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SCO To Show Copied Code 646

Posted by Hemos
from the throwing-mud-in-the-water dept.
A number of people have written this morning in regards to the latest update in the ongoing SCO dropping Linux, with word from LinuxJournal that SCO has broadened the implications of code copying. A number of analyst groups have come out, however, saying that it's fine to keep moving ahead with Linux adoption - and there's an interesting interview with SCO's General Manager of SCOSource.
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SCO To Show Copied Code

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  • by Michael's a Jerk! (668185) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:27AM (#5962608) Homepage Journal
    This has been posted before but they can not collect on any damages caused, as they have not published the allegdedly infringing portions.

    Not telling the world what the code is, is a legal blunder of the first order. This means that they have unclean hands, as they are supposed to try and mitigate the damage in order to receive compensation.

    You can't knowlingly add to the damage and then ask for compensation incl Punitive damages based on same. Any suit against Linux vendor in the future can site this as an Affirmative Defense" and pretty much get the suit tossed on that account alone
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:38AM (#5962649)
      As an astute poster pointed out on OSNews, they cannot collect on any damages anyway.

      They distribute(ed) a version of Linux under the GPL, a licence that legally permits people to copy and branch the code assuming they put it under the GPL. Unfortunately for SCO, whether or not they knew they were distributing their own IP under the GPL or not is irrelevant to the rather compelling argument that they did put their IP under the GPL, and now that they continued to distribute linux after they found the alleged infringements means that no court would declare that licence invalid.
      • by GigsVT (208848) * on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:40AM (#5962664) Journal
        They distribute(ed) a version of Linux under the GPL, a licence that legally permits people to copy and branch the code assuming they put it under the GPL. Unfortunately for SCO, whether or not they knew they were distributing their own IP under the GPL or not is irrelevant to the rather compelling argument that they did put their IP under the GPL, and now that they continued to distribute linux after they found the alleged infringements means that no court would declare that licence invalid.

        If anyone argues this, we lose in a bigger way. MS can then say "see, I told you so! GPL caused SCO to lose their IP!!!!".

        It would benefit us greatly as a community if no company makes this argument in defense.
        • by belroth (103586) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:54AM (#5962739)
          say "see, I told you so! GPL caused SCO to lose their IP!!!!".
          Alternatively it could be argued, possibly by shareholders in a due diligence case, that SCO lost any IP by not exercising proper care over what they were selling.
          You could view this as only peripherally about the terms of the GPL and more about SCO being careless - if they'd used the BSD, Artistic, or Moz licenses the effect on any proprietary IP would be the same.
          • by siskbc (598067) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:40AM (#5963997) Homepage
            Alternatively it could be argued, possibly by shareholders in a due diligence case, that SCO lost any IP by not exercising proper care over what they were selling.

            Due diligence doesn't really apply to patents, I don't believe. Does with trademark, which doesn't apply here.

            If due diligence did apply (and you could argue it should), then the whole Rambus fiasco wouldn't have happened

            • As far as I can make out this isn't a patent issue.
              I'm not sure what it is, if it isn't a kite, but it seems nearest to being a trade secret issue, in which case I would expect due dilligence to be applicable. It might be time to stop speculating until there are more data? On the other hand this is /. :-)
              • by siskbc (598067) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:08AM (#5964280) Homepage
                As far as I can make out this isn't a patent issue.

                Yes, it is. They have patents, which they plan to enforce, namely with regard to multi-processor stuff. They also have copyright. Both of these supercede "trade secrets," and neither can be revoked due to any presence or lack of "due diligence."

                If you have a source that suggests copyright (NOT TRADEMARKS) can be revoked by lack of due diligence, I'd definitely like to see it, because everything I've seen states clearly that copyrights are protected for Life+70. Otherwise, do musicians who allow their songs to be traded on Napster-clones lose copyright? No.

                Any due diligence issues might play out in a penalty phase, but in terms of guilt and innocence, it's irrelevant.

                There have been a jillion articles on this thing, including with SCO officials, so it's not a matter of more data. They claim that both patents and copyrights have been violated. Patents supposedly got leaked through IBM's AIX collaboration with SCO. Copyrights supposedly did because they claim that a lot of pre-IBM linux developers were privy to unix code that they were NDA'd from using elsewhere.

                That's where it currently stands. Much of this was in the articles attached to this discussion, which you might have considered reading first.

        • by Basje (26968) <bas@bloemsaat.org> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:01AM (#5962770) Homepage
          If anyone argues this, we lose in a bigger way. MS can then say "see, I told you so! GPL caused SCO to lose their IP".

          I think that is a moot point. Whatever comes from this, open source will lose, whether SCO wins ("see, linux will lose you money") or loses ("see, your IP is at stake"). I think the second is less damaging because it's simply because of SCO's behaviour, and that can be shown.

          The real sting in here is that while the code may well be GPL, the process and ideas it implements may very well, and probably are, still protected by patent laws. It's the same as with LZH compression: the algorithm is proprietary, even when there's GPL-ed code that implements it.
          • by pe1rxq (141710) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:04AM (#5962788) Homepage Journal
            The problem is that the owner of this ip (most unix patents will probably be outdated anyhow) has been distributing it under the gpl, and thus giving up al rights to enforce their patents. The LZH case was different, the owner of the ip never gave permission to use it in gpl programs, and thus the person who first distributed it under the gpl (not those persons who distributed it further) would be liable.

            Jeroen
            • by Gleef (86) * on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:24AM (#5962915) Homepage
              pe1rxq wrote:

              The problem is that the owner of this ip (most unix patents will probably be outdated anyhow) has been distributing it under the gpl, and thus giving up al rights to enforce their patents. The LZH case was different, the owner of the ip never gave permission to use it in gpl programs, and thus the person who first distributed it under the gpl (not those persons who distributed it further) would be liable.

              This isn't a Patent case, SCO is suing on Copyright Infringement and Trade Secret grounds. The rules are completely different.

              Distributing under the GPL does not touch their copyrights over their own code. SCO still has copyright on any code they wrote that they didn't assign copyright to anyone else (eg. their extensions to Unix System V). They also still have copyright on any code that had copyright assigned to them that they didn't assign to anyone else (eg. the Xenix and Unix System V codebases). These copyrights aren't going anywhere for a while, but I seriously doubt that they have the relationship to the Linux code that SCO claims.

              My understanding of Trade Secret law, on the other hand, tells me that distributing under the GPL completely destroys any Trade Secret case they may have. In order to claim that something is a Trade Secret, you need to maintain dilligence in keeping other people from finding out your information. Distribution under anything but a NDA strikes me as incompatible with a Trade Secret. Distributing your own Trade Secrets under the GPL is likely to get a judge to laugh at you.

              I am not a lawyer. The above should not be considered legal advice. Mashed potatos can be your friend
              • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:29AM (#5962948) Homepage Journal
                Distributing under the GPL does not touch their copyrights over their own code.
                No, but it does provide anyone and everyone with a licence to use their code, under the terms of the GPL. Having granted that licence, they cannot revoke it. The only violations they can really tackle are those that occured before they released the code under the GPL themselves, and as I don't recall Caldera being particularly slow to distribute new kernels, I think we're talking about days worth of "violations" rather than years.
              • by TheConfusedOne (442158) <{the.confused.one} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:49AM (#5963087) Journal
                We have the classic GPL/Copyright confusion going on here again.

                Think of it this way: Copyright is the house. GPL is a door into the house.

                By publishing copyrighted work under the GPL that means that you give people to come in and do whatever they want to the house within the boundaries of the license. You still own the original house and can build another door into it that has less abilities.

                You cannot, however, close the original GPL door.

                You could build an extension onto the house that doesn't use any of the originally GPL'd portions and keep access to that extension away from the GPL door, but you can't close off the original parts of the house.

                Trade Secrets are even trickier. You need to protect trade secrets. If you fail to protect them and lose them then they're gone. If you do take reasonable measures to protect them and they're stolen illegally then you can prosecute. (Look at that DirecTV suit where the law clerk photocopied the documents.)

                So, the argument can be made that by SCO/Caldera's act of distributing Linux they inadvertenly GPL'd any and all IP that they may have included in the work. The argument can also be made that the original person who published the work under the GPL didn't have the right to do that. The problem is that SCO is a publisher too.

                Personally I think we should just get ourselves back to the easy questions like "what is the sound of one hand clapping?"
                • You cannot, however, close the original GPL door.

                  The analogy doesn't quite hold, you can close the door all you want... that is, you can scrub the code of all contributions for which you don't hold the copyright and then stop distributing it under the GPL... but...

                  ...that won't stop your obligations when somebody comes back to you with an old GPL'd copy of your program and demands the source code of that version.

                  Wasn't Sourceforge GPL? (They may have been BSD'd I could be mistaken.)

          • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:26AM (#5962927) Homepage Journal
            Open source (and free software) doesn't lose if SCO loses because they never had a case to begin with. Until we see the source Linus and his band of jolly pirates created by allegedly copying SCO, we can't really judge either way.

            SCO's decision to hold off this long and not even provide potential future litigants with the opportunity to remove the code from their systems and minimise the alleged damage suggests, to me, that they really don't have a case. I guess we'll find out when they eventually show the code.

          • LZH (Lempel-Ziv-Huffman; find repeated strings in a sliding window and then use Huffman coding on the resulting backreferences and raw characters) is freely implementable in all countries - it was developed for pkzip-2.0, and later adopted for gzip. You're thinking of LZW (Lempel-Ziv-Welch). Although the US patent on that will expire in a couple of years IIRC.
        • If anyone argues this, we lose in a bigger way. MS can then say "see, I told you so! GPL caused SCO to lose their IP!!!!".

          So what? Smart people understand that progress of mankind is not and cannot be property of individuals or small groups; it belongs to mankind as a whole. The entire notion of intellectual property is misplaced here. Mankind is discovering how to make computers a useful universal too and how to build an Internet out of all those computers. Linux is part of that ongoing discovery. What could it be that gives a small group of people the right to own progress?

      • They distribute(ed) a version of Linux under the GPL, a licence that legally permits people to copy and branch the code assuming they put it under the GPL. Unfortunately for SCO, whether or not they knew they were distributing their own IP under the GPL or not is irrelevant to the rather compelling argument that they did put their IP under the GPL

        The problem is that they didn't put their IP under GPL in the first place, but (allegedly) someone else did without SCO knowing about it. Time is important here.
    • by Surak (18578) * <surak@NoSpam.mailblocks.com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:43AM (#5962678) Homepage Journal
      IANAL, but I'm not sure that not demonstrating what code is bad AT THIS POINT in the game is a failure to mitigate their damage.

      What *is* a failure to mitigate their damage is the fact that they sold their OWN version Linux along with a version of the kernel that THEY THEMSELVES patched. While I'm a Gentoo user now, my second distro was Caldera OpenLinux (my first distro was Slackware 3.5). Caldera OpenLinux had a graphical boot feature which required a specially-patched kernel. They wrote the graphical boot system and the patches to the kernel, so even if there IS SCO code in the kernel (which there isn't), it's not like they didn't know about it.
      • by rnturn (11092) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:36AM (#5963959)
        ``What *is* a failure to mitigate their damage is the fact that they sold their OWN version Linux along with a version of the kernel that THEY THEMSELVES patched.''

        And the dumb thing is that they were doing this at the same time they say they were investigating possible code copying -- for the better part of the past year (if my memory is clear of what was in previous accounts). It would seem to me that as soon as someone at SCO thought they should start looking at possible copyright infringement that they would have ceased any further participation in Linux at that time. Not a year later.

        Either there's a serious communications problem at SCO or we have a possible explanation as to why Boies's (sp?) law firm was brought in, i.e., their internal legal department doesn't know their elbow from a hole in the ground (I know what I want to say here but I'm trying to keep this as civil as possible).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:52AM (#5962729)
      "This has been posted before but they can not collect on any damages caused, as they have not published the allegdedly infringing portions."

      The Complainant (SCO) is not required to publish the code in question. If such were the case, then trade secrets would be completely undermined by the judicial system. The time for disclosing the alleged infringing code is at trial, where the code can be kept under seal from the public, if necessary.

      "Not telling the world what the code is, is a legal blunder of the first order. This means that they have unclean hands, as they are supposed to try and mitigate the damage in order to receive compensation."

      SCO is not adding to the damages. Mitigation entails stopping damages that are under your control to stop. How is it that you propose SCO can stop IBM or others from distributing software while the suit is being pursued?

      "You can't knowlingly add to the damage and then ask for compensation incl Punitive damages based on same. Any suit against Linux vendor in the future can site this as an Affirmative Defense" and pretty much get the suit tossed on that account alone"

      Even if SCO were to lose this case, a futher defendant would not "site" it as an Affirmative Defense, but rather as a precedential case. And, being a breach of contract case, the precedential value would be limited for a future defendant.

      • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:23AM (#5962912)
        The Complainant (SCO) is not required to publish the code in question. If such were the case, then trade secrets would be completely undermined by the judicial system. The time for disclosing the alleged infringing code is at trial, where the code can be kept under seal from the public, if necessary.

        Interesting comment, but this only holds for use of trade secrets in proprietary code. SCO claims that the code in question has entered Linux, an open source operating system. So any trade secrets they claim with their code are already in the public. So what's the point with not telling anyone what that code is? Once going to trial, it is inevitable that it is found out what code it is: if they win the case, the code needs to be removed from the linux kernel. No matter how many non-disclosure agreements are signed for this operation, someone will find out that some code in the kernel has been removed, when/where and by whom. If they lose the case, the code was apparently not illigally there in the first place.

        So if it's established that the trade secret argument is vacuous in this case, the stuff with mitigating damages comes into play again. If they told what code they are concerned about, it would have been removed from the kernel quite promptly, I'm sure. I would guess the overall sentiment of the kernel coders would be something like: "we do not need no stinking SCO code". Once out of the kernel, the distributors would probably mirror the changes and make sure they would cease to distribute SCO's code.

        So all in all, I fail to see the point in not disclosing the whereabouts of the code at all. If a judge would see it that way is an entirely different matter alltogether.

  • by borgdows (599861) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:29AM (#5962613)
    and now, the revelation of the allegedly copied code!

    void main() {
    initkernel();
    while(1)
    {
    [...kernel related stuff...]
    }
    }
  • IBM is not faulty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by borgdows (599861) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:34AM (#5962630)
    "SCO already has claimed--some kernel versions released before IBM began contributing to Linux contain UnixWare code"

    so ? where does the leak (if any) come from except from SCO itself ?!

    • Re:IBM is not faulty (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sinan (10073)
      Could come from a lot of places.

      When the supposedly infinging code is made known, then a million hands will be searching for it's origins, and they will go back, way back to see where it might have originated from.

      Way back in late 60s and early seventies there were a lot of interchange of ideas/code between academics and industry about operating systems.

      Some that come to mind were HP RTE (Real Time Executive) ,which was developed at University of Montana in exchange for an HP computer.

      There was th
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:34AM (#5962632)
    Has SCO violated its own copyright? Is that why it stopped selling Linux? Its own people aren't too sure. This [theage.com.au]
    interview indicates that SCO's right hand
    doesn't seem to know what its left hand is doing.
  • And now... (Score:3, Funny)

    by ATAMAH (578546) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:36AM (#5962638)
    Linux is under a microSCOpe.
  • Errrrr.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by defishguy (649645) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:36AM (#5962642) Journal
    Sco claims that Linux violates their IP. Sco also distributes Linux. Linux is licensed by the GPL. GPL = Free Code Errr... Maybe the only blood that will be let is from the hole that they shot in their own foot? It seems to me that they've already GPL'd whatever Unix code there "may" be when they condoned, sanctioned, and released their own distro of Linux.
  • by platypus (18156) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:38AM (#5962647) Homepage
    Seems fitting, even more so with a small addition:

    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by [the combination of malice and] stupidity"

  • The business plan of (Score:2, Interesting)

    by keirre23hu (638913)
    search for IP violations
    bully people into coughing up money
    .
    .
    .
    profit

    needs to stop if there is "infringing" content i guess they have a right to sue... but perhaps that means the whole system of how intellectual property... particularly with respect to software.. need to change... what is going to happen if 2-3 yrs from now Amazon sells off part of its business including its 50 zillion patents... will we have to pay a royalty to use any interactive content on pages? This is just out of control.

    Th
    • by jjgm (663044) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:50AM (#5962718)
      Nonono... the business plan is:

      1. Sue IBM.
      2. Irritate the dinosaur.
      3. Get bought by dinosaur.

      The reason for this being that SCO is on the way down, down, down. The only way to rescue shareholder value at this point from total obliviion is a large injection of equity. Since no-one is likely to weigh in with the millions needed, the best way to obtain that equity is to replace it with those of a more stable stock.

      i.e. get bought by IBM.

      It's a high-risk, last-ditch strategy by a failing company.

      - K
  • catch-22? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:39AM (#5962657) Homepage Journal
    Seems like SCO is in a bigger soup. They want to go against commercial linux. But SCO also used to supply linux distribution and it used to be under "GPL".

    Now if a company releases proprietry code owned by it under GPL then anybody can use it! So it wont matter wether linux copies unix or whatever FUD they want to spread, all their linux code they released under GPL, so this will hardly stand in court.

    On the other hand, this could be an acid test for GPL, coz if commercial Linux vendors prove that the above said code which is supposedly copied was actually released by SCO itlelf under GPL, the whole case will fall flat.

    • So there may be a loophole.. 'caldera' was the violator, and once SCO was purchased the mistake was realized after a 'long and extensive audit' and the product pulled in good faith...

      If caldera didnt own the IP they they wernt legally allowed to release it under GPL, and they didnt have ownership in the beginning..

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:40AM (#5962662) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if IBM just a warm up for even bigger fish over in Redmond? And to raise capital for the battle.

  • by Mohammed Al-Sahaf (665285) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:41AM (#5962668)
    The linux kernel is full of our stolen code. I triple guarantee you - it is all over the place! We're giving them a real lesson today. Heavy doesn't accurately describe the level of casualties we have inflicted. I will show you the stolen code - IN ONE HOUR!

    Mohammed al-Sahaf (now SCO press spokesman)
  • SCO (Score:2, Funny)

    by Luigi30 (656867)
    SCO sounds a lot like the RIAA... maybe they'll merge into the SCAA?
  • by cibus (670787) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:42AM (#5962673)
    ..SCOs brilliant "quotes from linux leaders" page of proof [sco.com]! Oh no! Linux is doomed!
    • Re:Check out... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Komarosu (538875)
      its amazing how quotes can be took out of context :)
    • Re:Check out... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sfraggle (212671)
      This one seems to be the funniest:
      "We have to remember that Linux is a follow-on to UNIX. It's not just a UNIX clone. It's actually a UNIX successor."

      Bruce Perens, mpulse magazine, December 2001.
      Are they implying their own product is obsolete?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:44AM (#5962682)
    This letter [sco.com] on SCO's website contains a number of non-original words and phrases. For example:

    'commercial Linux user' [google.nl] is a phrase first commonly used by SGI;

    'Unix-like operating system' [google.nl] has obviously been pinched from multiple sources; and

    SCO's claim to 'Linux-related activies' [google.nl] is clearly not propietary.

    This messages constitutes a warning to SCO to change the content of the above mentioned letter or face possible legal proceedings.

  • by Michael's a Jerk! (668185) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:44AM (#5962687) Homepage Journal
    Check out this article [librenix.com] about the GPL implications of their republishing IBM's alegedly infringing code in their own version of Linux.
  • No fear (Score:5, Funny)

    by mccalli (323026) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:45AM (#5962688) Homepage
    From the interview:
    Wouldn't you agree that your legal action is causing uncertainty in the Linux community and that this uncertainty is undermining the marketing efforts of UnitedLinux?
    There is definitely uncertainty and doubt...

    But no fear, it would seem. :-)

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • Re:No fear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by johannesg (664142) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:03AM (#5962776)
      The community has already shown itself to be without fear, wouldn't you say? As for uncertainty and doubt, I'm uncertain if SCO is a real company or just a front for Microsoft, and if they aren't I doubt their sanity.

      Continuing on a slightly more serious note, the only entity that is greatly served by slowing Linux's adoptation into the business world is, indeed, Microsoft. Are there any financial ties between Microsoft and SCO? I find it hard to believe that SCO is self-destructing just for the hell of it. I have not much trouble imagining Microsoft going through the ol' FUD routine.

      • Re:No fear (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tim Macinta (1052) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:41AM (#5964011) Homepage
        Continuing on a slightly more serious note, the only entity that is greatly served by slowing Linux's adoptation into the business world is, indeed, Microsoft. Are there any financial ties between Microsoft and SCO? I find it hard to believe that SCO is self-destructing just for the hell of it. I have not much trouble imagining Microsoft going through the ol' FUD routine.
        That this is Microsoft's handiwork does seem a little far fetched as this seems incredibly evil, even for Microsoft, but maybe this hypothesis is worth researching. I do find it interesting that some of the documents which used to be on Caldera's DR Dos website and which were very damning towards Microsoft are no longer there. Thankfully, we have the Wayback Machine to show us the excellent write-up of Microsoft's vaporware practices [archive.org] which used to be on the DR Dos website. Going to the original URL has yeilded a 404 for awhile now. Why were this paper and the associated pages removed? Did the URLs just change? Is there presently anything on the DR Dos website that speaks ill of Microsoft? I actually haven't looked into these things yet, but perhaps somebody should. To go from a website that has very scathing information against Microsoft to one that has none overnight would be a bit odd.

        I do hope that Microsoft is not behind this at all because it would be nice to see SCO run out of cash trying to fight this (and that's one problem they wouldn't need to worry about if they were a Microsoft puppet). It does seem like an unlikely conspiracy theory to me, but who knows.

  • by jaymzter (452402) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:49AM (#5962711) Homepage
    Excerpts from SCO's Information Minister Chris Sontag:

    It is only too obvious the code infringement occurring in Linux. Torvalds' dogs are cutting their own throats before the walls of our Intellectual Property. Tonight they will burn in hell. The stolen code is as clear as the nose on my face.

    reporter:
    Sir, could we see some of this code?

    C.S.:
    I will only answer questions that deal in reality. The code is all over the place. Can't you see it yourself?

    reporter:
    But sir, since your code is hidden from the world, how do we know you didn't just take some Linux sources and just slap SCO source into it for the sake of the trial?

    C.S:
    Are you a fool? The open source pigs on slashdot would like you to believe that, but they are cying outside and waiting to receive bullets now. They will be killed shortly.

  • Do they mean they are just going to vaguely point at a tarball of the linux kernel and say, "There it is!" Or are they going to do something more useful like showing where in SCO's code it exists.
  • by the-dude-man (629634) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:50AM (#5962717)
    You know, I think this has been one of SCO'S biggest tantrums to date.

    I'd like to see some of this copied code, or hear about it, or hear anything except "the stole our unix". But thats All we have heard from SCO, they are yet to offer anything except them jumping up and down like a toddler with his first erection.

    Anyways, this is more likely a stunt from SCO to get some attention, and possibly a parent company. Since SCO dosnt exactly have a bright futre ahead.

    Perhaps when whatever crawled up their ass realises it can do better and crawls out this stunt will end :)
    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:21AM (#5962888)
      Oh I think SCO has a bright future ahead of them - consider this quote:

      We have the ability to withdraw or pull the AIX license on June 13, which should cause IBM to expedite this issue as well.

      What does that mean? It means they brought the case so IBM would settle out of court beofre that date. Much wonga for SCO for doing nothing. They don't have to show the source code, they don't have t prove anything, IBM will cave in rather than lose the ability to sell AIX. The only problem is that doing this may leave the doors open for SCO to say 'see, we were right', and then sue whichever other Linux distributor they like.

  • by jjgm (663044) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:56AM (#5962746)
    I've just been to the SCO FTP server, and obtained my SCO-distributed, GPL-licensed, SCO-approved Linux source code [sco.com].

    I'd like to thank SCO for making the GPL distribution of Linux a high-throughput broadband affair!

    -K

  • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:58AM (#5962757) Journal
    The merits of this case aside, one thing will be clear before this case gets closed - Is IBM:

    a. Loyal to GNU/Linux for ever.
    b. a mere hanger-on or passenger, if you will
    c. going to slowly pull the rug from under Linux

    IBM's recent alliance with MS et al in the Trustworthy Computing Alliance, I feel, casts more than a shadow of doubt, regarding it's true intentions. While it is apparently politically risky to openly side with Open Source, especially for an entity such as IBM, I believe they have stuck their necks out long enuff to retract now.

    OTOH, IBM could play a helpless victim, settle with SCO for let's say 10 million (peanuts for them) and then all hell breaks loose for all the other players.

    The ambivalence of IBM is frightening, to say the least.
    • I think you may be mistaken for taking IBM's lack of vocal response to SCO as "ambivalence". SCO is storming around, yelling and screaming about how Linux and IBM have horribly wronged them. IBM is more professional: they won't posture, but they'll destroy them in the actual fight.

      Any time you find yourself in a battle, the more you posture, the more you undermine your position by exposing your weaknesses through your bravado. It is better to approach a battle quietly, and then destroy your opponent co
    • 1) this case will say nothing about IBMs trustworthyness. IBM is defending itself. We may be beneficiaries, but it's defending itself.

      2) I don't interpret IBMs silence as ambivalence, but merely as looking for a good target. They aren't acting like they even feel threatened (though that *could* just be a poker face).

      3) IBM is not a monolithic entity. To the extent that I evaluate them as such, I'm more impressed by whether they offer Linux on their workstations and portables than by their rhetoric.

      4)
  • Who will they sue? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:00AM (#5962765)
    Linux is open source, there's not really a central company to sue. They can sue the person who inserted the code, but surely that person is likely to have worked at SCO if they got hold of the code. They'll end up sueing themselves or an ex employee.

    Besides the code can be rewritten or removed fairly quickly, all that will happen in SCO will be less compatible with Linux. Considering SCO is pretty much a dead product (going by the opinions expressed here) it's suicide on their part.
  • by RealRoadKill (554583) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:18AM (#5962873)
    SCO: "See we use 'Bubble sort' here..." .. "And here is an example of 'Bubble sort' in the Linux kernel" My point is that some algorithms are universal... and if no one has a copy right to them yet... SCO might claim that it is theirs and God save the Queen. It is stupid... We know it's stupid, they are stupid... "Stupid is as Stupid does" or something. This could turn into an ALL of Computer Science against SCO... Microsoft might actually have to help defend Linux to protect themselves.. now that would be funny.
  • by cocobucky (673490) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:29AM (#5962950)
    If they do, it does smell fish... perhaps an attempt at destroying linux from a scare legal tactic? 1989: Microsoft buys 16% of SCO for $25M http://www.robotwisdom.com/linux/microsoft.html A nice little thorn for MS, would'nt you say?
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:08AM (#5963238) Homepage
    Most often called Santa Cruz, Calderuman was one of the first of the UNIX vendors to arrive in Intel-earth, after the arrival of the System V. He was said to be the eldest of the order. For a dozen years, and maybe more, he journeyed in the barren East, and was little heard of at Berkeley.

    It was at about this time that Calderuman began to study the Rings of Power, their history and the means of their making.

    In year 31 of the Epoch, he was given the keys of OpenLinux, and took up his abode there. He continued his researches into Ring-Zero-lore, and the making of device drivers, and was accustomed to watch the stars from the pinnacle of the Tower. When the Council debated the Rings of Power, Calderuman claimed that his researches showed that the One Ring had been lost forever. It was later shown that he did not believe this, however, and was searching for it himself, having secretly rebelled against the Council.

    He built an army of Lawyers and Orcs of his own within the ring of Isengard to challenge both the Wise and the forces of Mondred. In May of the 24th year, when he was ready to reveal himself, Calderuman set a trap for Gandalf, luring him to Orthanc. When Gandalf came, Calderuman revealed that he had made a Ring of his own, and that he intended to gain control of Linux , or at least prevent Gandalf from using it freely himself.

    To be continued...

    (Plagiarized of course - Google to find the source.)
  • by Mandelbrute (308591) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:23AM (#5963348)
    Why are the antics of some managers so childish lately? The whole thing reads like this to me:

    Brat - He stole my thingy, and my other thing!

    Adult - OK Timmy, I'll put on the blanket everything he has, and you can point out what he stole.

    Brat - Won't! He stole my thingy!

  • by SilentReproach (91511) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:51AM (#5963580)
    At least, according to their web site [suse.com]:

    SuSE responds to latest SCO actions


    The UnitedLinux code base -- jointly designed and developed by SuSE Linux, Turbolinux, Conectiva and SCO -- will continue to be supported unconditionally by SuSE Linux. We will honor all UnitedLinux commitments to customers and partners, regardless of any actions that SCO may take or even allegations they may make.

    SCO's actions are again indeed curious. We have asked SCO for clarification of their public statements, SCO has declined. We are not aware, nor has SCO made any attempt to make us aware, of any specific unauthorized code in any SuSE Linux product. As a matter of policy, we have diligent processes for ensuring that appropriate licensing arrangements (open source or otherwise) are in place for all code used in our products.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:00AM (#5963666) Homepage
    Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of The SCO Group's SCOsource licensing operation, said in an interview that he will show independent experts, under a non-disclosure agreement, the evidence behind SCO's allegations that the Linux kernel source contains code copied from SCO UnixWare illegally and without credit.

    And will they even keep secret the names of these so-called experts? Of course I would never trust anyone who signs a non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from revealing the full truth about what they are examining. I probably would never trust those people about anything ever again. I know I would never sign such an agreement (but I don't have the political clout to be called an expert, so I'll let my 24 years of operating systems work (including source code internals), 19 years of C programming, 15 years of Unix experience, and 9 years of working on Linux, continue to do what it should be doing ... which doesn't include helping low-life underpaid executives recover their worthless stock options).

  • by kris (824) <kris-slashdot@koehntopp.de> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:09AM (#5963742) Homepage
    SCO Openforum [sco.com] is a conference and trade show held by SCO in Las Vegas from August 17 - 19, 2003. The Agenda [sco.com] includes a lot of uninteresting stuff, and lots of opportunities to talk to the C?Os and managers of SCO and tell them what you think of them. Are you a SCO partner and want to be associated with SCO? Come to the partner pavillion [sco.com] or even become a sponsor and showcase you association with one of the boldest defenders of IP rights in the US. :-)
  • by krumms (613921) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:29AM (#5963897) Journal

    From the interview with Chris Sontag:

    Q: SuSE feels protected against any legal action you may consider because of contracts with SCO and with UnitedLinux in which you are a member. Do SuSE and other Linux distributors including Red Hat have reason to be worried?

    Regarding contracts we have with SuSE and UnitedLinux, I would unequivocally state that there is nothing in those contracts that provides them with any protection or shelter in the way they are characterizing this in the press. If I were them, I would not be making those kinds of statements.

    Further, he goes on to say that this temper-tantrum is the result of IBM saying things SCO didn't like:

    Basically, he [Steve Mills, IBM exec] said that IBM will exploit its expertise in AIX to bring Linux up to par with Unix and went on to say a lot of other things, like trying to help obliterate Unix. IBM is a licensee of Unix technology from SCO, originating back to contracts with AT&T Corp. So IBM's position became a big problem for us.

    On behalf of Linux users and developers everywhere, fsck you, SCO.

  • Validity Of Code (Score:3, Interesting)

    by supun (613105) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:29AM (#5963901)
    Since the source code to Linux is out there, is it possible for them to cut and paste it into the SCO UnixWare code and pretend it's theirs? I only get worried about this since it's been proven, by past events, that the judicial system isn't really tech savvy.

    How do you verify that the code SCO provides is the same code that is in UnixWare? Do they disassemble shrink-wrapped version of UnixWare and compare it to the given code? Do they force them to re-compile a past release of UnixWare and compare the binaries.

    I hope they validate that what SCO puts forwards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:38AM (#5963973)
    Microsoft has 'owned' a piece of SCO since SCO's inception. Until 1998, SCO paid Microsoft royalty for each version of SCO product shipped. Early in this arrangement, Microsoft supported WORD(r) and FOXBASE(r) on the SCO platform. As UNIX/SCO started to be popular in the early 90's, Microsoft stopped developing products for SCO, This ensured Microsoft's position /total domination in the OS/Application market. This all but eliminated the possibilities of UNIX in becoming a player in the desktop market.

    Now along comes a Linux, a product which Microsoft management calls "a cancer'. A product which is making major inroads in both the server and desktop market. Microsoft's strategies for eliminating this 'cancer' have included; denial, "name calling", question able / manufactured reports claiming lower cost of ownership and better maintain. I would think playing this logical card would help Microsoft derail the Linux market.

    I would think a counter for this SCO/Microsoft move would be to sue both SCO and Microsoft for use of Linux/BSD code in a commercial product without display of copyrights and including source with the products. During the discover process, require SCO and Microsoft pay to have a third party code review of both of their products. The auditors would be chosen by the Linux/BSD world.

    At that point, such a legal action would not only derail the SCO/Microsoft legal action, but would expose the depths to which both companies have and are working in collusion to dismantle the Linux movement.

    Well that is my opinion, and I am sticking to it ;->
  • by nerdsv650 (175205) <nerdsd@[ ]dy1.com ['ner' in gap]> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:48AM (#5964073) Homepage
    If I recall correctly Sequent contributed significant amounts of MP code to SCO in one of its floundering attempts to partner up with an outside OS vendor so they could get rid of the base OS engineering group (this was before I worked for Sequent). Some years later IBM bought Sequent (this was while I worked in the base OS group there) and pushed many of the engineers off the Dynix/PTX boat onto the Linux boat with the stated goal of helping Linux scale to larger MP systems. I can't help but wonder if in this effort some Sequent code which had already been shared with SCO might not have made it into Linux.


    I never did work for the Sequent/IBM group that was doing this work so I have no concrete basis for this speculation.


    -michael

  • by CyberGarp (242942) <Shawn@Gar[ ]t.org ['bet' in gap]> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:35AM (#5964570) Homepage

    I had the pleasure of seeing a lecture, A History of UNIX and UNIX Licenses, by Peter Salus [ddj.com] at Setec [setec.us] recently.

    He was a witness in the 1993 lawsuit between UNIX System Laboratories versus BSDI. The prosecution accused him of being Mentally Contaiminated [berkeley.edu] for having viewed both sets of source code. Someone went out an made big red laquer buttons that said this and everyone who had seen source wore one to the trial. The contempt of court argument begins, and since it was a statement made by the prosecutor and not objected to by the court, then the buttons got to stay.

    This case has some interesting similarities to the SCO accusations. SCO has much less of a leg to stand on.

    I want a mentally contaiminated laquered button. If you've seen source code, then you are mentally contaminated. Maybe it's the start of a movement.

  • by rigorist (176416) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @11:36AM (#5964583) Homepage
    SCO started this case in state court in Utah. SCO alleged both SCO and IBM were Delaware corporations, making them technically "residents" of the same state. Unfortunately, IBM is actually a New York corporation. Therefore, there is federal court jurisdiction to hear the case (residents of different states and amount of controversy in excess of $75,000.00).

    SCO obviously wanted the case in state court. It very carefully pled no federal law claims such as copyright or patent. It pled only state law claims for unfair competetion, etc. The only reason to do this would be if SCO wanted this in state court.

    IBM removed (that's the verb) the case to federal court - United States District Court for the District of Utah on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Not a thing SCO can do about it.

    Why did SCO start the case in state court and why did IBM remove it? The state law claims of unfair competition, etc. are the same (the classic Erie decision still applies for all you budding 1Ls out there). The case will still physically remain in Utah.

    IBM gets Rule 26(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under Rule 26(a), the parties must disclose to each other, without even a formal request, the most relevant documents to their case. The disclosure must be done relatively quickly. I doubt there is a similar automatic disclosure in the Utah rules. In state court, SCO might have been able to drag the discovery process out for at least a few months. It could keep its source code hidden for a while. Under the federal rules, it cannot do that. By removing the case to federal court, IBM undercut a big hunk of SCO strategy - namely FUD.

    Obviously, the most relevant documents to this case are the source code listings SCO alleges IBM stole. These must be produced to IBM and produced quickly. There willl probably be a protective order preventing the rest of us from seeing them, but IBM gets to see them very soon (like maybe this month).

    If there was no theft of code by IBM, expect a quick resolution of the case. If there was theft from Project Monterey in violation of the SCO-IBM agreement, expect a slugfest over intent and the the measure of damages.

    In addition, by not even knowing the corporate home of its adversary, SCO comes in looking foolish. How hard would it be to determine IBM is a New York corporation, not a Delaware corporation? Not hard at all. Take a look at any of its SEC filings. It was a stupid mistake by SCO and although it does not logically follow that the rest of its allegations are undermined, it does decrease credibility of SCO and its attorneys.

    The interesting question (at least for entertainment value) is who subpoenas RMS first to testify.
  • SCO's mistake (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sxooter (29722) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @12:14PM (#5964996)
    From an earlier interview, which was pulled because of it's containing an admission of guilt:

    "Finally. Somebody raised a possible problem that you yourselves distribute the infringing code under the GPL licence. Do you see that as a problem from your point of view?
    No we do not, because you do not have an infringement issue when you are providing customers with products that have your intellectual property in them.
    OK, but Linux has a kernel which isn't yours. Are you saying that there are changes to the kernel?
    We have concerns and issues even with areas of the kernel.
    So you are saying that you are happy distributing the kernel because the offending code belongs to you anyway, as I understand it?
    Yes."

    I.e. these guys don't have clue 1 what the GPL actually says. Unfortunately for them, failure to comprehend a license does not relieve you of your responsibilities under said license.

    http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2003- 05 -12-010-26-IN-CD-LL-0026
  • by feddman (453407) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @12:21PM (#5965089) Homepage
    Most lawsuits start with a cease and desist letter. SCO needed to give us, the Linux community, the opportunity to see where the problems lay and give us the opportunity to remedy it. If Linux kernel source code really does include source from Unix, then it should be easy enough to rewrite those parts of the source.

    Instead, SCO sends out their own Caldera customers warnings that they may be sued by SCO for using Linux. As a Unix instructor at a college, it will be years before I stop discussing the SCO case in class. Every student that comes out of my program will likely go out of their way to use operating systems that do not bear the SCO name.

    SCO will not survive this. It is absurd for a company to piss off the community that it sees as it's customer base. Maybe they should spend more time fixing their antiquated and problem ridden SCO Unix OS rather than follow the RIAA's poor example.
  • by njdj (458173) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @12:49PM (#5965334)
    The financial marketplace - the smart money - believes SCO is going to win, at least partly. Their stock price has more than doubled since mid-February. (the lawsuit was filed in early March, the stock started to rise about when leaks/rumors from insiders started).

    Serious money does not move like this unless the issues have been considered by good lawyers specialized in IP, plus technical advice, etc. Like most /.ers, I don't see how SCO can have a case - but I'm not an IP lawyer.
    • I suspect a lot of that money is moving on hopes that IBM will buy SCO out to avoid a protracted legal battle. Besides, if Wall street knew anything about technology, we would never have had the tech bubble and tech bust. and the economy wouldn't be in the toilet right now.
  • by geomon (78680) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @01:17PM (#5965629) Homepage Journal
    So lets assume that SCO is right and that, for whatever reason, their code ended up in the kernel.

    So what? They plan on going after users for infringement? They are soooo fucking high...

    Here's how that will play out:

    1) SCO reveals which code bits are in the kernel.
    2) Hours after their disclosure and possible judgement from the courts, hackers strip the offending code out and fork the kernel.
    3) Minutes after the kernel is forked, the SCOBlows distro is available via ftp.
    4) Users around the world rebuild their Linux boxes with non-offending OS running modified kernel.
    5) SCO is fucked in the marketplace forever.

    Of course they will have whatever money they can drain from IBM, SuSE, and Red Hat, but they will get squat from the users.

    Fuck SCO.

  • by One Louder (595430) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @01:26PM (#5965719)
    Why does everyone who makes claims of cloning seem to have trouble producing the proof?
  • Plagiarism? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alomex (148003) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @04:07PM (#5967228) Homepage

    Look, read any college or university report, or the New York Times for that matter, and you'll find that plagiarism is rife. Why is it so hard to believe that a few out of many thousands of Linux contributors might have taken a shortcut and misappropriated SCOs code?
    • Re:Plagiarism? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ctid (449118)
      It's quite simple: SCO have NOTHING that approaches the power and sophistication of Linux. They have had the "benefit" of this prehistoric source code for years, and they have been unable to produce a version of Unix which scales to > 4 processors. And yet they have the bare-faced cheek to suggest that the only way the Linux community could have produced an OS that could scale to 32 processors was by copying code from an OS which had no SMP, no LVM, no NUMA, no fucking anything.

      There are two reasons the
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:21PM (#5969684) Homepage
    If so much code was stolen, why is it that I can't mount a SCO EFS filesystem under Linux? I can mount virtually every other filesystem under Linux save SCO filesystems with divvy partitions. This is also the same company that takes two weeks to respond to remote root exploits with patches.

    Me-thinks SCO is full of SH*T and is going to fade into history. This is SCO's last stand, how tragic and sad.

    Too bad I haven't finished migrating everything from SCO to Linux yet. I guess the clock it ticking and I better finish porting.

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