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Caldera Software Linux

SCO Invokes DMCA, Names Headers, Novell Steps In 770

Posted by simoniker
from the ruckus-and-tomfoolery dept.
Sparky writes "We've already heard that SCO have invoked the DMCA via 'letters sent to select Fortune 1000 Linux end users.' The specifics come via a copy of the letter reprinted at LWN.net - they've decided that they own the copyright to about 65 header files contained in Linux - largely errno.h, signal.h and ioctl.h." balloonpup also notes "CNet News has reported that SCO has reported a fourth quarter loss of $1.6 million, owing mostly to hefty legal fees in its war against Linux. SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to their lawyers. Way to go, SCO!" Many readers also point out a Groklaw article indicating Novell has registered for the copyrights on multiple versions of Unix with the U.S. Copyright Office, so that "both the SCO Group and Novell have registered for UNIX System V copyrights for the same code."
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SCO Invokes DMCA, Names Headers, Novell Steps In

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  • Big Red takes aim (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Crashmarik (635988) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:32PM (#7787732)
    This is just novells first step.

    The next step will be their own series of letters to SCO reminding them of their contractual obligations to Novell.

    • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:46PM (#7787869)
      Novell might be thinking: "Hey, if the millions of legal fees actually produce some settlements for SCO, we can ride their gravy train with no investment at all; If a judge rules that someone owes SCO money, we will be owed that very same money. That would be money for nuthin, who can turn that down?"

      So, I hope Novell has their heart in the right place. But really, this depends on the judges. To sue over header files is so damn crazy, the real winners are obviously the people who ran off with $9 million in legal fees. What did the lawyers tell SCO that made them think this is a good investment when the case is so absurdly flimsy? That must have been a home-run sales pitch!

  • clue me in.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:32PM (#7787736)
    arent the headers (especially some of those, like errno.h) published publically as ISO/ANSI C and/or UNIX Definition documents? Hence, if they look similar, it's because they're defined standards from various standards committees? Perhaps someone should point out the document name and number and page numbers.
    • Re:clue me in.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maul (83993) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787781) Journal
      This letter is designed for PHB's who will look at it and then look at Linux and say "Crap! errno.h IS in Linux," not people who look at it and think of defined standards and realize that SCO is stooping to the lowest levels in order to keep their schemes going.
    • Re:clue me in.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by msgmonkey (599753) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:41PM (#7787826)
      Generally all those C/Unix headers come under general umbrella of POSIX compliance. I think what they are saying is that the files are directly lifted from BSD and that the settlement with BSD forbode redistribution.

      This is strange in that 1) the full outcome of the settlement was sealed AFAIK and 2) the headers in question are licensed under the BSD license which would have been known of in 1.

      Like has been mentioned earlier by many people here, maybe SCO want to re-open the BSD case as this seems to be there only line of defense.
      • Re:clue me in.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:52PM (#7787938)
        SCO is a member of the Open Group and participated in the development of those standards. The FTC has sued Rambus for doing the same thing with JEDEC DRAM standards-- you can't participate in standards development if you're later going to claim ownership of the technologies involved!
    • by avij (105924) * on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:59PM (#7788505) Homepage
      Oh, but SCO uses different errno.h files depending on the situation. I tried hard to include a fragment of the errno.h but the lameness filter totally prevented me from doing that. It complained about too many junk characters, but how can I be responsible for the junk in SCO header files? Some logic from errno.h:

      "old, crufty environment" -> oldstyle/errno.h
      "Xpg4v2 environment" -> xpgv2/errno.h
      "Xpg4 environment" -> xpg4/errno.h
      "Posix environment" -> posix/errno.h
      "Pure Ansi/ISO environment" -> ansi/errno.h
      "Old, Tbird compatible environment" -> ods_30_compat/errno.h
      "Normal, default environment" -> just the standard errno.h file

      Some of the comments, dated 94/12/04:

      Portions Copyright (C) 1983-1995 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.
      All Rights Reserved.

      The information in this file is provided for the exclusive use of the licensees of The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. Such users have the right to use, modify, and incorporate this code into other products for purposes authorized by the license agreement provided they include this notice and the associated copyright notice with any such product. The information in this file is provided "AS IS" without warranty.

      Portions Copyright (c) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. Portions Copyright (c) 1979 - 1990 AT&T All Rights Reserved
      THIS IS UNPUBLISHED PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE OF UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. The copyright notice above does not evidence any actual or intended publication of such source code.

      Here are the comments from an older version of the same file, specifically 91/06/06. I wonder why they've dropped Microsoft from the copyrights list?

      UNIX is a registered trademark of AT&T
      Portions Copyright 1976-1990 AT&T
      Portions Copyright 1980-1989 Microsoft Corporation
      Portions Copyright (C) 1983-1991 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. All Rights Reserved
      The information in this file is provided for the exclusive use of the licensees of The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. Such users have the right to use, modify, and incorporate this code into other products for purposes authorized by the license agreement provided they include this notice and the associated copyright notice with any such product. The information in this file is provided "AS IS" without warranty.
      Copyright (c) 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988 AT&T
      All Rights Reserved

      THIS IS UNPUBLISHED PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE OF AT&T
      The copyright notice above does not evidence any
      actual or intended publication of such source code.
  • Law is Hard (Score:5, Funny)

    by moehoward (668736) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:34PM (#7787749)
    This stuff is too complicated for me to understand. Why didn't a slashdot editor add a quirky, sarcastic, biased comment so I would know how to think?

    I don't want to read all those links. Is there any way that I can make fun of Microsoft based on any of this? That would make it easier. TIA
  • "We've already heard that SCO have invoked the winged minions of hell via 'voodoo dools shaped like the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies.' The specifics come via a photo of a doll made to look like Samuel J. Palmisano of IBM - they've decided that they own the souls of about 65 CEOs running Linux - largely IBM, HP and Ford." balloonpup also notes "CNet News has reported that SCO has reported a fourth quarter loss of $1.6 million, owing mostly to hefty witchdoctor and soothsayer fees in its war against Linux. SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to the Prince of Darkness. Way to go, SCO!" Many readers also point out a Groklaw article indicating Novell has been praying for the souls of CEOs running Linux with the Holy Catholic Church, so that "both the SCO Group and Novell have claimed the souls of the same people."

  • by nocomment (239368) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:35PM (#7787771) Homepage Journal
    GO NOVELL! GO IBM! :-) It may seem strange, but I really am feeling some sort of loyalty to these two companies. I am way more likely to use them in future than I think I would have before the whole SCO debacle. Although I'd still never ever in the coldest darkest hour in hell use netware or AIX again(blech).
  • 9 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by westcourt_monk (516239) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787773) Homepage Journal
    I love it... 9 million to lawyers, -1.6 to report to it's investors and they are no where. If they win I imagine they stand to make 10x whatever they pay for lawyers but how much do they have to put out before it is not longer worth the risk?

    The investors must be getting worried.

  • login.h (Score:5, Funny)

    by mios (715734) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787779) Homepage
    I think I'm going to file a claim that I own a copyright to login.h ... this way, everytime anyone logs into their system I should be entitled to some roylaties ... this should work ...
  • by greechneb (574646) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:37PM (#7787783) Homepage Journal
    Larry Gasparro is the last to cash out with nearly $500k in December - Look at the latest holdings of the insider roster

    BENCH, ROBERT K.
    Chief Investment Officer
    8-Oct-03 214,243 Shares Left

    BROUGHTON, REGINALD CHARLES
    Senior Vice President
    17-Sep-03 95,000 Shares left

    GASPARRO, LARRY
    Vice President
    10-Dec-03 0 Shares Left

    HUNSAKER, JEFF F.
    Vice President
    13-Aug-03 20,494 Shares Left

    OLSON, MICHAEL P
    Vice President
    11-Nov-03 47,330 Shares Left

    WILSON, MICHAEL
    Senior Vice President
    14-Jul-03 0 Shares Left

    WILSON, MICHAEL SEAN
    Senior Vice President
    15-Jul-03 0 Shares Left

    Notice How little the insiders still actually own (Aside from Robert Bench)? Smells fishy to me

    • by eln (21727) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:43PM (#7787847) Homepage
      I've been practicing to be a psychic so let's see how I'm doing so far...

      I see these men having big problems with the SEC in the future.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:23PM (#7788180)
      Note: this is to the replies, not to the parent.

      I have a little reality check for you people who think SCO is gonna get shit for this little pump and dump:

      -Our esteemed Commander and Cheif pumped and dumped his little oil company and sold all his shares 2 days before it went bankrupt. The appropriate investigative organizations where politely told to bug off.

      -The above's best friend and cheif campain supporter via donations was the CEO of Enron. Need I say more?

      -Worldcom went bankrupt over executive fraud and now has a cushy contract in Iraq.

      -Microsoft pretty much got let off the hook as soon as someone they "donated" money to got the presidency.

      -Our Vice President is busy riding a gigantic $100,000 a month retirement golden parachute from his company, Halburton, with strangely enough is getting the most, best, and highest paying government contracts.

      What makes you guys think that ANYTHING bad will happen to SCO because of what they are doing? Wake up.

      This is all of course assuming memory serves me correctly.
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:38PM (#7787788) Homepage
    Poor SCO, no one takes them seriously any more. "We own Linux-- er, UNIX, um I mean, some of it, or do we Novell? And we're going to sue everybody in existence for theft-- uh, copyright violations of this code-- oops, not that code, don't look at the man behind the curtain, we mean this code over here -- what? not that code either? OK, I mean these header files -- um, you can't copyright ideas, you have to patent them, and we have plenty of patents -- we don't? Well, we'll be threaten-- um, sending letters to our partners (aren't you happy to be doing business with SCO?) telling to to keep their noses clean and line up for a nose inspection -- what, Novell just copyrighted the same stuff we claim to have copyrighted? Don't tell the judge that! Yikes! What's our stock doing now?! Quick read this press release about, um, yeah, that's it: we just got DDoSed, um, Again! Yeah, that'll work....what's that you say? How much are we paying our lawyers for this nonsense? It's contingency, people, don't worry. Contingency all the way...except for the huge fees we pay along the way...and 20% of the company...but otherwise not much -- and yes, that just wiped out any chance of profits in this quarter, but don't worry, next quarter the legal fees go up and we still don't have any licensees yet. But step right up with $699 and you can be the first on the block to say you got rooked--, uh squared yourself with the law-- um, not really the law, with our lawyers, yeah, that's it."
  • not just Linux... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:38PM (#7787792) Homepage
    SCO has now asserted ownership over not just Linux, but every single C/C++ compiler out there, and every OS based on C, including the BSD variants and all the other versions of Unix out there.
    • by kalidasa (577403) * on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:45PM (#7787864) Journal
      Next, they'll be asserting ownership over stdio.h and Hello,World.

      #include <stdio.h>
      int main()
      {
      printf("Hello, Darl\n");
      return (0);
      }

      Hey, did I just violate a SCO license?
    • by EricTheGreen (223110) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:46PM (#7787868) Homepage
      This is just step #2 in their master plan. The final claim will be ownership of the '\n' character.
      • by frostman (302143) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:11PM (#7788592) Homepage Journal

        Dear EricTheGreen,

        Your recent Slashdot post, titled "Re:not just Linux..." and currently moderated at +4/Funny, is in violation of the DMCA.

        As you are probably aware, we have granted the general public a limited license to the character '\n' and this license does not include its representation in "escaped" format ('\n').

        We hereby order you to remove the comment or to change it so that the copyrighted character in question is displayed in its properly licensed format, namely:

        Be advised that this also applies to any posts you may make in the future, regardless of how they are moderated, and that similar restrictions apply to the character '\r' to which we own the copyright jointly with the Microsoft Corporation.

        Failure to comply will result in legal fees.

        Sincerely,

        Dewey, Cheatham & Howe, on behalf of SCO.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:38PM (#7787796)
    SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to their lawyers.

    So SCO has changed from a technology company to an employment agency for lawyers? I'd be interest to see what the step was just before "Profit!"
  • by Quixadhal (45024) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:39PM (#7787807) Homepage Journal
    ...comes great responsibility.

    If SCO wants to claim ownership of things in errno.h, then I want monetary compensation for each and every segfault, since they are now SCO's responsibility, not mine!

    Boy, no more having to double-check pointers in my code, whoo hoo!
  • by NialScorva (213763) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:39PM (#7787810)
    There needs to be some equivalent to Godwin's Law for the DMCA. How does "Given enough time, all legal battles in the tech industry will invoke the DMCA. This generally means that all constructive arguments have ended."
  • Hrm? Facinating (Score:4, Interesting)

    by downix (84795) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:39PM (#7787811) Homepage
    SCO is claiming that those headers were retrieved from BSDi. Well, there are folk out here that know more about headers than I, where did they come from?

    Also, someone told me once that the BSD and GPL licenses were not in-exclusion, but that they could co-inhabit the same code. BSD has one set of limits, namely giving of copyright notice while GPL has other limits tied to it, but they were not mutually exclusive.
  • by zzabur (611866) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:40PM (#7787817)
    Revenue from SCOsource licenses is expected to be minimal in the first quarter as the Company finalizes license agreements with vendors and continues to implement its intellectual property license initiative...

    ...Operating expenses relating to the Company's UNIX business are anticipated to remain flat during fiscal 2004. Expenses associated with SCOsource initiatives are expected to increase in fiscal 2004 as the Company pursues and expands the scope of its legal strategy to enforce and protect its UNIX intellectual property...

    If the above information is correct, SCO revenue in Q1/2004 will be around 15 M$ and net loss could be >5-10 M$. It seems they don't get more money soon, they will be out of business before summer.

  • by cmcguffin (156798) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:40PM (#7787819)
    In this interview [mozillaquest.com] from February, SCO themselves claimed the ABI code was GPLd:

    MozillaQuest Magazine: Regarding binfmt_coff, abi-util, lcall7, abi-svr4, abi-sco; are any of these modules SCO IP?

    Blake Stowell: No, none of the code in the Linux ABI modules contains SCO IP. This code is under the GPL and it re-implements publicly documented interfaces. We do not have an issue with the Linux ABI modules. The IP that we are licensing is all in the shared libraries - these libraries are needed by many OpenServer applications *in addition* to the Linux ABI.
  • by El_Smack (267329) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:40PM (#7787821)
    After seeing the number posted on /., I dialed it up and listened. I have to say that, even though I know what they are doing is messed up, they put some very posive spin on thier situation, albiet that is the purpose of this conference call.
    One of the first questions in the Q and A period was "If I pay the $699, do I have rights to use the source and continue to run Linux?" Darl very neatly sidestepped half the question and answered "Yes, you can continue to run the binary (emphasis mine) within the agreement."

    From that, I take it that if you pay, you can run the kernel, but they won't say you can play with it.
  • by BerntB (584621) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:41PM (#7787829)
    SCO's only argument is that free distribution of errno.h (etc) is allowed -- but not with a GNU copyright header?!

    It should then be enough to copy the BSD comments in the beginning and replace the copyright on errno.h, signal.h, etc.

    Or?

    (As another user noted, errno.h et al are also parts of ANSI standards for C...)

    Otherwise -- thanks, SCO -- finally I might get a kick on my backside to take the trouble to install and try OpenBSD! :-)

    • by Edward Scissorhands (665444) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:18PM (#7788144)
      NO. You cannot slap another license or copyright header on BSD code. I do not know how this rumour got started, but the BSD license is very clear. You must retain the BSD copyright notice in the source code, and, in the case of binary redistribution, you must have the software display the BSD license. If you read the copyright information for MS Windows, for example, either on the Windows installation CD, or, IIRC, at the bottom of the EULA flashed during installation, the BSD copyright notice is there.

      If a Linux kernel programmer took some header files from FreeBSD or 4.4BSD, for example, but removed the BSD copyright notice, that is a violation of the BSD license terms. HOWEVER, that does not mean that SCO was wronged. The only party that could sue for violation of the BSD license is, of course, the Regents of the University of California. AFAIK, but IANAL.
  • Dear Santa (Score:5, Funny)

    by neurojab (15737) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:42PM (#7787839)
    Dear Santa,

    My christmas wish is for the SCO stockholders to wake up and realize they're being taken for a ride. That way the rest of the world could get on with their lives without worrying about being bitten in the ankles by Daryl McBride. For Daryl, I wish a long stay in the relaxing resort for his kind of folk known as Utah State Prison. I wish for him a large roommate named Bubba.

    Peace.
    An ordinary Linux user.
  • The smear continues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crimethinker (721591) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:42PM (#7787840)
    Can't you just feel the love?

    The company has not made available for export, directly or indirectly, any part of UNIX covered by their agreement to any country that is currently prohibited from receiving supercomputing technology, including Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and any other such country, through a distribution under the General Public License (GPL) for Linux, or otherwise.

    That's right, boys and girls, the GPL is a tool for TERRORISTS and COMMUNISTS!

    Every day I see SCO's stock price and I mutter to myself, "it's just not fair."

    -paul

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:43PM (#7787845)
    SCO said they would have reported $7.4 million in earnings, if not for the $9 million payout to their lawyers.

    Damn, can I use that excuse? I would have been in the black this month if I had not had to pay my bills. But seriously, this really tells a great deal of SCO's financial picture. Their money is running out. Their legal bills are mounting. This letter is nothing more than it appears: Desperation to get any last revenue that they can get.

    On another note, has anybody looked at the headers that SCO has mentioned. I'm willing to bet that some of them are legacy to BSD not SCO.

  • by gotem (678274) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:44PM (#7787855) Homepage Journal
    take a sip everytime the letter says "copyright"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:45PM (#7787862)
    From /usr/include/sys/ipc.h

    * Copyright (c) 1988 University of Utah.
    * Copyright (c) 1990, 1993
    * The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
    * (c) UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
    * All or some portions of this file are derived from material licensed
    * to the University of California by American Telephone and Telegraph
    * Co. or Unix System Laboratories, Inc. and are reproduced herein with
    * the permission of UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
    *
    * This code is derived from software contributed to Berkeley by
    * the Systems Programming Group of the University of Utah Computer
    * Science Department.
    *
    * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
    * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
    * are met:
    * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
    * notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

    The Linux code I just looked at is lacking the copyright notice like the above.

    If taken from BSD or SYSV, it is a licence violation because of clause #1.
    • by Crispy Critters (226798) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:18PM (#7788142)
      "The Linux code I just looked at is lacking the copyright notice like the above."

      Accept hypothetically that some Linux coder got a little too happy with his cut and paste from BSD code and left out some copyrights. Then all that needs to be done is add the copyright notices back in.

      Now the important question: How has SCO been monetarily damaged by the lack of BSD copyright notices in a few header files? About 37 cents? 'Cause all they can do is ask for damages and that the copyright notices be fixed.

      • by plj (673710) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:45PM (#7788400)
        Accept hypothetically that some Linux coder got a little too happy with his cut and paste from BSD code and left out some copyrights.

        It's not like that. The coder could well have been Linus himself, and the reason is below (verbatim copy of a comment posted to LWN, emphasis mine):

        (Posted Dec 22, 2003 18:03 UTC (Mon) by doitroygsbre) (Post reply)

        IANAL

        Ok, I read an article on groklaw (I think) that made a pretty good guess as to what SCO's claim is. They are claiming that the settlement reached between BSD and novell required that certain files in BSD have copyright notices added. The files that SCO is complaining about were added to linux before the settlement was reached and since the settlement was only made known to Novell and the BSD developers (sorry, can't quite remember exactly who was involved in the settlement) no one knew to add the copyright notices to linux. Now that SCO has possibly inherited the Novell side of the settlement, they're trying to claim copyright infringement because linux has these files without the notices. Even though they were released under the BSD license without the notices before the settlement.

        Oh well, I'm starting to wonder if I'll live long enough to see this whole mess sorted
  • by codepunk (167897) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:46PM (#7787871)
    Now isn't this funny, Novell can sue SCO former Caldera for copyright and contract breach. Caldera placed the old SYS V code under a open source license and made it available for download. So what gave Caldera the right's to do this if the code is Novell's?

    Makes for Interesting Thought!
  • by Zelatrix (18990) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:49PM (#7787901)
    Claiming copyright on this list of files is so nonsensical, it must be a distraction tactic.

    After all, SCO have already stated that 2.2 does not infringe.

    So what are we supposed to not be looking at at the moment? Oh look, the quarterly financial statement just got published. And even booking revunue on shipment rather than payment (along with other dodgy accounting practices) couldn't stop a net loss.

    Something crooked is going on here. This letter is an irrelevance.
  • Breakdown (Score:5, Funny)

    by chaoticset (574254) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:51PM (#7787919) Homepage
    Profit for SCO's lawyers: 9 million
    Earnings for SCO: -1.6 million
    Watching SCO die and set a precedent for anybody who tries stupid legal things with Linux: Priceless
  • A few .h files? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by panZ (67763) <matt68000@hotmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:51PM (#7787923)
    Gee, my company's error.h and types.h are similar. Oh wait, every god-damn company I've ever worked for has similar .h files because this is basic, common interface shit.
    Its like saying "we patented the play, pause, record and rewind buttons on our model of VCR, the rest of you fuckers with tape, CD and DVD players on the market better pay us for this inovative interface!"
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry over this.
  • by compactable (714182) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:52PM (#7787940) Homepage
    ... previous pump-n-dump speculation mentioned that there needed to be 4 quarters of profitabliy before Darl got a big bonus kick-in - this appears not to have happened. Am I missing something obvious, was this 100% fabrication, or did Darl get nailed here?

    Thanks for clarifying, if possible

  • by El_Smack (267329) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:57PM (#7787971)
    After Darl and Co. had finished, but before most of the FUD could settle, was a Q and A period.
    One of the most interesting questions was "Of the really large Linux users, how many have licenced from you?" The answer was "We haven't had anyone over the 5000 CPU amount buy a licence, but a couple of them are thinking about it."

    Or, in other words: "No one big is buying our BS, cause they have a legal team that knows we are full of it. Or at least is willing to wait it out and see where the chips fall, rather than believing our hype."
    To me, that speaks volumes about their case.
  • No substance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RDPIII (586736) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:59PM (#7787987) Journal
    So they're claiming they own the copyright on errno.h. This is insane. Even if there are substantial similarities between Linux's various errno.h-s and SCO's version, how many ways are there to implement errno.h? It's a bunch of friggin' macro definitions with more or less standard names and more or less standard values. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought one could only copyright original works, but what's original about a bunch of #define-s?
    • by Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) <abacaxiNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:28PM (#7788235)
      "Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought one could only copyright original works, but what's original about a bunch of #define-s? "

      Nothing ... if it's the only way, or one of a very limited ways to implement the standard, it's not copyrightable. I believe the format and switches are specified by the POSIX standard, which means you have no choice/originality involved. Do it their way or it doesn't work.

      Leaving the copyright notice off, even on a one-liner, is wrong, but it's not a fatal error. Tracking down who may have stripped a 20-line notice from a 1-line header for an OS that's been around since the 1970s is not going to be an easy task, and a judge would probably say "screw this, de minimis non curat lex* applies" and tell them to shove off. (*the law does not concern itself with trifles, nothing to do with Lex Luthor)

  • trump cards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thoolihan (611712) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:00PM (#7787991) Homepage
    Novell should have a pretty powerful position in this. Having formerly possessed the code, they could site a lot of examples of exposing the code to various companies and members of the public. Thus negating the strength of SCO's claims that these things are trade secrets or other types of information that *in legal eyes* deserves special protection. But, with as many companies as there are involved, who knows how this will shake down.

    -t
  • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:00PM (#7787996) Homepage Journal
    I wasn't reading clearly, or something. I could have sworn the title read "SCO invokes Devil, Hades steps in".


    On second thought, maybe that wasn't so inaccurate.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:02PM (#7788005) Homepage
    By sending out these clearly fraudulent DMCA notices-- which at best claim copyright over something which is uncopyrightable, and at worst is an attempt by a third party to claim that it is illegal for people to use the materials owned by the BSD raegents under the BSD license in the manner in which the BSD raegents intended the BSD license to be used-- has SCO opened itself up to legal action?

    SCO has in the past managed to sidestep most allegations of fraud by being horrendously vague. They said that they were owned money but never sent any invoices, sidestepping mail fraud. They tried to present things as if you needed an SCO license to use linux, but if you tried to talk to talk to them, they were actually selling UnixWare licenses and not in the process actually distributing linux to you, sidestepping GPL violations. However, this is entirely non-vague. It seems to me that SCO has stepped over some sort of line here and this is actionable.

    I know that the DMCA does not seem to have many consequences for people who send out bad takedown notices, but surely there must be something preventing company A from finding lists of competitor B's customers and sending them takedown notices for using some portion of competitor B's product that company A does not, in fact, own.

    At the least, can this be added to the lanham act/ restraint of trade/ libel or whatever countersuits that Redhat and IBM have going? What are the options from here, and what will actually happen?
  • by minkwe (222331) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:03PM (#7788017) Journal
    http://www.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/007904975/base defs/errno.h.html#tag_13_10

    Do these guys have any brains at all?
  • Headers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tiny69 (34486) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:06PM (#7788039) Homepage Journal
    So SCO is claiming ownership of a bunch of #define, #ifdef, #ifndef, and struct statements. What happened to the millions of lines of code that Linux was infringing on? Even IF (big if) they can prove ownership of those files, about all they can claim is Copyright infringement. I don't see how trade secrets, methods, or know-how (SCO's words since they can't claim anything stronger) can be found in header files.

    The lawsuit against IBM is still a contract dispute. Even though SCO claimed they would be adding Copyright infringement claims against IBM, they have yet to do so. My guess is they haven't made any Copyright infringement claims yet because even they are not 100% sure if they really own any of the code. And making false claims in court would kill their lawsuit.

    When Caldera first obtained the old UNIX source code, they wanted to release ALL of it under an Open Source license. But they were not able to because to many other people and companies still have rights via Copyright to the code the other parties added.

    The letter that SCO is sending out is just one more thing that will come back to haunt them.

  • by rograndom (112079) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:15PM (#7788119) Homepage
    Most of all this hubbub from Darl was that if managed to get four straight profitable quarters then he would get a fat bonus. A loss this quarter is a major, major setback.
  • by Inode Jones (1598) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:27PM (#7788223) Homepage
    A few months ago I took a guess as to what the misappropriated IP was, and the only thing I could come up with is errno.h, signal.h and syscall.h.

    Linux was/is a derivative of Minix. There is no real Minix code left in Linux, but back in the 0.9x days, Linux was still evolving. You can still download Minix from here. [cs.vu.nl]

    Now, here's the key point: although the NAMES of the various system calls, IOCTLs, error numbers and signals are part of the POSIX standard, their numeric assignments are not. The implementor is left to define them. Not all implementations define these the same way - take a look at the Linux/FreeBSD/SYSV emulation code in NetBSD to see the kinds of translations that need to be done to provide cross-platform compatibility.

    Now compare the Minix include files with those of Linux and FreeBSD. You will notice very much the same error code and signal numbers. The Linux code dates from 1991 and is pre-ATT/BSDI settlement. It's likely that Tannenbaum is also in violation of AT&T's IP, and Linux has just inherited it. Of course, there's no money in SCO suing Tannenbaum.

    Does this damage SCO? Not really. Is it worth US$699/seat? Definitely not. Can SCO collect damages? Probably, knowing the U.S. legal system.

    • by schon (31600) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:34PM (#7788763)
      Can SCO collect damages?

      Probably not. In order to assess damages, you determine how much damage was caused (in this case, ~$0). Then you look at how quickly the plaintiff addressed the issue (more than two years, in this case.) Then you look at how quickly the plaintiff notified the infringer, and attempted settlement. In this case - well, we're still waiting on that (Linus, Eben Moglen, and others have contacted SCO attempting to find out the specifics of their claims - all were rebuffed. SCO released this "evidence" to third parties, they never once sent it to the actual alleged infringers.)

      SCO can't collect damages because they have declared (through their actions) that they value the alleged stolen code at $0.
  • ABI vs API code (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nzkoz (139612) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:46PM (#7788406) Homepage
    Now forgive me if I'm being stupid here. SCO's letter states that:

    Certain copyrighted application binary interfaces ("ABI Code") have been copied verbatim from our copyrighted UNIX code base and contributed to Linux for distribution under the General Public License ("GPL") without proper authorization and without copyright attribution.

    Now all these header files that they've named, are just that, header files. Which relate to the POSIX|UNIX API. These are two different things right?
  • by Rayban (13436) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:50PM (#7788439) Homepage
    From:

    http://finance.messages.yahoo.com/bbs?.mm=FN&act io n=m&board=1600684464&tid=cald&sid=1600684464&mid=7 4550

    To All Licensees, Distributors of Any Version of BSD:

    As you know, certain of the Berkeley Software Distribution ("BSD") source code files require that further distributions of products containing all or portions of the software, acknowledge within their advertising materials that such products contain software developed by UC Berkeley and its contributors.

    Specifically, the provision reads:

    " * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
    * must display the following acknowledgement:
    * This product includes software developed by the University of
    * California, Berkeley and its contributors."

    Effective immediately, licensees and distributors are no longer required to include the acknowledgement within advertising materials. Accordingly, the foregoing paragraph of those BSD Unix files containing it is hereby deleted in its entirety.

    William Hoskins
    Director, Office of Technology Licensing
    University of California, Berkeley
  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:12PM (#7788597) Homepage
    Linux header:
    #define EPERM 1 /* Operation not permitted */
    #define ENOENT 2 /* No such file or directory */
    #define ESRCH 3 /* No such process */
    #define EINTR 4 /* Interrupted system call */
    #define EIO 5 /* I/O error */
    #define ENXIO 6 /* No such device or address */
    #define E2BIG 7 /* Arg list too long */

    And the POSIX [opengroup.org] standard says:
    The [errno.h] header shall provide a declaration for errno and give positive values for the following symbolic constants. Their values shall be unique except as noted below.
    [EPERM]
    Operation not permitted.
    [ENOENT]
    No such file or directory.
    [ESRCH]
    No such process.
    [EINTR]
    Interrupted function.
    [EIO]
    I/O error.
    [ENXIO]
    No such device or address.
    [E2BIG]
    Argument list too long.

    Conclusion:
    This is hogwash. Complete and utter hogwash. Even the descriptions are specified in the standard. You see some minor differences (Argument vs Arg, function vs system call) but it is simply trivial. If this is the "infringing" stuff, the replacement with completely non-infringing comments would be ready in about 30 seconds directly from the standard. I can volunteer to do a cleanroom implementation without neither SCO nor BSD code :p.

    Kjella
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:47PM (#7789536)
    Posting as AC as I already modded here

    I just took a look in the Mac OSX errno.h file (/usr/include/sys/errno.h) and the error definitions are all there, with the same attributed numbers as in the Linux and *BSD ones. Someone further down claimed that SCO was claiming ownership of the actual numbers, since the defined names are an ANSI/ISO standard and therefore can't be claimed.

    What this means, I think, is that SCO is indeed attempting to roll open the BSD/LSI case again. I would be amazed if they were able to get away with this. I'm pretty sure a competent lawyer will be able to clam this one up in court.

    Not only that but SCO is opening themselves up to truly massive claims of extortion and fraud if this is not legal, which although IANAL I really cannot see it being from their pretty wild claim in their letter. They simply claim they own these files, yet make NO mention of showing how that is so.

    I am really interested as to who is going to sue SCO next.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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