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OSDL Position Paper on SCO and Linux 421

Posted by michael
from the mincing-words dept.
cshabazian writes "The OSDL has released a position paper raising serious questions about SCO Group's threatened litigation against end users of Linux. The position paper, which casts doubt on SCO's position, was authored by one of the world's leading legal experts on copyright law as applied to software, Professor Eben Moglen of Columbia University."
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OSDL Position Paper on SCO and Linux

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  • ODSL? (Score:5, Funny)

    by TopShelf (92521) * on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:39AM (#6588555) Homepage Journal
    The ODSL has released a position paper...

    I'm really glad to see the Old Dominion Soccer League (ODSL) [odsl.org] taking a kick at this. Hopefully they'll have the balls hang tough with SCO and score one for Linux lovers everywhere!
  • So basically all they did was smarten up a few thousand /. comments and put it into a PDF? so buissness plan for them is. 1: read /. comments 2: insert good grammer and spelling 3: mash them all together 4: release as pdf 5: ??? 6: Profit!!!
    • "So basically all they did was smarten up a few thousand /. comments and put it into a PDF? so buissness plan for them is. 1: read /. comments 2: insert good grammer and spelling 3: mash them all together 4: release as pdf 5: ??? 6: Profit!!!"
      • I see you skipped step 2.
  • by Adam Rightmann (609216) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:42AM (#6588579)
    I think any geek worth his salt can see that they're lying about the merits of the suit, they've already released everything with thier Linux distributions, and they top execs are dumping stock as fast as they can.

    So, I see at least Two Commandments broken here, Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness, and Thou Shall Not Steal.

    Sadly, I doubt the courts will apply any punitive measures, even when SCO loses. I think if the top SCO execs, and Bois, were to be publically flogged on the Washington Mall, we might see a return to ethics in the boardroom.

    • by Tirel (692085)
      We all know they're lying, the question now is what are they getting out of it? Do they get a deal with MS? Do they hope IBM will buy them? Do they just hope to raise share prices for a while? All of the above? It's high time for things to clear up really.
    • by TopShelf (92521) * on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:55AM (#6588732) Homepage Journal
      Interesting indeed. Insiders have sold ~125,000 shares [yahoo.com] since late June (with no purchases), when it poked through the $10 mark for the first time in over two years. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of SCO's future from their own leadership!
      • Conspiracy theory! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Urkki (668283) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:13PM (#6588902)
        What I'd find interesting is, who the hell are idiot enough to buy SCO stock...? Or gambling, "ok, there's 0.1% chance SCO will win, and then their stock price will really go up"?

        Or, is it maybe some pension fund or something like that with corrupt management "investing" in the SCO stock, helping their PHB pals at SCO?

        Conspiracy!
        (Well, that would make more sense than most other explanations...)

        • by ajs (35943)
          There's a thing called "litigation risk". The theory is this (based on statistics, and as stated to me by a lawyer):

          On a clear blue day, with all of the facts in your favor, and with no chance of losing the case, going to court means you have about a 20% chance of losing.

          So, to turn that around, SCO probably has about a 20.01% chance of WINNING this case.

          Of course, that won't happen, since the moment it gets close, IBM would sue them for infringing about 2000 patents that IBM holds in reserve just for su
      • by elvesRgay (685389) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:19PM (#6588958)
        I've read that many of the SCO execs took stock options instead of cash for working there. Perhaps some of these people are getting paid. Undoubtably many of them are cashing out when they think the stock has peeked, including their vice presendent for engineering who quit as of yesterday. But if you where a (sleezy) exec who agreed in Janurary to get paid in stock options, you might want to get some money by now.
    • Citing of broken Commandments? Public flogging? Are you the geek version of Jerry Falwell?
    • The Courts in the U.S. don't care about the Ten Commandments anymore...

      10 Commandments Ruling [cnn.com]

      dochood
    • The article does a good job of displaying this fact own its own. Was that a paraphrase or editorialization?

      The article makes solid points, though it could have used a second pass from the English teacher..
    • by ansak (80421) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:28PM (#6589017) Homepage Journal
      Adam Rightman wrote:
      > I think any geek worth his salt can see that they're lying about the merits of the suit

      Unfortunately, it's not geeks that are going to rule on this, so SCO's loss isn't a foregone conclusion. IBM's best bet may just be to buy them out because from where I sit, IBM's purported right to put stuff into Unix without it becoming "derivative work" may not extend to things developed by other people (Dynix) and brought in after their IP has been bought.

      What's a judge going to think? Wopner might agree with the geeks: SCO is obviously lying. But will the judge that gets the case in whatever district it goes to trial have the insight of a Penfield Jackson?

      too soon to hold our breath...ank

    • Sadly, I doubt the courts will apply any punitive measures, even when SCO loses.

      SCO would be the plaintiff, who is not at risk of having punitive measures applied.
      • by bwt (68845)

        I think it is not unlikely that IBM will file counterclaims that SCO will have to defend. I'd expect them to pull out every patent that they've contributed to Linux under terms that require GPL distribution and to bitch-slap SCO with them. Oddly enough, one of them is the RCU patent. I would not be surprised to see them to retailiate with business libel, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices claims.
    • Surely people can't just go around telling lies which cause serious damage to people's business? I mean, if MacDonalds can sue some hippies for handing out fliers critical of them, then why can't the Linux community do the same to SCO?
  • It all hinges on how fair you think reverse engineering is. The fact is, anyone should be able to come out with a competing product without worrying that any similarity will bring a huge lawsuit and patent problems. If you stole their secrets, that's another thing, but a competing product should not automatically be illegal.
    • It's not reverse engineering.

      It's about creating new products that are trade secrets owned by SCO. For example, JFS is a trade secret owned by SCO.

      Yes, I known that SCO hasn't published anything like JFS, that's obviously why it's a secret.

    • by autopr0n (534291) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:59AM (#6588765) Homepage Journal
      The deal is, AT&T had a 'standard' contract for licensing Unix, which IBM, Sequent, and other companies signed. Sun Microsystems didn't, they purchased their license outright, and thus don't have a contract (or something, not really important but sun can do whatever it wants.)

      The standard contract said that AT&T has rights on any changes you make to your Unix code, IBM got a special amendment to the contract stating that they owned any changes they made to AIX. but Sequent did not, and Sequent, not IBM developed the tech that SCO is bitching about (NUMA, RCU, ETC). IBM, SCO and Sequent were all working together on project Monterey, which was supposed to be an 'industry standard' Unix, but IBM lost interest in Monterey, purchased Sequent and left SCO out to dry (now, this was the 'old' SCO, not Canopy/Caldera SCO).

      Anyway, SCO thinks that it owns the contracts because it owns the original Unix IP (or at least the copyrights anyway, none of the patents)

      In fact, the person who wrote the RCU code for Dynix (or whatever Sequent's *nix was called) for Sequent is the sameperson who wrote the RCU code in Linux for IBM.

      but, and here's the thing, Sequent developed it's tech independent of Unix. RCU and that stuff would work on any modern OS's kernel. They published their papers and filed their patents before they implemented it in their own version of Unix.

      So the issues are:

      Did the contract rights really transfer to SCO?

      Does the "naked" contract Sequent signed mean all their tech is owned by SCO now? Does it mean that the "naked" contract mean that any technology that you develop, and later put into a Unix clone automatically become the property of SCO?

      Does IBM's special contract apply to stuff they acquire from other Unix vendors?

      The answers to these questions aren't totally obvious, although to me they should mostly go to IBM's favor here. On the other hand, the claim that SCO owns all of Unix is ridiculous. The proper thing to do is tell everyone what files are infringing and then have them rewritten by the community. SCO seems to claim now that anyone who touches any Licensed Unix code, or any code by anyone who has touched any Licensed Unix code has sold their soul to them, which is just idiotic.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Who modded this guy up? You, sir, are talking out of your ass. The person who developed the RCU code for Dynix is not the same who did the work on Linux. The RCU implementation you see on Linux was done by 3 engineers, none of them having anything to do with the original Sequent employee. I know, I was at Sequent at that time.

        Brett Glass

      • IBM got a special amendment to the contract stating that they owned any changes they made to AIX.

        I hadn't heard this before. Are you sure it's true? It easily could be, but that brings up a point which you skipped. If IBM does own it's modifications to UNIX (but not Sequent's), how can SCO complain about contract violations relating to JFS?

        RCU and some NUMA work came from Sequent, but JFS is pure IBM-developed code (AFAIK) dating back to the original release of AIX in 1991 or so. It was pioneering
      • of this case. The copyright on code in question probably belongs to IBM. It is very unlikely that any actual System V code has made it into the linux codebase. Therefore, the primary issue will be whether IBM's software like RCU and NUMA are derivative works of any System V code.

        I'd say that such an assertion is tenuous at best. Those technologies did not exist in System V when it was lisenced by IBM. They are not extensions or newer versions of anything in System V. SCO's argument would have to be t
      • Other posters seem to have raised some doubts about the accuracy of your facts, but assuming what you say is true, you're still mixing up patent and copyright.

        but, and here's the thing, Sequent developed it's tech independent of Unix. RCU and that stuff would work on any modern OS's kernel. They published their papers and filed their patents before they implemented it in their own version of Unix.

        Not having read the document myself, I can't say this with absolute certainty, but AT&T's license claus

  • by JessLeah (625838) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:42AM (#6588583)
    We all know what's going on. The people who really need to read this sort of paper are the PHBs-- the sort of people who would believe the latest Gartner Group rubbish stating that Linux should be avoided...
  • End Users? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chefbb (691732) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:43AM (#6588598)
    One thing that hit me from the first paragraph: Why would they be going after the end users first, rather than the people who profit from their supposed patents? It's really starting to sound like FUD tactics against Linux. Why else would they try to scare people off of using it rather than getting $ that should have been theirs (that is, a legitimate copyright beef).
  • Wow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by El (94934)
    The position paper, which casts doubt on SCO's position, was authored by one of the world's leading legal experts on copyright law


    Wow! He actually casts doubt on SCO's claims! That must have taken a legal genius! Certainly something none of the nerds on /. could have done!

    • We're all IANALs. So it actually took a REAL lawyer to sort this out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:44AM (#6588614)
    Call me a troll, but something like SCO case was actually needed by the Linux community. While the game was "just for fun", no one really paid attention to any licensing issues. However, currently we're experiencing major expansion of Linux-based systems into business field, and business executives usually ask about IP rights and responsibilities.

    If Linux wants to be a player in the business world, it's got to play by the rules, and that's what SCO case is about to clarify. If there is any verdict on the SCO case, it will allow the Linux OS to be treated more seriously than just a hobby operating system.

    Now faced with the question "How does Linux deal with copyright issues and licensing?" one can always point to the SCO case (assuming that the trial gets resolved in IBM's favor) and quote the precedent, which is usually good enough in the US.

    This last outbreak of FUD attack by SCO will actually stop all the FUD and conspiracy theories surrounding Linux in the business world.
    • > Now faced with the question
      > "How does Linux deal with copyright issues and licensing?"
      > one can always point to the SCO case
      > (assuming that the trial gets resolved in IBM's favor)
      > and quote the precedent, which is usually good enough in the US.

      There may not be (and IMHO, probably won't be) a trial.

      If SCO and IBM settle out of court, there is no precedent.

      Even if the settlement says that SCO should pay IBM, it could be a secret settlement, and there still would be no precedent to slay
    • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:40PM (#6589150)
      I can't believe the moderators were silly enough to moderate this up. Perhaps

      Call me a troll, but something like SCO case was actually needed by the Linux community.

      I don't believe you are a troll, so much as woefully (perhaps willfully?) ignorant of recent free software and open source history. I could speculate on an agenda you might push with such a reasonable sounding, but factually incorrect, comment, but as you are an Anonymous Coward it is pointless to do so. The moderators who modded this +5 on the other hand are fair game, and almost certainly Microsoft/Sun astroturfers in local garb.

      While the game was "just for fun", no one really paid attention to any licensing issues.

      Untrue. Linus released the original kernel he wrote under the GPL quite deliberately. Even then he was paying attention to licensing issues and their impact on his project (though he never dreamed of the magnitude of that impact).

      RMS has always paid meticulous attention to licensing issues. Recall KDE/qt's GPL issues, that resulted in the creation of a competing project (gnome). Trolltech eventually addressed those issue, and KDE today is legal and solidly licensed under the GPL, but that entire process was a prime example of the community addressing licensing issues long before business issues were the driving force.

      However, currently we're experiencing major expansion of Linux-based systems into business field, and business executives usually ask about IP rights and responsibilities.

      Actually, that is rarely true. Business executives purchase a license (or not ... there are still rampent copies of illegal windows installations running all over the place, as the BSA is all too willing to exploit and emphesize. Virtually every client I've done work for ... my current employer excepted thanks to our meticulous internal audits conducted by yours truly ... has been running numerous unlicensed programs, including Windows) and then write off any copyright or patent concerns as someone elses problem.

      This despite the fact the neither Microsoft, nor anyone else, offers any substantive indemnification to end users against 3rd party lawsuits (Redmond PR comments notwithstanding).

      If Linux wants to be a player in the business world, it's got to play by the rules, and that's what SCO case is about to clarify.

      Linux has been playing by the rules, meticulously and in a very open manner. The SCO case isn't going to 'clarify' this, as it is a contract dispute between IBM and SCO. Quite the contrary, the SCO FUD and misinformation, which contradicts itself from one day to the next, is doing anything but muddy the issue with as much misinformation as they can squeeze into a daily press release.

      This last outbreak of FUD attack by SCO will actually stop all the FUD and conspiracy theories surrounding Linux in the business world.

      Long term you may be correct. In the ensuing years however it will have the opposite effect, do to a gaping flaw in the US legal system that allows companies to spread disinformation and FUD without legal consiquence (one can "allege" anything, even with zero evidence). Contrast that with the laws of more reasonable countries, such as Germany and Australia, where doing this sort of thing can and does land one in hot water.

      Worse, legal disputes that have dragged on for years usually rate one report ("SCO Lost, IBM vindicated") and are no longer news ... hardly an outcome that will undue years of repetition of untruthful innuendo and FUD that Linux and free software will have to try and combat in the meantime.

      The result is that this is a net-negative for Free Software and Linux, and is clearly going to be the tactic employed by Our Masters in their efforts to divide and conquer those of us uppity enough to recognize and exploit economic value in cooperation, rather than cutting one anoth
    • If Linux wants to be a player in the business world, it's got to play by the rules...

      I'd say that Linux has been breaking business rules more than anything. What businessperson would have expected that such a product would come out of (largely) unpaid volunteers?
  • The Press (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sp4c3 C4d3t (607082)
    This is all great, but I think this sort of thing needs more press. Every time SCO speaks, it's everywhere, but these sorts of things are never mentioned. Hopefully some people notice.
  • by Derek (1525) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:44AM (#6588623) Journal
    I posted this comment in an earlier article [slashdot.org] on the same issue, but it is also relevant here. According to Melise Blakeslee (a partner with the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery),

    "Users meanwhile need to understand that Linux enduser license agreements are an 'as is' contract, meaning Linux users aren't protected from copyright or intellectual-property infringement claims..."

    Quoted from the July 28th edition of Information Week magazine in an Article by Larry Greenmeier titled "Sco Group Threatens Users in Linux Fight" p.24 -- sorry, I couldn't find a link online.

    Agree with it or not, at least one lawyer thinks users could be liable. -Derek

    • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:51AM (#6588692)
      If lawyers didn't disagree, I guess we wouldn't need courtrooms :)
    • It's a case of distribution vs. use. SCO can not hold end users liable for using a product, but if they think they have a case, they should be going after those that are [re-]distributing the kernel. It's like the article said, if someone reads a book that a rival publisher claims was plagiarized, the reader is not at fault, the publisher of that book is.

      The GPL however should prevail given SCO's continued distribution of the kernel, so all in all, this whole argument is quickly becoming a moot point. T
    • by schon (31600) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:12PM (#6588893)
      Re-read that..

      Linux enduser license agreements are an 'as is' contract... Linux users aren't protected from copyright or intellectual-property infringement claims...

      First, there are no "Linux enduser license agreements" (except perhaps the one from Caldera), so whoever wrote this knows jack about shit.

      Second, even if there were Linux EULAs, it would still be irrelevant, because he's saying "the EULA doesn't protect you from copyright or IP claims" - all the while ignoring the fact that people would be immune anyway, as they're not copying anything.

      If the New York Times got sued for plagarism and lost, would that make it's readers liable? Of course not. This is really no different.

      at least one lawyer thinks users could be liable

      No, actually - at least one lawyer, who doesn't have a clue about the facts in the case, thinks that an EULA (which doesn't exist) wouldn't stop liability, when standard property-rights laws would.
      • First, there are no "Linux enduser license agreements" (except perhaps the one from Caldera), so whoever wrote this knows jack about shit.

        Incorrect. The GPL is an end-user license agreement. Also, Mandrake, and RedHat both have a EULA section in the installation.

        Second, even if there were Linux EULAs, it would still be irrelevant, because he's saying "the EULA doesn't protect you from copyright or IP claims" - all the while ignoring the fact that people would be immune anyway, as they're not copying a
        • Incorrect. The GPL is an end-user license agreement. Also, Mandrake, and RedHat both have a EULA section in the installation. No, you're incorrect here. No license is required to use software published under the GPL, just as no license is required to use a book purchased from the store. The GPL only extends to users rights not granted to the user by the Copyright Act under certain terms and conditions; namely, the right to copy and modify the software.
        • The GPL is NOT a EULA. Hell, read it sometime, it specifically says that
          it does not cover use of GPL'ed software. The GPL is in fact a license for
          the creation and distribution of derivative works, which not all end users
          (see 17 USC 117) will bother doing. Very many in fact, couldn't care less
          about whether _they_ can utilize the GPL if they desire to do so. Unless
          you're going to modify and redistribute GPL'ed software, it's basically
          irrelevant to you. The truth is, most GPL'ed software is sold outright or
          giv
        • Incorrect. The GPL is an end-user license agreement.

          No, you are incorrect. The GPL explicitly disavows being a USER agreement. It is a DISTRIBUTION agreement. There is a huge difference between using something and distributing it.

          If they have software that infringes on the copyright and IP claims of another party, they will be liable for what is in their possession.

          No, they won't. They received the software in good faith. I note how you conveniently dismissed my argument about the New York Times
    • IANAL, but this just sounds like a lawyer talking out of their ass. You can tell by the term "intellectual property infringement claims" - that term is completely meaningless. I would suspect the context of that quote is that the license you purchased, say, RedHat under doesn't indeminfy you against "intellectual property infringement" claims from 3rd parties, in the general sense. Well, neither does Microsoft sometimes [slashdot.org] but you don't hear that from them do you?

      Read Professor Moglen's paper - it is a carfu

    • I wish I could read the article to see if there is any more substantial analysis. Blakeslee seems to be implying that authorization of the copyright holder is necessary to use an already obtained program. However, use of copyrighted works is not regulated by copyright law; the exclusive rights (in the case of software) are the right to reproduce copyrighted works and the right to create derived works. End users are doing neither by simply using the copyrighted work.
  • typo (Score:2, Informative)

    by borgdows (599861)
    s/ODSL/OSDL

    ODSL = ??
    OSDL = OpenSource Development Lab

    (this sentence is here to bypass the lame lameness filter)
  • by Chagatai (524580) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:47AM (#6588648) Homepage
    The truth of the matter is that SCO isn't even sure itself as to why they should sue IBM. Originally it was a matter of OPIP (Other Peoples' Intellectual Property). But, in this article [mozillaquest.com] with Mozilla Quest, Blake Stowell, Director of Corporate Communications for SCO indicated that the IP rights of things such as AIX, Linux, NUMA, and JFS belong to IBM. Apparently all of these problems are due to contract issues. I just can't believe how much crap this dumb Utah-based company has been dumping and how much trouble they have been causing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:49AM (#6588667)
    I was working for several years at SCO, and was the lead developer for their SMP module. Anyway, I was also good friends with Linus Torvalds at this time. Once I was working at home, and he came round to visit me. Anyway, when I got back to work, I noticed that my printer's paper tray was empty. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but I guess Linus must have printed off a copy of the code, and used that for Linux SMP support.

    No idea why he didn't just ftp it to himself. I guess the guy never was too hot when it comes to computers.
  • by jhines (82154) <john@jhines.org> on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:49AM (#6588672) Homepage
    SCO got stood up at the wedding (project monteray) and is now suing IBM's new bride Linux, cause she didn't get what was promised to her.

    And now she wants to ruin everyone elses wedding, unless she gets a gift for her ruined wedding.

  • by BobTheLawyer (692026) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:53AM (#6588712)
    1. where's the evidence of infringement?

    this is the key argument: without evidence of infringement they clearly have no claim.

    2. you can't charge a license fee to users

    this has to be correct: if there has been a breach of SCO's copyright then SCO has a right to sue the Linux distributors. It has no right to charge or sue Linux users.

    3. SCO distributed the allegedly-copyrighted work themselves, and have therefore licensed it under GPL

    I'm not sure it's no simple. SCO will no doubt argue that, at the time, they didn't realise the source contained their copyrighted material. This raises the question of whether you can be legally bound by the GPL if you don't realise what you were licensing. This is a tricky question under English law; I've no idea what the US position is but doubt it is straightforward.
  • by Arker (91948) on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:56AM (#6588743) Homepage

    He's basically boiled the thing down to three points, familiar to any regular slashdot reader by now, but put in a nice simple, short, easy to digest form by a qualified lawyer. Great link to send any PHB that is worried by SCOs FUD.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @11:59AM (#6588773)
    Here is some more legal commentary [internet.com]. It seems to dispute some of the OSDL's position - but comes up with other reasons why SCO's case may be flawed.

    Here's another lawyer (Australia), saying don't "drop your pants [idg.com.hk]" to SCO.

    Finally, here's IBM planning a response to SCO's amended complaint [weblogs.com]. Once again SCO's web site seems to omit some important issues.
    • Here is some more legal commentary. It seems to dispute some of the OSDL's position - but comes up with other reasons why SCO's case may be flawed.

      It's a pretty weak rebuttal though, first the guy claims that the analogy of software to a book in the OSDL paper is flawed, since software must be copied (into memory) to be used. And after Moglen points out that this is explicity permitted, he concedes the point and falls back on:

      "[..] that almost all software licenses stipulate that the licensor retains
  • Sure, a lot of us here were thinking the same things that this paper says (albiet with more four-letter words).

    However, this is a pretty useful tool for showing to the people who normally WOUDLN'T have our technical backgrounds. I plan to point some folks to it.
  • Bias? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grennis (344262) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:01PM (#6588796)
    You guys always complain about bias when the Gartner Group etc., releases a study about how Microsoft is better at this or that.

    But I don't see anyone complaining that the OSDL certainly has a vested interested here and is hardly to be expected to provide an unbiased report.

    Discuss.
    • Re:Bias? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by craigoda (7137)
      OSDL clearly says that it is an organization that is advocating the adoption of Linux in the enterprise. It is a non-profit, vendor-neutral, publication-neutral organization of Linux IT vendors, Linux developers, and Linux end-users.


      It is of course, biased toward Linux.


      Gartner is an analyst firm. The two organizations serve entirely different functions.

    • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ccarr.com (262540) <chris_carr@slash ... m ['t.c' in gap]> on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:59PM (#6589339) Homepage
      Gratner claims to be unbiased, OSDN doesn't.
    • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kismet (13199) <{pmccombs} {at} {acm.org}> on Friday August 01, 2003 @02:22PM (#6590203) Homepage
      Do you see something in Moglen's paper that isn't certifiably factual?

      Do you see something in Moglen's paper that ignores SCO's side of the argument?

      It's hard to be unbiased when the only available facts are so one-sided.

      Some people like to ignore facts if it helps them look less "biased," because facts tend to lead the mind to certain conclusions. I mean, we wouldn't want actual critical thought at the expense of giving both parties equal benefit of the doubt, would we?

      So far, I have yet to see one single, tangible, FACT from SCO that would support their claims in the least amount. And yet I see all sorts of "journalism" that lends credibility to SCO's claims for the sake of "unbiased" reporting.
  • Linux is the direct competitor to SCO & Microsoft for position in markets they lose ground to every day that passes.

    Microsoft spends quiet a bit of money studying "things" and one thing they admitted was that their FUD attempts have backfired at every twist and turn and the only thing that seems to get businesses to listen to was legal liablity.

    Microsoft & SCO are simply trying to stop Linux anyway they can. SCO is simply a "middle man" between the two major forces here: Linux & Microsoft.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Questioning SCO: A Hard Look at Nebulous Claims
    Eben Moglen

    Users of free software around the world are being pressured to pay The SCO Group, formerly Caldera, on the basis that SCO has "intellectual property" claims against the Linux operating system kernel or other free software that require users to buy a "license" from SCO. Allegations ap-parently serious have been made in an essentially unserious way: by press release, unaccompanied by evidence that would permit serious judgment of the factual basis for
  • What the GPL says (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paul Johnson (33553) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:20PM (#6588966) Homepage
    There are allegedly two categories of SCO code in the Linux kernel:
    • Code deliberately licensed by SCO under the GPL
    • Secret code copied into the GPL by a third party
    Moglen seems to be claiming that since SCO has distributed Linux after discovering its secret code, and thereby accepted the GPL licensing of Linux, it must therefore have accepted that its secret code is also now licensed under the GPL. Its odd that Moglen never actually quotes the GPL itself, although he does cite it.

    Obviously the licensing of certain code under the GPL by an organisation does not infect everything else published by that organisation. If the secret code exists in the kernel then SCO retains copyright and has not licensed anything.

    The only clause that might "infect" the secret code with GPL-ness is the derivative works clause. Section 2 of the GPL states:

    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    [...]

    b. You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

    So if SCO has modified a stock version of the kernel to create a derivative work then it automatically licenses everything in that new derived work, and all works subsequently derived from it, under the GPL. In theory this applies whether a human being at SCO spotted the secret code or not, although I'm not at all sure that such an argument would stand up to the legal principle that you can only agree to something if you consciously know you are agreeing to it. However, having modified the kernel (creating a derivative work) and then distributed that derivative work, or one further derived from it, knowing that it contains the secret code, it does seem that SCO has indeed licensed the secret code under the GPL.

    Moglen states that SCO has dontated chunks of code the Linux kernel. Torvalds has stated that it will be very easy to find out who contributed what in the past. So, can we find out exactly which bits of code were granted by SCO, and if it did indeed create a derived work that would trigger section 2b of the GPL?

    Paul.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:25PM (#6589007)
    http://boston.internet.com/news/article.php/224331 1
  • by akaina (472254)
    Here is an actual letter I sent to SCO. I'm hoping to receive a response soon:

    COUNTRY: United States
    CONCERNING: Lost/Replacement Licences
    MESSAGE:
    I\'de like to buy a license for Linux... not so I can use Linux, just so I can hang it on my wall and laugh when I tell my
    grand-kids how stupid you guys are. Thank God your shareholders aren\'t programmers, or lawyers for that matter.
    Please send me information on how to obtain one of these modern antiques.
    And also if you could, a good re-seller of picture frames

  • He argues 3 points:
    1. Where's the beef?
    His first point argues that he doesn't have all the facts. He sets up a strawman outlining what he thinks SCO's position is, and then proceeds to argue against it. Bad form.
    2. Why do User's need licenses?
    Except for Free software, it's accepted that users need valid licenses for their software. His argument hinges on the position that SCO is going after copyright issues, which SCO hasn't claimed (point 1). PHBs accept software needs licenses.
    3. Do Users alr
  • by RichMan (8097) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:44PM (#6589179)

    http://money.cnn.com/services/tickerheadlines/pr n/ laf014.P2.07312003225845.23971.htm

    The SCO Group Extends Invitation to Join Its Third-Quarter 2003 Financial Results Conference Call
    August 1, 2003: 7:00 a.m. EST

    LINDON, Utah (PRNewswire) - LINDON, Utah, Aug 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The SCO(R) Group, Inc. will host its third-quarter 2003 financial results conference call on Thursday, August 14, 2003.

    (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990421/SCOLO GO )

    WHAT: The SCO Group, Inc. Third-Quarter Financial Results

    Conference Call

    WHEN: Thursday, August 14, 2003, 9:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

    HOW: If you would like to participate in the live call, you may

    dial 1.800.811.0667 or 1.913.981.4901; Passcode: 452322.

    You may also join the call in listen-only mode via Web cast.

    The URL is listed at http://ir.sco.com/medialist.cfm .

  • by geeklawyer (85727) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:46PM (#6589194) Homepage Journal
    IAAL - and I do software licensing & copyright.

    Prof. Moglen makes the point that mere use of a program doesnt infringe the copying provisions of the Copyright Act. That may or may not be the correct analysis, noonetheless its worth pointing out that this is only true for US law. UK readers may be interested to note that under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act section 17(6) (here) [hmso.gov.uk]the making of transient or incidental copies is an infringing act i.e. the mere act of loading it into RAM.

    In the UK therefore users of 2.4 kernels would not have this defence if SCO is right. The same may be true elsewhere in the EU.
  • legal mumbo jumbo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sentientbeing (688713) on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:47PM (#6589198)
    I read the article, and it always amazes me how (although basically simple concepts) complicated open licences and copyright structures are when theyre actually written down by a lawyer. Now wonder SCO is having some success with nervous and uninformed organisations.
    There always seems to be a disclaimer with articles like this that the author is not giving legal advice - is it an American thing? For the author not to be responsible for any legal action you take after reading such information?
  • by davmoo (63521)
    At first I was going to ask, as others have, how many times we need to hear that SCO is full of shit before we finally believe it.

    But then I realized the more proper question is how many times does SCO have to hear they're full of shit before they finally believe it. Of course, some executives at SCO have already realized this, hence the large number of 'insider' shares already sold.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2003 @12:57PM (#6589314)

    Anyone else notice that the NasDaq Summary Quotes for SCOX nasdaq.com [nasdaq.com] has a article link at the bottom called /K I L L K I L L K I L L -- The SCO Group/ ? I wonder if it works?

  • by demigod (20497) on Friday August 01, 2003 @01:32PM (#6589673)
    SCO claims seem to be based on the fact AIX and Linux are derived works of AT&T UNIX, to which they hold the copyright.

    Isn't it just as valid to say AT&T UNIX is a derived work of MULTICS?

    Who owns the copyright to MULTICS, Honeywell.

    So if Honeywell would just start send letters to all of SCO's customers (both of them) demanding they buy a license...

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