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Linus Comments on SCO v IBM 631

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

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  • by Dark Coder ( 66759 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:44PM (#5482274)
    SCO, heralds from the better iron-Unix era, derived from Xenix, a Microsoft-created Intel-based Unix O/S from the copper-age.

    Why am I not surprised?
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:49PM (#5482305) Journal
    Great. Where's his law degree from again?
  • by PapaSMURFFS ( 592303 ) <> on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:52PM (#5482315)
    Correct me if I'm wronge, but isn't the SCO Group involved with several linux projects itself? I think the one real reason for the lawsuite is pointed out in the article-->The fear of loosing the revinue from the IBM liscencing on AIX
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2003 @11:57PM (#5482345)
    I thought it'd be a fun thing to email ibm's contact us page and say "best of luck guys -- for your support i'm much more inclined to recommend your solutions" to IBM, and something like "what? are you nuts? i'll never work with anyone who buys your company again" to SCO.

    would this help
  • Fear (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:06AM (#5482385) Homepage Journal
    I don't fear for IBM, even in the worst case it wont be so much affected (but I doubt that this could cost much to IBM). I fear what will come after. This insecurity is doing much more harm to Linux and Unix in general than is doing Microsoft with its "fair" antilinux campaigns [].

    What I fear is that a way to win the case could be IBM showing some hidden card in their software patents pool. What about something generic enough to say "I own the patents on multitasking"? or concurrent file access, or even the "while" loop, something in some way that disables SCO claims but puts on the table something big enough to be considered a threat to all the industry. Is like using atomic bombs in a war, after one of the parts uses one, all the others feel validated to do the same and we all lose.

  • A Bicycle?!?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by revery ( 456516 ) <> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:12AM (#5482409) Homepage
    From SCO's document: 84. Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car. To make Linux of necessary quality for use by enterprise customers, it must be re-designed so that Linux also becomes the software equivalent of a luxury car.

    A bicycle??!? Ok, a free bicycle...that seats as many as a luxury car, on just as comfortable seats, and has the same horsepower as the luxury car, and that comes complete with design schematics and a suite of tools that allow you to build more "bicycles", oh and you can give them away to your friends.

    Oh, and now nobody is really interested in luxury cars anymore... maybe that's that's what SCO is so mad about.


    Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
    or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemnded, but loved and bought with blood.
  • Economic Perspective (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EvilSuggestions ( 582414 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:12AM (#5482413)

    Just took a look at a financial site and noticed that dear old SCO/Caldera appears to have a market cap of $32.9 million today. As such, I wonder, what will be the total cost to IBM to properly defend themselves in this suit, plus the amount that they spend on "licensing" Unix from SCO? At least $32.9M perhaps? Maybe more...

    Seems to me that the logical step for IBM now is to settle this suit by simply acquiring the plaintiff. Even before this suit was filed, it kinda made sense for quite a few reasons:

    • IBM's services division apparently loves to support old OS's and software, so the SCO support contracts would be a good match.
    • They would now own all the former members of the Project Monterey alliance (Sequent being the other member). No more sticky legal issues about code developed during that project.
    • There's the bragging rights of owning the Unix trademark. Certainly would give them a leg up marketing against Sun and HP.
  • Should IBM buy SCO? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:17AM (#5482441)
    I've heard some people mention it would just be cheaper for IBM to buy SCO. After taking a look at SCOs current market cap of not quite 33 million it makes me wonder. If IBM has so much invested in UNIX would it not make sense to buy them outright rather than continue to pay license fees? Would it really cost all that much for IBM to buy SCO?
  • A Question (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:18AM (#5482446)
    I have trouble following this mess and am not a lawyer so I'll ask a question.

    Linux & Unix both descend from the same ancestral home at AT&T (I believe).

    Caldera owns the AT&T IP.

    The DMCA is an insane piece of legislation.

    By connecting the following points is it possible that the sky could fall and all OS descendants of Unix could be affected?

    Odds are I am horribly wrong, and hope I am - but please, enlighten me.
  • by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:22AM (#5482456)
    Hmmm, I'm going to assume your being sarcastic, but if you aren't, and you truely believe Linus isn't his own person, and doesn't have his own opinions, you've never read Linus in the middle of his own flame wars. If you want a really good one, just look up the one he had with a Professor Tanenbaum, one of the leading authorities on Operating Systems back in 1990 or 1991. Definitely has is own opinions, not afraid to tell you what he really thinks.


  • What IBM should do (Score:4, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @12:41AM (#5482539)
    is buy SCO, market cap is 25 million which is a steal to ensure the future of AIX and Linux. IBM has put untold Billions into AIX over the decades and is planning on putting over one billion into linux over the next couple years. Heck the lawyers will probably cost in the millions on this one, buy the IP and make sure they never have to worry again.
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:12AM (#5482625) Homepage
    Well SCO is somewhat challenging that, they certainly question Linus' version of some events. For example Linus has said time and time again that:

    Linux was a pun on Linix and Linus
    Linix is short for Linus's Minix

    SCO asserted in the suit that
    Linux is short for Linus + Unix.

    Obviously they know the origin of the name better

    (and of course Linus's version has newsgroup postings backing it up that only shows that deja/google is in on the conspiracy to defraud SCO).

    This is important for SCO since they have 0 rights over Minix.
  • by Dr_Marvin_Monroe ( 550052 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:22AM (#5482648)
    In the world of biology, they call that "genetic diversity" helps to prevent the spread of disease and creates new and interesting patterns when combined with other genes or also promotes evolution...which is cool.

    It's also one of the many reasons my desktop doesn't get those evil bugs that seem to plague the "feedlot" computers that run Windows.

    Think of my boxen here as "free range".....
  • Re:Business Plan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by leviramsey ( 248057 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:22AM (#5482649) Journal
    Those who can, do.

    Those who can't, sue.

    Those who can't sue, teach law school.

  • Re:I told you so. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:55AM (#5482745) Homepage
    It's not the consumer devices that earn IBM fanboys. It's the big iron systems that have been running since before NT was a gleam in Cutler's eye. IBM is not merely limited to the XT. IBM has been contributing to the state of the art in computing since before Microsoft even existed (mebbe even Bill too).

    They already have enough of a patent portfolio to make the computing industry look like Kuwait after Iraq got through with it. However, IBM has as much to lose from such a firestorm as anyone else.

    Fear the man who has nothing to lose. That man is SCO.
  • by jaaron ( 551839 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:34AM (#5482850) Homepage
    A source close to IBM said its lawyers were preparing a substantial defence of the suit and are likely to file counter-claims based on its huge portfolio of patents, the largest in the computer industry.

    You knew this was going to happen. Ever since SCO announced this lawsuit, I was just waiting for IBM to come in and take them out. You know, I almost feel bad for SCO. Almost.
  • by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:37AM (#5482858) Journal
    Not necessarily. If anyone has the lawyers capable of making SCO's infringement claim stick, it would be Microsoft. $1B isn't complete chump-change (even to them), especially as that's only IBM, and if it would hurt their competition, I could Microsoft doing it. Don't forget that patents (and their infringements) would transfer in an aquisition.

    In my opinion, if SCO -isn't- looking for a buy-out, they're nuts. They don't have clout in the market anymore and they probably don't have the coffers needed to pursue these infringements. I'm not saying I agree with their claims, but if they are looking to get bought, it's a proven strategy to build up a portfolio of cases and then sell off to someone with more muscle.
  • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @02:54AM (#5482897)
    My rule of thumb is always mod up.

    That's been my philosophy as well. (I usually get metamodded to hell ... usually because I find those posts that don't parrot the party line to be 'interesting'.) I haven't had mod points in a long time, though.

    I really wish that they would get around to fixing the mod system. Despite some of the stupidity that goes on here, /. really does have quite a bit good about it. (Every time I think that I've had enough of it, I try reading k5 for a bit ... and I'm always back here in a hurry.) However, the only way to find the really interesting stuff on slashdot is to pick through all the goatse trolls. There's got to be a better way to handle it.
  • Re:A Bicycle?!?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @03:20AM (#5482966)
    As a cyclist, I find SCO's analogy quite flattering to linux.

    A bicycle is one of the most efficient, highly developed machines ever built. In the time you need to walk two miles, you could easily cover a ten on a bike. It uses a small amount of resources in a simple yet highly effective way. You can easily maintain it yourself, if you wish. It's cheap to buy and keeps on working well, even if the hardware you use is far from "state of the art" (much like my 30-year-old Stella touring bike and Brooks saddle).

    Compare this work of mechanical art to your average luxury sedan (yechhh!). It's big, it's bloated, it's expensive, before the payments are though it's out of style, and you must periodically pay the high priests of maintenance a king's ransom to keep the damn thing running. It took large amounts of resources just to make it, and obscene amounts to run it. All of this supports features you don't need (perhaps even loath), and which will fail far too soon. Worst of all, it will be a victim of planned obsolesence within a decade (auto parts store: "You want a fuel pump for a what?"), and you must unload it for a fraction of what you paid and sign a contract to buy a new model that's so much worse you wish you kept the old clunker (but you can't, because the broken proprietary parts are all obsolete).

    Yes, SCO has a luxury car all right. For all I care, they can keep it!

  • by PizzaFace ( 593587 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @03:37AM (#5482997)
    We could ask SCO, "fine, you've got the source, show us the alleged Unix IP-infringing code".
    SCO's claims aren't limited to source code. SCO makes no claim of copyright infringement, though such a claim would be expected if source code had been stolen. SCO's complaint [] alleges (1) misappropriation of trade secrets, (2) unfair competition, (3) interference with contract, and (4) breach of contract. The trade secrets that IBM allegedly stole were SCO's "unique know how, concepts, ideas, methodologies, standards, specifications, programming, techniques, UNIX Software Code, object code, architecture, design and schematics that allow UNIX to operate with unmatched extensibility, scalability, reliability and security." (par. 105)

    It takes chutzpa for SCO to claim that it could do things with operating systems that IBM couldn't. I predict there will ultimately be a charred and smoking gash in the land where SCO now stands.

  • I Appreciated... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kirn_malinus ( 159763 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @03:44AM (#5483016) Homepage
    This line (or so ;): "85. For example, Linux is currently capable of coordinating the simultaneous performance of 4 computer processors. UNIX, on the other hand, commonly links 16 processors and can successfully link up to 32 processors for simultaneous operation. This difference in memory management performance is very significant to enterprise customers who need extremely high computing capabilities for complex tasks. The ability to accomplish this task successfully has taken AT&T, Novell and SCO at least 20 years, with access to expensive equipment for design and testing, well-trained UNIX engineers and a wealth of experience in UNIX methods and concepts." So they're saying IBM cheated because Linux now do something that took the smartest computational scientists 20 years to achieve, maybe, but that a 20 year old can now understand? Weak.
  • PLEASE DO SOMETHING (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @04:01AM (#5483041)
    We must not let this stupid little company that

    a) Never created UNIX (just got the rights after 999 tranfers)

    b) Has as a CEO the most evil person around

    c) Has a stupid name

    d) Creates a distro (and SPOILS linux' name)

    do harm us.

    Please people, do think and find a solution for this not to touch linux.

    Maybe Linus doesn't care, and most programmers don't, but it is not about THEM, nor about the CURRENT linux users and programmers.

    It's about the FUTURE people.

    If SCO succeeds over this and creates a reputation for linux that harm the beliefs of people for the years to come

    a) People will no longer care about Linux, having

    i) Less programmers for linux
    ii) Less Users

  • by jsse ( 254124 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @05:40AM (#5483216) Homepage Journal
    Linix is short for Linus's Minix

    SCO asserted in the suit that
    Linux is short for Linus + Unix.

    There wouldn't have that much trouble if he's still naming it freax [] :)
  • by SyFryer ( 173279 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @05:53AM (#5483241) Homepage
    Here is a link to said flaming in case anyone watching hasn't seen it. ap pa.html
  • by PiotrK ( 16050 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @08:22AM (#5483473) Homepage
    Could we just write:
    * SCO to Linux Conversion book,
    * SCO to Linux HOW-TO,
    * SCO to Linux Migration Case Histories,
    and start sourceforge site with all necesery scripts, etc?
  • Re:A Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bluGill ( 862 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:29AM (#5483678)

    Linux is not directly descended from anything AT&T did. It is a clean room implimentation started before the DMCA. Therefore the DMCA at most applies only to a small amount of the code. And there is an introperability clause in the DMCA that gives some hope that even for that code it does not apply. IANAL so I don't know what applies and doesn't. Worst case we have to go back to 2.0 kernels and apply only improvments that we know are safe, and 2.0 was pretty good. (not as good as the latest, but still good)

    Second, BSD decendants have been proven in court to NOT be infringing decendants of UNIX (6 files were found infringing and removed and replaced). IBM has not worked (much?) on any BSD system so we can go to them. OpenBSD has been especcially paranoid about intellectualy property issues, plus they are based in Canada so the laws that apply are different anyway.

    And finially for this to stick in court, SCO will probably have to point to some code and say "Joe wrote this after working with code we own", at which point linux will just re-write those sections, just like BSD did for the 6 infringing files. There are some difficulties here, but worst case for linux isn't that bad.

  • by imadork ( 226897 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @10:15AM (#5483923) Homepage
    We should have a (+1, Mirror) option when we moderate. This way, people can still Karma Whore, which is of course an essential part of the Slashdot Experience, but I can filter these silly redundant posts out in my preferences.
  • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <kfmsd AT harrelsonfamily DOT org> on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @11:36AM (#5484583) Homepage
    I apologize to all for being off topic, but I did not start this.

    I would call it defending their lack of brains!

    You, sir, are an obvious troll!

    I am a previous member of Mensa (but I am too smart to keep giving them my money). I sometimes use Linux at home on a PC that I built myself. I currently work as an electrical engineer in military avionics. And I believe in God and Jesus.

    The very fact that you are so sure of your beliefs (or lack thereof) that you are entitled to attack other people who feel differently means you are guilty of the same type of narrow-mindedness that you probably feel Christians to (stereotypicaly) hold.

    If you wish to discuss facts and/or opinions, I welcome it. However, please do not resort to insulting people who have done nothing to you.

    I read this thread because I am interested in Linux, and Linus. Please leave discussions like this out of it. As far as I know, no church organizations have yet to sue IBM over Linux.

  • by disappear ( 21915 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @01:11PM (#5485348) Homepage
    Yes, it is interesting. But it can also be explained easily:

    First, Linus sometimes reverses himself. That is, he says, "I was wrong about XXXXX, and it's going into the kernel now." This happens a lot.

    Second, Linus has a sense of humor about himself. He knows that he's good at what he does, but he never thinks he's the best or only.

    Third, just because somebody disagrees with him, that doesn't mean that Linus calles that person an idiot. Or insult them. Or threaten to sue them, as Bernstein in particular does pretty frequently.

    Linus didn't go off and found his own project because he made himself too unpleasant to the people with whom he previously worked... he did it because the work was interesting to him, and he didn't know that anybody else was doing it. (Though in fact the *BSDers were at the time.)

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.