My Visit to SCO

The full story of what one person who signed SCO's NDA encountered on his trip to Lindon, Utah.
Derivative Works

The key to SCO's case against IBM appears to be an expansive notion of derivative works. SCO basically is arguing that any code developed on top of Unix is a derivative work of Unix. It is arguing that the contract with IBM, which SCO now owns, makes clear that any work derivative of Unix must remain confidential.

SCO is using a very extensive notion of derivative work. When I made that objection, SCO said it was for the court to decide. It is true that, so far as I know, no court has ever ruled on whether one piece of software is derivative of another. The question is whether a court would rule that even software entirely developed by IBM, such as JFS, is a derivative work of Unix because it was developed as a component of a Unix system. I think we can all agree that Unix with JFS is a derivative work of Unix; the question is whether JFS by itself is a derivative work.

In general, the issue is where the boundary lies between derivative works and independent works. All programs run on Unix use a Unix API; do they therefore become derivative works? Presumably not. However, when writing a program that runs on Unix, I might look at Unix source code if I have access to it; does that make my program a derivative work? It seems, from SCO's comments, that it might claim this is so.

I am not a lawyer. However, I hope the courts will not accept SCO's broad definition of derivative work. I think it would be dangerous for free software and for software development in general. Software thrives by extending work done by others. If adding a component to an existing piece of software means the component is owned by the owner of the existing software, then few people will add components. That would not be good for anybody.

It's worth noting that if a court does accept such a broad notion of derivative work, it will weaken SCO's defense against the allegations that Linux code was copied into UnixWare. That would seem to put SCO on the horns of a dilemma; I don't know how it plans to resolve it.

Secrecy

I asked a couple of times why SCO was being so secretive about everything. The answers were not particularly convincing. SCO said it was keeping its evidence secret because it is part of a legal action. The evidence will be presented in court. SCO doesn't want it to be tried in public before it is tried in court.

SCO said the Unix code always has been provided under confidentiality agreements, despite its wide distribution. It said that until the parties go to court, it doesn't want the Linux community to remove the code in question. SCO thinks it's more than changing a few lines of code. As noted above, it feels large chunks are derivative. It argued that even a full replacement would be in part based on the prior effort, and thus would itself be derivative, at least under the terms of the IBM contract.

My guess is SCO would prefer not to have to reveal any of its evidence. My guess is it would prefer to settle with IBM and to use the spectre of liability to get licensing revenue from Linux users. After all, in court SCO might lose. The current situation, in which it makes people feel nervous, is better for SCO. I don't know if I'm right, and if I am right I don't know how it will play out.

Chris Sontag appeared confident when he spoke to me. However, my sense is SCO knows it has a weak hand, one it is playing as strongly as it knows how. I expect SCO to keep upping the pressure in the press, to announce a Linux licensing scheme and to hope to start getting more revenue.

IBM and Patents

IBM is a past master of the IP extortion strategy. For example, see this Forbes article about IBM's shakedown of Sun in Sun's early days. For SCO to attack IBM using IP is somewhat like trying to eat a live tiger.

If IBM starts to feel nervous about this suit, it will unleash its patent portfolio. SCO is certain to be violating a number of IBM patents. Unless some preexisting patent agreement exists between SCO and IBM, SCO surely will lose against IBM's countersuit.

However, for IBM to unleash its patent portfolio against Unix would not be a good thing for free software. After all, Linux probably violates a number of those patents as well. Once the beast is awakened, who knows when, or if, it will go back to sleep. The best hope in such a case is that IBM will recognize the danger of killing the goose with the golden eggs and lay off on its own accord.

It's worth noting that the people running SCO and their lawyers may not appreciate the power of software patents. In my experience, few people outside the profession understand the degree to which every program of any scope violates patents. The software industry today survives only through an unstated agreement not to stir things up too much. We must hope this lawsuit isn't the big stirring spoon.

______________________

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Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Think about this for a minute -

how does SCO know (think) that Linux is using their code? Because they can see the code we are writing, it gets released routinely. And they can compare it to their code, which they can obviously look at anytime they want.

Now, how do we (Linux developers) know that we are infringing on SCO/IBM/Microsoft/Oracle code? We don't. Because we can't see their code.

There was a court case that was similar to this, and the decision came down that the company that owned that "which could not be seen" was LIABLE to make sure that the stuff "that could be seen" did not make it into their product, since IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE to go the other way.

I am digging through law libraries right now to find the relevant case. It was not software, but patent law, and the similarities are amazing.

copyrights are a weak form of protection

Anonymous's picture

A copyright owner does not have the form of protection available to a patent
owner. SCO seems to want all of the protection available under a software
patent while only holding an old copyright.

SCO could force everybody to use a pencil if they had the patent to both pen
and ink.

They cannot force anybody to stop writing textbooks on geometry, trig, and
calculus if they only have a copyright on an algebra text. They can't even
stop anybody from writing a newer algebra text and using some of their
ideas. They can't even stop anybody from using excerpts from their own
copyright text as long as the original work is attributed to the owners.
That is why copyrights are a weak form of protection.

Reverse engineering is legal when there are no patents. Old technology can
become a standard after being around long enough and everybody adopts the
standards when there are no patents. A copyright can't stop that type of
use.

A copyright really only stops wholesale copying and relabeling and does not
stop progress. So differential equations use a lot of algebra. Without a
patent, there is very little protection at all.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

I used to hate linux cause of the way linux users pick on microsoft, but they never sued ms

now that linux is being bullied on in such an extreme way, i think this may get more people (me included) to get linux just to piss the bully off

Re: My Visit to SCO.. is an indicator of things to come...

Anonymous's picture

From David Syes...

I for years tried to "escape ms witch mountain", way back to 1994 or so with OS2 & OS/2 Warp. I only started REGULARLY using ms in about 1989 or 199, using ms winword. I'd been using WordPerfect 5.x and loved it, once I had the non-dos thing in hand. Then, came along winword at work and I had to edit my company's HR policy. It was pure HELL. I had to learn a new editing way.

I had later, about 1995 I think, while temping at Lotus Development in Mountain View, CA, used Lotus Notes, Lotus SmartSuite, and then-Borland Paradox 4.x and then 5 (or was it 3.x and then 4.x?. I know it was from dos to GUI...) I became hooked on SmartSutie and various games, but then IBM was trying to market OS/2. I simply had too many problems with my CDROM hardware, the joysticks and a few other things. The problems were greater than with windoze alone. But, I still tried to get off of ms.

My attempts to escape ms were not "because bill gates is RICH", or because ms is 'everywhere". No, I could care LESS that a person or company can be "RICH"; rather, I care about HOW they got rich. Hookery, crookery and such are despicable. I simply have a set of morals and ethics that find ms thoroughly despicable. My first computer came with DOS 3.x and Win 3.1. I didn't have much say if I wanted to by a pre-assembled comptuer. This was Feb or March 1993. Worse, MANY other computer stores were being shaken down by ms to pay royalties and such for the privilege of selling computer hardware. At that point every henchman/woman in ms should have been "career kneecapped".

I of course could have used Mac, and actually, I did. I used it at Synoptics (circa Nov 94/95?) before they changed names to Bay Networks (trivia: The Synoptics/WellFleet merger resulted in ""Bay" Networks" because each was situated near Bays...Although Synoptics was south of Mission College by a half mile, and MC is south of Alviso, which is south of a fetid salt/sewer marsh... and thus the butt of many jokes...digression..) Having used Apple's computers in the Marketing Department gave me day-to-day relief from microsoft and a chance to objectively (or subjectively) evaluate Apple's products. I realized I cared more for a multi-button mouse. I cared more for decent colors, cheaper hardware, and more.

My second computer, in 1997, had win95. I had a NUMBER of problems with that PowerSpec, as any reinstallation requried a drivers disk and if I wasn't resinstalling regularly, I'd forget that I needed the disk.

My third computer, in Feb 200 (not counting relics I'd been given (naked, mind you, NO software) was a Gateway Select and I could not purchase it naked. Wasnt' the anti-trust trial of the early 90s supposed to help clarify that users could by hardware systems and dispense with the os, even at purchase time?

My 4th cmputer was a Sony Vaio, which I purchased in 2001. I could not get a refund from Frys, nor from microshaft. Each party bounce me to the other, then ms to Sony. I countered with "Sony didn't WRITE windows millennium; YOU did. THEY don't owe me a refund; YOU DO!" I got nowhere.

I bought 5 more computers on oh, about 6 Sept 2001, and I made SURE they were naked. I bought the pieces and everything was so cheap I KNEW I was not paying ms for a god#$$ "privilege" of using their wares. Considering the speciousness, perniciuosness, and idignation of that recidevist company (which by the way owns the operating system that broke down and left the USN's USS Yorktown dead in the water on a number of occasions)

http://lists.essential.org/pipermail/am-info/Week-of-Mon-20000807/003657...
http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2000/0807/news-navy-08-07-00.asp

"Software glitches leave Navy Smart Ship dead in the water"
http://www.gcn.com/archives/gcn/1998/july13/cov2.htm

(The British Royal Navy better consider the implications of SCO's self-submarining, as I read that the RN uses SCO HEAVILY in its fleet...Imagine if they cannot modify the code...)

Anyway, I don't OWE ms JACK! (consider this analog: My parents raise me, feed me, clothe me, etc. Then, they physically or sexually or financially abuse me, ridicule me, ignore my security needs, toss me to the wind when I need help, or they do similar to others, even if never to me. Now, should they STILL "command" my respect? Hell no!). Anyone who's had a beef with ms or who fears ms has the RIGHT to abandon them without fear of lockin, be they person, company, or government or nation. For ms, it's either "shape up or perish!", Period. I am doing MY part to deny them cash flow. Messing with someone's cash flow (presuming they "earned" it) is dangerous. I am simply denying them access to that which they neither created nor deserve: any cash I might have on hand...

Linux users may be vocal and "immature" via the use fo profanity, but given all the IT problems "astute" "learned" "degreed" corporates suffer, they have to ask themselves a Dirty Harry-style question: "Do I feel LUCKY?" Well, DO YOU!? Because of Linux, GNU/GPL/OSS/FSF, I FEEL LUCKY! The world is able to loosen the grips of hegemony, unless US & UK lawmakers bend over and provide the lube for the act about to ream them, which they'll pass on down the unsuspecting consumer and prosumer...

I personally could care less that microsoft thinks ***it*** was the cause for/of cheaper hardware. I dont' have to thank gates or ms for that. The REAL cause was not just spread sheets, but the fact that every tom, dick and helene who could desgn a board or card or peripheral did and in flooding the markets, drove down prices. That ms beat Lotus to a GUI spreadsheet, or that games gradually moved to windoze is just one factor.. Eventually, SOMEone would have come along to commoditize hardware. Interestingly, for those (myself included) who don't or didn't know, microsoft purportedly (or factaully) was a MAJOR opponent of software patents (or was ti copyrights?). Now, look at where they are. They own hundreds of patents. I think most were from acquisitions, not internal "innovation".

I only in 1989 SAW the Linux sticker on the van of a family member who was (and still is) often quiet and quite nerdy. Hence, I didn't know what Linux was until 1999. I found a copy of SuSe Linux at Central Computers in Santa Clara and installed it onto a spare disk which I inserted into my then-employer's Dell Lattitude. It was great, but took a LONG time for me to sift through packages. An interesting thing was when I wantedt to print on the company printer, Caldera Linux e-Descktop 2.4 (about year 2000) popped up its login display and showed me icons for every printer an user ID in the company. WOW! so many icons for faces were popping up I became worried that the Unix guys & girls would perceive my laptop as an intrusion, and being a former IT person in the same company, and being a Linux Newbie, I decided to yank it from the LAN and edit the login routine.

Anyway, SuSE & Caldera Linux (the good Caldera, not this vomitous wretch that is DNA twisted by the new cadges/cabal in power) triggered me to finally realize I had my salvation to escape ms witch mountain.

Now, as stated earlier in this tome/spiel/drivel/screed, I had reasons to leave ms. My morals and ethics were partly or mainly the reason. Not so much for issues with ms and the drivers and hardware. Actually I had fun buying new and weird hardware and learning about computers. That stemmed from my liking to draw nautical and space ships, houses, and building. I also liked building kit models. I'd taken mechcanical engineering classes around 1992, and back in 1982 I'd been a drafting/architecture student in High School. In the USN, I became a Radioman, and my mechanical aptitude got me assigned to TWO choices: Morse Code Key Operator or Teletype Repair. I feared dit-dahs, and I went to the teletypes (high level-mechanical with hundreds of ratches, springs, pawls, levers, etc...), and then to Savin Copier Repair, then teletype repair (low level, electrical) and I guess that is why I had no problems using and playing with computers.

Moving to LInux was easy, to a degree, based on knowing that even as much as I despised ms to the point that I would rather have purged ms from my life, I **could** use win9x to identify and verify that my hardware was still working and not defective. Hmmm, maybe THIS is a secret, non-thought-of reason why ms introduced the PAK (Product Activation Key)... Maybe it was to cut down on key theft, but it could also have been at the behest of hardware manufacturers and stores which got tired of returns (Fry's Electronics had so many Promise IDE card returns for QA or simple geek testing that I had to return to them 3 or 4 times before I got one that wasn't opened. and re-shrink-wrappes (this was in or around 1994/1995), or, it could have been that ms KNEW that if Linux "took off" people who were not technically savvy would at least figure out how to buy a bunch of hardware and boot up windoze, jot down the settings, and then test them and assign IRQs. But, maybe that is a flawed reach-into-the-past assumption.

What I DO find interesting is that many people (including so-called-respected-journalists at major pro-windows magazines) STILL do not realize that MUCH of the hardware marketed at ms windows users is initially designed in Unix tools. Simply: ms windoze, even win2k & xp still crash too much for serious HARDWARE development. I know from 1997-2000 my last long-time employer had HUNDREDS of Sparc or Solaris or other Sun equipment. The DVD, Codec, and multipleser/encoders hardware and some software were initially done in Linux. The engineers had windoze machines to do corporate stuff in ms word, excel, and netscape and such, tho a number of techhies/engineers STILL use the Unix implementations, shunning ms. Even in 2001 when I temped for 2 weeks at one of the former employers, engineers were STILL getting Linux boxes.

I rand into an engineer last week who is from Synopsis, here in Hillsboro who concurred that Unix is still robust and even Linux as a development environment would be preferable than to do hardware and some software designs on a 2k or xp box. I suggest (as I'd a few days prior to encountering this engineer) that their is a point in development at which the marketing forces dictate the conversion of the Unix developments into marketable products aimed at ms win users just because that is the larger market share, EVEN THOUGH Unix and Linux users could have benefitted from the finished goods being available to them. The engineer definitely concurred.

So for ANY "reputable" magazine "journalist" to say "windows users can walk into almost any computer store and find hardware ready to use in windows...this is not the case with Linux...." needs to pull their head out of the sand and realized MOST of thee h/ware makers obfuscate or hide away the useful or important information to keep all development efforts skewed in favor of ms.

Anybody who knows more is welcome to couter or confirm that.

Anyway, this is long, rambling, and more, but I DO FULLY APPRECIATE the freedom, flexibilty, and POWER that Linus, RMS, ESR, Andrew Tridgell, and the thousands upon THOUSANDS of engineers and well-meaning lawyers have bestowed upon GNU/GPL/LGPL. This freedom represents a DIRECT THREAT to the "American way of doing business" (slinging thousands of patents around the world every few months, trying to sew up markets and stifle innovation and freedom--ah, isn't that what gates & co do??? interesting...) (and, by extension "microsoft", particularly since many ENLIGHTENED (not just cash-strapped) individuals, companies, government agencies, and even militaries in and outside the USA are exploring and embracing Linux in numbers ms would prefer to "spin down"), as Linux (the kernel) is as the OSS is: INTERNATIONAL. International is the way of the future, and any flag-wrapped, or money-mongering, or pigheaded (regardless of their home nation) legislator, ceo, or investor who is too lame to realize that they will have to change or adapt, rather than outright destroy Linux, deserves to be catacombed on a level commensurate with bringing them back "down to earth". Linux makes it possible to escape virus and worm attacks. The bugs will be there, but the bugs in Linux/OSS get resolved by far a lot faster than under the proprietary model. THis is a STRENGTH for OSS and would be for proprietary, if they could bring themselves to receive and implement fixes from the outside without trying to "own" those external inputs.

I'll let someone else "take up the bataon" at this point...

BTW, my wins in PySol are a lot less painful to attain than under win98. I thnk my constant loss ratio under ms' solitaire is an indicator of ms' always wanting to win... PySol is less of a jerk about making the player lose. I think it is an indicator that Open Source Software is FOR THE PEOPLE, not against them or out for the wallets...

David Syes

Re: My Visit to SCO.. is an indicator of things to come...

Anonymous's picture

Oh, for any pedants out there... the reference bewteen gates & my parents is not to say anything about HIS character. It is merely to show that filial piety and allegiance to some scheme designer who just happens to please millions (while equally offending millions more) doesn't mean eternal allegiance is owed.

David Syes

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Thanks Taylor,

Nice one. Thanks for taking pain to educate us on this issue....

This is the power of Open Source Software. Every interested soul contributes what it can..

Keep it going..

Regards
Murali Varadarajan

Copyrights in GNU coding standards

Anuradha's picture

Your comment that "Linux maintainers take the issues of copyright paperwork seriously" goes very closely with this section of GNU Coding Standards.

Buying The SCO Group would be automatic Darwin Award candidacy

Anonymous's picture

In corporate terms, it would be among the front runners for "most famous stupid last mistake". Why?

Even at an inflated price, Red Hat could afford to buy SCO and free up Unix once and for all.

Could they afford to buy every other meathead who subsequently popped out of the woodwork waving a lawsuit in one hand and with the other out? I think not. I think many meatheads would be killed in the rush, too.

Re: Buying The SCO Group would be automatic Darwin Award candida

Anonymous's picture

***** SCO!

Re: Buying The SCO Group would be automatic Darwin Award candida

Anonymous's picture

*-F-*-U-*-C-*-K-* SCO

Tried in Public

Anonymous's picture

SCO doesn't want it to be tried in public before it is tried in court.

Quoting Mork (in response to an assertion "I didn't come here to be made a fool of!"): Oh, no! Too late!
SCO have well and truly been tried in public, weighed in the balances and found completely wanting. The only way to go from here is up. It follows that SCO have nothing to lose by putting its cards on the table IF they have a real case. If it's all bluff (-: any takers? :-), I think it would be hard to convince a judge that this wasn't grand fraud at the decades-in-jail level.

The SCO Group are *still* publishing Linux source code

Anonymous's picture

Four different takes on 2.4.19 (in the same directory, last change 13:32 09 May 2003) to start with.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

You missed the point. If SCO had a problem with IP, why don't they ask the Kernel mantainer to remove the code. Instead they write to Linux customers and pread FUD.

If there was a mistake it can be corrected and if IBM made a mistake IBM will correct it and pay a fee to SCO or whatever. IP infringements are nothing special, but why does SCO start such a media campaign that turns out to be more a kind of FUD show.

In Germany SCO Deutschland was judged because of anti-competetive behaviour. Dirty business mehtods like SCO's shall be punished. IP rights in the hands of failed companies are a danger to society. LAw has to protect businesses and Linux from anti-competitive behaviour, unfortunately competition law is less strict in other parts of the world.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

One thing that I can state after talking to a number of Linux developers in private defense contracting firms is that a great deal of generic code that they have released under the GPL has worked its way back into UNIX, and none of them have any doubt that SCO/Caldera have integrated portions of this code into their version of UNIX without complying with the GPL, thus voiding any claims they may legitamately have. None seem concerned, because the general consenses is that this lawsuit is simply a ruse to get IBM to purchase SCO rather than litigate. SCO has no marketable current products; they are essentially an extinct company. SCO literally has no realistic claims to the rights it has professed, and should be sued for damages for the infamous letter to 1500 companies. Stop lending credibility to their claims by signing the NDA and simply ignore them. They will go away, or be made to disappear.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Could I ask you to get those Linux developers to pinpoint the code they say has been released under the GPL and then worked back into Unix?If this could be brought to bear, it would not only deflate the court case, it would also deflate the value of SCO and probably enable IBM to bargain-basement them quite effectively. And also, since the GPL is quite plain in its demands, we could see Unix System V Release [1234] released under the GPL and Microsoft deeply embarrassed.Wesley Parish

SCO/Caldera, the GPL, and IP rights

LaCamiseta's picture

If I'm not mistaken, up until recently, SCO/Caldera has released their own version of Linux, which uses the standard kernel.

Now this is licensed under the GPL, which has a clause in it which requires that a company forego any and all IP claims on anybody using either that work or any derivative works.

If that's the case, and because they claim to own the IP rights to Unix, how can they then try to license Linux, when they've already given up all IP claims to Linux by releasing it?

I don't know, but it sounds like a flawed plan to me.

Re: My Visit to SCO

OdanCoffeeGod's picture

Just a Very Simple Point I need to make.

How many "Programmers" have worked on the "UNIX" source code over the years?

How Many Programmers have worked on "Linux" Source over the past 13 years?

Is it not possible that two programmers came up with the same code?

Maybe we can start with grep SVR4 * -R in /usr/src/linux ?

Anonymous's picture

/usr/src/linux$ grep SVR4 * -R

...
arch/s390x/kernel/binfmt_elf32.c:/* For SVR4/S390 the function pointer to be registered with `atexit` is
arch/s390x/kernel/binfmt_elf32.c:#define SET_PERSONALITY(ex, ibcs2) set_personality((ibcs2)?PER_SVR4:PER_LINUX)
arch/x86_64/ia32/ia32_binfmt.c: set_personality((ibcs2)?PER_SVR4:current->personality);
Documentation/sound/README.OSS: Ian Hartas SVR4.2 port
drivers/net/dgrs.c: * Derived from the SVR4.2 (UnixWare) driver for the same card.
drivers/char/vt.c: * Console (vt and kd) routines, as defined by USL SVR4 manual, and by
drivers/char/rio/rioparam.c: ** Could set LNE here if you wanted LNext processing. SVR4 will use it.
drivers/sound/CHANGELOG:- SVR4.2 support by Ian Hartas. Initial ALPHA TEST version (untested).
fs/binfmt_elf.c: * Set up the notes in similar form to SVR4 core dumps made
fs/proc/kcore.c: * Set up the notes in similar form to SVR4 core dumps made
fs/locks.c: * BSD and SVR4 practice.
include/asm-ppc64/elf.h: set_personality(PER_SVR4);
include/linux/personality.h: PER_SVR4 = 0x0001 | STICKY_TIMEOUTS | MMAP_PAGE_ZERO,
include/linux/elfcore.h: * Definitions to generate Intel SVR4-like core files.
include/linux/elfcore.h: * These mostly have the same names as the SVR4 types with "elf_"
include/linux/elfcore.h: * the SVR4 structure, but more Linuxy, with things that Linux does
include/linux/bfs_fs.h:/* SVR4 vnode type values (bfs_inode->i_vtype) */
include/asm-i386/elf.h:/* SVR4/i386 ABI (pages 3-31, 3-32) says that when the program starts %edx
...

Re: Maybe we can start with grep SVR4 * -R in /usr/src/linux ?

Anonymous's picture

There is a high possibily that data structures which describe hardwares and/or devices drivers and/or TCP/IP stacks came from a standard and programmers copied them from the same RFC etc verbatim. So if the code is a data structure declaration, some 80 lines would be considered small.

klim@machealth.com.au

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Ian, will your future contributions to GDB, binutils, GCC etc. be encumbered by the NDA you signed?

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

When SCO folds that NDA will dissolve :-) and life will return to normal.

Shawn.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

No. I would have to be quite careful about contributing to the Linux kernel, but I wasn't planning on contributing to the kernel anyhow. The NDA only covers details about the code which SCO showed me. They didn't show me anything related to gcc, et. al., and I'm not aware of any IP claims they have regarding those tools. So I think I am safe.

Ian Lance Taylor

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

There seems to be one confusion here. If there is SCO code then it can't be linked with GPL code, and as a non US Linux developer I intend to sue any vendor who decides to agree there is SCO code and distributes it linked with my GPL code.

As such the "licensing" notion by which SCO seeks to turn Linux back into proprietary unix that Ian talks about doesn't exist as a scenario.

The Unix community should purchase SCO

Anonymous's picture

SCO stock is at a high point, but the Unix community should buy
SCO stock when it dips.

Yes, SCO wants to be bought - but they want to be bought for
billions. Lets slowly purchase stock 100 shares at a time and
win control of the company. If we succeed, the code ought to be
put in the public domain, not GPL'd.

Joe

Re: The Unix community should purchase SCO

Anonymous's picture

To start with I am NOT a lawyer However
If you read the rulling in the USL vs. BSDI and The Regents of University of California you will be left with the impression that much of the AT&T Unix code that was in exsistance in 1992/1993 might just be in the public domain
if my understanding of the ruling is correct. I have provided a link that apears to be a ruling from that case on the injunction USL tried to get against BSDI .

http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/bsdi/930303.ruling.txt

Re: The filename you are all looking for ...

Anonymous's picture

It is in the article. You just have to look carefully.

Old style decrypting techniques will do the trick ..

Re: The filename you are all looking for ...

Anonymous's picture

If that's true, I need a clue. I've been doing simple letter skipping/punctuation b&a's & getting nowhere.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

thanx for writing this informative and enlightening article. i especially appreciate the way you frame any editorializing comments you make; your approach is refreshing and well-informed.

since i'm about to start working on the AIX kernel for IBM (well, that was the plan anyways...), i've been following this story quite closely and this is one of the best articles i've read on the topic.

typo?

Anonymous's picture

My next suggestion is that Linus and the Linux maintainers form a foundation to hold copyright declarations for Linux. Linus has made clear in the past that he does not want all the Linux copyrights held in the same place. While that means there is no single party who can be sued about a GPL violation, my impression is Linus thinks that is an advantage.

That last sentence reads a bit strangely. I wouldn't think anyone would be suing a kernel developer because of a GPL violation.

Did you mean there is no single party who can sue because of a GPL violation? That is one of the FSF's reasons for requiring assignments.

Re: typo?

Anonymous's picture

This appears to be an editing error on the part of Linux Journal, which I didn't notice when I read their version. I originally wrote While that means that there is no single party who can sue about a GPL violation, my impression is that Linus thinks that that is an advantage.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Ian Lance Taylor

Re: typo?

Anonymous's picture

Hmm.. made more sense to me in the way originally published.

Each file in the Linux kernel is copyrighted by the author.
So if SCO were to go after Linux, and alleged copying in 5 files, they would have to sue 5 individuals. And if they won, they could force those 5 individuals to pay fines, and presumably prevent redistribution of those 5 files. No rights over any other developer or any other file in the Linux kernel would be implied by these lawsuits.

However if SCO were to find problems with any GNU (as opposed to GPLed) software, whose copyright is owned by the FSF, they could sue the FSF. And if the FSF was found guilty, then the judge could potentially sell all of the FSF copyrights to Microsoft to pay the FSF's fines, including files not involved in the original suit.

The former sure looks better to me: no single party who can be sued about a GPL violation. Taking on the FSF is like taking on any other corporation. Taking on the Linux developers would be like trying to swat sandflies one at a time.

I guess, however, that even if the FSF was forced to relinquish its copyrights, the rights guaranteed to users of the code would still be valid, so a new "fork" could be created.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

This was a great article and help me understand more about what is going on then I thought I knew.

As far as RedHat buying SCO, I bet if RedHat setup "help us buy SCO" fund, many would contribute. I know I would. There are a lot of Linux users out there. Many more then are registered. As a community we may be able to help settle this. If RedHat doesn't get enough or fails, the money gets donated to the FSF. Heck if everyone just goes and buys a copy of RedHat (vs download it for free) that may help RH reach the goal on their own. I agree with the author. It would be very cool.

The part the bugs me the most is that SCO/Caldera used and made money off of linux. They used code generated by hundreds of hard working developers, most of which, did it for free. I consider them (SCO) to be worthless, petty, and evil.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

*You* can buy SCO now if you wish. I was going to sell mine, but now I'm holding so I can vote against everything the Board wants. If enough sane people buy SCO, we can sell our shares to someone like Redhat at a reasonable price. Or put our proxies together and oust the current management.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

I think it would be in the best interest for an organization such as the FSF to do the buying. That should permanently eliminate another, similar threat. It would also allow companies such as IBM, HP, Red Hat, et al, to donate larger sums of money.

If the FSF (or whoever) were to make the purchase, then they could begin reviewing the code and opening anything not otherwise copyrighted by another party.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

This is true. If Caldera (before they bought SCO) made enough money by selling linux to the public and eventually turned around and bought the rights to UNIX then is that not the same as selling billions of pirate copies of WIndows and then in turn buying out Microsoft? How can they claim anything when the reason they were able to buy out the SCO rights were because of their sale of copies of linux? These execs at SCO remind me of an earlier time, when the execs at Amiga/Commodore were only in it for the money and in turn let a good platform fail.

Re: My Visit to SCO

lumy's picture


My guess is the letters were to set themselves up for Linux licensing.

Well seems you were right.

SCOsource is a new business division to manage its UNIX

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Something smells here.

What direct or indirect financial ties does the current "SCO" have with Microsoft Corporation or its officers or directors?

What ties or connections are there between the law firm(s) assisting SCO in its ligitation, and Microsoft Corporation, its officers, or directors?

Given Microsoft's stated jihad against Linux, it seems perfectly reasonable to suspect that the company would be supporting, financing, or otherwise involved with SCO in its mission to kill Linux.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

If this is the case, consider this hypothetical:

Larry Ellison calls McBride and basically says "How much for the whole company, I'll write you a check".
SCO becomes a division of Oracle (or just to insure that the FTC doesn't go through the roof, just another of Ellison's holdings.)
Larry hates Bill (see september 2002 playboy interview for more info.), Larry calls Bill and revokes any and all of Microsoft's Unix interoperability licenses. At the same time, SCO (now a holding of Ellison), releases a version of Linux/Unix optimized for the Oracle Database, possibly bundling it along with Oracle.
Microsoft gets screwed, SCO goes away (or at least becomes a lot nicer), Larry makes more money and the Unix / Linux ip issue is moot.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

If what Microsoft said is true, they were considering purchasing licenses from SCO long before this battle. However, I know that at one time Microsoft produced it's own flavor of UNIX which was at the time, called Xenix. Weather or not SCO purchased it from them, I don't know.

Re: My Visit to SCO

sundancer's picture

Talking about UNIX developement, my old Free BSD4 book says on page 8: "...changes in legal regulations between 1977 and 1984 enabled AT&T first to license UNIX to other vendors, noticably Microsoft, who announced XENIX in 1981, and then to market it itself. AT&T developed System III in 1982, and System IV in 1983. The differences between Xenix and System V were initially small, but they grew: by the mid 80s, there were four different versions of UNIX: the Research Version, only used inside AT&T, the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) from Berkeley, and the commercial System V from AT&T, and XENIX, which no longer interested Microsoft, and was marketed by the company which had developed it, the Santa Cruz Operation, or SCO." (their emphasis)
Apprently the Santa Cruz Operation is the SCO bought by SCO as mentioned in the article. (my emphasis)
I find it interesting that Microsoft was into "innovation" even back then!

Re: My Visit to SCO

florin's picture

indirect financial ties...
...as in: someone from Microsoft secretly contacted someone else from SCO (or Canopy, the sugar daddys of SCO) and said "we give you this bagful of greenies, you go ahead and ***** on Linux" - is that what you're saying?
If you do, then you have the same suspicion as myself. ;-)

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

SCO said that besides IBM, Sequent has contributed code to Linux which is derived from Unix. Sequent is now a subsidiary of IBM.

Sequent did not get into the business of contributing our Dynix/PTX code to Linux. IBM did that when they bought us.BTW, Sequent is NOT a subsidiary of IBM, we were purchased and the name subsequently thrown away (along with our culture, people, and products).

-michael

Your comment now forms part of SGOG's case.

Anonymous's picture

http://www.investorvillage.com/smbd.asp?mb=1911&mn=104799&pt=msg&mid=910...

As an aside, does anyone know why MathFox has been erased from Groklaw? Any comments questioning the event are deleted over there.

Deletions

Anonymous's picture

In my case (E-man), even though I did some work for Groklaw, she apparently decided I was probably astroturfing once I started disagreeing with PJ on a few things. One thing that made her suspicious was that I was accessing Groklaw from home, so I didn't have a fixed IP address. Anyway, Groklaw made it so that my many of my comments were only visible to me. (I would think they posted, but no one else could see them.) Once I started to complain about that, my account became disabled. No doubt some people do astroturf, but I wasn't.

Good catch, btw!

Sounds pretty much like what's happening...

Anonymous's picture

...to the people at Santa Cruz Operation (now Tarantella?) and Caldera.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

I apologize for the misstatement. I probably misheard or mistyped. Thanks for the correction.

Ian Lance Taylor

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

> SCO wants to get to the point where Linux can move forward.

This is most likely just disingenious PR on SCO's part. They do not give a toss about what happens to Linux. They're simply in the business of extracting money by litigating anyone they can, as has been demostrated very clearly by the history of the people who are runing this show at SCO. If they seriously wanted to 'to get to the point where Linux can move forward' they could just not sue or place that code in the public domain (if it is theirs to place in the public domain, Novell may disagree).

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

Why is the US Government even giving copyrights to something that no one is allowed to see? Unless we are talking about the technique for Bio weapons or Nuclear devices, what is the grave danger to the nation in revealing the source code?

As I understand it concepts are not patentable, only the means. "4" should not be copyrightabel, only a specific procedure to get that result.

As I recall from some where, the company that makes most of the styrofoam coffee cups never patented their machinery so that the competition would not be able to learn anything from the patent papers.

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

I found it interesting that according to Netcraft, four of the servers at www.sco.com are running Linux!

The site www.sco.com is running Apache/1.3.14 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.7.1 OpenSSL/0.9.6 PHP/4.3.2-RC on Linux

Re: My Visit to SCO

Anonymous's picture

But it's their code, so they can run it if they want to :)

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