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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."

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How SCO Helped Linux Go Enterprise

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  • 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 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 Torulf (214883) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @08:24AM (#6498130)
    ... see NYT [nytimes.com] and c|net [com.com]
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Re:Background (Score:5, Informative)

    by RevMike (632002) <revMikeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:05AM (#6498353) Journal
    If you can use a 2.2 kernel, you can go on with out much chance of trouble.

    Don't mix up press release and actual claims. SCO continues to distribute 2.2.x kernels, which means that the agree to the GPL as it applies to that code revision.

    SCO's accussations are realy that code was contributed to the 2.4.x kernel which is infringing. That is why the UnixWare license that they are selling specifically applies to Linux 2.4 and later.

    If you can stay at 2.2.x, you are home free.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:2, Informative)

    by zuralin (462240) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#6498368)
    You're not reffering to this [slashdot.org] article titled "SCO's Other Investor: Sun Microsystems" now are you?
  • Re:IANAKD* but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by RevMike (632002) <revMikeNO@SPAMgmail.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) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:22AM (#6498452)
    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 "what if they're right?", but the real question is "will they lose their life, or just their shirt?"
  • 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.
  • 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 _|()|\| (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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by buckeyeguy (525140) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:23AM (#6498900) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of SCO stocks, let's see what the market now values the maker/purveyor of an obsolete product like UnixWare...

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SCOX&d=c&k=c1&a=v&p=s &t=1y&l=off&z=m&q=l

    Wow, looks like FUD sells! (Note that the first copyright suit was filed around the graph's turning point in March.)

  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:29AM (#6498946)
    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 attempt to sue you, then they excuse themselves from damages (at which point they _must_ tell you, or the case gets thrown out.)
  • They can't do this (Score:3, Informative)

    by NaugaHunter (639364) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:02AM (#6499348)
    This would amount to admitting that SCO has a case at all, and would probably hurt their defense. On the other hand, there's nothing to stop someone else from offering this insurance. Well, maybe some legal wrangling, but it would just be FUD vs FUD.

    Whoa - Kramer vs. Kramer flashback. Maybe SCO will get some extra cash from selling the movie rights.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:15PM (#6500274)
    and how they might win even if they *are* wrong...

    http://www.forbes.com/2003/06/18/cz_dl_0618linux .h tml
  • Re:Provided that... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Archie Steel (539670) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:16PM (#6500282)
    That SCO never conciously chose to distribute their IP inside of Linux.

    Not quite true: they did continue to distribute kernels with the alleged offending code well after they made their allegations. In fact, you can still download the kernels from their ftp site.

    In other words: even when the right hand found out what the left hand had done, they continued with business as usual. For all practical purposes, SCO has willfully and knowingly distributed the offending code (if there is any) under the GPL. They can still sue IBM, but it's of no concern to Linux developers and users at all.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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