Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Linux Software Your Rights Online

How SCO Helped Linux Go Enterprise 386

Posted by timothy
from the giveth-and-taketh-away dept.
An anonymous reader submits: "SCO may now have filed for UNIX copyrights and made various allegations about code-copying, but the actual complaint against IBM still seems to be focused around allegations UNIX-based enterprise technologies (such as RCU, JFS and SMP) being improperly added to Linux. Yet, reviewing the Linux kernel archives reveals some interesting and surprising background on just who helped put these technologies into Linux. PJ's GROKLAW blog has uncovered that 'Caldera Employee Was Key Linux Kernel Contributor,' including what looks like a lot of work on the early stages of JFS. The same employee's name also crops up when we look at RCU. When IBM posts RCU improvements, did he complain? No, he requests further improvements even helpfully providing a link to inspire the IBMer!"

"Lastly, definitely worth reading, Alan Cox on Linux SMP. He says that got he ideas from a book (which presumably can't be somebody's trade secret), invented his own implementation, and did this using hardware provided by Caldera (SCO themselves do acknowledge providing hardware to the Linux SMP team)." The article points out of Christof Hellwig (the Caldera-employed kernel contributor) that "He's likely a great guy, and he's undoubtedly been a trusted Linux contributor, so this is nothing against him. It's about SCO and their position in the lawsuit, and it's about IBM's affirmative defenses."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How SCO Helped Linux Go Enterprise

Comments Filter:
  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:07AM (#6498056) Journal
    It's trying to help itself from Enterprises that went Linux.
    Big difference.

    -
  • Just remember... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by freeio (527954) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:11AM (#6498070) Homepage
    For better or worse, this battle is based as much on the court of public opinion as anything else. The repeated accusations, the repeated lies on SCO's part, will do their damage, even though all of it may well prove to be baseless.

    As Deep Throat (of Watergate fame) said: "Follow the money."
    • Re:Just remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by john82 (68332)
      The real problem is that the bench doesn't know jack about software, let alone an OS kernel. So it comes down to who can convince the judge. IBM has done nothing thus far to establish their position. Our opinions of SCO aside, our hopes are unfortunately dependent on IBM and their response seems to be relative silence.

      There are now so many claims and counter-claims that it would be helpful to have some sort of comparison of who claims to own what (name, source code, etc). My $.02.
      • Re:Just remember... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#6498382) Homepage Journal
        IBM has also done nothing to reveal their intended defence. Which is important. Keep in mind that the judge is required to disregard what is reported in the media and consider only the evidence.

        So SCO may get attention from media, but not from the judge, and at the same time they keep on blabbering, giving interview after interview, releasing statement after statement that all give IBMs lawyers plenty of information about SCOs strategy, and also give SCO plenty of opportunity to let slip unfortunate statements that might hurt their case if introduced into evidence (which IBM without doubt will attempt)

        IBM on the other hand have given SCO nothing.

        SCO is doing all this because they have to - they know they don't have a case, and their only hope is dragging this out and making it so painful that someone decides the best way is to write them a fat check. But at the same time they are increasing the risk that they will give IBM too much ammunition.

        Personally I don't think IBM will budge. Sure, it might be safer to just pay off SCO, but if they do they'll be targetted by every failing tech company out there.

        • Re:Just remember... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by rpjs (126615) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:31AM (#6498512)
          IBM on the other hand have given SCO nothing.

          IBM employ some extremely good IP lawyers. In a previous incarnation I knew one well, and he was a very sharp individual. Combined his day job with leading the Liberals/Lib Dems from one member on the city council to two-thirds majority in less than two decades.
        • Re:Just remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reziac (43301)
          I'm wondering -- if anyone does go ahead and pay SCO's extor^H^H^H^H^H licensing fee, and SCO is found in court to have no case, can the people who paid up turn around and sue and/or prosecute SCO for damages and/or fraud/extortion?

      • The real problem is that the bench doesn't know jack about software, let alone an OS kernel. So it comes down to who can convince the judge. IBM has done nothing thus far to establish their position. Our opinions of SCO aside, our hopes are unfortunately dependent on IBM and their response seems to be relative silence.

        You kind of answered your own complaint there. IBM isn't saying anything to the public because the public's opinion doesn't matter. The only opinion that matters is the judge's, and they're

    • Re:Just remember... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jmccay (70985)
      Even so, IBM now has an Ace in the hole. IANAL, but If an Caldera (and SCO owns Caldera) employee put a lot of the code in question in the kernel, then it's reasonable to argue that the code became public domain unless there is a copyright and license in the code when it was submitted. In fact, it may be argued that SCO by the fact that they own Caldera probably copied the linux kernel themselves. As I have said all along, SCO complaints smell really bad, and I doubt they have any case against IBM or
    • by panda (10044) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:31AM (#6498513) Homepage Journal
      >As Deep Throat (of Watergate fame) said: "Follow the money."

      Yes, and when you do, you find that the board of SCO is not at all the same as it was when it was called Caldera. A major change happened in ownership last year. Bascially, SCO is run by a bunch of people who have a history of making money by suing people. I'm sure they are very ignorant of just what went on at Caldera and the commitment that Caldera had to contributing to Linux. I'm sure they want to be ignorant, because these guys are up to their business as usual tactics. (Don't believe me, just check it out for yourself. You can find the SEC filings and several newspaper articles about it online.)

      Don't worry. This will go to court. IBM will expose just how much Caldera contributed. It will be proven that Caldera is the same company that today calls itself SCO, albeit management has changed. It will be proven that Caldera approved of what was going on, and that if anything SCO should be suing itself. These guys will lose their trial (heh, David Boies ;-) and be stuck with huge legal fees.

      SCO will go completely broke over this and not even Microsoft will save them. They'll have to auction all their property to pay their debts, and I'll be buying the UNIX IP for a buck or two.
      • Re:Just remember... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:08AM (#6498776) Homepage
        SCO is run by a bunch of people who have a history of making money by suing people. I'm sure they are very ignorant of just what went on at Caldera and the commitment that Caldera had to contributing to Linux. I'm sure they want to be ignorant

        I have wondered, and now am finally wondering out loud whether David Boies really knew what he was getting himself into?

        He may have taken this because he likes high profile cases. But he may not have understood what kind of people he was dealing with. I wonder if he feels screwed? Lied to? I wonder if he feels that SCO terribly misrepresented their case to him?
      • by Otter (3800)
        Bascially, SCO is run by a bunch of people who have a history of making money by suing people. I'm sure they are very ignorant of just what went on at Caldera and the commitment that Caldera had to contributing to Linux.

        Although it was Caldera that bought DR-DOS for the sole purpose of suing Microsoft over it. For a while, that was their primary business activity.

        Of course, they were Slashdot heroes back then, not bloodsucking professionla litigants...

        • by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:02PM (#6500084)
          True, but DR-DOS *was* the wronged party. The company might not have deserved to win (justice of that is unclear), but their opponent definitely deserved to loose. Which they, sort of, did.

          Caldera was never a company that I really admired, though they *did*, for awhile, promise the best integration with a Novell network of any Linux distribution. (Other problems with their distribution kept me from assessing the truth of their claims.)

          But I don't insist that my "good-guys" be perfectly good any more than I insist that my "bad-guys" be perfectly bad. You don't find the true extemes in this world. Mother Theresa was a very unusually good woman, but her saintliness is the creation of church PR. (Quite effective, but still a PR job, even though it had a good base.)

          Do you think MS is totally bad? You're wrong. They're selfish bastards with no care for the rights of others, but this isn't the worst they could be. Check out the history of the railroads or the mining corporations and you'll find much worse.

          SCO has nearly all of MS drawbacks, and few to none of their redeeming features. But they actually could still be worse. I'm certain of it. That said, I must admit that without a more intimate knowledge of their intentions and purposes the statement is a "statement of faith" rather than anything I could genuinely prove.
    • Re:Just remember... (Score:4, Informative)

      by DASHSL0T (634167) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:52AM (#6498652) Homepage
      Follow the money is what I did...which led me to this article.

      MS will Pay your legal fees [com.com] if you are sued for using their software. My, what interesting timing.
      • "MS will Pay your legal fees if you are sued for using their software."

        Great, I'll have to remember this for when the BSA comes knocking. O wait...do you have to pay for their software first? Crap...o well...

  • by dhodell (689263) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:15AM (#6498085) Homepage
    On alt.os.development, we've been discussing this somewhat humorously. It will eventually not be a problem. Linux will be able to simply rewrite its SMP handling (and other things that have allegedly been taken from SCO). In fact, at the OS level, working with 32 processors is no different from working with 2 (which Linux could already do before the alleged copyright infringement). However, handling 32 processors very well is a completely different story.

    In any case, this is a big inconvenience for many people using Linux in their companies. I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux. And why should I? Linux is supposed to be free. (All the more reason to use BSD, which I like more than Linux, but anyway...)

    SCO is screaming to be bought out by IBM, even though they say in a press release that this is highly unlikely. It seems obvious to me, in any case -- SCO's not had a very successful product in a very long time.

    Here's hoping that the case goes to a court where there are people who know what they're talking about are presiding on the jury.

    And somebody please fill me in, but is the SCO hotshot lawyer who lost the Gore case against Florida and worked against Microsoft such a hotshot? It seems to me that he's more of a loser.

    My 2 cents.
    • by GammaTau (636807) <jni@iki.fi> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:22AM (#6498119) Homepage Journal

      In any case, this is a big inconvenience for many people using Linux in their companies. I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux.

      It's rather simple: there is no reason to pay SCO any money if you use Linux.

      Whoever suggests otherwise should come up with proof. So far, no one has.

      • by GoofyBoy (44399)
        >It's rather simple: there is no reason to pay SCO any money if you use Linux.

        >Whoever suggests otherwise should come up with proof. So far, no one has.

        For damage to be done to Linux (in terms of wider acceptablility) no-one has to show iron-clad proof, just enough doubt.

        As a decision maker, would you budget (and able to justify) paying for a licence up front or take the risk (and justify that risk to the CTO/company lawyers) that you are opening the company up to unknown charges? Would you even w
    • by pe1rxq (141710) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:25AM (#6498136) Homepage Journal

      On alt.os.development, we've been discussing this somewhat humorously. It will eventually not be a problem. Linux will be able to simply rewrite its SMP handling (and other things that have allegedly been taken from SCO). In fact, at the OS level, working with 32 processors is no different from working with 2 (which Linux could already do before the alleged copyright infringement). However, handling 32 processors very well is a completely different story.


      And this is only in a worst case scenario.... Most likely linux won't have to be changed in any way....



      In any case, this is a big inconvenience for many people using Linux in their companies. I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux. And why should I? Linux is supposed to be free. (All the more reason to use BSD, which I like more than Linux, but anyway...)


      Linux is free (ok, it depends on your definition of free...) but remember that about a decade ago you would had to stop development on BSD related projects due to some lawsuit......


      At the moment the only one who is being sued is IBM, everybody else is safe.
      Even if IBM did something wrong it doesn't mean anything for linux, IBM would simply pay some billions to SCO and live for linux would go on...
      And that is a very unlikely worst case.....


      Jeroen

    • by perly-king-69 (580000) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:25AM (#6498138)
      SCO is screaming to be bought out by IBM

      This is something which doesn't seem to be mentioned as often as it should.
      SCO are losing money big time. IBM have put significant $$$s into Linux and will be in trouble if SCO win.

      MS bet the firm on .NET
      Sun bet the firm on Java
      IBM bet the firm on Linux
      SCO bet the firm on Lawyers.
    • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:39AM (#6498201) Homepage
      I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux.

      Wow. Without providing any evidence or winning a court case, SCO has got at least one sucker to buy into their FUD. How sad.

    • by blakestah (91866) <blakestah@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:39AM (#6498204) Homepage
      And somebody please fill me in, but is the SCO hotshot lawyer who lost the Gore case against Florida and worked against Microsoft such a hotshot? It seems to me that he's more of a loser.

      His rep stretches back further. He headed the antitrust case defense for IBM, stretching the proceedings out for so long the gov't finally dropped the case. A clear, big, win for IBM at the time.

      This time around, Boies is up against the law firm he worked for when he defended IBM.
    • It seems to me that he's more of a loser

      Well, duh. Look who's side he's on. Definitely not
      someone you want a stock tip from. Not someone you'd
      listen to when picking a horse for a trifecta.
    • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:54AM (#6498286) Homepage

      I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux. And why should I? Linux is supposed to be free.

      Why in the hell would you stop development? That's just silly.

      You don't have to pay SCO any money to use linux. They're trying to shake folks down, they don't have a leg to stand on. You can read the license, and even if their case were not total bs, even if it turned out their allegations were true, you don't have any legal liability from using Linux under the license you have, until and unless SCO can get a court to say otherwise.

      This is no different than if I were to announce that Windows XP was actually mine, and start sending out letters to everyone I could find running it demanding that they buy a license for it from me. The appropriate response would be to laugh and chuck my letter in the trash.

      Even if I later proved that XP really was my code, MS would be liable, not the users I sent those letters to. They were using it with what they reasonably thought to be a valid license from the copyright holder. They would have no need to buy a license from me until after a court decided in my favour. And probably not even then, if historical cases (such as the suits back and forth between Stac and MS) are considered.

      The whole 'buy a license from linux from us' thing is just a scam. Don't give them money, and don't quit using linux, just laugh at them and go on.

      And somebody please fill me in, but is the SCO hotshot lawyer who lost the Gore case against Florida and worked against Microsoft such a hotshot? It seems to me that he's more of a loser.

      Indeed, his high fees certainly don't seem to be justified by his record, do they?

      • by arkanes (521690) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `senakra'> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#6498564) Homepage
        Okay, I'm not a lawyer. But I don't know of ANY copyright infringment case where end users were held liable. I believe that SCOs claims and Linux end users are predicated on the old crap that you need a license just to run software, which is clearly false

        Normally, when you sue someone for copyright infringment, they pay you fines (this is compensation for the units already sold), and then either pay you royalties from then on or stop selling thier product (which is really thier product, since they won :P). People who already bought your product aren't in any sort of danger - Queen can't sue you for owning a Vanilla Ice CD, and JK Rowling can't sue you for owning (or even reading) one of the Harry Potter knockoffs. Similarly, USERS of Linux don't have crap to fear from SCO. Now, if SCO wins, it'll mean that the affected Linux kernels will be illegal to sell or distribute (They're only offering binary only licensing for thier code, which would conflict with the GPL), but not to use. You don't need a license to use software, no matter what everyone claims.

        I honestly think at this point, SCO is seeing the stock go up, and is just getting carried away in being ballsy. Normally only the really big fish, like governments and IBM can get away with just making blatantly unsupportable claims and daring anyone to take them on.

    • by Lonath (249354) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:03AM (#6498340)
      I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux.

      You can't pay SCO money to keep using linux.

      Look at it this way: Let's suppose that SCO loses. Then you don't owe SCO money.

      Let's suppose that SCO wins:

      SCO says that the 2.2 kernel is ok.

      In that case, if they win, all that they have done is show that 2.4 = 2.2 + SCO + other stuff.

      Combining terms,

      2.4 = GPL + SCO

      If SCO wins and puts the 2.4 kernel under GPL, you don't owe them any money. Everything goes on as normal.

      If SCO wins and they say 2.4 can't be under the GPL, then 2.4 is illegal. That's because 2.4 would be a derivative work of BOTH 2.2 and SCO, and any license on 2.4 must work with the 2.2 license and the SCO license. Since the only license that will work with the 2.2 code is the GPL, 2.4 is illegal if they choose not to put it under that license and can't exist. I also don't think they can temporarily remove 2.4 from the GPL and add it back in, because the moment they remove it, all derivatives up to the first "tainted point" become illegal...so SCO can't later on "donate" the code back to Linux because they don't own all of it.

      And they can't "gain control" of all of Linux by doing this either. It would be like MS putting some little utility in Windows illegally, then having the company that made the utility win a court case where they get control of all of Windows. Not gonna happen.

      I never realized how cool those clauses saying that you can't extend or alter the GPL were until this came up.

      So, to make it simpler, either everyone can use 2.4 for free, or nobody can use 2.4 at all.

      OTOH, if you intend to stop using Linux anyway, and you still don't want them to sue you, then you might pay them off. But realize that if you feel you have to pay them off, then you're admitting that you can't use 2.4 Linux.
    • by number6x (626555) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:13AM (#6498408)

      In any case, this is a big inconvenience for many people using Linux in their companies. I have to stop development on one of my projects because I don't want to pay SCO any money to use Linux.

      There is no reason Linux users and developers should worry about having to pay one penny to SCO. Consider that after years of battling Sears in court, the patent holder for the adjustable wrench got a huge settlement from Sears for the theft of his patented invention, but the many owners of Sears Craftsman wrenches never had to pay him royalties. Even though many of the owners of wrenches may have been businesses that used the wrenches to make their own products. Sort of the way you are using Linux to develop a project.

      Think about how Paramount had to pay the copyright holder, Art Buchwald, for the copyrighted material they took and put in the Eddy Murphy movie 'Coming to America', but movie goers didn't have to each send Mr. Buchwald a check. None of the theater companies that made money showing the film paid Mr. Buchwald, even though they 'trafficked' in tainted goods!

      Now, before they even prove they own it. Before they even show anyone what they own. The SCO group want Linux users to pay up front. This is totally unprecedented.

      Overturning years of precedent and setting a new example like SCO wants to do would have a chilling effect on the software industry in America. The software giants in the industry will not let this become standard operating procedure.

      IBM is very good at the IP law end of the software business. I am sure they did 'due diligence', and made sure the code they put in Linux was their code and not stolen. I think it is highly unlikely that the SCO group will be able to prove otherwise, especially because SysV UNIX is so tainted with other open source code.

      But even if SCO wins a settlement from IBM, just like Sears and Paramount, the users of the 'tainted' product will not have to pay a single penny.

      It is easy for us geeks to poke holes in SCO's arguments about code origin. Don't any of these Wall street analysts have enough business sense, and experience in past cases to call SCO's bluff?

      I now that all these costs eventually get passed down to the consumer level, so software users will pay for the extra legal work needed in the future to develop software. But this just adds to the cost of developing software within the USA. SCO is bad for the economy. Free market oriented software development like Linux and Apache are much better for helping to create a robust competitive economy.

      Support freedom of choice.

      Support free enterprise.

      Support free software.

    • by Amiga Trombone (592952) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:21AM (#6498880)
      And somebody please fill me in, but is the SCO hotshot lawyer who lost the Gore case against Florida and worked against Microsoft such a hotshot? It seems to me that he's more of a loser.

      Indeed he is, and apparently he's having a few problems of his own [newsday.com] these days.
  • Well, duh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:15AM (#6498087)


    > SCO may now have filed for UNIX copyrights and made various allegations about code-copying, but the actual complaint against IBM still seems to be focused around allegations UNIX-based enterprise technologies (such as RCU, JFS and SMP) being improperly added to Linux.

    Yeah, but the actual complaint doesn't have any FUD value, and certainly isn't going to raise share prices enough to finance a set of golden parachutes, so you can expect to keep hear them harping on all that other stuff.

  • This (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stephenry (648792) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:17AM (#6498096)
    What thing I've learned from all this malarky surrounding SCO, and I'm by no means an expert, is that to find reason and logic behind it is pointless. Many people have tried to analyse and investigate SCO's claims, most have failed. Even watching the cnet interview, McBride comes over as a babbling idiot; no one is convinced.

    In the end however, it all boils down to this: SCO cannot really do anything. Okay, they paint a nice picture, blag a good story, but nothing -nothing- stands up to the evidence. Sure they could sue over copyright, patents (or what ever they've decided upon that day); but, linux is an international collaboration, and although it may have hit a hitch in the USA, it hasn't anywhere else. Linux will continue to move from strength to strength, SCO will die.

    Steve.
  • by deepchasm (522082) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:20AM (#6498105)
    I don't understand how a small company can be this inconsistent.

    Also, with regard to their recent announcement of a "binary run-time license":
    How can _anyone_ distribute linux? If it contains code that requires a license from SCO, then it can't be licensed under the GPL (see clause 7 of the GPL).

    Therefore no-one can distribute it, not even SCO, since they don't own all the copyright. Is this what SCO intend? Just to get rid of ~12 years of work?
    • by RevMike (632002) <revMike@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:58AM (#6498310) Journal
      For the sake of argument, let us assume that there is code in Linux to which SCO has a proprietary right, and that it was improperly contributed.

      SCO can very well enforce their copyright by granting a license. They cannot distribute a linux version that had their proprietary code since they do not have any license to the remainder of linux.

      On the other hand, since the GPL was violated by mixing open and proprietary code, no-one else has the right to distribute it either. The other contributors could file a lawsuit against RedHat, for instance, if they so desired.

      It is not SCO's responsibility to insure that non-SCO code is properly licensed.

      Therefore, if you need to buy a license from SCO you also need to contact every other constributor and buy a license from them in order to have a fully legal version of linux.Realisticly, however, it is unlikely that Linus et al are going to sue for code that they intended to share. So the SCO license is probably enough to cover you.

      One thing is becoming more and more clear. The code that is potentially infringing is isolated to post 2.2.x kernels. Since SCO continues to distirbute 2.2.x kernels they are, in fact, agreeing that that kernel is covered under GPL. Linux users can avaoid the whole issue by running 2.2.x, which should not be hardship for most.

      • SCO can very well enforce their copyright by granting a license.

        I disagree.

        To do that, they'd have to disclose which parts they are "theirs".

        Think about it - they're saying "you can't copy product X, because parts of it are ours", but they won't tell you which parts.

        So you just keep using it, until they send you a C&D letter - which (to be enforceable under the law) would have to explicitly tell you what it is you're infringing. If they send you a C&D letter without being explicit, then attemp
  • by CyberNomad (533261) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:21AM (#6498112)
    here's some actual donations from the SCO folks as well. http://www.caldera.com/developers/community/contri b/ is this the code??
  • by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:22AM (#6498122)
    How long do we have to wait for the total excommunication of SCO from the tech industry?

    IBM, HP, Dell and friends could easily drop support for SCO Unix on their hardware, all OSS should refuse to compile on SCO unix (print an URL to a website explaining why). A lot could be done by adjusting autoconf or whatever.

    Their representatives would not be allowed to enter premises of any company, their IP packages would be silently scrapped by routers on the internet.

    Darl and Sontag would be kicked out of their yacht clubs.

    Essentially, they would be told that everybody hates them. Money matters, but let's not underestimate industry recognition.
    • How long do we have to wait for the total excommunication of SCO from the tech industry

      Very long. Check on jobsearch for the keyword SCO.

      The most interesting bit is that quite a bit of these are government or positions consulting government projects.

    • by Surak (18578) *
      Their representatives would not be allowed to enter premises of any company, their IP packages would be silently scrapped by routers on the internet.

      Just modify RFC 3514 to require SCO to set the Evil Bit. :-P

    • by mkweise (629582) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:58AM (#6498311)
      How long do we have to wait for the total excommunication of SCO from the tech industry?

      I think the duty of spanking this naughty brat into submission rests upon Novell. Both as the previous owner of Unix and as fellow Mormons, I can't help but feel they're somehow responsible.
  • by Torulf (214883) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:24AM (#6498130)
    ... see NYT [nytimes.com] and c|net [com.com]
    • seems someone is following the rules of acquisition... [dmwright.com]

      some of the rules that seems to apply to McBride:
      Rule 003 Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
      Rule 042 What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine too.
      Rule 189 Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
      Rule 266 When in doubt, lie.
      Rule 267 If you believe it, they believe it.

  • by jobsagoodun (669748) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:26AM (#6498142)
    WinNT 4.0 end of support date is June 30 2003 according to microsoft.com. This SCO thing couldn't just be a load of FUD to make people migrate NT4.0 to Win2K instead of Linux could it?
    • this deserves a +5, Insightful !!

      You seem to have spoted the *real* motivation behind SCO FUD campaign (which is MS's actually).
    • No, frankly, it couldn't.

      Two reasons, because users break down into two categories:

      1. Home users don't care about the magic end-of-support date. My mom still runs Windows 95 because it reads her email and she can use Word on it. It's been EOL'd long ago.

      2. Corporate users don't go "oh goodness, there's support running out in two months, we better start looking at new options!" These guys start thinking years in advance about what their next OS strategy is. Even then, because corporate IT depts often move
  • IANAKD* but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish,info&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:27AM (#6498144)
    The whole SCO business just seems unbelievable. Maybe I've missed something somewhere but the basic story seems to be:

    1. SCO helps out Linux development in a few small ways -- some hardware here, a few lines of code there

    2. SCO turns around and says it owns the other 99% of Linux it had nothing to do with because of the 1% that it did

    3. SCO is now trying to extort licensing fees from end users because it "owns" Linux

    4. This is somewhat akin to Bob's Auto Parts Factory saying that, because the wholesaler from which my mechanic purchased a very small part he used in repairing my car part didn't pay them for the part, I now must pay Bob rent on my car -- and furthermore, they won't tell either my mechanic or me which part it was, because it's a "trade secret". Hell, they won't even tell my mechanic which wholesaler he supposedly bought the part from!

    Am I wrong? Did I miss something somewhere? Please feel free to correct me if I have.
    -----
    (*I Am Not A Kernel Developer)
    • This is somewhat akin to Bob's Auto Parts Factory ...

      Your car is a Renault isn't it? If it is not, ask any Renault owner who have tried to get his car serviced after installing any non-original parts.

    • Re:IANAKD* but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by RevMike (632002) <revMike@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:18AM (#6498435) Journal
      1. SCO helps out Linux development in a few small ways -- some hardware here, a few lines of code there

      2. SCO turns around and says it owns the other 99% of Linux it had nothing to do with because of the 1% that it did

      3. SCO is now trying to extort licensing fees from end users because it "owns" Linux

      Acutally it runs more like this...

      1. SCO helps out Linux development in a few small ways -- some hardware here, a few lines of code there

      2. SCO enters into a contract with IBM to jointly develop proprietary UNIX code.

      3. IBM contributes significant code to Linux 2.4 kernel.

      4. SCO claims ownership on the IBM submissions, on the theory that they are derivative of the code they jointly developed.

      4a. SCO makes wild PR claims that the own everything everywhere.

      5. SCO attempts to collect license fees from users of the 2.4 kernel, consistent with their claim of owning the IBM submissions.

    • Re:IANAKD* but... (Score:3, Informative)

      by boots@work (17305)
      Yes, that's basically the story, except that they've thrown in a few more contradictory claims for good measure, including

      5. IBM breached their contract with SCO by promoting Linux, etc etc.

      6. Parties (as yet unnamed) copied SCO proprietary source (as yet unidentified) into Linux.

      7. IBM unfairly competed with SCO by promoting Linux.

      Basically SCO just keep bluffing and upping the ante. Unfortunately for McBridge, IBM (a) knows their bluffing, and (b) has a gun. Random spectators are wondering about "wh
  • Fighting back. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:27AM (#6498145)
    I can't be the only one frustrated that there isn't an effective way I can fight back at SCO at the moment.

    Could there be grounds for a class action suit here? There are lots of developers that make their living in some way from linux. SCOs actions could well be a genuine threat to their livelihoods.

    SCO is basically using the legal system as a weapon. Perhaps we used be using it back on them? I propose a campaign whereby:

    1) Everyone that SCO thinks should pay for Linux should instead be encoraged to donate a sum to a legal fund.

    2) Developers who work with Linux should find a lawer who would be willing to represent them in a class action against SCO.

    Just an idea.
    • Re:Fighting back. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tim Macinta (1052)
      I was thinking about this yesterday. What about a pledge drive run through a trusted organization like the FSF? People could pledge what they wanted and wouldn't be obligated to give the money unless the total pledges reached a certain amount. This would avoid the problem of collecting less than the amount of money needed to do this the right way. Also, having the FSF (or a similar organization) handle it would also cover the problem of what to do if money is left over at the end - the FSF could just pu
  • by tds67 (670584) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:28AM (#6498149)
    3. A per-cpu timer support ? - This will allow us to get rid of the krcud stuff and make RCU even simpler.

    Ingo, Linus: Any chance to see that in 2.5 soon?

    Christoph

    Now we just need to get rid of SCO and make Unix even simpler.

  • by MuParadigm (687680) <jgabriel66@yahoo.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:29AM (#6498154) Homepage Journal
    Oh, this is wonderful.

    It became apparent in yesterday's new that SCO was going after the Sequent SMP code that IBM donated to Linux.

    Why the Sequent code? I'm guessing that Boies finally realized that the IBM sideletter gave IBM all rights to its own derivative work, which would burst most of SCO's claims. But the Sequent code would not have been protected from ATT's derivative works clause since Sequent didn't appear to have a side agreement like IBM's.

    Of course, if Caldera/SCO had a programmer actually working on the code, as this article suggests, then Caldera/SCO is an equal partner in donating and modifying the SMP code for Linux.

    Forget about whether they donated the code through "inadvertently" GPL'ing it. This proves they donated the SMP code knowingly, and even helped modify it for use with Linux. That's a much stronger case than relying on any of GPL's so-called viral qualities.
    • by Surak (18578) * <`moc.skcolbliam' `ta' `karus'> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:50AM (#6498255) Homepage Journal
      Of course, if Caldera/SCO had a programmer actually working on the code, as this article suggests, then Caldera/SCO is an equal partner in donating and modifying the SMP code for Linux.

      Any bets on how long it will take for SCO to come out and say that the programmer in question was workign without the authority or knowledge of his supervisors?

      • I don't think it would matter even if the developer had been doing so without authority. He is a representative of his company and acting on its behalf. If they didn't know about it that's an internal management problem of theirs and they are in trouble.
        • I hate to tell both you and the anonymous coward that replied to you, but there is PLENTY of case law where employers have claimed that employees were not acting on behalf of the company's interests and won.

          There is case law going the other way, too, though.

          It comes down to the evidence presented in the case. Was there an established, written policy about working on Linux? Are there memos between this programmer and his supervisor(s) regarding the work being done on the Linux kernel? What evidence is th
    • by _|()|\| (159991) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:48AM (#6498623)
      It became apparent in yesterday's new that SCO was going after the Sequent SMP code that IBM donated to Linux.

      Actually, this was pretty clear a month ago, as discussed in "SCO Amends Suit, Clarifies 'Violations,' Triples Damages" [slashdot.org]. The theory is that because Read-Copy Update was developed for DYNIX/ptx, a System V Unix, it is derivative and subject to the System V license. Under this theory, JFS and XFS could also be derivative.

      The fact that a Caldera employee encouraged RCU and JFS development makes it difficult for SCO to claim ignorance, as in the "pregnant cow" [silicon.com]. This not only renews the GPL debate, but opens the door to "the affirmative defenses laches, undue delay, waiver, and estoppel." I would add to that list unclean hands.

    • by jodo (209027) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:20AM (#6498871)
      I talked with a former SCO employee (15 years - high rank) He told me they were well aware of the mixing of code. And that they (this is the previous regime) made the business decision to allow this. I assume they saw it as being in their interest at the time. This article indicates they even pushed it. Afterall, they expected to make money with Linux.
      IANAL but I believe this will be decided as a poison tree - poison fruit case. SCO poisoned itself. And deserves to die a horrible death.
  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:32AM (#6498166)
    There has been nothing of substance to this lawsuit from the beginning. If there actually is any matters of substance, SCO has carefully and maliciously opti mized its strategy to cause the greatest harm and distress to people that were seeking to perform a public service.

    That Caldera/SCO should be responsible for the complaints of the suit should come as no surprise. Mr. McBride has a history of manipulating the legal system, and The Canopy groups previous history has certainly involved legal manipulation as a profit center.

    At this point its not enough that SCO lose the lawsuit. SCO needs to be completely destroyed, and at the very least McBride need to be held personally accountable. Its the only way to discourage future land grabs by avaricious jackasses.

    If SCO MCBRIDE et al, aren't put down soundly it may very well stall or destroy Open source development permanently.

    Look at Rambus, SCO's strategy is no different. now can you imagine if a company with clear intelectual rights to a technology, an algorythm, or a "business method" arranges to have it placed in the kernel, or Glibc, or X. If they wait a few years removing the code might still be possible but the collateral damage from dependant programs breaking might be insurmountable.

    If we enter a regime where all OSS submission have to be checked against unpublished undistributed works OSS will be dead.
    • If we enter a regime where all OSS submission have to be checked against unpublished undistributed works OSS will be dead.

      Verifying whether an open source system contains code from other projects might be hard. But verifying wheter a closed source system does likewise will be even harder. Who knows if Microsoft Windows contains just a tiny bit of code which Microsoft doesn't have the right to use that way? Can everybody in the entire world be held liable if that turns out to be the case? Why wouldn't tha
  • by Tragedy4u (690579) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:36AM (#6498180)
    If one of SCO's employee's (and by that I mean a company owned by SCO) is giving this technology away just how much do they value it? It's a good case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. "No one's buying our Unix software anymore, WAIT let's change our business model to SUE other companies for stealing our stuff...." (Meanwhile someone on the inside is GIVING it away willingly)
  • by Gori (526248) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:42AM (#6498219) Homepage

    Caldera Employee Was Key Linux Kernel Contributor

    Christoph Hellwig has been, according to this web page, [ukuug.org] "in the top-ten list of commits to both the Linux 2.4 and Linux 2.5 tree". The page also mentions another fascinating piece of news, that he worked for Caldera for at least part of the time he was making those kernel contributions:

    "After a number of smaller network administration and programming contracts he worked for Caldera's German development subsidiary on various kernel and userlevel aspects of the OpenLinux distribution."

    In 2002, he offered a paper on "Linux-ABI: Support for Non-native Applications" which is described [ukuug.org] like this:

    "The Linux-ABI project is a modification to the Linux 2.4 kernel that allows Linux to support binaries compiled for non-Linux operating systems such as SCO OpenServer or Sun Solaris."

    Back in 2002, he was described, [linuxsymposium.org]in connection with his appearance at the Ottawa 2002 Linux Symposium, like this:

    "Christoph Hellwig
    "Reverse engineering an advanced filesystem
    "Christoph Hellwig is employed by Caldera, working on the Linux-ABI binary emulation modules. In his spare time he cares for other parts of the kernel, often involving filesystem-related activities."

    So, in short, he was contributing to the kernel and working for Caldera on Linux/UNIX integration at the same time. His work for Caldera was on the Linux kernel ("he worked for Caldera's German development subsidiary on various kernel and userlevel aspects of the OpenLinux distribution"), and he also did work on his own on the kernel. Did Caldera know about his freelance contributions, in addition to knowing about his work for them? What do you think? He used his hch at caldera.de email address when doing it. All contributions to the kernel are publicly available anyway. They certainly could have known. As for his job, his signature [missioncriticallinux.com]on his emails back in 2001 was:

    "Christoph Hellwig
    Kernel Engineer Unix/Linux Integration
    Caldera Deutschland GmbH".

    He used the email address hch at bsdonline.org sometimes too, and here [wustl.edu]you can see some of his Linux-abi contributions. Here [216.239.39.104] are some of his contributions to JFS, Journaled File System. Yes, that JFS. Here [parisc-linux.org] he is credited as sysvfs maintainer, and he confirms [geocrawler.com]it in this email, writing, "I've run native sysvfs tools under linux, but as now that I'm Linux sysvfs maintainer I'm looking into implementing free versions of it."

    Here [osdata.com]is a list of the operating systems that use or can handle the file system sysvfs:

    "sysvfs: UNIX System V; SCO, Xenix, Coherent e21
    "operating systems that can handle sysvfs: FreeBSD (rw), LINUX (R), SCO (NRWF)"


    Here's [helsinki.fi] a page listing by author (alphabetically by first name), with his emails to linux-kernel in June 2003, so he is still contributing.

    Here [linuxhq.com] he is listed on the Change log for patch v2.4.17. Here [iu.edu] he tells Andrew Morton in 2002 that he will
  • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:43AM (#6498223) Homepage Journal
    * Read-Copy Update mechanism for mutual exclusion
    *
    * (GPL boilerplate)
    *
    * Copyright (c) International Business Machines Corp., 2001
    * Copyright (C) Andrea Arcangeli <andrea@suse.de> SuSE, 2001
    *
    * Author: Dipankar Sarma <dipankar@in.ibm.com>,
    * Andrea Arcangeli <andrea@suse.de>
    *
    * Based on the original work by Paul McKenney <paul.mckenney@us.ibm.com>
    * and inputs from Andrea Arcangeli, Rusty Russell, Andi Kleen etc.
    * Papers:
    * http://www.rdrop.com/users/paulmck/paper/rclockpdc sproof.pdf
    * http://lse.sourceforge.net/locking/rclock_OLS.2001 .05.01c.sc.pdf (OLS2001)
    *
    * For detailed explanation of Read-Copy Update mechanism see -
    * http://lse.sourceforge.net/locking/rcupdate.html
    *
    */
    Let me run that one by SCO again: Based on the original work by Paul McKenney (paul.mckenney@us.ibm.com)
    • by ecki (115356) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:41AM (#6498572)
      I hope I get all the pieces correctly together... Paul McKenney was working on RCU for Dynix already at Sequent before they were bought by IBM. Dynix is a SVR4 licensed derivate, and if SCO claims are correct, SCO owns the IP to all SVR4 derivates, including code added by the licensee. The question is of course how the agreements between Sequent and SCO were affected after IBM bought Sequent.

      What seems to be obvious to me is however that including RCU does not make Linux a derivate of SVR4, even if RCU were an integral part of SVR4. That would be very strange definition of derivative work... but you never know.
  • by BadElf (448282) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:44AM (#6498233)
    Has anyone found an article on the SCO debacle where an interviewer has point-blank asked McBride (or whoever) why SCO has been (and continues) to offer their Linux distro with full source under the GPL on their own FTP site?

    You know and I know that it's there and available for the downloading, but have any of the "journalists" brought this (and its implications) to SCO's attention in an interview?

    I'd *love* to hear SCO's answer to that one!
    • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:59AM (#6498319) Journal
      Has anyone found an article on the SCO debacle where an interviewer has point-blank asked McBride (or whoever) why SCO has been (and continues) to offer their Linux distro with full source under the GPL on their own FTP site?

      Not quite, but close.

      On May 16, 2003, someone went through the available OpenLinux distributions based on the 2.4 kernel, and removed the binaries and source.

      However, the person(s) who did this forgot to remove the binary and source kernel packages contained in the /pub/updates/$whatever directories. In fact, it appears an update to OL 3.1.1, based on the 2.4.13 kernel, was posted on May 9. As well, the OpenLinux distributions are still on SCO's ftp server, just without kernels.

      Although McBride, et al have occasionally claimed that code outside of the kernel proper is infringing, SCO's claims outside of court are a moving target, and thus only worth noting for the purpose of countering the FUD. Watch what claims they actually make in court, and keep an eye on where they get smacked down. Look at what happened to SCO in Germany, and what is about to happen in Poland.
  • by cyphergirl (186872) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:44AM (#6498234) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has copied some of my code, and put it in Windows. Every Windows user must pay me a $700 licensing fee or I will sue them.

    What? I'm sorry, I can't show you the code -- it's a trade secret. Just trust me and sign that check.

  • by dd (15470) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:53AM (#6498274) Homepage

    http://www.redhat.com/advice/speaks_rhletter2.html [redhat.com]

    From the article:

    "Below, we've provided answers to questions that may help clarify Red Hat's position. If you have additional questions that aren't answered below, please email us at legal@redhat.com."

  • by sela (32566) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:54AM (#6498281) Homepage

    Everybody complains about SCO, but nobody actually does anything.

    Say what you may, it seem like SCO is leading this game. They claims may be complete bull$%* but nobody is really facing them.
    First of all, there is IBM. Remember the way Intel responded when DEC sued them over patent infrigement? They responded quickly by sueing DEC. I would expect IBM to do the same. The fact IBM is so quiest about it is very irritating.

    However, it's not just about IBM anymore. It is about the open-source/free(as in speech)-software world in general, and SCO is already making real damage. I think it's time the free-software world would stop being passive here and take the lead from the hands of SCO both by taking legal actions against them and by doing some real protest.
  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#6498370) Homepage

    SCO Trademarks Penguin Mascot, Offers Licensing Program to Linux Users [ridiculopathy.com]


    LINDON, UTAH- Just weeks after asserting part ownership over the nominally open and free Linux source code, SCO Group sent another shockwave through the software community on Monday when they announced the discovery of a long-forgotten trademark for an amiable penguin mascot. The company's legal team happened to notice an uncanny visual similarity to another unix-based flightless waterfowl and reportedly grew so excited that they spat out several thousand cease and desist letters in a single afternoon.


    Fortunately for Tux fans everywhere, SCO has generously agreed to license the character to current users at a very reasonable rate. Without a license, SCO lawyers say the trademark infringing penguin must be removed from all t-shirts, screen-savers, undergarments and fine linens before the end of July or face stiff penalties.


    According to USPTO records dating back to the late 1870's, SCO has reportedly also patented a method for quantifying message board popularity. Upon hearing the news Slashdot reportedly linked to itself and subsequently exploded.



    There's more, but I didn't want to post the whole thing.
  • by fgb (62123) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:11AM (#6498398)
    When I read this article, the ad banner at the top of the page was for Windows Server 2003.
    The tag line read "do more with less".

    I am glad that Microsoft is finally admitting that Windows is "less".
  • There is no reason Linux users and developers should worry about having to pay one penny to SCO. Consider that after years of battling Sears in court, the patent holder for the adjustable wrench got a huge settlement from Sears for the theft of his patented invention, but the many owners of Sears Craftsman wrenches never had to pay him royalties. Even though many of the owners of wrenches may have been businesses that used the wrenches to make their own products. Sort of the way you are using Linux to devel

  • There's more (Score:5, Informative)

    by groklaw (684600) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:28AM (#6498498)
    I also found that SCO donated Unixware and System V code to IBM's AIX 5L project. This was the successor to Project Monterey. See evidence on this page. [weblogs.com] The SCO page has disappeared from their site, but I was able to retrieve it elsewhere.
  • Did SCO donate code? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by old-lady-whispering- (602967) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:54AM (#6498673) Journal
    Time tables are very important here because if Caldera was not purchased by SCO when the donation happend then it coul be a real mess for the court to figure out. If Caldera did not have the same IP rights as SCO then they were contributing derrivitive works contolled under the original ATT licensing. If SCO was not aware of this when they bought Caldera or if SCO had purchased Caldera but were unaware that an employee of Caldera was violating SCO's IP then they are still free to seek remedy for the IP violations. This assumes Caldera tried to donate code to Linux which they did not own the IP or copyright to. This is all specutlation though (IANAL). The case does have some merrits in my opinion and I think will be a good test of the GPL if IBM decides to argue that point in court.
    • by hobsonchoice (680456) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:35AM (#6499018)
      Caldera purchased (most of) SCO not vice-versa. Caldera then renamed themselves The SCO Group.

      IANAL, but I think timelines are irrelevant.

      Assume for the sake of argument that all the "infringing" stuff came from SCO/Caldera. (this is not what SCO/Caldera claim, but just a what-if discussion to answer your post)

      1. If SCO/Caldera contributed some kind of Unix IP to Linux, *before* SCO/Caldera acquired these rights, in this case:
      - for the period until SCO/Caldera owned the IP, Caldera might be liable to the then IP holder (presumably Novell)
      - for the period since SCO/Caldera owned the IP, SCO/Caldera would be liable to the current IP holder, er, that's SCO/Caldera
      Unix-type stuff to Linux infringing some Unix IP
      - Linux distributors might be liable to the prior IP holder (presumably Novell)
      - Linux distributors would almost certainly not be liable to SCO/Caldera, as the infringement was a result of the actions of SCO/Caldera themselves

      2. If SCO/Caldera contributed some kind of Unix IP to Linux, *after* SCO/Caldera acquired these rights, in this case:
      - Linux distributors would almost certainly not be liable to SCO/Caldera, as the infringement was a result of the actions of SCO/Caldera themselves. In this case, if SCO/Caldera willingly contributed it, it would be hard to argue it was an infringement at all!
  • by crivens (112213) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:29AM (#6499670)
    I was just wondering if this SCO fiasco has anything to do with Linus deciding to work full time on the kernel. Maybe Linus is thinking that he could re-write the areas that SCO are concerned about and make this whole sordid affair go away?
  • Ironic, isn't it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erat (2665) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:15PM (#6500262)
    Before SCO started filing lawsuits and trying to impose fees for the use of Linux, Caldera was described as a parasite that took from Linux and never gave anything back. No amount of correction from me or anyone else seemed to sway you. In fact, all that I accomplished in this effort was shutting some folks up for a week or so, after which they'd jump right back in the ring, thrashing Caldera as brutally as ever.

    Now that SCO's doing what it's doing, all of a sudden you people are SCOURING for Caldera contributions and are uncovering all kinds of interesting stuff. Gee, could it be that the stuff I've been saying here for years is true, that Caldera wasn't the parasite that you folks made them out to be??

    Here's what really kills me: you folks may not have the power to kill a company, but I can't help but think that if Caldera got a bit more support from you people -- or even just a bit less of a thrashing -- the odds of SCO not being in the picture would have increased significantly. Ponder that for a moment. I'll wait...

    Before you, RMS, whoever (you know who you are), pick out the next legitimate Linux company to make into a pariah, perhaps you'll do a similar amount of research and uncover the truth about the company first.
  • by worldcitizen (130185) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:22PM (#6500369)
    IBM (and whoever is losing any money because of the SCO FUD), please consider donating to chillingeffects.org and get them to write up a nice Q&A on the case and a template response letter to SCO's letters.

    IBM sales people being asked about SCO/Linux/AIX can then politely point companies to this Q&A. Something that will be clear for corporate counsels (for those that do not specialize in Copyright issues) and other legal advisors, plus a well prepared response letter could be pretty useful for assisting companies not caving in to SCO's extortion.

    The fewer companies that cave in, the less money SCO will have to fuel this BS.
  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @01:14PM (#6501143)


    (taken from content here) [linuxtoday.com]

    Legally Speaking

    Eben Moglen, professor of law at Columbia University and general counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF), though says there is absolutely no reason for anyone to buy SCO's license. "Users don't need a license to use copyrighted programs anymore than they need to pay a copyright fee before reading Gone with the Wind. If you copy, distribute, or modify copyrighted material, then you can be in copyright violation."
    But, he adds, if a distributor, such as Debian, were to agree to SCO's license, they would then be in violation of section 7 of the Gnu General Public License (GPL). This section specifies that if legal "conditions are imposed... that contradict the conditions of this License" you cannot distribute GPL protected free software.

    ...

    "Even if SCO IP is in the Linux kernel, which has not been proved, an end-user could still not be held responsible for the copyright violation," Moglen argued.

    ...

    Curiously, though, SCO is not, at this time, going after Linux distributors--nor did they suggest that they would be adding copyright infringement to their IBM lawsuit. Moglen thinks that "SCO is simply trying to scare people about using free software by making irresponsible comments." He notes that, until recently, SCO itself was distributing the code they now claim violated their own copyrights.

    One reason why SCO may be hesitating about going after the Linux distributors, even though they would be the natural target for copyright violations since they've actively engaged in copying and distributing Linux source code may be because, SCO is still in the Linux distribution business.

    ...

    And, speaking for himself (Moglen) and not the FSF, "I have renewed my offer to assist free software developers who may feel the need for legal assistance" because of SCO's recent actions.

Your own mileage may vary.

Working...