large companies have no imagination, no style, no tact, no nothing. They know only one thing... It is commonly known as "the bottom line." What it means is, "We have the inalienable right to eternal perpetually increasing profits."

    To continue our example of the music industry, we will note that instead of seeking ways to make the changes work for the company, the aforementioned managers and directors (hereinafter idiots) want to maintain stability in a business that is inherently unstable. This stability is artificial and is achieved through litigation, just as the artificial monopoly provided for "intellectual" property is achieved through law.

    The idiots abuse the legal system in order to maintain their bottom line and will continue to do so as long as the courts allow it. The RIAA does this. The MPAA does this. Now SCO is jumping on the "e-Litigation" bandwagon. Who cares anyway... SCO is yesteryear's news. The future is Linux. And if there is some code in there that belongs to SCO, which I doubt, then it is already done because once released in Linux, it will remain in use forever. There will always be some server out there, some desktop out there, some strange hack that will contain this code for lack of being updated to the next version, which is "cleaned" of the offending code. What are you going to do? Make Linux illegal throughout the galaxy because of this? Hang Linus for it? Or, figure that the code wasn't making you any money anyway and spend the would-be litigation funds on marketing efforts, on product line expansion, on research and development, on performing services for valuable customers... and on the million other things that SCO might do, in order to secure a good bottom line through honest, ethical, and otherwise positive and constructive means?

    Oh, wait... Their bottom line demands that they abuse the court system, as if they're betting on a semi-fixed basketball game.

  • by GordoSlasher (243738) on Wednesday May 14, 2003 @10:20PM (#5960560)
    Unisys was notoriously difficult to work with. A few years back I worked at a large corporation on a product that, among other things, generated GIF files. We attempted to get a license from Unisys. Their demands were outrageous. The GIF file generation was a very minor component of a large and expensive software product but they wanted 10% of our revenue! Our patent attorney finally gave up negotiating and told us to go ahead and release the software, saying "If those a$$holes catch us, I'm sure they're infringing on some of our patents." Had Unisys agreed to more reasonable terms they would have had a steady revenue stream for the last six years.

    SCO won't get far with this. IBM probably has some patents they can counter-sue against SCO, and they'll settle the whole thing out of court. Ditto for Sun and any other large company they might go after. And who's going to buy anything from SCO after this?

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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