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Caldera Software Linux

SCO Might Sue Linus for Patent Infringement? 1154

An anonymous reader writes "[Darl McBride, SCO's chief executive stated] that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds, who is credited with inventing the Linux operating system, for patent infringement." It's right at the end of the story and it's quite a statement.
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SCO Might Sue Linus for Patent Infringement?

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  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:06PM (#6062039) Homepage
    Ok, so what, exactly, are they planning to sue him for? It's not like he can be held responsible for what IBM may or may not have put into the kernel. Or can he?
  • by Knife_Edge ( 582068 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:06PM (#6062040)
    All SCO is doing is blustering. This has been discussed to death here before.
  • by valisk ( 622262 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:07PM (#6062049) Homepage Journal
    I think a 24% crash in SCOs stock price today shows what the market thinks of this news, and exactly how much Linus has to fear.

    The threat to get Linus is as hollow as the rest, no Judge will allow a suit to be brought when the ownership of the IP is in question, and given that Novell own a vast majority of the patents (832 unix and novell vs 117 Sco and Unix), according to the USPTO [], the fact that Novell have taken some time and obviously a lot of expensive Legal advice before making such a series of claims vis a vis the ownership of the Unix IP and seems willing to step in the way of SCOs legal bullets, I'd say SCO's battle to steal Linux from the community has just got infinitely more difficult.

  • wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westcourt_monk ( 516239 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:10PM (#6062099) Homepage Journal

    Stupid for reporting every little SCO quote. Stupid for thinking courts can allow such lawsuits.. and how in hell can SCO afford all this crap anyway?


  • New definition (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:12PM (#6062118)
    SCO - v. as in, "To pull and SCO" - wreak havok on your own stock price by throwing lawsuits any way you can, thus driving down your stock so someone can afford to pick it up and keep the company/technology going
  • by DetrimentalFiend ( 233753 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:12PM (#6062119)
    To be honest, I wish that Linus had a reason to be afraid. His reaction to this whole thing started off as complete apathy and is still hovering around it. Linus has treated the whole incident as though it has nothing to do with him, so I'm glad that SCO has crossed the line and done something that will force Linus' hand. Maybe it's selfish, but I really would like to see Linus sticking up for the Linux community, which now includes big businesses such as IBM.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:12PM (#6062126)
    You can sue anyone for anything. Doesn't mean that you will win though !!!

    If they can prove that he knowingly used the Unix source code as a model while he was developing the Kernel then they may have a chance legally.

    I can see a lot of big legal guns coming out on his side though. We could not allow such a precedent.

    Remember that cases are adjudicated as points of law and not common sense!!!

    Anything can happen in a court of law.
  • by Dante ( 3418 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:17PM (#6062186) Journal

    I disagree, strange as it seems I don't want him to take it too seriously. It's supposed to be fun right? Personally I hope he quits when it is no longer fun.

    How would you feel if you got sued because of what you did for _FUN_.

  • Re:And (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:17PM (#6062187) Journal
    Obviously it's time to stop talking about it becuase all you're doing is advertising their name for free.

    There is a such thing as bad publicity, especially for publically traded companies.
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:17PM (#6062188) Homepage Journal
    McBride added that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds, who is credited with inventing the Linux operating system, for patent infringement.

    IANAL but it seems that the above quote seems like great fodder for attorneys. One of the main arguments going against SCO's claims (other than the obvious Novell claim that SCO owns diddly/squat) is that this is a money making gimmick and not a "real" lawsuit. With McBride throwing out gems like this it'll be fun to read the answer brief!

  • by Alan ( 347 ) <> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:21PM (#6062230) Homepage
    If you've ever seen linux talk, or read his book, that's his attitude (as I see it, YMMV, IANAL, IMHO, etc). He wants to program cool stuff that interests him. He couldn't care less about linux vendors, desktop wars, or 90% of the shit that "the linux community" is concerned about. I'd be willing to wager that if no one but him used Linux he's *still* be hacking away on it, because that seems to be the sort of person he is (the fact he's more a manager of code now than a coder aside).

    I for one agree with his apathy... it's denying the sort of media circus that could result. Think about how much better all our lives would have been if the media had chose apathy in the OJ case (I know I'm going OT here) and just reported "OJ on trail for murder" and then proceeded onto the next story.

    Personally I'm ignoring it all too, until some code that is actually damning is produced, or there is actually a legal leg to stand on, it's just noise.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my perl, which is mostly just noise as well.
  • Which Patent? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:22PM (#6062241)
    For a long time when these people mentioned IP, we thought they meant copyright infringement, not patents, but now there's all this talk about patents. However, no one lists which one(s).

    There's the famous 4135240 setuid patent [], which Bell labs granted to the public domain, and which has expired by now anyway.

    Novell gave us a clue, by pointing out that some patents might be in their name. But searching [] for Novell and Unix on the USPTO web site yields 62 patents. Most of these seem like they came from work on NetWare, but it is hard to tell for sure. Looking through these patents shows how bogus the US patent system is -- I quickly persued several at random, and every one was either an obvious technique, or being violated all over the place, or both. (IANAL).

    The first patent returned by the search (6,546,433) lists "PowerBuilder 5 Unleashed!", by Sams publishing as reference material. Frankly, if I were a patent examiner, this would be evidence alone to reject the application.

  • by valisk ( 622262 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:22PM (#6062242) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I was watching the stock price plummet, interestingly the bulk of the fall took place after this comment from McBride, which indicates that nobody takes him seriously, I imagine SCO stock is facing a hammering tomorrow.

    It's a great job you, esr and the rest of the community have done over the past few weeks, thank you and I hope we can now clean Sco's clock for them :)

  • by fwr ( 69372 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:22PM (#6062246)
    Wow, that's unbelievably doom and gloom. Everyone is taking it easy in the Linux community because of two things, I believe:

    1) SCO is suing IBM. IBM already invested billions of dollars in Linux and isn't about to let this one go.

    2) Precisely because of the history of the BSD case. If there is offending code all we have to do is take it out. SCO can't ban Linux entirely, just Linux that contains copyrighted code, if that is the case.
  • by hpa ( 7948 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:24PM (#6062268) Homepage
    To be honest, I wish that Linus had a reason to be afraid. His reaction to this whole thing started off as complete apathy and is still hovering around it. Linus has treated the whole incident as though it has nothing to do with him...

    It's called "don't feed the troll." SCO is doing this for hype (and presumably to give the execs some time to dump their stock) so there is no reason to give them more heed than necessary.

  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:25PM (#6062282) Homepage
    Stupid for reporting every little SCO quote. Stupid for thinking courts can allow such lawsuits.. and how in hell can SCO afford all this crap anyway?

    Didn't SCaldera just have a "profitable" quarter on the back of a HUGE Microsoft license purch... uhh... License to spread FUD?

    Take the blinders off...

    This is MICROSOFT versus Linux. SCaldera is just the intermediary.

  • Re:SCO == SUC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#6062310) Homepage
    "In addition, I think Novell must have a strong case otherwise they wouldn't have spoken out. They were not part of the original debate, so why would they enter it if they didn't have solid grounds to prove their point? If you own shares of SCO, you may want to ask the board why the CEO/president is running around wasting company money on frivolous lawsuits when they could be spending it on product development."

    No way Novell stated what they did today without checking the facts and consulting the lawyers. They have TOO MUCH riding on this, with Netware 7 basically being a Linux distro+NDS... (a product I'd love to migrate my Netware 5 WAN to)

    We've been wondering WHY IBM hasn't countersued...

    I think we got the answer today ;)

    The Novell allegation makes that a LOT easier.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artifex ( 18308 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#6062312) Journal
    Ok, so what, exactly, are they planning to sue him for? It's not like he can be held responsible for what IBM may or may not have put into the kernel. Or can he?

    The bigger question is, why does SCO think it can sue IBM for putting stuff into the kernel that SCO doesn't even offer? This has been covered to death the last few days, but jeez, SCO can't claim true enterprise scalability of any sort in its own products, so where can they claim the IP was theirs?

    Not to mention that if anyone has a claim to sue Linus, it's the people who created Minix, for creating a workalike - and even then, he didn't copy code. Go look at the UNIX heritage charts for a much better understanding.

    SCO is an emaciated, rabid dog nearing its death-frenzy howling and trying to scratch or bite as many others as possible. It's only natural for its foamings to get worse and its anger to increase when presented with images of people playing in the open-sourced software fountain (rabies induces hydrophobia, you know). If you can't shoot this rabid dog, grab your children and run away from it. If you wait a few days, it will have drowned in its own spew - but anyone coming near, especially investors, will find that even its carcass is less than worthless and should be avoided.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:29PM (#6062313) Journal
    You'd be surprised at what judges allow. The basic reality that litigation costs money, and that frivolous suits do a lot of damage to people hasn't really sunk in.

    It's amazing, when you think about it, that there haven't been more lawsuits. Not because there are grounds for them, but because it's a convenient way to harass people.

    The community needs to come up with a way to respond to this incident, and to other things like it.

  • by Humunculus ( 584885 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6062347)
    "McBride added that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property..." So how do we know which supposed part of Linux is SCO's property, if they don't tell us ?

    If I must buy a licence, I at least want to know what I am getting for my money, and what is contracted for, yes ?

    Rob. "For Every Pleasure There's a Tax".

  • I read all the comments on the Yahoo SCO forum for the past few days. It's striking to see a lot of loudmouth idiots claiming that SCO was going to skyrocket and take out Linux with it. Then today, they are strangely absent. I wonder if they are upset about something?
  • by Selanit ( 192811 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:37PM (#6062391)
    You said:
    He wants to program cool stuff that interests him. He couldn't care less about linux vendors, desktop wars, or 90% of the shit that "the linux community" is concerned about.

    That's correct, and it has been one of his great strengths. This lawsuit, however, is part of that remaining 10%. If SCO were to actually win a favorable judgement at trial, it could very easily diminish Linus' ability to "program cool stuff that interests him". The issue is therefore directly relevant to his own interests -- especially if SCO goes ahead an sues him personally, whatever the charge.

    For this reason, I will be surprised if Linus doesn't make some sort of statement before much longer.
  • by bradm ( 27075 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6062403)
    SCO stock dropped from $9 to $6 today. I'm surprised it closed that high.

    There wasn't enough time between the start of the freefall after lunch, and the close of the markets.

    Short-sellers who didn't want overnight exposure to further lies^h^h^h^h SCO press releases probably took their profits. 24% isn't bad for a day's work. Heck, anything over 5% is well worth the effort.

  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6062406)
    Linus doesn't sell linux. HE doesn't market it. He does kernel development, and his name is on it.. that's all.

    Why shouldn't he be apathetic? SCO is getting far more attention than they deserve out of this.. at least in terms of the fear they are causing. There is NO WAY this case will succeed.. the absolute worst case will be IBM did something wrong, and IBM pays damages. No judge is going to smash linux.

    What does linus have to fear? Can you imagine how much legal support Linus himself would get if sco tried to sue him personally? Just for what it represents, ever damn linux geek on earth would be ready to contribute to the defense fund, not to mention every linux company on earth. So far sco has ONLY SUED IBM, and have made only threatening vague statements and threats about their "Intellectual Property" to everyone else. Saying they had a contract with IBM that IBM has violated is one thing.. all the other vague shit they are claiming is something else entirely.

    Linus has ALWAYS been apathetic. He has always mainted the world can do what it wants with linux.. he did it for fun. He doens't get too into the politics of it. He is a smart programmer, and a celebrity... but his life isn't riding on the success or faulure of linux. He isn't Bill Gates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6062407)
    Let your representatives in the EU, which is considering software patents, know about this,as an example of why software patents are a BAD IDEA! A lot of European cities (Munich comes to mind) have shown a shining to Linux, and software patents could leave them without that choice!
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:42PM (#6062441) Homepage Journal

    Linus has treated the whole incident as though it has nothing to do with him

    Perhaps that's because it has nothing to do with him! According to Novell SCO doesn't own the IP, and so can't sue. A SCO vs. IBM really has little to do with him either, and ultimatly, IBM would just crush SCO anyway. According to a rational analysis, the IP in question, no matter who owns it, is of little value and coul;dn't have made a significant contribution to an already superior kernel.

    So why shouldn't he be apathetic?

  • by sumbry ( 644145 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:43PM (#6062449) Homepage
    So what do you "avise" me to do?
    Wet my pants?
    Stop using Linux? (Yeah, you would really like that, would be good for your MSFT-stock, right?)
    Start crying?

    Ahh, because I point out a bit of history as to how this has happened before in the courts and because I have a little knowledge of the court system an IP now I'm an MS lover? Sit down little Linux script kiddie and take a deep breath before you hurt yourself. You're very misinformed and typical of why I said people shouldn't take this lightly.

    There is no evidence, there isn't even the sligtest hint of evidence and SCO voided anything by releasing Linux under the GPL themselves anyway.

    How do you know this? SCO doesn't have to show you anything - all the offending code has to be shown to IBM right now. And because of NDA's and the like (whatever is stipulated in their contract) they may never have to show you any of it.

    If you really think that anybody should start being aFraid, Uncertain and Doubtful, you are either pretty dumb or part of the FUD machinery yourself.

    Ok - when did I say this? When does - "don't take this lightly because it's happened in the past before" translate to be afraid, uncertain, doubtful, etc?

    Wrong. No matter how much you would love Linux to be screwed, only the person who messed up and maybe the organization he works for is. If there really is infringing code (which is doubtful) and if for some special reason the GPL doesn't apply to SCO, it has to be rewritten, that's all.

    Riiiiight. Now I want to see the fall of Linux, especially since it (along with Solaris, BSD, etc) have been paying my bills for longer than you've probably been walking.

    To sum up, yes I will take that threat lightly.

    Go ahead. The BSD camp took this very seriously, won the case, and still got fucked in the process while it was being straigtened out in the courts. Know your history little kiddie - else you're gonna be bound repeating it.

  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:47PM (#6062492) Homepage
    I keep posting this, but nobody seems to get it. SCO as a **distributor** of the linux kernel has committed copyright infringement UNLESS they have properly licenced all copyrights from which it is derived. If somebody else (IBM or Linus) creates a work which is improperly licenced, but is derived from GPL work, then SCO **STILL** must abide by the GPL in order to distribute a deriviative of the GPL portions.

    In order to do that, they must abide by the clause (clause 2b) which requires them to licence "as a whole" to "all third parties" (which certainly includes Linux and IBM) the works which they distribute under the terms of the GPL, assuming they either modify the source (clause 2) or distributed binaries (clause 3). This is not compatible with patent enforcement (vs Linus) or with trade secret protection (vs IBM).

    Clause 6 states that no "further restrictions" are allowed. Clause 4 moreover states that any attempt to "otherwise ... sublicense or distribute" the work will "terminate your rights under this License".

    Finally, Clause 5 states that "by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it", which implies that SCO has accepted the GPL by distributing Linux, which even under SCO's extreme viewpoint is inarguably "based on" GPL works.

    Linus should and frankly MUST sue SCO for copyright infringement for distributing a derivitive of his work without a licence. In fact, any other kernel contributor could do the same so long as their original work is included in what SCO has distributed. It does not matter if SCO wilfullly commited copyright infringment (it is still infringement), though it is untenable to call it unwilfull after they began publicly proclaiming to retain rights to elements of Linux.
  • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:48PM (#6062499) Journal
    The Company has an arrangement with Novell, Inc. ("Novell") in which it acts as an administrative agent in the collection of royalties for customers who deploy SVRx technology.

    Bruce, if this is the case, is not SCO merely acting contractually responsible by attempting to collect royalties on Novell's behalf? In this event, it doesn't matter if it's thier IP, or not - it's their job to fetch money from it, and keep 5% of the take.

    At least, that's how I read it.

  • by shnarez ( 541132 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:48PM (#6062503)
    How would you feel if you got sued because of what you did for _FUN_.
    Be careful how you word that. What one considers _FUN_, another can consider patent/trademark/copyright infringement, or illegal, immoral, or downright wrong.
  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:50PM (#6062529)
    I don't see why Linus should volunteer to be drug through politicial nonsense. He is taking the reasonable stance of being the creator of something great, not becoming our messiah and leading us through the murky waters of capitalism.

    He's an engineer working for himself, his job is to create first and foremost what he wants. If it so happens to be what the rest of the world needs, well it's really nice that he is sharing his work with us and helping us all understand how to make a better operating system.

    In any event, Linus may WANT to wage war, but he HAS to keep quiet precisely because of these lawsuits. If it in any way appears he has an agenda, it could be problematic for Linux's future. His decisions thus far represent what i would consider heroic acts of discretion. Let him be.

  • Company image (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CuteAlien ( 415982 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:51PM (#6062533) Homepage
    Usually companies care about that. I can't imagine SCO getting back in Unix-business after what they do currently. Even hardcore soloris, bsd, etc.. fans are mostly horrified by the current actions of SCO. It's like they are storming out of the room and slamming the door. Unix was SCO's main business, it's hard to imagine this will do them any good if they really intend to continue doing this.
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6062553) Homepage
    I believe that you should ignore idle threats, and turn the other cheek to hollow threats and minor attacks. People who can do this are noble and wise.

    I admire Linux for his attempt to take the high road and ignore this as a minor attack. Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that this is not a minor attack. SCO is threatening the viablity of Linus' life work and his greatest accomplishment. If he will not fight when attacked this way, then he has no life's work or accomplishment.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:54PM (#6062571)
    To be honest, I wish that Linus had a reason to be afraid. His reaction to this whole thing started off as complete apathy and is still hovering around it.

    I have in the past been very critical of Linus' apathy and apparent blindness to some of the deeper underlying issues that will likely affect our freedom to code at all, much less code on the operating system our cooperative effort has created over the last 12 years or so, in part under his non-political guidance. Richard Stallman, as undiplomatic as he can be, truly does Get It(tm), and has done much to steer the community away from trouble (remember the KDE/qt/GPL conflicts. Imagine the situation we'd be in vis-a-vis SCO and M$ FUD if Gnome hadn't appeared, the flame fests hadn't been fought, and ultimately a workable, compatible solution hadn't been found, thanks to Trolltech's admiral flexibility and willingness to acknowledge mistakes and fix them, and thanks to RMSes stubborn insistance that the GPL be adhered to, no matter how cool the project.

    All that having been said, the last thing on earth I would want to see is Linus sued for his 12 years of unselfish generosity. Do I agree with Linus' political (or rather, apolitical stance)? No, on that front I come down on RMSes side, despite my fervent desire that he learn a little diplomacy (which, to be fair, he appears to have done in no small amount, as listening to any of the speaches he's made in the last few years amply demonstrates), and despite the extreme irritation I felt at his 'lignux' proposal years ago.

    I may not agree with Linus on some points, and I may wish he'd speak up a little more often to defend the Community he helped catalyze into being, but the man is entitled to his own world view, his own opinions, and no one in their right mind should wish something so awful as a lawsuit (however unfounded) onto someone who has done so much to enrich us all. As one who is personally bearing the brunt of an appalling act of barrotry myself, and having to defend against a frivilous, but non-the-less expensive, lawsuit (condo related, for the curious), I take particular exception to the notion that Linus deserves any kind of kick in the pants, much less a kick to the head through SCO's (or anyone elses) letigious thuggary and barratry.

    I relish the demise of SCO, and the dozens of countersuits and investor lawsuits that will undoubtably follow. With luck, the fools will have left an I undotted or a T uncrossed, and be doing some hard time in a 6'x9' cell to boot, compliments of the SEC.
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:57PM (#6062588) Homepage
    It's called "don't feed the troll."

    It is becoming clear that SCO is no mere troll. They are not simply posting foolishness on some newsgroup or mailing list. Trolls don't ask a judge to enjoin your life's work. Trolls don't send letters to the Fortune 1000 companies threating potential legal action.
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:59PM (#6062615)
    What I really, really love about this story is how the CBS MarketWatch journalist displayed his complete lack of understanding for Linus' importance in the IT world and stuffed the threat of a law suit in as an afterthought at the bottom line. I've lost track of how many magazine covers Linus has been on, his name is mentioned in just about every article on Linux, he even has a frigging biography that you can buy in just about every major bookstore in the planet -- and CBS hides it in the last line. Beautiful.

    Makes me want to go back and see how CBS did Lady Di -- Traffic was heavy today in Paris, France, with light rains causing trouble for inexperienced drivers (...) In one of the day's many accidents caused by excess speed and driving under the influence, Lady Diana of Great Britian was killed. Light showers are expected in Roissy in the north of the city tomorrow with evening highs at around...

    Or maybe the death of Christ: Two common criminals died today as Roman justice rammed home its message of no tolerance [no zero, remember] with iron spikes through their hands and feet (...) The two men's crosses were separated by that of Jesus Christ, Saviour of Mankind, who also died (temporarily). The Jerusalem branch of amnesty imperium romanum condemned the two criminals' execution as...

  • by boots@work ( 17305 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:59PM (#6062619)
    Linus has better things to do than respond to trolls. SCO is a troll. A troll with a lawyer is still a troll.

    They're not even a particularly *good* troll, at least by Slashdot standards. The original complaint contained really bizarre claims like the "Linux is a bicycle" paragraph, and while that can be amusing it does kind of tell people that you're not serious.

    And then SCO started changing their story halfway through -- "it's just IBM", "it's not in the kernel", "it's in the kernel", "it's Linus". That kind of inconsistency always gives an amateur troll away. Look at the Subject Line Troll or the Recipe Troll -- they pick a good thing, and they stick to it. SCO could learn from them.

    I think Linus was probably pretty sure that there was no infringing code in the kernel, and so he decided not to waste time or breath on the matter. If only the rest of us were so smart. ;-)
  • by The_Dougster ( 308194 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:10PM (#6062702) Homepage
    Actually, RMS is kind of like a Jesus to computer software. A lot of people don't like his radical views, but the fact is that he has done more for computing than anybody else in history.

    I certainly am not ashamed to say "GNU" because, I love it. I love "ls --color=auto" just try that with SCO OpenServer and you are in for a rude awakening.

    Like the BASH shell? Yeah its pretty awesome isn't it. Like being able to append --help to a command if the man page is missing? The fact is, if you boot Hurd, you are in fact running GNU. No GNU/Hurd, really not "just Hurd", just GNU.

    Stallman's crew had completly re-written every UNIX utility program from scratch and that was "GNU". When a kernel became available, they were in -- totally.

    Linus & Associate's awesome kernel was of course key, but I suggest you remove all GPL licensed code except the kernel and see what kind of an OS you have. Essentially nothing, you would have to port BSD to the Linux kernel, and then you would have BSD/Linux.

    GNU is something to be proud of, mainly because it totally rocks. It is the "NEW" Operating System.

  • by dfung ( 68701 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:12PM (#6062723)
    I totally agree with you on this which actually is bad in the (often stupid) court system.

    IBM can't afford not to audit and maintin source code that they licensed in a total clean-room situation. If an IBM employee violated that contract, then IBM could be in a bad hole (but see more below). Engineers may make mistakes, but organizationally, IBM "knows better" than to allow a breach like this to get out the door.

    A slimy SCO lawyer will certainly point out that IBM has extensive code reviews specifically to prevent this sort of breach, therefore this violation must have been intentional and systemic from IBM management - a more serious situation.

    Of course, IBM doesn't mess around with little worms like SCO on something like this. In addition to the group that's working on a direct defense, there's a small army of IP specialists that at IBM that are working on kneecapping SCO before they even get to the courtroom. IBM has tens of thousands (might well be over 100,000 these days) of patents that cover every aspect of computing since they were a cash register company. Now, maybe SCO has been totally clean and not infringed or violated some juicy patent from 1945. Maybe SCO has added so little that there's no conflict anywhere.

    But if they haven't carefully been reviewing everything that IBM has patented since before their engineering department was born, there's a pretty good chance that the may be in violation of a good amount of IBM's IP. Then SCO will get a nice letter from IBM with about 30 pages of infringments from their crappy installer and perhaps they'd like to sit down and set up a cross-licensing agreement to resolve these issues before they commit themselves to a literal lifetime of defending themselves in court.

    *That's* how an IBM or Microsoft plays ball. And there will be no FUD in the halls of SCO when IBMs says it time to quit playing.

  • by klaun ( 236494 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:33PM (#6062903)
    I admire Linux for his attempt to take the high road and ignore this as a minor attack. Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that this is not a minor attack. SCO is threatening the viablity of Linus' life work and his greatest accomplishment. If he will not fight when attacked this way, then he has no life's work or accomplishment.

    Much like yourself I would guess.

    Who are you to criticize him or say his accomplishments amount to nothing if he refuses to follow your advice, when he's contributed far more to the world than you ever will?

    Having given something creative and imaginative to the world, you claim he has an obligation to defend it? His prior labors on your behalf are not enough for you?

    What are you doing to defend Linux from SCO besides spouting at Slashdot? What have you invested in this fight or given to Linus that he owes you anything?

  • by Ashtead ( 654610 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:41PM (#6062960) Journal
    IANAL, but I have been involved in a patenting process and subsequent litigation. There was talk about the concept of independent invention, which means that if someone comes up with a solution that someone else has a patent on, the situation isn't a clear-cut matter of infringement.

    The next question to ask would be about the timing of this: Which specific functions and features of the kernel are under fire here? And when were these put into the kernel?

    And finally, isn't SCO becoming engaged in barratry here?

  • by boots@work ( 17305 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:43PM (#6062975)
    It's unlikely (not impossible) because code going into Linux is reviewed to a greater extent than I have seen or heard of on commercial projects. Have you ever worked on a project where you can't even commit code, let along ship it, without it going through at least two levels of review? Perhaps you have, but it's the exception not the rule.

    It seems likely to me that SCO code would be caught by review if somebody tried to submit it to Linus, because it would "feel wrong" for Linux, or not look like it was original work. Things in the kernel work in particular patterns, and old code looks different to new code. See Hellwig's comment about how messy SCO code is. If it was copied, it would have to be rewritten so much that people might not bother in the first place.

    Of couse it's not possible to catch all plagiarism by review, particularly when the purportedly original document is not available for comparison. It does at least seem like the kernel team have made a good-faith effort to prevent it, which ought to count for something.

    There is also the question of whether anyone would *want* to copy from SCO. It's a pretty crappy OS by modern standards after all. Copying from BSD I can imagine, but SCO?

    In any case, SCO have admitted today that they don't own the copyrights, and they only have a breach-of-contract case. So users who don't have contracts with SCO should be safe.

    So at the point where SCO make a concrete and verifiable allegation, rather than vague FUD, then it's worth taking it seriously. SCO don't even have to reveal their code -- just saying where it is in Linux would allow the developers to know whether it was new or not. Up until then, SCO are just pissing in the wind and deserve all the crap they get.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:46PM (#6062995)
    But what is also important is that the free and open source communities appear strong so that no other company out there even contemplates this kind of crap. "Peace through strength" if you will.

    Let's respond by creating a complete migration plan from SCO Unix to Linux, along with any necessary tools. If we can get a significant number of their customers to leave them, it will hurt them in a place they have to disclose to their customers ... the bottom line. We have the capacity to target anyone who would sue the open source community. We can make it very clear how much it will cost.
  • Re:Spin doctor (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MaxwellStreet ( 148915 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:46PM (#6062996)
    That "spin doctor" was none other than Darl McBride. You heard it from the mouth of the beast.

    He *did* sound rather convincing with his talk of how they already owned the copyrights, and were just looking for corroboration from Novell. And the analyst he was speaking to seemed to believe him too. (If he already owned them, why would he need the letter from Novell? Getting his ducks in a row for the trial, perhaps?)

    Of course, a 24% drop in SCOX, much of it after lunch, says that people are more inclined to believe Novell about who owns what - and his little fantasy wasn't playing well in Peoria.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PygmySurfer ( 442860 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:51PM (#6063030)

    "Or at least get a settlement."
  • by attobyte ( 20206 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:57PM (#6063068)
    Here is my take on it:

    Linus has said that RMS is the Pholisopher (sp?) and he is the engineer. The engineer shouldn't have a side it is RMS that should stand up. He is the one that came up with GNU and wrote the GPL licenses. Linus just used the licenses. I think Linus takes a good stance by not saying anything because he did create this community but he is not the leader of it.
  • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:00PM (#6063075) Homepage

    Back in '92, someone made this exact argument to me about the AT&T/BSD case. He was wrong: the BSD people had screwed up (there were several files that had tainted AT&T code), but BSD won anyway.

    You forget an important lesson of the AT&T vs BSD case. It was found that AT&T itself was engaging in serious copyright violation (removing all the University of California copyrights from their code). They had to settle.

    Similarly, SCO will be found to be violating all kinds of IP rules itself: IBM patents (you can't sneeze without violating an IBM patent, they have so many), remaining BSD code with copyrights stripped, GPLed code copied into their Unix product, etc. Then they have the problem that they don't own the copyright!. Novell does.

    Finally, there's a huge difference: the GPL, and the fact that SCO itself distributed and worked on Linux for years. They can't claim ignorance, as their own engineers worked intimately with the Linux kernel and OS, modified it, and distributed it. By doing so, they granted a GPL license on what they distributed to the world. They can't revoke that.

  • by darkheavy ( 78519 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:02PM (#6063090)
    Similarly, if Linus introduced into the kernel either his own code or code donated by someone else (IBM) that implements any algorithms for which SCO holds patents, even if the code in question comprises completely original implementations of those algorithms, then by redistributing the kernel without a license from SCO, Linus is infringing on SCO's patents.

    Ok. It have been stated already that SCO has no patents nor IP related to their claims. They do have code, but that sale didn't involve the IP nor the patents involved in the development of that code.

    The really funny thing is that IBM, HP, Compaq (formerly Digital), Novell et all do have patents related to UNIX (and I'll bet they have patents over H2O methodus and aparatus). If SCO wants to get into that game they're going to suffer. A lot.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SN74S181 ( 581549 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:08PM (#6063147)
    It's kind of amazing that as long as they're 'our' fascists they seem to be okay with some people.
  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:11PM (#6063175)
    It seems to me that we've all heard a lot of noise from SCO, but I have yet to hear what they are claiming ownership to. Until they actually say what patents have been infringed and how, their claims are just hot air. If their claims have any validity, then why keep the details secret?
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:12PM (#6063185) Homepage Journal

    Sue Linus, for an implementation that mimics an API which is not under patent protection?

    Sue Linus, for an implementation of an API under the U.S. Government sponsored POSIX public specification?

    Sue Linus for the implementation of an API for which your claim to hold copyright cannot be legally documented?

    Even if the Linux kernel were a clone of Unix internals, the 1991-2 date comes before the U.S. was even clear that software could be patented. In FINLAND!!!!! outside the jurisdiction of U.S. legal bogosity.

    BTW: From when does this imaginary patent protection for the Unix kernel and I/O mechanism date? 1970? 1972? I smell expiration.

  • by willtsmith ( 466546 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:14PM (#6063201) Journal

    We (Tivoli Indy) had an IBM IP guy come in and explain a lot of this stuff. He basically explained the strategy of patenting anything and everything possible.

    Effectively, if someone sues them they search their IMMENSE inventory of patents and find things that apply (even remotely). After that, it's a simple matter of cross-licensing or annihalation via litigation.

    BTW, IBM is the #1 patent holder in the US. They file more patent applications than ALL OTHER parties in the US. They have a VERY NICE incentive program for folks to patent what they do. And they DO take advantage of it.
  • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:32PM (#6063355)
    I wish that Linus had a reason to be afraid

    Linus is taking exactly the correct approach to this whole mess. Whether it's deliberate I can't tell you. His approach is best described as public indifference. There are three reasons why this is best;

    SCO would like nothing more than to have Linus apoplectic over their actions. Nothing would serve the FUD machine better than to have Linus acting hysterical and muddying the water. If Linus started saying or doing dramatic things the targets of SCOs threats would be that much more nervous. Linus is not a court of law, CEO or powerful shareholder. He can't force anyone to do anything about any of this. I think the best thing he can contribute is quiet indifference.

    Indifference is the ultimate insult. At the very bottom of public discourse we find the Troll. The Troll feeds off anger. The Troll creates as much trouble as possible and feeds off the results. Anger registers as a negative on the attention scale, but at least it's non-zero. Having people pissed off you is clearly less than being admired and loved, but being ignored is worse. The more indifference SCO encounters, the more dramatic they become, because being ignored is not acceptable.

    Indifference, by default, prevents anything stupid being said. Rule #1 when dealing with lawyers and courts; Shut Your Mouth. It doesn't matter how exonerating what you say might be. It will eventually end up on the point of the dagger you find sticking out of your chest.

    Those are three good reasons why Linus not being an activist in this matter is best. Now you'll have my opinions;

    You want Linus to be an activist. In my opinion we have far more than enough of those already. Why can't we allow at least some of the non-activists in this world a little oxygen? Must everyone who wishes to matter be a megaphone for some cause? Have you lost the ability to appreciate spin-less competence? I long ago concluded that the vast bulk of activists we seem to spend so many of our mental computons listening to have zero interest in what their advocating anyhow. Most often they appear to be playing to their peers.

    UNIX has been a legal football for going on 20 years. Wouldn't it be nice to just let the damn court dates arrive and get it over with, with as little drama as possible? Maybe, just maybe, if everyone took the Linus approach, we could avoid creating anymore celebrity lawyers/judges out of all of this. God that would be nice.
  • by refactored ( 260886 ) <cyent.xnet@co@nz> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:47PM (#6063447) Homepage Journal
    Markets? Law? Nah! This is about feeding the jackals (Lawyers) and maybe a bit of M$ PR on the side.

    I wish I didn't see the future so clearly sometimes, but I wrote the following a good few years back...

    The "No problem Bugroff" license. []

    Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation [] devised, in addition to some marvelous software, the GNU General Public License (GPL for short). Or the CopyLeft it is sometimes called.

    It is quite a revolutionary document, using the "copyright" tool to to protect your right to use free software.

    Unfortunately using copyright to protect free software is a lot like using a Jackal to guard the hens.

    In fact, various inconveniences relating to this have resulted in modifications such as the LGPL (Library General Public License) and more recently the NPL (Netscape Public License) []

    I call these matters mere inconveniences, the real damage will occur when the Jackal's, (sorry, I mean lawyers), actually get to test the GPL in court for the first time.

    Thus enter my version.

    Its very simple.

    Entirely consistent.

    Completely unrestrictive.

    Easy to apply.

    The "No problem Bugroff" license is as follows...

    The answer to any and every question relating to the copyright, patents, legal issues of Bugroff licensed software is....

    Sure, No problem. Don't worry, be happy. Now bugger off.

    All portions of this license are important..

    • "Sure, no problem." Gives you complete freedom. I mean it. Utterly complete. A bit of a joke really. You have complete freedom anyway.
    • "Don't worry, be happy." Apart from being good advice and a good song, it also says :- No matter what anyone else says or does, you still have complete freedom.
    • Now bugger off. The only way to get rid of pushy Jackals is to ignore them and not feed them. The GPL is just begging somebody to take it to court. Can't you just see it. Exactly the same thing that happened when some twit (not Linus) registered Linux as his own personal trademark. People got upset, started a fund, and hired, off all ruddy things, a Jackal to try and defend the chicken! Who really benefits from this trademark / patent / copyright thing anyway? The lawyers. Who made it up in the first place? The lawyers.

    OK so the last part of the license sounds a bit harsh, but seriously folks, if you are a :-

    • Lawyer asking these legalese questions... You should go off and learn an honest trade that will actually contribute to life instead of draining it.
    • Programmer asking these legalese questions... You have amazingly powerful tools in your hands and mind, use them to ask and answer the worthwhile questions of life, the universe and everything. Stop mucking about with such legal nonsense and get back to programming.
    • User/reader asking these question... Don't worry. Go off and be happy. Have fun. Enjoy what has been created for you.
  • by esquimaux ( 639595 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:10PM (#6063620)
    As somebody who works for a company who was minding its own business when the boys in Blue showed up waving patent claims at us, I have to say that IBM doesn't just defend itself with its alleged IP. It's out there beating the bushes for victims.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) * <> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#6063629) Journal
    you hit on the piece that has been puzzling me, WHAT CODE, or FUNCTIONS ? Has it been revealed to those in the know under some kind of NDA or is SCO still just making intangible references ?

  • by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:16PM (#6063680) Homepage
    At this point it seems Linus is being given too much credit. He holds the trademark to the Linux kernel, but a news blob a while ago mentioned SCO is not suing for something added to the kernel, but to the Operating System in general by the companies. This completely removes Linus, until this statement.

    And then again, trying to comprehend what SCO is claiming, that someone somewhere along the line copied code to the Linux system, either kernel or glibc or some applications. Did other developers know about it? Unlikely.

    If someone copied code, and he is NOT employed by Linus, can Linus be sued for it? This is of course assuming we're talking about the kernel.

    Linus knows all this, and like most of us, knows what SCO is really up to and how all this will end. After this ordeal, Linux might lose a small section of its market, but confidence in Linux's license and code will soar. The next company would not be able to sue Linux for any significant damage, and will be turned down faster by the courts. In that sense, its good to have an imbecile like SCO testing the legal foundations (and strengthening) of Linux, rather than someone bigger, with a more damaging lawsuit.
  • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:20PM (#6063730)

    SCO distributed Linux under the GPL. If Linus is guilty of patent violation, SCO is guilty of copyright violation.

    Section 7:

    If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program. []

    Strange thought, don't you have to actually do something to violate a patent? The code in and of itself does not violate the patent. And if SCO violated Linus' copyright by distributing their patented code under GPL... then they're suing because Linus doesn't have a license... ugh.


  • by mikeee ( 137160 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:36PM (#6063928)
    The community needs to come up with a way to respond to this incident, and to other things like it.

    Well, there was the build-your-own-cruise-missle story on slashdot last week...
  • by Carmody ( 128723 ) <slashdot AT dougshaw DOT com> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:39PM (#6063958) Homepage Journal
    After all the time, love, and energy he's given us, you want him to give still more?

    Oh for crying out loud. He is not a Christ-figure. He gave his time, love, and energy to a project that interested him. He didn't do it for US, he did it for HIMSELF. That isn't a bad thing. (oh god, I hate it when I sound like a Randroid) I'm glad that he did what he did. We have all benefitted. But he didn't wake up one day and say, "I am going to give everybody free beer and create a movement that will redefine the concept of free speech." He woke up and said, what many engineers all over the planet often say, "Hey, I just thought of something mega-cool I can do... and fuck, I didn't want to go to bed early tonight anyway."

    (I know he said this, for he told me so in a dream)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:47PM (#6064038)
    Again, so why are they talking about "enterprise scalability"? They have patents for technology they've never sold? They have a portfolio to match IBM's in court? FAT CHANCE. For any infringement SCO could find by IBM, IBM could likely find a dozen infringements in SCO's "products."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:41PM (#6064510)
    It is strange that SCO tried to transfer (read buy) the IP for System V *after*
    the lawsuit. Common sense dictates that SCO would have had
    their paperwork in order before the got started. And that is exactly the
    point: did they realize they need to own the IP because they found
    strong support from deep pockets (like Microsoft) and they are now able to
    aim for a bigger prize? Considering that SCO acts in public like a pappet of Microsoft,
    somedays it feels like the real fight is between Microsoft vs Linux, and not SCO vs IBM.
  • Can't sue Linus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tokerat ( 150341 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:42PM (#6064520) Journal

    ...if he wasn't the one who put the code into the Linux Kernel.

    Obviously he had to approve it, but if UNIX source is such a big secret how is Linus supposed to recognize submitted code as such?
  • by Vip ( 11172 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:48PM (#6064574)
    None other than David Boies, lawyer for the government during the MS anti-trust trial!

    Here's [] the article.


  • SCOX - stock watch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by towatatalko ( 305116 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:49PM (#6064583)
    Today 2mil shares of SCOX were traded on far higher volume than any other day of their average trading (300k or so). So, it is rather obvious that SCOX is walking on the thin ice of news and expectations that were hyped to their stockholders and speculators. The decline is as rapid as its rise in the previous weeks, so it might be a matter of few weeks as well when it goes under $5. June 13, or even earlier, should show what SCOX is really worth.

    The decline is not a classic 5 wave down appearance (by Elliott Wave standards), so it's hard to say how deep this correction will go and how fast. If it were 5 waves (called impulse wave), SCOX would be pretty much doomed already. Besides, if anyone of you is inclined into technicals, today's action just touched the lower bond-support channel (hourly view), so it is likely that SCOX will try to fight back with some renewed rally. It'd have to go below $5.80 to cut trough the current support.
  • by Mistah Blue ( 519779 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:50PM (#6064591)

    IANAL, but I wonder if IBM couldn't bring a civil RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) against SCO. I would ROFL if they could do one better with a criminal RICO suit. It seems to me that SCO's business line is now extortion, which to me seems to qualify it as a corrupt organization.

    Personally, I think IBM needs to squash them for the annoying insect that they have become.

  • by SN74S181 ( 581549 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:51PM (#6064598)
    I don't get the preachy 'hear that Windows users' blather that goes on here all the time. Anybody with any sense at all uses both Linux and Windows, and perhaps some other OSes as well.

    It's only idiots and zealots who try to force an either/or proposition.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:44AM (#6064934) Homepage Journal
    I think Canopy was in this from the start. All three CEOs (Brian Sparks, Ransom Love, Darl McBride) have been Novell executives.


  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:56AM (#6065016) Homepage
    You didn't understand what I said.

    SCO's allegations themselves breach the GPL, because they are , per section 4, an "attempt" to "otherwise ... sublicense or distribute" portions of the code that they MUST distribute solely under the GPL because they contains stuff authored by Linus Torvalds, even if it contains other stuff which they own the "contract" rights to.

    It doesn't even matter if SCO is actually correct. The "attempt" to retain other rights that they distributed in a GPL mixture is what violates the GPL. If those rights are non-existent, it is still an "attempt". Read section 4.
  • by RdsArts ( 667685 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @01:06AM (#6065085) Homepage Journal
    I understand your position, but if you did that, and even if SCO IS being odd, the idea of the GPL is freedom. The first time we deny someone a GPLed work, regardless of how someone may feel about them, that is the day the GPL is dead.

    Free software is about software being free for everyone. Not just the people we like.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @01:37AM (#6065253) Homepage Journal
    Linus is probably best off to keep his mouth completely SHUT unless and until SCO actually does sue him, and then consult a lawyer before saying a word -- so he doesn't accidentally say something that works against him in court.

    After all, SCO's gum-flapping has already compromised *their* case. Why should Linus make the same mistake??

  • by kien ( 571074 ) <> on Thursday May 29, 2003 @02:44AM (#6065517) Journal
    Be careful how you word that. What one considers _FUN_, another can consider patent/trademark/copyright infringement, or illegal, immoral, or downright wrong.

    Truer words were never spoken. Just ask these [] people. :)

  • by rafi ( 55956 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @04:42AM (#6065890)
    if everything would be open source from the beggining such problem wouldn't exist at all - and that is the reason why Open Source is good.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @05:39AM (#6066034)
    Because Flash isn't patented, and there exist non-macromedia implementations of the technology (e.g. Squeak can play most flash movies). There's no reason why you couldn't build an alternative (Free) platform on the same file formats, its just that no-one is interested enough to do this.
  • by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @07:33AM (#6066310)

    Or people who just plain don't need what Windows offers. I'm quite comfortable with a mix of Linux and OpenBSD myself, and I don't think that makes me an idiot or a zealot.

  • Fine, mod me offtopic, but I have to say:

    ...I've served as a senior software developer as a contractor for the US Air Force. That portion of my life's work is protecting your sorry ass right now. So Fuck Off.

    I love this attitude. Sounds just like the bit from "A Few Good Men": 'I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it.'

    Problem is, as a citizen of the United States, it's not my privilege but my duty to question the manner in which my security is provided, because ultimately the people who do so work for me. It's my responsibility. I vote fo rit and I pay for it.

    The other fun part is the way that many (note: not all, and from what I've seen not most) military types hold civilians in contempt. If you don't think we're worth defending, why the hell are you doing the job? Besides which, if you love our country you've got to love the civilians. A body made up entirely of immune cells isn't going to last too long...

  • by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:11AM (#6067238) Homepage
    BTW: From when does this imaginary patent protection for the Unix kernel and I/O mechanism date? 1970? 1972? I smell expiration.

    Well, see, like you say, they don't even own it, so it doesn't matter if the patent was granted yesterday - Novell isn't enforcing it. ;)

    What they're doing here is cute though - they are so willful at mixing concepts that it's disgusting. They blatantly mix arguments that are only germane to patents with a trade-secret situation. They always refer to SCO OpenUnix as Unix (circleR), a trademark they don't own and isn't unique to them. They claim that Linux is in violation of trade secrets they couldn't have been a party to. Every other day they claim they have patents and copyrights - then they kind of admit they don't - but not really.

    I can't imagine their lawyers are that retarded that they can't make the distinction (in fact I know they're not). And they can't hope that IBM's are. Additionally, they can't be hoping still that IBM will settle, because IBM's foaming at the mouth now.

    The only possible conclusion is they're using their spotlight to spread as much FUD as they can before this thing goes to court and they get reamed. Of course, they will lose any credibility they might have had in the process, and will certainly lose a great deal of business.

    Something's making this "Suicide-by-IBM" gambit worth it - gee, I wonder what?

  • They will (Score:3, Insightful)

    by siskbc ( 598067 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:15AM (#6067282) Homepage
    If SCO decides to actually sue Linus, I hope all the server companies (or atleast the big ones like IBM, Red Hat, Penguin Computing, etc.) will help with his legal costs. After all, he did give them a great product without them do all the R&D themselves.

    Smart companies like SBC with questionable IP go after Mom&Pop shops to establish precedent before going after the big boys. Naturally, that assumes you have things, like say a patent, that enables you to win the case, unlike SCO.

    The last thing IBM wants, being a major linux player, is SCO spending Linus into a settlement, because settlements look bad (and IBM already had a chance at that one that they passed up). So if Linus is sued, expect IBM's hired muscle to crack some SCO kneecaps for him.

  • by gaj ( 1933 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @10:39AM (#6067494) Homepage Journal
    I doubt that most of those messages are from the "linux community". Those sorts of posts are pretty normal on yahoo's stock message boards. They make some of the more volatile alt.* groups look tame.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor