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Linus Comments on SCO v IBM 631

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-is-only-gonna-get-more-interesting dept.
djtrippin writes "Linus comes forth on the SCO v IBM suit and how it pertains (or doesn't, for that matter) to Linux." He definitely puts a fair amount of perspective on the whole thing. This story really is only going to get more bizarre.
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Linus Comments on SCO v IBM

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  • by sielwolf (246764) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:39PM (#5482247) Homepage Journal
    For those of you looking for the 5 second MS Word XP autosummary.

    [snip]
    MozillaQuest Magazine: What sort of impact do you believe this sort of lawsuit filed by SCO-Caldera has on the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, UNIX, and the Linux and free-software communities?

    Linus Torvalds: None, really. The people I work with couldn't care less.
    [/snip]
  • by jsse (254124) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:56PM (#5482336) Homepage Journal
    SCO-Caldera v IBM: Linus Torvalds Comments on SCO-Caldera's Linux-Related Allegations

    Nearly One-Half of SCO-Caldera Income from IP Licensing and Enforcement

    By Mike Angelo -- 10 March 2003 (C)

    For more than a month now, SCO-Caldera has been doing some intellectual property (IP) saber-rattling and market posturing [mozillaquest.com] regarding its UNIX source code ownership and Linux. On 6 March 2003, SCO-Caldera stopped its saber-rattling and pulled the sword out of its sheath when it filed a legal action against IBM regarding [mozillaquest.com] claims involving the UNIX and Linux operating systems.

    Of the 136-paragraph Complaint filed by Caldera Systems, Inc., d/b/a The SCO Group, six are particularly significant regarding the Linux kernel, and the GNU/Linux operating system, and Linux distributions.

    Paragraphs 74 and 82 through 86 of SCO-Caldera's Complaint belittle and insult Linux developers, the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, Linux distribution providers -- in essence the entire GNU/Linux and free software community.

    In an e-mail discussion, we asked Linus Torvalds to comment on the Linux-related allegations SCO-Caldera makes in its Complaint against IBM. Here is Linus Torvalds' uncensored commentary.

    Linus Torvalds: Ho humm..

    I'm not all that excited about commenting a lot on lawsuits, since quite frankly I want to have as little as humanly possible to do with such things. At the same time I obviously do find the SCO one a bit interesting, since it's the first lawsuit ever I know of that actually involves Linux, even if Linux itself seems pretty peripheral.

    Just as well, that "peripheral" thing ;)

    MozillaQuest Magazine: SCO-Caldera says in paragraph "82" that "it would be difficult or impossible for the Linux development community to create a grade of Linux adequate for enterprise use." (Without the aid of the alleged actionable conduct of IBM) Is that true?

    Linus Torvalds: I don't think IBM would have started using Linux if it was true. I think IBM got serious about Linux because it noticed that it _was_ "adequate for enterprise use" from a technical perspective, but lacked a lot of things IBM could bring to the table (marketing, of course, but even more than just marketing, just the presence of IBM made Linux be taken much more seriously).

    So I think IBM's involvement has been very important, but while IBM has fine engineers, the most important part by _far_ has been the "mindshare" part of it.

    But what does "adequate for enterprise use" really mean? The marketing and mindshare certainly _matter_ a lot for pretty much all enterprise customers. So in _that_ sense maybe SCO is right, even though I don't think that is really what SCO _meant_.

    MozillaQuest Magazine: It sounds as though this lawsuit is not a suit alleging copyright infringement, patent infringement, or trademark infringement (the standard three prongs of the intellectual property complex). Rather, it appears the Caldera v IBM action is more in the nature of a contract or tort action.

    Linus Torvalds: Yeah, I don't personally think they have any IP rights on Linux, and I agree, it looks more like a suit over the contract rather than over Linux itself.

    I don't think they are going to win it (very very weak arguments, since at least from a technical perspective I don't think the IBM involvement has been that significant, and SCO was losing out _long_ before IBM started pushing Linux). However, my personal (maybe overly cynical) suspicion is that even _they_ don't think they'll win the suit, and it may be nothing more than a way to force IBM back into license discussions over UNIX itself.

    So I think that 100-day license revocation thing may actually be the most important part of the whole suit, and that the rest might be just the excuse. If I was SCO and looking at IBM, I'd have long since noticed that IBM has been talking about Linux taking over more and more of their current AIX usage, to potentially eventually replace it altogether.

    So SCO sees IBM largely going away as a licensee in a few years - and while I certainly don't have any knowledge of how much that means for SCO, I would not be surprised if IBM licenses are quite a noticeable part of SCOs receivables.

    And what would you do? You want to get IBM back to the discussion table over licensing _before_ IBM starts to consider the UNIX licenses for AIX to be no longer worth it. I think IBM has announced they'll drop AIX eventually, but I do _not_ think that IBM is willing to drop it within three months. They tend to pride themselves on supporting their existing customers.

    MozillaQuest Magazine: What sort of impact do you believe this sort of lawsuit filed by SCO-Caldera has on the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, UNIX, and the Linux and free-software communities?

    Linus Torvalds: None, really. The people I work with couldn't care less.

    The thrust of paragraphs 74 and 82 to 84 of SCO-Caldera's Complaint against IBM is that without the aid of the alleged actionable conduct of IBM, GNU/Linux would not be an enterprise/server grade operating system. Although in paragraph 84 of its Complaint, SCO-Caldera does not directly say it, when taken in context of the entire Complaint, SCO-Caldera is alleging that it is the alleged actionable conduct of IBM that provides items (1) through (5) set forth in paragraphs 84 to the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, and Linux distributions.

    84. Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car. To make Linux of necessary quality for use by enterprise customers, it must be re-designed so that Linux also becomes the software equivalent of a luxury car. This re-design is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (1) a high degree of design coordination, (2) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (3) access to UNIX code, methods and concepts; (4) UNIX architectural experience; and (5) a very significant financial investment.

    MozillaQuest Magazine: Did the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux developers and groups lack the technological capability of producing an enterprise level Linux without being bailed-out by IBM as SCO-Caldera claims?

    Linus Torvalds: "Bailed-out by IBM"? Hardly. Oh, IBM has certainly been very helpful, and I like the IBM engineers I work with, but Linux was running on 16-cpu Sun sparc computers long before IBM really got into it.

    In paragraph 85 of its Complaint against IBM, SCO-Caldera alleges that the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux are limited to handling a maximum of four CPUs.

    85. For example, Linux is currently capable of coordinating the simultaneous performance of 4 computer processors. UNIX, on the other hand, commonly links 16 processors and can successfully link up to 32 processors for simultaneous operation. This difference in memory management performance is very significant to enterprise customers who need extremely high computing capabilities for complex tasks. The ability to accomplish this task successfully has taken AT&T, Novell and SCO at least 20 years, with access to expensive equipment for design and testing, well-trained UNIX engineers and a wealth of experience in UNIX methods and concepts.

    MozillaQuest Magazine: Is this true? I thought the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux can handle 32 CPUs?

    Linus Torvalds: We still claim 4-8 CPU scalability. Yeah, it sure works on bigger machines, but they are just so uncommon as to not be a big issue yet, and most of peoples' resources are certainly spent on the mass market (well, UP is the _real_ mass market, but most of the kernel people tend to be fascinated by SMP issues, so we tend to target slightly higher ;)

    Normally, we end our articles with a summary and/or conclusion. We do not do so with this article. That's because we want you to have the benefits of Linus Torvalds' comments about the SCO-Caldera v IBM lawsuit without any spin from us. You are getting this just the way Linus said it and in context. Moreover, Linus Torvalds' comments are concise, well-expressed, and to the point. The only material in this article is Linus' comments with just enough background added by us to put the comments in perspective and context with the allegations of SCO-Caldera's Complaint. Thus, Linus Torvalds' comments need no interpretation or spin from us.

  • by zoid.com (311775) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:01AM (#5482369) Homepage Journal
    Here are Dennis Ritchie's Comments [google.com] from usenet and some supporting documentation [bell-labs.com] from the USL vs. BSDI case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:06AM (#5482384)
    Sorry to be an off-topic nitpicker, but I just have to point out a couple of things:

    > ...they would of spent...

    Should be, "they would HAVE spent". The sentence uses the perfect tense conjugation of a verb ("to have"), the word "of" is not a verb.

    > He walks softly, but carries a big stick.

    The Teddy Roosevelt saying is "speak softly...". Many people say "talk softly", which sounds like "walk softly".

    OK, end of rant, and feel free to moderate me down into oblivion.

  • by kfg (145172) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:27AM (#5482481)
    I think this is a point that a lot of people are missing.

    SCO is claiming special expertise on running Unix technology on *Intel* hardware. So the basis of their claim doesn't really rest with UnixWare (a failed Unix aquired from Novell), it rests on Xenix (now Open Server), a failed technology they only *licensed* from Microsoft.

    They're claiming IBM, the research giant, and the mass of Open Source developers, couldn't have matched triple recursively *failed* technology of a bygone age, actually developed somewhere else in the first place.

    I think ESR was giving them the benefit of the doubt and trying to be kind in his comment.

    This goes way beyond "deeply stupid." It's doofey. ( My word of the year. I wish I had far less oppurtunity to overuse it)

    KFG
  • Re:MozillaQuest? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:43AM (#5482544)
    Last time I saw anything from mozillaquest, it was another of their mozilla "news" articles. The whole site was essentially an anti-mozilla troll.
  • by What is a number (652374) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:57AM (#5482580)
    "sources close to to IBM say" IBM is going to fight it [yahoo.com]

    ...
    I type this every time.
  • by NullProg (70833) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:43AM (#5482708) Homepage Journal
    As I've stated before (and have wasted too much time on this matter), here it is again...

    Concerning the few specific examples SCO listed in their court filing, the Omni print driver and JFS appeared in OS/2 long before Linux. Warp 3 and Warp 4 Server respectively. JFS appeared in AIX first but was never the property of UNIX.

    Per the SCO view, with project Monterey IBM gave away the keys to the UNIX kingdom to Linux.
    I'm sorry, but Monterey was annouced in October 1998. Well after Linux was ready for "prime time". I still have servers to prove so. Bicycle my ass.

    Sorry, end rant. Gulp Beer,
    Enjoy.
  • Re:A Question (Score:5, Informative)

    by cranos (592602) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:46AM (#5482716) Homepage Journal
    Important point - Linux is a UNIX Workalike, AIX is a derivation of the original UNIX making them completely different beings. Linux was built from the ground up based on the POSIX standards.

    Hope that clears things up.

  • by MendicantMonkey (649859) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:59AM (#5482756)

    (BTW, what alteratives to BIND exist for Linux and *BSD? I actually don't know and would like to know.)

    djbdns [cr.yp.to]

    It's a bit quirky but definitely functional. If you don't like qmail you may not like this. It shares similar philosophies, both being created by D. J. Bernstein.

  • Re:MozillaQuest? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spoing (152917) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:13AM (#5482797) Homepage
    Last time I saw anything from mozillaquest, it was another of their mozilla "news" articles. The whole site was essentially an anti-mozilla troll.

    Same here...though I learn quick (1 article was enough). With a track record like that, I'll keep clear of them and I advise others to do the same.

    We have enough sensationalism to wade through already, no point in paying attention to the obvious trolls.

    If MozillaQuest wants to change that opinion, they (he?) will have to stay "clean" for a year or more. Do something positive...not that that will make me trust them, but maybe the negitive reaction won't be as strong.

    Face it...they #ed up.

  • by RonBarr (655013) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:28AM (#5482839)
    They took the Santa Cruz out of SCO a long time ago...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:39AM (#5482865)
    While you've got the right idea, your history is a little twisted.

    SCO (aka The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.) was a company (not an operating system) that marketed both Xenix, and later two different flavors of UNIX, in the 80s and 90s. This company was one of the last hold-outs of the dinosaur proprietary UNIX vendors.

    This company died a few years ago when Caldera, a Linux distributor, purchased the rights to SCO's UNIX IP, including the UnixWare and OpenServer product lines. (Xenix was discontinued in the early 90s.) Note that there is not now, nor has there ever been, an operating system called "SCO". The company "SCO" actually distributed three totally different operating systems, Xenix, UnixWare, and OpenServer.

    Last year, Caldera decided their Linux business wasn't making money, and revived the SCO trademark, changing their name to "SCO Group" (probably for name recognition -- SCO had quite a following in some industries.) This was the first in a series of desperate moves by a dying Caldera...the latest of which is to sue IBM.

    So SCO Group, the company going after Big Blue, is actually a new entity that's less than a year old and has nothing to do with the proprietary UNIX dinosaur that happens to share the same three letter acronym.
  • by rickmoen (1322) <rick@linuxmafia.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @03:04AM (#5482923) Homepage
    evilpenguin wrote:

    BTW, what alteratives to BIND exist for Linuxand *BSD? I actually don't know and would like to know.

    There are now a number of alternative packages that may have advantages for many deployments. E.g.:

    MaraDNS is a general-purpose, fast DNS server package (doing recursive, authoritative, and caching roles, plus fully supporting zone transfers):
    http://www.maradns.org/ [maradns.org]

    pdnsd is a small caching-only DNS server with a disk-based cache, suitable for small networks and workstations:
    http://home.t-online.de/home/Moestl/ [t-online.de]

    Dnsmasq is a small authoritative and caching DNS server for a group of NATted / IPmasqued machines (optionally pulling names from DHCP leases):
    http://www.thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/ [thekelleys.org.uk]

    DNRD is a small caching-only DNS server for NAT / IPmasq networks:
    http://dnrd.nevalabs.org/ [nevalabs.org]

    MyDNS is a MySQL-based authoritative and caching server (no recursive service) suitable for very large sites. In such roles, it's faster and more responsive than BIND9, even though the latter uses a RAM-based cache:
    http://mydns.bboy.net/ [bboy.net]

    ldapdns implements the same idea, except out of an LDAP database. Again, much faster than BIND9:
    http://nimh.org/code/ldapdns/ [nimh.org]

    GnuDIP is an authoritative server for Dynamic DNS:
    http://gnudip2.sourceforge.net/gnudip-www/ [sourceforge.net]

    NSD is a high-performance authoritative-only daemon:
    http://www.nlnetlabs.nl/nsd/ [nlnetlabs.nl]

    PowerDNS (open source as of 2002-11-25) is an authoritative-only daemon with a modular structure supporting various back-end information stores such as SQL databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle 8i, Oracle 9i, IBM DB2, and others via ODBC), BIND zonefiles and other file formats, and LDAP directories. Supports AXFR zone transfers.
    http://www.powerdns.com/products/powerdns/ [powerdns.com]

    CustomDNS is a authoritative-only daemon for both static addresses and its variant form of dynamic DNS:
    http://customdns.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    lbnamed is a similar authoritative-only daemon for static and dynamic information, with a load-balancing multi-machine architecture:
    http://www.stanford.edu/~riepel/lbnamed/ [stanford.edu]

    Posadis is another fast authoritative-only daemon:
    http://posadis.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    dents is another general-purpose DNS server, but is perenially unfinished, and is probably dead, at this point:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/dents/ [sourceforge.net]

    Pliant DNS Server is another general-purpose DNS server, although it may not support zone transfers:
    http://pliant.cx/pliant/protocol/dns/ [pliant.cx]

    Yaku-NS is another small, fast general-purpose DNS server:
    http://www.kyuzz.org/antirez/ens.html [kyuzz.org]

    Twisted Names is an authoritative and caching DNS server, written in Python:
    http://twistedmatrix.com/documents/howto/names [twistedmatrix.com]

    Oak DNS Server is an authoritative and caching DNS server, supporting dynamic DNS updates and AAAA records. It's written in Python, and doesn't need to run privileged:
    http://www.digitallumber.com/oak [digitallumber.com]

    dnsjava is a minimal, authoritative-only server, a resolver library, and a set of DNS utilities, all written in Java:
    http://www.xbill.org/dnsjava/ [xbill.org]

    Related:

    FireDNS is a client library for DNS requests, with emphasis on speed and asynchronous processing. Written in C, and has low-timeout blocking functions. Can be used to relace standard libc resolver library functions like getbyhostname with much faster equivalent code:
    http://ares.penguinhosting.net/~ian/ [penguinhosting.net]

    GNU adns is a resolver library for C (and C++) programs, and a collection of useful DNS resolver utilities:
    http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~ian/adns/ [greenend.org.uk]

    Proprietary packages include:

    UltraDNS (UltraDNS Corporation)
    djbdns/tinydns
    ATLAS (Verisign)
    BINDPlus (Information Network Eng. Group, Inc.)
    Global Name Service (Nominum, Inc.)
    NeDNS (Neteka, Inc.)

    I maintain this list at http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/linux-info/dns-servers [linuxmafia.com]

    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

  • by SN74S181 (581549) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @03:56AM (#5483034)
    Linus has zero rights over Minix as well.

    Linus was involved as a Minix hacker before he started his project that became Linux. There is no Minix code in Linux. The only Minix 'connection' in Linux was that Linux started out using the Minix filesystem. Which is a data structure, not code.
  • Re:SMP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jhunsake (81920) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @04:00AM (#5483040) Journal
    IPC: InterProcess Communication. It stands alone, it has nothing to do with SMP.
  • Re:Ho Hum... (Score:3, Informative)

    by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @04:20AM (#5483074) Homepage Journal

    For those of you wondering, that's a Vonnegut reference. Surprising that Linus would know it, I don't know many europeans who read/know Vonnegut.

    Maybe he read AA Milne when he was a kid, since that's obviously where Vonnegut got it? I'm sorry, the only Winnie the Pooh you've ever heard of was Disney's mutilation? Ho Hum...

  • by Iffy Bonzoolie (1621) <iffyNO@SPAMxarble.org> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @04:39AM (#5483110) Journal
    "(Of course this is probably really because you have to opt out of the extra point manually each time you think it unjustified instead of going to the trouble of adding it if you think it justified.)"

    Actually, you can select "No Karma Bonus" by default in your posting preferences... I always post at 1, just for equity's sake - though now that people can turn that off in their comment browsing preferences, maybe I should start using it.

    -If
  • by Vegigami (32659) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @05:08AM (#5483164)
    The bicycle was MS-DOS,

    The luxury car was the Mac,

    BeOS was the batmobile,

    and Linux was the Tank.

    I think that was how Neal Stephenson wrote it in "In The Beginning Was The Command Line" anyway.
  • by pyrrho (167252) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @05:17AM (#5483177) Journal
    since you asked for correction, here is a clarification.

    Caldera sold linux for years. They RENAMED themselves SCO after buying SCO. So SCO actually is the actual company that has been distributing linux for years. But mind you, not well.
  • Re:I Appreciated... (Score:4, Informative)

    by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @05:43AM (#5483222) Homepage Journal
    It also ignores the number of companies with SMP and NUMA experience (SGI, anyone?), as well as individuals with significant experience in the area, that have contributed significantly to the Linux kernel. It's not as if good SMP and memory management solutions in Linux have all come from IBM.
  • Let SCO Know (Score:4, Informative)

    by RedSynapse (90206) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:08AM (#5483341)
    Contact SCO and tell them what you think of their buisness methods:

    1-888-465-4689
    1-800-726-8649 (Support)
    801-765-1313 (FAX)

    Or submit an email on their webform HERE [sco.com]
    Or if you perfer the personal touch you might want to BCC these people:

    jant@sco.com, rr@sco.com, sco@schwartz-pr.com, andrewk@sco.com, anz_info@sco.com, rhondap@sco.com, bstowell@sco.com, skunkware@sco.com, jkj@sco.com, patrickm@sco.com, phatch@sco.com, polska@caldera.com, louisi@sco.com, murray@sco.com, maindesk@sco.com, rogerv@sco.com, alf@sco.com, asirotin@caldera.com, alee@sco.com, rickpo@sco.com, kathyp@sco.com, deanr@sco.com, evanh@caldera.com, jls@sco.com, dfp@caldera.com, carlsa@sco.com, kieramy@caldera.com, belal@caldera.com, rhondap@caldera.com, jlw@caldera.com, bobs@caldera.com, petrs@caldera.com, robertl@caldera.com, jgale@caldera.com, tim.rose@caldera.com, wynnw@caldera.com, tbird@caldera.com, andyb@caldera.com

  • by erc (38443) <erc AT pobox DOT com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:10AM (#5483343) Homepage
    Andy Tanenbaum was *not* "one of the leading authorities". He was a professor of computer science teaching operating system theory, using Minix as a teaching tool.

  • by charlie (1328) <charlie@anti[ ]e.org ['pop' in gap]> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:14AM (#5483348) Homepage Journal
    Obligatory disclaimer: I worked for SCO from 1991 to 1995. I was in the techpubs team working on SCO OpenServer 5, released in mid-1995. So I think I have some insight into SCO's corporate culture as it then was ...

    Kids, the company that filed this lawsuit is not SCO.

    Engineers at SCO were bolting together PC based UNIXes back before Linus got started. From the late 1980's, they inherited Xenix -- a descendant of AT&T System 7. In 1988 they bought the rights to AT&T SVR3.2 (for an eye-watering sum -- in 1994, each box SCO sold was encumbered with about $200 in royalty payments to other companies). By 1992, SCO UNIX 3.2.4 was a cash cow, and they needed something new.

    I'd rate the rot as having set in by late 1991. Before then, SCO was an exceedingly cool place to work -- one of the early UNIX start-ups, SCO was the outfit with the hot tub in the courtyard of the original company offices and the source of numerous interesting legends. There was a lot of cross-fertilization with SGI and Sun at the engineering level back in the late 80's, and some of that survived into the 1990's. But the ACE Initiative killed it dead -- led to a 15% downsizing in 1991, when SCO was forced to admit that it couldn't market Open Desktop against Windows and hope to win. Then there was a string of bad decisions that effectively doomed the company to ossification and slow decline.

    First there was the decision to build OpenServer in the first place. Then when SVR4 appeared to be making ground and SVR4.2 (UnixWare 1) came out, there was IIRC a quiet attempt to clone the SVR4 kernel. (The AT&T copyright declarations were retained in the headers, but by 1995 SCO's main product bore about the same relationship to SVR3.2 that a heavily customized rice burner bears to a showroom model.)

    But SCO was, at this point, still a real software company. The UNIX dev team had more than 200 engineers working in it. Then the rot set in for real ...

    (Historical aside: I first met Linux in 1993, as the system a bunch of SCO's engineers were running on their home machines. But when I left in early 1995, there was an attitude of complete denial in SCO's management -- Linux was a toy system that could never be relevant.)

    Anyway. Why did I leave?

    The main warning to me that the company was probably not a good long term career bet happened three months ahead of the functional freeze on OpenServer. One lunchtime managers came around our cubicle farm and pitch-forked us into coaches, drove us for two hours around the M25 motorway, and dragged us into a hotel at Heathrow where we were given glasses of grape juice and ushered into a theatre. The lights dimmed, the sound system came up playing "Things Can Only Get Better" (gack!) and the board of directors ran on stage punching their air. The occasion? It was to announce the retirement of the CEO and his replacement by the CFO (yes, the head bean counter). Said CFO promised to grow SCO's revenue base from $200M/year (in 1995) to $1Bn/year by 2000. I took one look at this stage, considered the Linux box (1.2 kernel) back home, and went back to my cubicle and started updating my resume.

    There's a point to this long, discursive ramble. After I left SCO, I kept an eye on it. Sales didn't do well, although the Tarantella middleware product -- Doug Michel's pet, after the board panicked, kicked out the accountant, and invited him back -- did okay. The UNIX dev team languished, became an appendix to HP and IBM with Monterey, and in the end was downsized repeatedly until it no longer existed. Finally, SCO split in two.

    The important corporate bit now follows. SCO had two arms; the Tarantella middleware arm, which was doing okay, and the UNIX arm, which was in a death-spiral. As I understand it, SCO Inc sold the UNIX arm to Caldera (then flush with IPO dollars), renamed itself to Tarantella Inc, and is presumably doing okay, albeit as a smaller software company in a different field. Caldera retained some of SCO's UNIX marketing and sales staff, but basically treated SCO's software as a cash cow. Caldera were set up with lots of money by Ray Noorda, but don't seem to have had a clue how to sell software. And the company now known as SCO is actually Caldera.

    So what's going on?

    Caldera has always been a money hole. Caldera peaked at something like 4% of the market for shrinkwrapped Linux distros, and never quite seemed to get the engineering side together. While Redhat's contribution is well-known, and SuSE have done a lot of solid engineering work (much of which is GPL'd -- the device drivers, for example -- rather than the much-more-visible and proprietary admin GUI), who remembers what Caldera tried to add to the community? (Yes, they tried to build yet another admin front end -- in the end, nobody else bothered using it.) Caldera basically targeted the commercial market before it was ready to buy Linux. Then they bought a sadly run-down product from SCO, and failed to promote it effectively. That's because Caldera still think they're selling software licences, rather than support and services. Now nobody wants to buy their licences (when they can pick up something equivalent for free) they're trying to attach a cost to the free stuff.

    It's somewhat sad that SCO's name is being dragged through the mud this way; it feels like someone I knew who's been dead for years just clawed their way out of the graveyard mud and began shambling around town looking for brains to chow down on.

  • by mivok (621790) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @07:21AM (#5483358) Homepage
    But the thing is.. the article DID get slashdotted, and unless there is a google cache available (Not likely if this is a new post), then this actually helped.
    Actually, how is this different from a google cache? Its a mirror of the article, it helps people when the original article was no longer available.
    And before you claim lost adverising revenue or some such drivel, I, and others presumably, couldnt get to the site anyway, so no adverts would have been served.
    I would like to know what on earth is wrong with my browsing preferences that the post ends up half way down the page however. (Browsing at +2, Nested, Highest score first)
  • by sql*kitten (1359) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:00AM (#5483430)
    I think that was how Neal Stephenson wrote it in "In The Beginning Was The Command Line" anyway.

    Off the top of my head, Windows was a station wagon.
  • Re:Linus says... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:57AM (#5483552)
    SCO used to stand for the "Santa Cruz Operation." They produced a flavor of Unix that ran on Intel machines (IBM PC, AT and compatibles etc). SCO merged with Caldera and for a time the company retained the Caldera name. It has since returned to the SCO name. SCO owns the licensing rights to Unix after they bought it from Novell (who previously had bought it from AT&T Unix System Labs).
  • by cdrudge (68377) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:59AM (#5483558) Homepage
    They don't have clout in the market anymore and they probably don't have the coffers needed to pursue these infringements.


    I would not completely say that yet. SCO in the US is gasping for air, but they are still quite big in Europe and Asia where they have quite a presence in the financial industry. Dell is trying to penetrate those markets with their servers and the only way that they can do that is if their servers are SCO certified.
  • by stor (146442) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:50AM (#5483789)
    Also there's Dr. Bernstein's djbdns [cr.yp.to]

    It's actually a group of programs: a caching nameserver "dnscache", a non-recursive nameserver "tinydns", a zone-transfer-handling program "axfrdns", reverse DNS wall "walldns" and some rbldns thing.

    I used to run various mixes of the above on a few boxes at my last job. Nice software but read the fine instructions: tinydns is very different to Bind wrt administration.

    Cheers
    Stor
  • by Gleef (86) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:51AM (#5483792) Homepage
    erc asserts:

    Andy Tanenbaum was *not* "one of the leading authorities". He was a professor of computer science teaching operating system theory, using Minix as a teaching tool.

    Let's see, he is the the author of the Minix Operating System, and coauthor of the Amoeba and Paramecium operating systems. He is the author of two of the cornerstone books used in computer science classes, Computer Networks [amazon.com], and Operating Systems: Design and Implementation [amazon.com], as well as several other books [amazon.com] commonly assigned in computer science courses around the world.

    Whether or not you agree with the man, you have to admit he is considered one of the leading authorities, particularly in academic computer science.
  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @10:55AM (#5484245) Homepage
    How true... I have to work with M$-HTML code day-in, day-out and it just ain't pretty. One day I encountered some bizarre M$-HTML code for a horizontal rule -- it easily took 10 lines, 80-100 characters per line, when a simple <HR> tag would have sufficed. Then there's the countless SPAN statements, the empty <o:p></o:p> statements, blank lines with nothing but a &nbsp; on them etc. etc...
  • by XO (250276) <blade DOT eric AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @11:07AM (#5484368) Homepage Journal
    The ability to accomplish this task successfully has taken AT&T, Novell and SCO at least 20 years, with access to expensive equipment for design and testing, well-trained UNIX engineers and a wealth of experience in UNIX methods and concepts


    Well, duh. I seriously doubt that 18 years ago, for example, AT&T, Novell, or SCO would have had 32 processor systems around. For that matter, likely having -2- processors around would have been a miracle, although i certainly recognize that mainframes would have had that capability.. i don't think we're discussing mainframes necessarily. More on the order of personal to mini-computers, not going to the Big Iron level.

    The hardware business has been commoditized (I was -given- a server box capable of handling 2-4 Pentium 3 CPU's, unfortunatly it only had one installed.. because the hard drive didn't work. *boggle*).. there have been people studying operating systems design and implementation and such for 30-40 years now in schools, with much of their learning coming from Unixes such as HP/UX, AIX, and yes... BSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Linux. This is all just absoluetly silly.

  • Re:It all started... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wdomburg (141264) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @11:39AM (#5484600)
    >Posix.. DEC's version of Unix, whatever it was called, I don't remember. Anyone
    >remember Ultrix, by Sun Microsystems? There are scores of others.. This whole
    >lawsuit is just stupid.. as is SCO. Although, I did enjoy using Xenix for a
    >while.

    You seem to be a bit confused. POSIX is the portable operating system standard. ULTRIX was the Digital version of Unix for its MIPS based line of workstations. They also sold DEC OSF/1, which was later rebranded as Digital UNIX, and then rebranded againt to Tru64 when Compaq aquired DEC.

    Sun originally started selling its UNIX as SunOS, which was later rebranded as Solaris when they moved from a BSD core to a SYSV core. They also sold Interactive Unix after aquiring Interactive System's Intel UNIX business.

    The "trump card" that SCO thinks it holds is that they own SVR5, which is the decendent of the original AT&T UNIX. Most commercial implementations of UNIX, aside from the BSD descendents (pretty much just BSDI at this point) contain licensed System V code (e.g. Solaris is based on SVR4, HP/UX is based on SVR3, etc). Given that the lawsuit if focusing on Linux, and Linux contains none of this copyrighted code, this is pretty much irrelevent. The entire basis of their case is alleged trade secret and contract violations, along with the unfair competition claim.

    They do *not* hold the trademark as the parent claimed. The trademark was originally held by AT&T, who deeded it to USL when that was formed. Novell aquired USL and the UNIX trademark along with it, and then turned around and granted exclusive licence rights to X/Open. The trademark was later granted entirely to X/Open, and finally X/Open became part of The Open Group, who is the current trademark holder.
  • Re:It all started... (Score:5, Informative)

    by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:14PM (#5484904) Homepage

    It all started when an idiot went and spent a fortune the buy "the UNIX trademark" from bell labs. Then another idiot spent a huge amount of money to buy "the UNIX trademark" from the first idiot (who was now mutated to "smart guy")....

    No no no no no no. Everyone repeat after me: "trademark != copyright."

    The trademark to UNIX is owned by the Open Group. What SCO owns is the source code to the "original" AT&T UNIX (and its SVR4 descendants). All Unixes which are based on SVR4 or otherwise use code from the "original" UNIX implementation owe royalties to SCO. This includes Solaris, HP/UX, AIX, et. al. ... basically every Unixish system out there except the *BSDs (which started out using AT&T code but deliberately excised all of it and reimplemented those functions with their own code) or Linux (which never was based on AT&T to begin with).

    After POSIX, the "UNIX concepts" were made public, and implementing them is certainly cheeper than carring around some rusty code from 1970.

    POSIX, AFAIK, didn't make anything part of the public domain. It was just a specification for what elements an OS should contain so that it would be easy to port software between compliant operating systems ... if parts of POSIX were patented, then just including them in a spec didn't remove the patent holders' rights.

  • Re:It all started... (Score:3, Informative)

    by gorilla (36491) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:56PM (#5485259)
    Actually SCO don't own 'the UNIX trademark'. They own the Unix source code base, but The Open Group [opengroup.org] have the trademark. SCO Unix had to pass The Open Group's certification to get the right to be called "Unix", same as IBM's OS/390 did, even though one is the Unix code, and one is totally independant.
  • by Uwe Barschell (651904) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:09PM (#5485866)
    It depends on how one defines an operating system. Tru64 UNIX, for example, comprises the Mach kernel with a kernel-mode UNIX server running on top of it, yet it is universally regarded as a real UNIX.

    Interix comprises the NT kernel with a user-mode UNIX server running on top of it, and with much of the supporting software (e.g. the file system, networking, et al.) running in kernel mode. From a technical perspective, it is reasonable to say it is a UNIX OS, just as Tru64 UNIX is such, and as Mac OS X is a BSD. I believe Interix was also certified by The Open Group, making it de jure UNIX, but this is only from memory.

    CygWin is a set of shared libraries and executables which provide some UNIX-like APIs on top of Win32. It does not run natively on NT, and therefore cannot access kernel features that are not exposed to Win32. For example, fork() is implemented by the NT kernel, and used by Interix, but not by Win32. CygWin runs on top of Win32, so it therefore cannot implement a true fork(), and must inefficiently emulate it using the available Win32 APIs.

    There are further differences between a subsystem such as Interix and a set of shared libraries such as CygWin. One of these is that a subsystem does not allow access to the APIs of other subsystems: an Interix process cannot call a Win32 API, and a Win32 process cannot call an Interix API. Other differences are discussed on the CygWin site, and include such things as Cygwins lack of security, its lack of a UNIX process-tree structure (with init as the root process), its lack of a dedicated binary format (a CygWin binary is just a Win32 binary), etc.
  • Re:It all started... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Uwe Barschell (651904) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:23PM (#5485972)
    All Unixes which are based on SVR4 or otherwise use code from the "original" UNIX implementation owe royalties to SCO. This includes Solaris, HP/UX, AIX, et. al.

    I believe Sun is exempt from this, with full ownership of its UNIX code, owing to a unique agreement it reached with AT&T, at the time if its transition from SunOS4 (BSD) to SunOS5 (System V). It was this agreement which produced the UNIX wars: the other UNIX vendors feared the close relationship between AT&T and Sun, and therefore founded the Open Software Foundation.

    The original goal of the Open Software Foundation was to produce an open, UNIX-compatible OS based on the Mach kernel. Its name was OSF/1. In response to this, AT&T and Sun formed a consortium called UNIX International, which was to manage the UNIX standard.

    Over time, the rift between OSF and UI was healed, OSF/1 reunited with UNIX and the OSF merged with X/Open to become The Open Group. It currently holds the rights to the UNIX trademark.

  • by HamNRye (20218) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @06:59PM (#5488652) Homepage
    Especially when he follows that flame with a "OMG, I'm so sorry I flamed you." letter.

    In article I wrote:
    >Well, with a subject like this, I'm afraid I'll have to reply.

    And reply I did, with complete abandon, and no thought for good taste
    and netiquette. Apologies to ast, and thanks to John Nall for a friendy
    "that's not how it's done"-letter. I over-reacted, and am now composing
    a (much less acerbic) personal letter to ast. Hope nobody was turned
    away from linux due to it being (a) possibly obsolete (I still think
    that's not the case, although some of the criticisms are valid) and (b)
    written by a hothead :-)

    Linus "my first, and hopefully last flamefest" Torvalds

    Umm, just in case you didn't read ast's letter, that was flamebait. Tennenbaum obviously thought he was Torvald's professor when he wrote the first letter. (Which he wasn't) From his "Oh, how quaint, a macrokernel..." assitude, to his "When the GNU Hurd comes out..." smarmy superiority, he was baiting Torvalds. How's this "Subject: LINUX is Obsolete". This would be the equivalent of Matthias publically calling out M. DeIcaza and talking about what an antiquated piece of crap Gnome is.

    I'm sure John Nall sent more of a "Don't stoop to his level" letter. Much as the KDE and Gnome teams talk smack about the other's software, they do so with a mutual respect. Tannenbaum, on the other hand, was getting his jollies thinking he was a 40 something professor/genius berating this 21 year old programmer/student. Sorry Tanny, at that point your both just OS designers, and you owe Torvalds some respect, as an equal.

    Leading Authority?? If being in the top 100 is leading....

    Gems from that page:
    "A point which I don't think everyone appreciates is that making something
    available by FTP is not necessarily the way to provide the widest distribution."
    "I think it is a
    gross error to design an OS for any specific architecture, since that is
    not going to be around all that long."
    "Of course 5 years from now that will be different, but 5 years from now
    everyone will be running free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5."
    "A multithreaded file system is only a performance hack."
    "My point is that writing a new operating system that is closely tied to any
    particular piece of hardware, especially a weird one like the Intel line,
    is basically wrong."

    ~Hammy

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

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