SCO to Reveal Allegedly Copied Code

by Don Marti

Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of The SCO Group's SCOsource licensing operation, said in an interview that he will show independent experts, under a non-disclosure agreement, the evidence behind SCO's allegations that the Linux kernel source contains code copied from SCO UnixWare illegally and without credit.

The independent panel will be invited to see SCO source code and the corresponding code in Linux "in a couple weeks", and it will consist of "respected analysts and respected third parties", Sontag said. SCO has not decided on any individuals who will be invited to participate, he added.

Although SCO's claims about Linux developers copying from SCO's proprietary UnixWare have been vague in the past, this time Sontag specifically claimed that there is "significant copyrighted and trade secret code within Linux".

When asked for examples of infringement, Sontag said, "It's all over the place" but did not characterize any one subsystem as containing more infringing code than others. Infringement is present not only in distributions and vendor kernels, but in the official kernel available from Code has been "munged around solely for the purpose of hiding the authorship or origin of the code", he said.

"I can't at this point lay out all the evidence", Sontag said, citing the advice of SCO's lawyers. Sontag would not identify any listed contributor or specific time period associated with the introduction of UnixWare source. But he said there is "pre-IBM" infringement in addition to the "post-IBM" one SCO already has claimed--some kernel versions released before IBM began contributing to Linux contain UnixWare code, he said.

Is it that both Linux and UnixWare are borrowing from BSD? "We specifically excluded the BSD-derived code", Sontag said. "There is post-BSD UnixWare source code origined [sic] with SCO, and that is of issue."

Don Marti is Editor in Chief of Linux Journal.

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