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IBM Denies Destroying Evidence in SCO Case 125

Posted by Hemos
from the i-sincerely-doubt-it dept.
Rob writes "IBM Corp has denied claims made by SCO Group that it destroyed evidence relevant to their ongoing breach-of-contract and copyright case, maintaining that SCO has had the evidence in question in its possession since March 2005. SCO, which believes IBM breached a contract by contributing Unix code to the Linux operating system, accused IBM of destroying evidence in a July 2006 court filing, claiming that "IBM directed 'dozens' of its Linux developers within its LTC [Linux Technology Center] and at least 10 of its Linux developers outside... to delete the AIX and/or Dynix source code from their computers.""
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IBM Denies Destroying Evidence in SCO Case

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  • by Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) <joshlindenmuth.gmail@com> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:02AM (#17001394) Journal
    Companies have their employees delete copies of source code all the time, particularly when they change projects or switch departments. It isn't in a company's best interest to have proprietary software in too many places at once, which was probably why IBM instructed these employees to delete it. This isn't destruction of evidence at all, since IBM almost certainly did not delete EVERY copy of AIX.

    Now if these were the last copies of AIX source, then IBM is by far the dumbest company in existence ... who would ever delete source code for products clients are still using? I'm sure even Microsoft would never delete all source copies of Windows 3.1 ...
  • What a mess! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by udderly (890305) * on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:04AM (#17001418)

    I simply cannot believe how long this has gone on. What a staggering waste of time and resources. This is probably as good an example as any of why the West is probably going to fall. While China is ramping up production and making huge economic strides, [wikipedia.org] we here in the US are arguing over lines of code as our manufacturing base continues to crumble [indystar.com]. Changing over to a "service economy?" Please.

    How many hours have been wasted on this type of crap? What useful item has been produced out of this or any of the other spurious "copyright" or "intellectual property" cases?

    Trial lawyers giving money to politician lawyers [opensecrets.org], who make laws so trial lawyers can argue cases against rival trial lawyers in front of judge lawyers. So, what's the common denominator and who benefits? Follow the money.


  • Re:What a mess! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:13AM (#17001540) Homepage Journal
    Ah, but you miss the point. When the Exxon Valdez spilled its oil over the coast of Alaska, the money spent to clean it up counted towards the GDP.

    Likewise, lawsuits, dollar for dollar, count just as much towards economic growth as manufactured goods.

    Edward Abbbey once said, "Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell." In a country where monthly economic figures are cited in election debates, is it any wonder that our system favors fast growing tumors?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:15AM (#17001556)
    I really hate the use of "deny" in headlines as it seems to imply that something is true and it is being denied for some nefarious reason.
    If something is simply not true, guess what? I'm going to deny it.
    The headline should be "SCO accuses IBM of destroying evidence"
    (eg: the party making the accusation should be the subject of the sentence)

    TDz.
  • by jmagar.com (67146) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:24AM (#17001706) Homepage
    Of course they sent an email like that. You need to ensure none of the developers are cutting corners when SCO is breathing down your necks. So what do you do? Well, you remove the ability to access the source code in question. Any code out in the wild must be destroyed, and access to the code in the archive needs to be restricted. Simple.

    SCO's claims here a bit funny, why complain when IBM does the thing you most desperately want them to? Or perhaps the problem here is that SCO wants the Linux source pollution, then they might have an actual case...

    Anyway, I'm thoroughly bored with this story now. I can't spare any more time griping about those bad people at SCO. They have become irrelevant.

  • Re:What cojones! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:26AM (#17001734) Homepage Journal
    Not quite. They're claiming IBM put the code in, and are now removing it to try to hide their infringement.

    While I agree that I simplified the claim, perhaps excessively, you've done the same thing.

    To be very precise, they're claiming that IBM's developers copied "methods and concepts" from AIX/Dynix via the process of:

    1. Creating and testing new or altered functionality in AIX and/or Dynix.
    2. Implementing said functionality in Linux.
    3. Deleting the AIX/Dynix code showing the functionality to hide the evidence of the "infringement".

    Note, though, that the above doesn't contradict my statement that they're trying to twist IBM's cautious and respectful behavior into a bad-faith destruction of evidence. Basically, SCO concocted this weird "your code becomes mine if it rubs against mine" infringement argument because they couldn't find any copied SVR4 code. Then they were unable to find enough evidence of that sort of "transitive infringement", and when they noticed that IBM had asked developers to delete code, they saw an opportunity to argue that IBM did that *because* it wanted to destroy evidence of such "transitive infringement".

    I stand by my original characterization. SCO is trying to twist IBM's cautious avoidance of IP contamination into evidence of malfeasance.

  • Re:What a mess! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:29AM (#17001772)
    That's the Broken Window Fallacy [wikipedia.org]. Money not wasted on lawsuits could be spend on something else, specifically something else that provides the economy (and the involved company) with more utility. If IBM didn't have to spend millions defending itself, it could go spend that money on hurrying up 65 nm production of the Cell processor, or building a bigger super-computer, or making improvements to AIX or Linux.
  • Re:What cojones! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:30AM (#17001778) Homepage Journal
    Except that isn't what constitutes bad-faith destruction of evidence.

    Exactly. In fact, it constitutes good-faith, conscientious care with licensed code. Which is why it's so amazing that SCO thinks they can twist it 180 degrees and turn it into evidence of bad faith.

  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:54AM (#17002142)
    Yes, the money still moves around the money-go-round (love the term, BTW), but the fact is that traded something productive for a bunch of lawyers talking. If we had that productive thing, then the money spent later would be even more effective. You're not just moving money around, you're experiencing an opportunity cost.
  • Re:What cojones! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orkysoft (93727) <[moc.xoblaerym] [ta] [tfosykro]> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:59AM (#17002226) Journal

    Basically, SCO concocted this weird "your code becomes mine if it rubs against mine" infringement argument because they couldn't find any copied SVR4 code.

    Wow, talk about your viral licences!

  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:18PM (#17002504) Homepage Journal
    we here in the US are arguing over lines of code as our manufacturing base continues to crumble [indystar.com].


    Our manufacturing base isn't crumbling on its own, executives of domestic companies are, for all intents and purposes, intentionally smashing them with BFHs and selling the American public at large out in the name of short-term gains (quarterly bonuses for "cost saving measures").
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Orange Crush (934731) on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:23PM (#17002564)

    Doubtful. They'd have to be guilty of criminal misconduct. The only thing that comes to mind that'll do that is if the SEC goes after them on suspicion of running a pump-and-dump scheme.

    SCO's toast no matter what, but SCO execs are probably safe. It takes a lot to "pierce the corporate veil" and go after execs directly.

  • by nadamsieee (708934) on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:36PM (#17002752)
    I never submitted the Groklaw story to Slashdot; you're missing the point. The point is that the editors of Slashdot should know by now that any story submission involving SCO is (or shall be) covered in great detail on Groklaw. Adding a link to better coverage of the story at hand is trivial and makes the discussion better (since the Slashdotters are better informed). The Slashdot editors should try it sometime...
  • by christurkel (520220) on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:55PM (#17003064) Homepage Journal
    Actually, Deny is a proper legal term. When someone files a lawsuit against you, you can either Admit or Deny the accusations in the suit. So SCO filed a motion accusing IBM of something and IBM Denied it.
  • Don't be bored (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bozdune (68800) on Monday November 27, 2006 @01:27PM (#17003458)
    SCO are not irrelevant, not yet. They need to be stamped into the ground with a boot heel, every ounce of life ground out of them, every molecule disassociated. Next, their principals need to be sued into oblivion, and their demonic attorneys censured for their unbelievably atrocious behavior. A message needs to be sent to IP trolls and their minions everywhere.

    Even though we've centered the SCO trolls in the gun sights, there's still plenty of time to enjoy watching them try to slither away before their component atoms are blasted back to the alternate universe they came from. The longer and more painful this process is for them, the better. Where's the popcorn? Bring on the show.
  • by sillybilly (668960) on Monday November 27, 2006 @02:07PM (#17004108)
    As long as we're talking about IBM denies destroying evidence, we're talking about a question like "when you stopped beating your wife." Even if it has nothing to do with reality, it instills into the subconscious "knowledge" that will be hard to ignore.
  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Monday November 27, 2006 @02:28PM (#17004524)
    Except luxury items are probably the least efficient items for accelerating internal velocity of money in the US economy since they are among the things most likely to be foreign produced, so taking that wealth and using it to purchase foreign made luxury goods probably slows down the internal velocity of money AND contributes to trade imbalance =)
  • by 3seas (184403) on Monday November 27, 2006 @02:50PM (#17004918) Journal
    SCO can't find any infringing code in teh "OPEN SOURCE" of GNU/Linux.

    So there is nothing for GNU/Linux to have to remove and work around.

    Or was this already obvious?

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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