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OSI vs SCO 655

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the battle-has-yet-to-begin dept.
the jackol writes "As expected, the OSI's just given the SCO vs IBM case a bite with this position paper. "SCO has never owned the UNIX trademark. IBM neither requested nor required SCO's permission to call their AIX offering a Unix. That decision lies not with the accidental owner of the historical Bell Labs source code, but with the Open Group.""
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OSI vs SCO

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  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by gazbo (517111) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:25AM (#5997695)
    OSI is ISO backwards. Conspiracy.
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by stonebeat.org (562495) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:52AM (#5997849) Homepage
      no it is just backward compliance :)
  • GPL the best bet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deanj (519759) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:31AM (#5997727)
    The best bet for this whole thing is that SCO did their own Linux and released it. Since they did it under GPL, the cat's out of the bag. ...At least from this point on...or rather, the point they released it on. They've pulled their Linux since then.

    Question is, can they sue for release of software BEFORE they released the now GPL-ed SCO code in their Linux distro?
    • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sparkes (125299)
      couple of points.

      1). Did Caldera own the code in question when they where in the distro market?

      2). I don't think the licence on a linux distro is a boilerplate thing. I am not sure that a SCO distribution with a GPL kernel containing the code would sanction the use of said code unless their copyright was on the kernel code in question.

      The kernel is released under a boiler plate licence with a Linus copyright and contains code with other copyright messages also covered by the GPL.

      Unless SCO modified the
      • by pe1rxq (141710)
        It doesn't matter whose copyright was on it, even who wrote it...
        They distributed the code under the gpl allowing everybody to see it and thus they have no legal base at all with respect to trade secrets.
        In other words: It can't be a secret if you are telling everybody who wants to listen about it.

        Jeroen
        • They distributed the code under the gpl allowing everybody to see it and thus they have no legal base at all with respect to trade secrets.

          Their argument for this claim will be "we didn't distribute it; we had no knowledge." Denying them this would do two things.

          1: Hackers can now put words in the mouth of corporations. (See? MSDN got hacked and folk downloaded GPL'd Windows, so now it's all free!)

          2: Every piece of "FUD" about the GPL will be proven--it IS a viral license, that can irrevocably infect your code without your express wishes.
          • by Penguin Follower (576525) <TuxTheBurninator&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:50AM (#5998129) Journal
            2: Every piece of "FUD" about the GPL will be proven--it IS a viral license, that can irrevocably infect your code without your express wishes.

            Actually, in this case it doesn't matter what open license it is. If the license used was the BSD license, SCO would still be losing their "intellectual property" because the source would still be there for everyone to see. Thus, we need not worry about the "viral FUD" if the above point is brought to attention.
          • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:5, Interesting)

            by denisdekat (577738) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:20AM (#5998328) Homepage
            I am not a legal expert, but if you are proven to be negligent about any business data, last I checked, you are at fault really. For example. If I listed all of my customers on my website, I could not sue an ex-employee for using my customer list to do sales, since I make it public and available to all.
            I do not see how SCO could claim proprietary information on something they released under GPL.
            However, this country seems so corrupt anything is possible.
          • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:3, Interesting)

            by st0rmcold (614019)

            IMHO, I think SCO is at fault, "not knowing" is no excuse in court, they distributed Caldera, if they wanted to distrubute code without knowing whats in it, hence giving it a blind license, they can't claim that they didn't know. It was their responsibility to look at the code in Caldera to make sure that everything in there belonged there, before they license it with GPL and give it away. If they would of been doing that, the copied code would have been spotted right away and it would of been solved the
            • "not knowing" is no excuse in court

              IANAL(RU), but I was taught (by lawyers) that intent is as improtant as action.

              The way I see it, if SCO's code is in fact in Linux, then "Us" would have to prove that it's common practice to examine all of the source code for an OSS distribution (it isn't), that SCO didn't do so (which they obviously didn't), and, probably, that they continued to distribute Linux with their code after knowing that it was "theirs."

              They don't belong in the OS industry if they can't even manage their own releases, and/or know what it even does.

              OSS is built on trust and re-use. If we (that is, folks who use any OSS at all) had to examine every bit of source code, then OSS would grind to a gut-wrenching hault. At best, we'd have locked-down distrubtions with a small fraction of the software that they have now.
              • by st0rmcold (614019) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @11:36AM (#5998839) Homepage

                No, you are completly missing the point, don't know how it's very simple.

                SCO is a distributor, it's not the user's fault, nor will he ever be held liable to using a product that was legitimatly licensed software given to him.

                SCO IS LICENSING THEIR GODAMN OS!, you're damn right that everyone that licenses through the GPL SHOULD KNOW EXACTLY WHAT's IN IT! this has nothing to do with joe blow linux user, this has to do with distributors who create and release this stuff, sometimes for a profit, sometimes for not, it's their responisbility. Total bullshit that a company can claim they didn't know what the fuck they were licensing.

                Every godamn linux distributor should be inspecting their releases, if they waive that right, they also waive the right to sue for infrigement, if something in that release happened to be one of their trade secrets. This is not the case if someone else does it, if I take SCO's code and implement it, I am at fault, and redhat can't be held liable for my contribution, only I can be held liable. But if SCO dosen't check their own stuff, they just download source and give it out as GPL, that's their problem, cuz they actually own the IP, so they are giving their consent by waiving the right to look at it, even if it was taken from under their nose.

                I'm not condoning this action, but I am saying if your own IP, you need to always look carefully at your releases to make sure you don't go releasing it to the public, cuz after that it's too late, and you shouldn't be able to claim damages.

                That's the risk you take by owning IP and contributing to open source, it could be SCO employees that put the code in, no one really knows, but since SCO gave it out themselves, it's their fault, regardless of who actually put it in the OS.

                This is not a hit on the open source model, because it's clearly a grab at cash, linux will survive in the splendor it is, exactly because of the copyleft, and the fact that if you assign it GPL, you are giving it away, wether the fuck you know what in it or not!
              • by jedidiah (1196)
                OSS practices really have nothing to do with this.

                This is a commercial software company. The development practices of such companies are what is relevant here. Did they exercise the standard of care in their industry? Did they exercise the standard of care that they are claiming in their filing against IBM?

                If it weren't for their claim against IBM, which includes an affirmative claim about the quality of their own development process, I would say that SCO stood a better chance of claiming reasonable igno
              • "Us" would have to prove that it's common practice to examine all of the source code for an OSS distribution (it isn't)

                It is common pratice to have some idea what you're sending out. Speaking as a Debian developer, there are people who argue and practice that a developer should read every new line in every update, including Branden, our X developer. (I've done it, but mainly because I'm small fry.) To be completely ignorant of what you are sending out is ill-advised.
              • by MrResistor (120588)
                The way I see it, if SCO's code is in fact in Linux, then "Us" would have to prove that it's common practice to examine all of the source code for an OSS distribution (it isn't), that SCO didn't do so (which they obviously didn't), and, probably, that they continued to distribute Linux with their code after knowing that it was "theirs."

                SCO continued to distribute Linux even after filing the suit against IBM. Does that count as knowingly distributing their IP under the GPL? I think it does.
          • by theLOUDroom (556455)
            Their argument for this claim will be "we didn't distribute it; we had no knowledge." Denying them this would do two things.
            1: Hackers can now put words in the mouth of corporations. (See? MSDN got hacked and folk downloaded GPL'd Windows, so now it's all free!)
            2: Every piece of "FUD" about the GPL will be proven--it IS a viral license, that can irrevocably infect your code without your express wishes.
            1. They did distribute it, they're a member of UnitedLinux fer chrissakes.
            2. That they continued to re
          • by TFloore (27278) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:55AM (#5998558)
            1: Hackers can now put words in the mouth of corporations. (See? MSDN got hacked and folk downloaded GPL'd Windows, so now it's all free!)

            Of course not. Only when a corporation purposely distributes code does this become an issue. They may not knowingly distribute it, but they purposely distribute. There's a lawyer term that relates here, due diligence, that basically means that a corpoartion has a duty to their stockholders to make sure they aren't doing something stupid by a purposeful action, such as releasing trade secrets under an open license. If SCO really did purposely publicly license trade secrets under an open license, even unknowingly, there may actually be grounds for a shareholder lawsuit against SCO for not being properly cautious about such a public licensing. Note that this would be a bad thing for Open Source in general, as most companies don't have the resources to properly examine, what, 5 million lines of source code for the software in a normal linux distribution. And therefore the proper "safe" response may be to not use linux, even internally.

            2: Every piece of "FUD" about the GPL will be proven--it IS a viral license, that can irrevocably infect your code without your express wishes.

            Yes, the GPL is viral. It is meant to be viral. Stallman did that on purpose. No, it cannot infect your code without your wishes. But it can without your informed intent, if you are not properly careful of what you are doing. Again, due dilegence.

            Actually, assuming SCO has a valid case in this lawsuit, I don't really see a problem with both viewpoints on this...

            If IBM really did release SCO IP in kernel patches, then IBM is liable for violating a NDA, and there should be consequences for that.

            However, at the point that SCO (or Caldera after they bought SCO) released that IP in their own linux distribution, liability for other users/distributors stops.

            That (assumed) window between IBM releasing SCO IP, and Caldera (as SCO owner) releasing that same IP under an open license, makes for some interesting possibilities for legal rulings for other distributors.

            Oh, and I like your sigline, but really... Cadbury creme eggs *are* heavenly.
          • by phliar (87116) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @01:04PM (#5999474) Homepage
            It really is as simple as that. If you don't believe in the goals of the Gnu project, don't incorporate GPL-ed code into yours! No one is forcing you to even use GPL-ed code.

            All this stuff about "irrevocably infect your code without your express wishes" is just FUD. Whining about "programmer took some 'free' code to incorporate into our precious corporate product" is just whining -- no one else is responsible for your clueless employees. "GPL" is not a synonym for "public domain."

            SCO distributing a Linux distribution doesn't necessarily affect the case since they can reasonably claim they didn't look through all the billions and billions of lines of code in the kernel. But I'm not a lawyer, and my unfounded speculations are just that. Don't read this paragraph.

            • actually, the linux kernel isn't *that* big, believe it's around 3 MLOC nowadays (anyone got an exact figure?). whereas I can appreciate SCO not checking all 3rd party apps that comes with their dist, but rather relying on MD5 checksums, I would imagine it's not an impossible task to check the source for code that shouldn't be there. You would only have to check the total once, and after that you only would have to check the *changes* made to the kernel.
        • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          It doesn't matter whose copyright was on it, even who wrote it...

          Yes it does. It matters a very great deal, in fact.

          Someone else cannot licence your Intellectual Property without your consent. If there was any code that was stolen from SCO and placed in the Linux kernel with someone elses Copyright on it, that code would not legally be under the GPL. Only the Copyright holder can decide that.

          This is the same as if you purchase a television at a garage sale, but the cops come around and tell you th
          • by sphealey (2855)

            Now the general argument around here (And also now from ESR) is that SCO distributed the Linux kernel under the terms of the GPL, and even if they were unaware that their code was contained in the kernel they are constrained by the terms of the GPL. It would seem to me that at best that is going to be a huge legal grey area, and at worst it plays directly into the hands of companies such as Microsoft, who have been saying all along that the GPL can "steal" your IP from under you. That would just prove them

      • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by paitre (32242)
        Considering that SCO/Caldera is still distributing the SRPMS for OpenServer 3.1.1. Now, considering that SCO is claiming damages in pre-IBM "involvement" as well as post-IBM "involvement" in kernel development, they're pretty much pooched.

        Basically, since SCO/Caldera now owns that code, and they are still distributing it, they are doing so with the full knowledge and understanding that they are bound by the GPL. Pretty much, they're fucked. They may very well be -right- (although I think it more likely
    • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:5, Informative)

      by brlewis (214632) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:43AM (#5997799) Homepage
      I like the GPL, but please note that BSD or any other free-software license would have the same result in this case. Any license they grant to the public precludes trade secret violation, and copyright violation is limited to breach of the license.
    • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:24AM (#5998006) Homepage
      SCO did their own Linux and released it. Since they did it under GPL, the cat's out of the bag.

      Nope. This is wrong, and keeps cropping up again and again here and elsewhere. *Caldera* did their own Linux and released it under the GPL. SCO (the original) produced and sold commercial UNIX under several names. Caldera then bought SCO (again the original) and it's IP, and still under the name Caldera helped to start the United Linux directive. Up until this point, under the leadership of Ransom Love, Caldera "got it".

      It would then appear that Ransom Love left and the lawyers took control, which is the point where they "lost it". Caldera became the current SCO, and the dubious comments about UNIX vs Linux started to fly around. The comments then became more legally inclined, finally culminating in the suit against IBM.

      I'd guess that SCO started to come up with the prospects of the lawsuits after Ransom Love's departure. As they built up their "evidence" (which has yet to be publically documented in a satisfactory manner), the comments grew in the level of vitriol and FUD content. Presumably this increase was as the lawyers became more confident they could pull off their intended plan. Whether that plan is simply to be bought out, or they actually believe they can successfully sue IBM is a matter for speculation. As far as I can tell, all we can say about SCO's current plan is that it seems to be:

      1. Piss off pretty much the entire *NIX community with threat of lawsuit.
      2. ???
      3. Profit!!!
      What step 2. is, remains to be seen, and I really hope it doesn't lead to 3.

      On an unrelated note, what I want to read at this point is a frank positional summary by Ransom Love who is becoming somewhat conspicuous by his "absense" through all this mess.

      • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DASHSL0T (634167) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:46AM (#5998105) Homepage
        3. Already seems to be working. MS and someone else (even if for dubious reasons) are now licensing from SCO.

        Also, their stock went up 40% (!) yesterday on the MS news. It also was about double from when the lawsuit silliness started *before* yesterday. So SCO stockholders are making money, that's for sure. At least if they bought at a low. Even if they didn't, they have dramatically reduced their losses. The next best thing to making money is to lose less money. :)

        As for the GPL, I really do not think it holds water if somebody misappropriates your code, inserts it somewhere in linux and you unknowingly release it. But, IANAL. If the GPL does stand up and is declared valid in such a case, you can expect large companies to avoid it like the plague. They will not want have to vett every line of code they distribute under the GPL against every line of code in their proprietary portfolio to make sure somebody, somewhere, didn't insert stolen code.

        Please note, I am not saying SCO's claim is valid and anybody took/used anything inappropriately. I am just saying that I don't think the "GPL defense" will stand up in court, and *even if it does* that may have worse long-range effects anyway. A lose-lose. :(
        • Re:GPL the best bet (Score:3, Informative)

          by dh003i (203189)
          Actually, no. The GPL does not state that corps caught with GPL'ed code in their proprietary software have to GPL their entire program. They have to EITHER GPL their entire program, or REMOVE all of the GPL'ed code from their proprietary program. Their choice.
  • by sparkes (125299) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:31AM (#5997731) Homepage Journal
    "Thus, the community of Unix hackers that had grown up around the pre-commercial releases never lost the conviction that, ethically, the Unix code belonged to them -- the people who had the ideas and wrote the code -- regardless of what the legal paperwork said."

    As the torch bearers of these hackers I claim ethical ownership of Unix for the Linux and BSD communities ;-)

    sparkes

  • by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:33AM (#5997740)
    Let's review what SCO is claiming.

    OK, we start in 1998 or so before IBM even touched Linux. Linux already was shown to run on 24 CPUs, something SCO still can't do in 2003. In other areas (journalizing FS, NUMA, LVM) SCO Unix is completely lacking.

    So SCO thinks that IBM is taking some code out of their SCO Unix - which can do absolutely nothing Linux cannot do even at that time - and submits it to the kernel mailing list. Of course IBM engineers are not allowed to do that, but SCO thinks they did it anyway because - well who knows why. Even though that codes does not introduce a feature or improvement, it mysteriously gets accepted and becomes part of the kernel.

    Even though SCO Unix is hopelessly outdated and lacking enterprize features, SCO believes that without that mysteric code above being in Linux, they would have had 1 billion more in sales.

    Nevertheless SCO somehow doesn't realize their drop in sales. They continue to distribute Linux. Despite being a Linux distributor, they don't realize how their precious code was included in the kernel. Everything is going on normally - for years. They even provide Linux developers with hardware to do SMP development.

    Then, all of the sudden, in May 2003, SCO realizes 1 billion dollars lost in sales and some mysterical code outside the kernel in some mysterical part of the OS. SCO also has so far not realized that Linux was ready for the enterprize, so they accuse IBM that without their code, Linux would be unusuable in a business. - All of the sudden they seem to have forgotten that they themselves have pushed Linux as a business OS for years. Then, also suddently, they realize that that mysterical code is in the kernel, not outside like they stated before.

    Then, after they have made numerous threats against IBM, SuSE, RedHat and also against all Linux users, but before they have to pay any legal fees, they are lucky that Microsoft buys a license from them. What a coincidence! Without that cash they certainly wouldn't survive the legal battle with IBM (They lost 1 billion in sales, remember?)

    A bit surprised, IBM, SuSE, RedHat, the whole Linux community, numerous newspapers and their own users ask SCO for clarification, but they decline because - well just because.

    ---

    I can guarantee you one thing for sure: This case is so ridiculous and flawed in so many respects, that absolutely nobody should be afraid or uncertain about Linux' legality.

    • by Carewolf (581105) * on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:43AM (#5997796) Homepage
      Unfortunately you have to take people who sue you seriously, otherwise you lose.

      Although I think they should be held in contemp of court for frivolous lawsuit.
    • by Daniel Boisvert (143499) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#5997817)
      Well, maybe the lost sales occurred because the IBM engineers used cut and paste instead of copy and paste. That would also explain why UnixWare seems to be missing all of these enterprise-grade features everybody's talking about... =P

    • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:15AM (#5997943) Journal
      "I can guarantee you one thing for sure: This case is so ridiculous and flawed in so many respects, that absolutely nobody should be afraid or uncertain about Linux' legality."

      I enjoyed your well-constructed post up and until this last bit. This sounds as re-assuring as, well, Mr. Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf, the IIM.

      Also, I think /. should ban all SCO articles and posts for about a month, or until SCO shows up the 'poisoned code' whichever is earleir. I think a SCO article or two a day is just too much. The Open Source community in general, and Slashdot community in particular, need to demonstrate their confidence that this case is bogus, and sponsored by Microsoft.

      Talking of MS, I wonder why they should begin licensing SCO IP now. I mean, are they planning to use Unix code in Longhorn or something? If they've already used SCO IP without a license, we need to expose these thieves. And what does Services for Unix have to with SCO IP? I u'stand SFU is about NFS, Automount etc. and I believe Sun, and not SCO, holds the IP for these products.
      • by Arethan (223197) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:48AM (#5998116) Journal
        As far as I know as well, Sun does hold the IP for NFS and automount. So you are correct in your assumption that MS really didn't have any good reason to license the SCO code. Other than to slying shove a little cash in SCO's direction for use in their suit against IBM, of course.

        One thing I do have to argue though, is your idea of banning stories about this lawsuit, or anything SCO related for that matter. Simply sticking your head in the sand does not make the threat go away. I believe that by discussing these issues over and over again, we, as a community, are bringing up issues that could very well be cornerstone's in IBM's defense. If SCO is pigheaded enough, Linus can use them for Linux defense as well.

        You know, seeing this all unfold, I can't help but think of the BSD is dying troll, and how it so nicely fits SCO in this case. "The writing is on the wall." SCO just must have seen it first, and is trying their damnedest to take as many people with them on their way down.
      • by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:54AM (#5998149) Homepage
        Talking of MS, I wonder why they should begin licensing SCO IP now. I mean, are they planning to use Unix code in Longhorn or something?

        I think this article [theinquirer.net] sums it up nicely.

        Sigh...

      • need to demonstrate their confidence that this case is bogus, and sponsored by Microsoft.

        I agree with you. This is as good a 'FUD' as it gets. Seems to me like MS offered a direct 'compensation' to SCO and made an offer it couldn't refuse (why the hell would MS need SCO IP that they couldn't get from Sun/IBM/Whatever? after all SCO is an ancient unicycle). Hey, if they somehow win they get to dig into IBMs pocket too! For SCO that's the biggest win-win they've seen in a long time.

        Where i disagree with y

    • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:39AM (#5998072) Journal
      Good. You're making the same error that ESR keeps on making.

      You say:

      [in 1998] Linux already was shown to run on 24 CPUs, something SCO still can't do in 2003. In other areas (journalizing FS, NUMA, LVM) SCO Unix is completely lacking.
      What has SCO Unix got to do with it? IBM never saw SCO Unix code. They're claiming IBM stole stuff from Project Monterey, i.e. UnixWare 7.

      If you're claiming that UnixWare can't run on 24 CPU's, doesn't have a journaling FS, doesn't have a LVM, doesn't run on NUMA machines I want to know what planet you're coming from.

      • by rseuhs (322520) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @12:58PM (#5999435)
        According to their own product brochure [sco.com], Unixware scales only to 8 CPUs in their top of the line "data center" offering.

        In a quick review of that brochure, I also can only find such astonishing accomplishments like "relational database", "integrated HTTP server" and "Web browser".

        If they have journalizing, LVM or NUMA, they seem to keep it a well guarded secret. Maybe you can come up with some proof about these great accomplishements of SCO?

        Anyway, Linux could run on 24 CPUs even before Monterey was started.

  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:35AM (#5997748)
    This is one more confirming piece of data of the following Hypothesis.

    1. SCO is a company that doesn't even understand its own products

    2. SCO's Lawsuit is the desperate last gasp of a company going down the tubes.

    3. The SCO management team appears to be desperate enough and with such a complete lack of morals that they will lay claim to anything around them, without regard to morality or ethics.

    If the SCO people are the best that Microsoft can get to help in their war on Open Source then this will likely backfire due to the disgust with the nature of the people involved.

  • by lingqi (577227) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:37AM (#5997755) Journal
    and I really like the title of this one: OSI Tears Apart SCO's Claims [eweek.com]

    Anyway - on a related note: this is why IBM will not buy SCO. As much as people daydream that IBM is "on our side" and all that, there seem to be all too many who conveniently forgets that IBM is in it for the money, not because they have some kind of conviction that OSI is morally good, or something - it's only good because it's making them money.

    Buying SCO, even if it temporarily puts this behind them, makes OSI completely unworkable by IBM - beacuse this would set a precedence of sketchy IP companies suddenly realizing that IBM will actually pay CASH for bullshit patents and stuff. As much cash as IBM have, they can't be buying every bullshit patent touting company out there - at least not doing so while making a buck.

    so, if SCO fucks linux over, IBM will just find another route to makey money, and if linux stands, IBM will continue to stand my its side. Regardless, though - don't expect IBM to chump out the change for SCO, though i do think they will push a few lawyers for the good cause, because getting a few lawyers and bust SCO's bs out of the water and keep linux standing will, in the end, mean the best bottom line for its business.

    look at the world with an economic eye, guys.

    • by fw3 (523647) * on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:25AM (#5998010) Homepage Journal
      As much as people daydream that IBM is "on our side ... not because they have some kind of conviction that OSI is morally good

      Err well making money is arguably morally good.

      SCO is far less trying to fsck over linux than IBM, yes they've made noises toward the Distributions, but a primary thrust of their suit is to revoke IBM's Unix license. Even a very small likelihood of that happening will grab the attention of people running AIX.

      Naturally we expect IBM to address this with the court and if the court considers it likely they will prevail, then IBM will be allowed to continue shipping AIX.

      The reasons I think SCO loses this case, amplifying OSI's discussion:

      • AIX as a kernel is the Mach microkernel, (derived from BSD not SysV) and among unixes it's the one which outwardly seems to have the most rewriting. The same kernel and hardware have been the basis of os/400 for half a decade.
      • AIX as an OS mostly uses bsd-flavored commands (and only adopted sysV-style init as Linux's SysV-style became the lingua-franca)
      • IBM is supporting thier Unix clients by building linux compatibility on top of the (far more solid) AIX kernel. This means middleware. Does anyone doubt that IBM has done a GPL-free interface? No way do I believe they'd risk opening AIX source by directly incorporating GPL.
      Basing AIX on Mach didn't come cheap. For instance AIX took longer than it's competitors to get 64-bit clean for the same reasons that the Hurd (also Mach-based) just got set-back a year, the 32bit limitations are in the microkernel, not the bolted-on subsystems. One thing they bought with that investment, however was a very strong position in the event that SYS-V's inheritors ever wanted to raise this particular ruckus.

      Personally I'm hoping SCO gets tapped for IBM's legal fees when they inevitably lose this case. The only winners I can see are SCO's lawyers, and perhaps to a lesser degree microsoft and Sun.

  • by BJZQ8 (644168) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:38AM (#5997762) Homepage Journal
    OSI Papers notwithstanding, all it takes is a tipply judge to cause a lot of headaches for everyone from RedHat to Yellow Dog. In any case, Microsoft wins. Their line...go with the smart, non-litigated choice...Windows XP. Now with Software Assurance!
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:38AM (#5997764) Homepage Journal
    Frankly, I am getting sick and tired of this whole SCO hoopla. The facts of the case can be summed up as follows:

    • SCO is dying (and no, this is not a joke).
    • Even if Linux was to suffer from this ridiculous law suit, there is always [Free|Net|Open]BSD, systems that certainly do not include any code from SCO (otherwise, they would be named).


    So, not matter what happens, open source will survive. GNU/Linux may suffer, but not other systems.

    The SCO law suit will probably go down in history in the same category as the stupid congressmen that bad-mouth the GPL. Namely, the trashcan.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Greger47 (516305) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:13AM (#5997930)


      Even if Linux was to suffer from this ridiculous law suit, there is always [Free|Net|Open]BSD, systems that certainly do not include any code from SCO (otherwise, they would be named).

      I'm picking your comment at random from all the theres-no-problem-we-still-have-*BSD touters out there.

      There is NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING that prevents this mess from happening to the *BSDs aswell. Some oh-so-secret IP from random-ligitator-company may just as easily end up in any project with an open development model.

      Yes, the *BSDs where clensed in the beginning of the 90ies from the old AT&T sorucecode license ghost, but this deal is about supposedly *new* IP developed by SCO.

  • by smd4985 (203677) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:39AM (#5997772) Homepage
    open-source advocate Bruce Perens:

    http://news.com.com/2010-1071_3-1007758.html?tag =f d_nc_1

    He doesn't outright say it be he is almost implying that certain monied interests (M$?) could be indirectly funding the whole SCO effort to spread FUD about Linux.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#5997814)
    SCO's complaint is factually defective in that it implies claims about SCO's business and technical capabilities that are untrue. It is, indeed, very cleverly crafted to deceive a reader without intimate knowledge of the technology and history of Unix; it gives false impressions by both the suppression of relevant facts, the ambiguous suggestion of falsehoods, and in a few instances by outright lying.
    • Heh, mine were:

      SCO's complaint is factually defective in that it implies claims about SCO's business and technical capabilities that are untrue. It is, indeed, very cleverly crafted to deceive a reader without intimate knowledge of the technology and history of Unix; it gives false impressions by both the suppression of relevant facts, the ambiguous suggestion of falsehoods, and in a few instances by outright lying.

      Ouch. 'Dem are some strong words!

      Their strength has been in franchise operations includ
  • Confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#5997818) Homepage Journal
    I'm reading in the paper where ESR uses a graphic to illustrate [opensource.org] the relationship between the various Unixes/workalikes, and I'm a bit confused -- why is Linux way off to the side disconnected from everything else when a largish part is composed of BSD tools and another largish part is derived from Unix?
    • Re:Confused (Score:4, Informative)

      by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:04AM (#5997891) Journal
      Probably because the kernel itself has no direct relation to BSD-derived or USL-derived kernels, many of the tools are GNU (Gnu's Not Unix, remember?:) rewrites of basic Unix programs, and the BSD-derived software kind of found its way into various distributions over time since they worked just fine, thank you. I may be wrong, but I think even parts of the kernel can be traced to free BSD implementations alongside the homemade spaghetti. A hypothetical "standard" Linux installation is a mishmash of various codebases that developed outside of closed-source Unixen.

      Defining Linux is notoriously tricky, since some people primarily rely on kernel heritage, while others try to build a definition based on the collection of software considered part of the "standard" package. This is complicated by various distributions that may or may not use the same pieces of software for similar tasks. The basics may be all GNU/BSD, but once you get beyond that, things can get ugly fast.

      Someone making a chart would therefore likely either decide to stuff Linux off to one side on the justification that the kernel has no direct heritage, or draw a crapload of lines to other Unixen and codebases to really nail down every last relation.
    • by OmniGeek (72743) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:04AM (#5997892)
      I believe the key is what "derived" means in the context of that graphic. Yes, Linux uses UNIX design concepts and structures, but that's true of all the OSes in the graphic; to that extent, they're all related. Solid lines indicate direct inheritance of code. The off-to-the-side bit reflects the fact that Linus' original project was built from scratch and didn't use code from the other family members.

      WRT the use of BSD tools, I suspect this was a judgement call in producing a readable graphic describing major influences. Show all interactions and the page is an unreadable mess, (possibly resembling the profile of a gnu?).
    • Re:Confused (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tet (2721)
      why is Linux way off to the side disconnected from everything else when a largish part is composed of BSD tools and another largish part is derived from Unix?

      Not true. Linux is almost completely written from scratch. There are a few ported BSD drivers, but the core OS is a completely new work that shares no code with "genuine" Unix. Of course, Linux distributions included BSD derived code, but the suit here regards the kernel, not userland, and the kernel wasn't derived from anything...

  • by MadX (99132) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:46AM (#5997819)
    Maybe there is something deeper here. SCO are servicing a shrinking Industry. Now before you go bankrupt, you need to make your company attractive enough to be bought out by someone who can use your assets/IP as "weapons" against the Free Software Movement (because you are losing against them).

    The fact that M$ has suddenly bought licencing from SCO seems as though they may have just taken the bait that SCO cast out .. (and basically funded the court case)

    So M$ buys them out, because they can claim the IP and put Linux in a bad light - even though the court case gets lost - there will always be doubt in the average corporate manager's mind. So M$ ultimately gain ..

    • SCO doesn't have anything Microsoft wants except a chance to put doubt in the minds of managers and CEOs about FoOSS. Microsoft can best exploit this by giving SCO money, standing back, and watching the fireworks. In fact, it's much like handing a child a pack of M80s, assuming you're a heartless treacherous bastard - Remember we're talking about Microsoft here. Maybe the child will blow up your enemy (Linux) with the M80s, maybe he'll just blow his hand off, but either way, it's fun to watch.
  • More Conspiracy ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barfomar (557172) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:49AM (#5997838)
    With Microsoft is now licensing Unix from SCO,they're probably planning on using SCO as a FUD lever (or worse) against Linux The result could be a bidding war between IBM and Redmond to control SCO. IBM could buy out the sickly company to euthanize it. SCO sold their soul in hopes somebody would bid it up to take them out of their misery.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @08:56AM (#5997860)
    One is that, despite misleading claims implied on SCO's web pages by phrases like "exclusive licensing", SCO does not own or control the Unix trademark. As we have previously observed, that trademark -- and the privilege of suing IBM for relief on a trademark-violation theory -- belongs to The Open Group.

    Furthermore, SCO is barred by the terms of the GNU General Public License from making copyright or patent-infringement claims on any technology shipped in conjunction with the Linux kernel that SCO/Caldera itself has been selling for the last eight years. Therefore, SCO may accuse IBM of misappropriating SCO-owned software to improve the Linux kernel only if that software does not actually ship with the Linux kernel it is alleged to be improving!

    Finally, SCO is barred from making trade-secret claims on the contents of the Linux kernel, not merely by the fact that the kernel source is generally available, but by the fact that SCO has made the sources of its Linux kernel available for download from SCO's own website!

    • Furthermore, SCO is barred by the terms of the GNU General Public License from making copyright or patent-infringement claims...
      I'm not sure I like where that line might lead. By that logic, if someone decides to mirror a Linux distro on their servers as a public service, not knowing that it contains code that has been stolen from them, they lose all redress. If I were a large organisation offering free mirroring space, such as, say, The University of Manchester [mcc.ac.uk] (I got that from gnu.org's list of mirrors [gnu.org]), I might think twice about continuing to do so. It gives credence to what I previously disregarded as Microsoft's FUD about the 'viral' GPL.
      • But SCO did not merely mirror the kernel, they actively distributed it - buy selling distrubitions, by posting security patches on their ftp-server and by sending security advisories to their clients advising them to download the code.

        Nobody claims that the University of Manchester is the distibuter of the gnu tools they mirror, they claim that the FSF is. SCO's case is very different and not helped by the fact that they only pulled their distributions some time after filing suit against IBM.

        Furthermore

  • by spakka (606417) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:07AM (#5997904)

    [4] We use the term "hacker" in its correct and original sense here, as an enthusiast or artist of computer programming.

    'Hacker' is pejorative for many concerned with law enforcement, who do not care about ESR's 'hacker/cracker' agenda. Why not just call them 'contributors' or 'authors'? I don't see references to 'Micro$oft' or even 'Unices' in the document.

    • by gosand (234100) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:00AM (#5998195)
      'Hacker' is pejorative for many concerned with law enforcement, who do not care about ESR's 'hacker/cracker' agenda. Why not just call them 'contributors' or 'authors'?

      Because they are hackers. Why did he use that term? Well, he did write the book on it, so to speak.

      I am really saddened at the weak constitutions of most people today, even in the tech community. Everyone has a "why not conform?" attitude. What ever happened to actually having beliefs in something and standing up for it? Everyone derides ESR and RMS because they stick by what they believe in. Even if you don't agree with them, why do you feel that they need to change their stance? Why does everyone need to have the same opinion on things?

      Even though I haven't seen it yet, I have seen this quote from the Matrix Reloaded:
      Lock: Not everyone has the same beliefs as you do.
      Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to.

      ESR, RMS, and others HAVE beliefs in things - what do you believe in?

  • SCO is crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:08AM (#5997907) Homepage
    When suing someone else in the corporate world, you must be very careful of one thing:

    Make sure they can't countersue you on something else.

    If IBM were smart, they'd go looking through their patents and technology and countersue SCO into the stone age.

    Chances are EXTREMELY good that a company as large as IBM has something to fire back at SCO. Patents are as useful for defending oneself against extortion as they are for extorting money from people in the corporate world. (Many companies file patents solely for defensive purposes - If someone goes after them for patent infringement, they hope that they can strike back with their own patent infringement claim.)
    • It takes time. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mfh (56) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:00AM (#5998194) Journal
      If IBM had the legal grounds to base a countersuit on one (or more... probably more) of their numerous patents, it would take a very, very long time to prepare these things in an airtight way, not like what SCO has done with their haphazard and amateurish nonsense.

      One thing's for certain; no matter what hapens, IBM will make sure their rebuttals and countersuits are extremely well supported and factually correct, probably with the help of many, many highly paid expert witnesses.

      I'm expecting them to try to prove a point in court, to legitimize their new business model, and to open up future revenue streams for cooperation (they need to clear EVERYONE of this nonsense, or else an entire industry [the one they created by embracing Linux] might disappear).

      It would do better for their bottom line in the long run to prove their business model is sound, and to legally fuck their competition (i.e., SCO) than just outright buying SCO; it would then look like they are covering something up.
  • Microsoft linkage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moehoward (668736) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:08AM (#5997909)
    Considering the history of SCO in the mid-late 80s, you have to wonder how closely MS and SCO remained linked at the executive levels. Gates really liked UNIX and MS had their hands in the mix in that time frame. Gates is technical and understands why Unix/Linux is powerful and he actually liked working with it. SCO took over all the MS aspects of their initiative (sort of) back in the 80s/early 90s.

    I suspect that their is more here than meets the eye in terms of collusion between MS and SCO. I could see MS picking up SCO if they can damage Linux in the process.

    To spell it out, here is what I'm suggesting (IMHO): I suspect MS and SCO execs are acquaintences. I suspect that MS execs tugged on the SCO execs to make some troubles for Linux (starting with the IBM thing whenever). I suspect that they have a big bag of such issues with which to harass Linux vendors. I suspect that MS will enter the Linux/Unix arena in the next 3 to 5 years, possibly through an aquisition of SCO.

    Question: Was SCO part of the anti-trust suits and related suits against MS? If so to what degree?
    • Re:Microsoft linkage (Score:3, Interesting)

      by G27 Radio (78394)
      I suspect that their is more here than meets the eye in terms of collusion between MS and SCO. I could see MS picking up SCO if they can damage Linux in the process.

      It's interesting that in the month leading up to this I've seen a couple quotes from Microsoft representatives stating that they would be creating a version of their OS that doesn't require the Windows GUI. This is a big step towards Windows becoming more like Unix. Perhaps this is related somehow?

      It would make sense that the best way for
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:16AM (#5997959)
    "In 1994, a group of Novell alumni formed Caldera Systems International with the backing of Novell's founder, Ray Noorda. Caldera was intended to be a Linux distributor, aiming at the business and enterprise market."

    Interesting how Caldera held the torch as it were for DRDOS (which IMHO was the TRUE and technically superior DOS for the PC, insofar that it really WAS better than MSDOS (aka "Messy DOS"), it derived directly from from Digital Research whereas MSDOS was the bastardization of Digital Research's CPM and further mangled by Bill Gates et al.) and DRDOS was MSDOS' direct and main competitor back in the day. Also interesting is the fact that Ray Noorda was involved in the formation of Caldera. It's no secret that there was no love lost between Mr. Norda and Bill Gates - especially from Ray Noorda's side.

    With the way that SCO/Caldera has appeared to have become Microsoft's bitch, Mr. Noorda must be choking on his biscuits right about now.

  • by zoid.com (311775) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:35AM (#5998052) Homepage Journal
    This lawsuit is what SCO will be known for. It's really too bad because before Caldera got ahold of SCO it was one of the true Unix hack shacks.
  • Most important (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selfsealingstembolt (590231) <markus AT sablatnig DOT net> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:40AM (#5998078) Homepage
    The best part is at the end of the document:
    A judgment in favor of SCO could do serious damage to the open-source community. SCO's implication of wider claims could turn Linux into an intellectual-property minefield, with potential users and allies perpetually wary of being mugged by previously unasserted IP claims, and ever-more-outlandish theories of entitlement being propounded by parties with only the most tenuous relationship to anyone who ever wrote actual program code. On behalf of the community that wrote most of today's Unix code, and whose claims to have done so were tacitly recognized by the impairment of AT&T's rights under the 1993 settlement, we protest that to allow this outcome would be a very grave injustice. We wrote our Unix and Linux code as a gift and an expression of art, to be enjoyed by our peers and used by others for all licit purposes both non-profit and for-profit. We did not write it to have it appropriated by men so dishonorable that after making profit from our gift for eight years they could turn around and insult our competence.

    And here's the really important message:
    Damage to the open-source community would matter, because we are both today's principal source of innovation in software and the guardians and maintainers of the open Internet. Our autonomy is everyone's bulwark against government and corporate control of the digital media that are increasingly central in political, commercial, and personal communications. Our creative energy is what perpetually renews and finds ever more exciting uses for computers and networks. The vigor of our culture today will translate into more possibilities for everyone tomorrow.

    I think that is a nice roundup of every geek's feelings towards the tendencies found in politics, business and laws nowadays.

  • by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @09:55AM (#5998160) Homepage Journal
    maybe they should have started with OSI so they could get their facts right!

  • Great paper (Score:5, Interesting)

    by little_blaine (126227) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:01AM (#5998197)
    This paper is a gem. It provides a good history of unix and unix-like OSs, and in my mind it establishes that SCO has no claim to the UNIX trademark. SCO willfully misrepresents itself as a much bigger player in the enterprise market than it actually is, for the purpose of claiming bigger damages. My favorite quote:

    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% [5] This is at the level of statistical noise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:19AM (#5998315)

    "SCO has never owned the UNIX trademark. IBM neither requested nor required SCO's permission to call their AIX offering a Unix. That decision lies not with the accidental owner of the historical Bell Labs source code, but with the Open Group."

    Well, this is quite true, but it's a trivial offhand swipe at SCO that has nothing to do with the court case. SCO are claiming breach of contract and copyright infringement, not trademark infringement.

    The OSI position paper is actually pretty good, and almost any sentence picked at random would probably have been more relevant than that one.

    How about:

    SCO alleges (Paragraph 57): "When SCO acquired the UNIX assets from Novell in 1995, it acquired rights in and to all (1) underlying, original UNIX software code developed by AT&T Bell Laboratories."

    SCO neglects to mention that those rights had been substantially impaired before its acquisition of the ancestral Bell Labs source code. [...] ten years ago at a time when Linux was in its infancy, the courts already found the contributions of other parties to what is now UnixWare to be so great, and Novell's proprietary entitlement in the code so small, that Novell's lawyers had to settle for a minor, face-saving gesture from the University of California or walk away with nothing at all.

    Or:

    SCO's claim to own the scalability techniques certainly cannot be supported from the feature list of its own SCO OpenServer, a genetic Unix. The latest version advertises SMP up to only 4 processors (a level which SCO's complaint dismisses as inadequate), no LVM, no NUMA, and no hot-swapping. That is, SCO is alleging that IBM misappropriated from SCO technologies which do not appear in SCO's own product.

  • Interesting reading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BennyTheBall (575374) <jrmartinezb@noSpam.yahoo.com.mx> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:21AM (#5998337)
    In case you haven't come across it yet...This article by Bruce Perens [com.com] makes a good reading.
    The title kind'a get you thinking... "The Fear War on Linux". It seems pretty clear that the only one who might benefit from this is Microsoft. Really fitting for their strategy of FUDing Linux out of existence. Is this just a convenient turn of events for the Redmond guys, or a truly Machiavellian charade orchestrated by them since day one?

    Btw, could someone explain these clearly out-of-context quotes? [sco.com]

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:30AM (#5998392) Journal
    This is getting tiresome.

    SCO has made a big gamble here, they're incurring the wrath of much of the Unix community (and ALL of the Linux community), and they might end up destroying what's left of their IP and credibility.

    BUT...they're putting their money where their mouth is. They're taking this to court, and winning or losing based on a court ruling.

    Eric Raymond, on the other hand, is providing a 'rebuttal' to their case which is at LEAST as revisionist and self serving as SCO's, but he's not risking anything. Instead he's sitting back, making smarmy comments, feeling superior, and further convincing the Linux community that Open Source is a holy and sacred beast, which must take over the world.

    In other words, his evangelism is just as galling as SCO's corporatism, but without the clout behind it.

    It's time for ESR and all the rest (Theo de Radt, creator/manager of a fabulous OS and general asshole, Linux coders who don't believe in documentation, etc. etc.) to get off of their evangelical horses and start working for the best results, rather than a vision or mission.

  • by mnmn (145599) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @10:38AM (#5998453) Homepage

    The SCO spokesman said something was added to Linux by vendors that was proprietary code. That sounds like the kernel is out of the picture, in which case, we cant say their aim is on "Linux" no matter what the intention. So it could be something like YaST or even some fancy scripting. How hard can it be to replace something thats not the kernel in a distro? And this wouldnt affect the other distros either.

    Theyre really kicking up dust in the face of Linux and not clarifying why. Everyone has been blindly mounting defence for Linux without even knowing what code came from UNIX by IBM at all. By the time they 'reveal' their little blame, all this wall of defence would have strengthened the case for Linux being really free.. and we needed a phreak losing case like this to give a reminder to the community not to use tainted code anywhere in the distros at all. No other Operating System grew up with so much licensing issues in mind; and Linux is bulletproof now. It is precisely this reason why Linux took the lead over BSD.
  • by delmoi (26744) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @11:06AM (#5998626) Homepage
    SCO's complaint cannot be understood without reference to a seismic shift now occurring in the software industry. The root of the shift lies in the approximate doubling of hardware capacity every eighteen months which has been the trend since the mid-1970s. This means that the typical complexity of software designed to fully utilize state-of-the-art hardware also doubles every eighteen months, escalating the difficulties of software engineering to previously unimagined levels.

    This is so much bullshit, you don't need to write twice as much code to do twice as much work. If anything, it makes programming easier because you can use a lot more pre-made code in libraries without worrying about performance. I think it's hilarious that he goes on and on about his own philosophy and theories and states them as pure facts while also talking about the specifics of the SCO case. It weakens his whole argument, really.

    and look at this:
    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% [5] This is at the level of statistical noise.

    Statistical noise? Yeah, if you were taking a survey with a standard sample size (~1200 samples), but not if you're looking at all the data (such as comparing revenue). ESR is simply showing is poor education here.
    • by Quixotic Raindrop (443129) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @11:19AM (#5998723) Journal
      This is so much bullshit, you don't need to write twice as much code to do twice as much work.

      It was not said that you need to code twice as much; rather, that complexity doubles. This is demonstrably true.

      Statistical noise? Yeah, if you were taking a survey with a standard sample size (~1200 samples) Actually, 3.1% is > 2 standard deviations from the mean regardless of sample size. It's noise, plain and simple.
  • Major Nitpick (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mistah Blue (519779) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @11:16AM (#5998711)

    VERITAS File System (VxFS) and VERITAS Volume Manager (VxVM) are owned by VERITAS Software Corporation. They are not part of the Bell Labs code. By reading Eric's article one could infer (I did) that he was implying this code is part of the Bell Labs code.

    Disclaimer: I work for VERITAS Software Corporation.

  • by pcause (209643) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @11:41AM (#5998874)
    UNIX systems that are built under licenses that SCO inherited are the dominant UNIX variants. These include Solaris and AIX and HP-UX. All have licenses from Bell Labs/AT&T that protected AT&T's intellectual property, which SCO now owns.

    SCO and Intel UNIX: OSI has it wrong and so does SCO. SCO did port Xenix to the 8086 and 286. Intel/AT&T paid to have Interactve Systems port UNIX 5.2.2 to the 286 and 5.3 to the 386. SCO used the Interactive port for the basis of the later products. Interactive built a packaged UNIX based on V.3 which was eventually bought by Sun which used this as the base of Solaris for Intel.

    IBM hired Locus Computing to port UNIX to the PS/2. They used a V.2.2 variant and did not use the same code base that was used for the RISC AIX, which was developed by Interactive for IBM.

    The OSF ported the MACH kernel and UNIX layer but still used a variety of the Bell commands. I think the kernel was Bell license free, but I can not remember the exact terms. I know you needed an AT&T 5.2 level license, but I think this was because OSF still used the commands, libs, etc from Bell.

    In a way, SCO is correct, in that the Intel ports of the various UNIX'es all derive from some version of Bell Labs UNIX which the vendors had access to via an AT&T license.

  • We might actually have a legal precedent as the first class-action libel suit.

    Reading thru the OSI document, it became clear to me that the SCO suit and surrounding PR are an attempt to do to Linux what the USL/BSD suit did to BSD a decade ago -- that is stall it's adoption in a cloud of legal FUD.

    For those who are not aware, back in the early '90s Unix Systems Lab (the inheritor, at that time, of the bell labs IP in Unix) sued the BSD people over their attempt to split off the BSD code from the Bell Labs IP. At that time, they had realized that the BSD code base had very little code that had actually sourced with AT&T and decided that it was time to excise what was left of the AT&T code and go their own non-proprietary way. USL was indignant at this abandonment of fealty and attempted to sue the BSD group back into compliance.

    As the OSI paper succinctly puts it: "The suit was settled after AT&T's request for an injunction blocking distribution of BSD was denied in terms that made it clear the judge thought BSD likely to win its defense." -- (and after Berkeley's threat to counter sue AT&T over their own violations of the BSD copyright and license).

    Many people, however, credit the current popularity of Linux -- at least in part -- to the legal cloud that the AT&T suit placed over the BSD codebase -- at about the same time that Linus released the early (and relatively primitive) versions of the Linux kernel with the GNU utility codebase.It is believed that a number of people decided that it was easier -- legally speaking -- to throw their lot in with the clearly IP-intact Linux than to risk getting caught by the BSD license debacle.

    As a result, Linux is now the dominant Unix-variant OS OS, and the various BSDs -- which started with a much more stable and mature codebase are now holding a relatively niche market space.

    SCO's suit along with their rather bombastic and (as shown by the OSI document) seriously misleading and unfounded PR claims seem intended to create precisely the same kind of 'chilling environment' around Linux. The fact that Linux is just about to get into a serious head-on fight with Microsoft for control of both the server market and the desktop market may be either coincidental or part of a conspiracy.

    Although SCO's legal filings have a limited immunity to claims of slander and libel, to the extent to which they have repeated those claims in press releases, public statements, and letters, they are not. Those public and semi-public statements appear to be a large part of SCO's 'legal' campaign, and open them to some serious libel claims.

    I honestly believe that it would be appropriate for the Linux community to seriously look at suing SCO over the insulting, degrading and clearly untruthful statements that they've made about us. The intent of those statements is to degrade the image and financial value of the work of the Linux community, and if they're allowed to stand, they may succeed in doing so to a greater degree than they already have.

  • by dacarr (562277) on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @03:27PM (#6000612) Homepage Journal
    The thing that I'm seeing in this whole affair between SCO's FUD and ESR's OSI writeup is oddly ironic: it won't be a battle between open source developers and Micros~1 that becomes the pivotal point for Linux, it will more likely be this issue that we're all reading about.
  • Whoops! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2003 @04:55PM (#6001612) Journal
    The paper says:

    However, The Open Group's strict construction of the term ÒUnixÓ is more honored in the breach than the observance.

    This is a pretty common misuse of Shakespeare's line from Hamlet. Most people take it to mean that the thing in question is mostly ignored, but what Hamlet meant when he said it was that the tradition in question was a bad one, and that it was more honorable to breach than to observe it.

    -jcr

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