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Settling SCOres 460

Posted by michael
from the revenge-of-the-nerds dept.
Israel Pattison writes "The Inquirer is reporting that someone in Germany is claiming to have viewed the SCO-alleged infringing Linux source code without having to sign a NDA. The person gives details about the code that was presented, but the translation-by-software is difficult to follow." The story also includes a link to a human translation; maybe some Slashdot reader can do better. Also in the news is a story about a kernel developer getting uppity with SCO, as well he might.
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Settling SCOres

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  • Incidents and accidents. Hints and allegations.

    And yet we have NO NEW INFORMATION ABOUT ANYTHING PERTINENT.
    • ...that some of SCO's allegations are certainly wrong in detail, and that certain specific code sections (like the scheduler) are under fire.

      Now if someone can recall some of the strings that they saw and grep the kernel for them we can probably have a little chapter-and-verse from which to answer some of SCO's whining directly.

      We have made progress against this stupidity, even if it's not as rapid or dramatic as you'd hoped. It'll be interesting to see how the threat of a countersuit impacts SCO's shares when the less technical sites pick it up.
  • by Keri Immos (681622) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:51PM (#6207108) Journal
    I can also view Linux source code without signing an NDA. It's open source, after all.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The NDA is to be told which parts they think are violating, retard.
      • The NDA is to be told which parts they think are violating

        This is very interesting.

        Notice how quite IBM is being in their legal case. Contrast with SCO which is making as much noise as possible. All of the press, the hourly soap opera updates, are all either from third parties, or from SCO. Not from IBM. In other words, SCO is playing this for PR.

        Since when does a company involved in litigation show their evidence under NDA?

        Hey, I'm suing CompanyX! But I'll show my case, secretly under ND
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:54PM (#6207127) Homepage
    lets sue a company that has 1.5 BILLION invested in Linux.....they will role over right away......

    erm wait.....1.5 billion.....we are worth 200 million if we throw in the coffie pot...shit were dead.
  • Perhaps (Score:2, Funny)

    by mgcsinc (681597)
    SCO just thought no slashdotters would be able to understand a German guy... but alas, they underestimated the power of the Babelfish
  • by xactoguy (555443) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:55PM (#6207138)
    ... and I think everyone is too. But, seeing as it's not going to go away that quickly, or at least until IBM puts their foot down ;), could we at least lighten up on the puns for the sake of our collective sanity?
    • Puns (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:00PM (#6207174)
      I would like to come out and speak in favor of the puns. They have been the best part of slashdot's coverage. Also, a running joke isn't funny if it doesn't reach the point of being stupid.

      Maybe this should be a slashdot poll:

      SCO wrapup story titles should be:
      • Puns
      • Ambiguous and forgettable
      • Unsuccessful and forgettable attempts to sumamrize all 19 links in four words
      • Serial numbers
      • Randomly and uniquiely generated for SCO stories on each pageoad based on a markov chain algorithm
      • All titled "cowboyneal"
      - still terrified still anonymous
  • by Otter (3800) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:56PM (#6207144) Journal
    All these stories we've been getting about how some anonymous person told an unnamed source that he heard something about SCO and Linux code -- all good, but if only they had been Babelfished first! Clearly this story sets a new standard for daily SCO rumors.

    Anyway, you've got to love a publication that tells you, "Here's a machine translation (containing lines like "In the concrete implementation there are not however so many differences that a proof of the same origin will become difficult, although reliably not possibly.") and, oh, there's also a human translation, too."

  • by Limburgher (523006) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:56PM (#6207146) Homepage Journal
    Now, I haven't seen the code, but the way it's described sounds to me like SCO may have grafted comments from the Linux source onto the SysV code. Comments being as unique and "fingerprinty" as they can be, this might have seemed like a good plan for making the code look like it came from SysV. The litmus test may be the origin of the comments, especially the jokes. I know if someone ripped off my joke, I'd for SURE let people know. . .
  • Line numbers please? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:57PM (#6207151) Homepage
    Could someone who knows the fellow ask him to select a version of Linux and indicate the actual filenames/line numbers where the code is alleged to be "the same?" The question here is "where did the code actually come from." To answer that, its first necessary to know precisely the code at issue.

    From there, I would imagine that Linus has extensive records on where particular kernel submissions came from. That leads to affidavits to the effect that the code was an original work, or its replacement with code which in fact is an original work. Either of which solves the problem.
    • It doesn't matter if we know who this particular guy is or what his code is. There are a number of people like him - the point is that SCO is getting slapped back. In other words, we don't need to know where his original code is - only the court need know that, for his case. The only important thing to us is that at least one person is slapping SCO back. What a great move!

      Linus need not be consulted. In the letter, the writer says that his code is tagged. That should be enough to copyright his work.

    • by MeanMF (631837) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:14PM (#6207274) Homepage
      From there, I would imagine that Linus has extensive records on where particular kernel submissions came from. That leads to affidavits to the effect that the code was an original work, or its replacement with code which in fact is an original work. Either of which solves the problem.

      From my understanding, if there was SCO code in there that somebody replaced, they would have had to do it without ANY access to the SCO code at all, in the same way companies like AMD did "clean room" reverse engineering jobs on Intel's chips once upon a time. If a Linux developer at IBM even had access to look at SCO-licensed code (let alone copying and pasting it), IBM would likely be in violation of their license. This is one of the reasons the kernel developers are recommending against signing the NDO to view SCO's code - once you've seen it and know SCO's supposed "trade secrets", you could very well be considered legally incapable of creating functionally equivalent, original code.
      • please (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dh003i (203189) <dh003i&gmail,com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:28PM (#6207350) Homepage Journal
        Unless SCO patented the methodology, then coding a replacement and having seen SCO's original code does not mean you can't make an equivalent original. SCO has to prove that the person didn't create an original. Also, people are not computers. They will not remember lines and lines of code with any precision, so the entire argument that they can't create a functional original is BS. If the SCO code was patented, all they need do is use a different methodology, unless it was something generic (generic "only solutions" or "common solutions" or "obvious solutions" are not patentable, as there's nothing unique about them).

        Who cares if IBM is in violation of SCO's license? That has nothing to do with IBM contributing to FOSS.
        • Re:please (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MeanMF (631837) *
          Unless SCO patented the methodology, then coding a replacement and having seen SCO's original code does not mean you can't make an equivalent original.

          Legally speaking, I'm not so sure of that. The company I used to work for was recently involved in a lawsuit. A software company that sells a product that we bought the source code to over 20 years ago claimed that we were in violation of our license because we used our knowledge of their software to develop an RFP for a replacement system. There was no
          • Re:please (Score:5, Informative)

            by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:26PM (#6207693) Homepage
            > The current legal action being discussed here is
            > SCO vs. IBM. SCO wants to revoke IBM's UNIX
            > license because they claim IBM copied UNIX code
            > into Linux.

            So far as I know SCO has not yet formally alleged copyright infringement in their complaint against IBM. I believe that the complaint just alleges that IBM breached its contract with SCO by revealing SCO's trade secrets.
        • Re:please (Score:5, Funny)

          by csguy314 (559705) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:41PM (#6208931) Homepage
          Also, people are not computers. They will not remember lines and lines of code with any precision,

          Hah! Speak for yourself. I've got the whole Linux scheduler memorized. I'm working on the character device drivers next. So there!...
          sigh... I really need a girl.
    • The comment that dates were removed is interesting.

      I presume that it means, this German guy didn't see the "raw" SCO evidence, but he saw SCO's presentation/interpretation/summary of the "evidence"

      My thoughts:

      1. Perhaps, he doesn't give file names or line numbers: because he does NOT know what they are

      2. Doesn't anybody find it the least bit odd, that a so-called expert, who is supposedly assessing the strength of SCO's evidence, is not shown the "raw" evidence, but some kind of presentation/sum
  • by hendridm (302246) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:58PM (#6207158) Homepage
    rjamestaylor already posted the link [slashdot.org] under a previous story [slashdot.org], and wiedmann was kind enough to translate it [slashdot.org]. Not exactly new, but worthy of discussion I suppose.
  • by Heghta' (246911) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:59PM (#6207169) Homepage
    Being a native German speaker as well, and just having read the article in German and then English, I think the translation was done fairly well, and I doubt there is need for a better one.

  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:00PM (#6207173) Homepage
    Slashdot, now with hourly SCO updates.
    • by Evil Pete (73279) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:27PM (#6207340) Homepage
      Slashdot, now with hourly SCO updates

      But it has to be that way 'cause that's how we now measure the lifetime of SCO.

      • Re:Wow, already? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DickBreath (207180)
        Personally, I would prefer to be able to be paged whenever either Slashdot or Linux Today had an SCO update.

        It's like a movie buildup. First you make the audience really hate the bad guy. Then the good guy wins.

        This is the best entertainment I've seen in a long time. But it's real life and affects something I care about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:00PM (#6207175)
    The Trillian Project : Proof of SCO's actions

    The Trillian Project : Proof of SCO's actions
    (#36053 by NZheretic in response to Did SCO open Unix source code? (ZDNet).)

    So, how did Linux become so capable of scaling beyond the heights of the
    old UNIXs. More importantly, who helped put what where?

    As with the marketing of cars and TVs, it is the vendor's high end
    leading edge models which sells the standard models, from which most of
    the sales and profit is made. For the enterprise server market today,
    that high end is multi-headed 64bit SMP ( shared memory multiprocessor
    ) systems, never mind the fact that single 32bit processors provide more
    than enough power to do most jobs. For all intensive purposes, it is the
    ability of the core OS to scale on 64Bit SMP systems that defines
    "enterprise scalability". Other enterprise feature are effectively just
    addons, which in the case of Linux, have been freely contributed from
    many vendors and developers.

    Since version 2.0, Linux was more than just a 32bit x86 operating
    system. With the insistence and assistance of John "Maddog" Hall, Linux
    was already ported to the 64Bit Alpha processor, which delivered great
    performance and stability. Just like the traditional AT&T UNIX source
    base, the ownership of the Alpha chipset passed though many hands,
    suffering the same fate of a thousand cutbacks. Even Alpha's "native"
    OS, VMS, has been ported to Itanium by HP/Compaq.

    Since 1997 Intel has been promoting the Itanium line as the inevitable
    successor for every other server processor on the market. Despite the
    early vaporware status, Intel has been very successful, at least in
    terms of marketing. With the exception of it's mainframes systems, even
    IBM ships Itanium systems that directly compete with their own Power
    processors.

    For what The SCO Group has to offer with SCO Unixware 7,the Itanium line
    is the only 64Bit option. The problem for The SCO Group is that modern
    Linux can compete so well in that same market, that the value of
    Unixware is rapid deteriorating to a historical curiosity. I suspect
    that The SCO Group ( at that time called Caldera ) executives were well
    aware of this before they acquired the server part of Old SCO in August
    2000, or they would have known, if they spoken to the right executives
    and technical staff.

    So how did Linux get scale on Itanium? The SCO Group would have you
    believe it was all IBM's doing, which isn't as interesting as the real
    story. The web of history weaves to encircle and entangle a much more
    diverse group of conspirators, including many of The SCO Group, Caldera
    and old SCO own former executives and other employees.

    In October 1998, IBM, Old SCO and Sequent teamed up to
    collectively develop parts of Unixware and AIX into scalable 64bit ready
    ports for IBM's Power processors and Intel's AI64, or Itanium, under the
    banner of Project Monterey. But by then, it was already too late.

    In February 1998, well before even the first prototype IA-64 chips were
    available, a skunkworks team at HP, with some assistance from Intel,
    began the work toward porting Linux to IA-64. By October 1998,around the
    same time that IBM, Old SCO and Sequent had finished negotiations, HP
    had completed the build toolchain. By January 1999, the Linux kernel was
    booting on an IA-64 processor simulator, months before the actual
    Itanium processor was available. In March 1999, at Intel, Linux was
    booting on the actual Intel Itanium processor. In April 1999, CERN
    joined the projects for the port of the Gnu C library and VA Linux
    Systems joined the project and rapidly improved the stability and
    performance.

    In May 1999, the Trillian Project is foundered and HP, VA Linux and
    Intel collectively provided their source patches to the Linux kernel for
    the Itanium port under the GPL license.

    A bootable kernel alone however does not make an OS make. HP supplied
  • Linus' stuff? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jabbadabbadoo (599681) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:02PM (#6207183)
    "The crunch, however, is a function of the scheduler, which is, over a length of about 60 lines, indeed identical except for slight differences. In this section, there is also a whole lot of corresponding comments. Comparable similarity can only be found in one routine of the memory management, which is, however, only in the Linux version accompanied by comments."

    I'm pretty sure that Linus "wrote" this; this is kernel stuff, right?

    • Re:Linus' stuff? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:33PM (#6207373) Homepage Journal
      Yes, Linus wrote the original scheduler, but the later modifications like O(1) are not his:
      /*
      * kernel/sched.c
      *
      * Kernel scheduler and related syscalls
      *
      * Copyright (C) 1991-2002 Linus Torvalds
      *
      * 1996-12-23 Modified by Dave Grothe to fix bugs in semaphores and
      * make semaphores SMP safe
      * 1998-11-19 Implemented schedule_timeout() and related stuff
      * by Andrea Arcangeli
      * 2002-01-04 New ultra-scalable O(1) scheduler by Ingo Molnar:
      * hybrid priority-list and round-robin design with
      * an array-switch method of distributing timeslices
      * and per-CPU runqueues. Additional code by Davide
      * Libenzi, Robert Love, and Rusty Russell.
      */
      Mabe this is one of the comments that were identical?
    • Re:Linus' stuff? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by macshit (157376) <miles@g n u . o rg> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:51PM (#6207486) Homepage
      What's interesting is that the scheduler seems one of the least likely places for such code-pollution to occur -- as one of the most central parts of the kernel, it's also one of the most scrutinized and well understood by many people.

      I'm also under the impression that the `traditional' linux scheduler (before the rewrite by Ingo Molnar in 2.5) is one of the oldest parts of linux, predating any involvement by IBM or any other large company with access to SCO source. [but this is just my impression from reading the LKML, not based on any research!]

      Because the mechanisms involved are fairly implementation-specific, it's also very unlikely that anyone could just copy a few random functions from SCO, unless they were very generic. Since SCO is by all accounts very old and crufty, it's unlikely you'd even want to.

      By far the most likely place for copied code is in obscure device drivers that no one really looks at or understands very well besides the original author.

      Of course what we really want to hear is the name of these functions! C'mon non-NDA guy, cough 'em up!
      • Re:Linus' stuff? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by msgmonkey (599753)
        Of course this is pure speculation and I'm no way implying that this is SCO's plan but if you wanted to claim ownership over a part of Linux than what better place to do it than the scheduler? Thats a core piece of code and not some driver or feature that you can turn off.

        I do agree that it's so unlikely that it's not even worth considering..
      • Re:Linus' stuff? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Minna Kirai (624281) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @09:03PM (#6207948)
        Since a process scheduler is such a well studied piece of Computer Science theory, it might be that the code in both Linux and SCO's Unix is derived from the same published, academic source.

        Something like an example from an Operating Systems 101 textbook... The natural starting place to write something like that. Both author's could've tossed in explanation from the same original source matter.

        Also, the scheduler is part of what makes Unix what it is- a multitasking, process-switched operating system. If several people want to implement that feature, they'll all have a very similar thought pattern, and converge towards a similar solution.
        • Re:Linus' stuff? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by xenocide2 (231786)
          Or more accurately, MINIX. When Linus started the kernel, there really wasn't an Operating Systems 101 textbook per se. There might have been a few books on high level concepts, but solid. My history of Operating Systems isn't quite solid, but my understanding is that the MINIX book had just been recently released (the project started in 87, so its fairly safe to assume the book was released around 89). Before MINIX there were no public operating system implementations. They were proprietary information tha
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:02PM (#6207185)
    someone in Germany is claiming to have viewed the SCO-alleged infringing Linux source code without having to sign a NDA

    Give yourself a few days to read the whole kernel source code and have your ass sued by SCO for having read their source code without NDA.
    • IIRC German law is much different about trade secrets than US law. Unless this person used illegal means to get access to that information, it is the responsibility of the company to protect their trade secrets. They can sue of course, but they are unlikely to win if it is their own damn fault. The lawyer (sounded like he is an external) who forgot to have him sign the NDA might be liable for damages, though.

      (Usual disclaimer applies; IANAL and my law-classes were a while ago).
  • translation (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:02PM (#6207187) Homepage Journal
    "It lacks farfegnugen"
  • what code? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tijnbraun (226978) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:06PM (#6207217)
    But it still doesn't mention which part of the linux code is copied (either way). I would like to know... give me some function/variable names. Then we could at least estimate the date the code was submitted and incorporated. Furthermore we could know which functional parts of the linux kernel was copied.
    • Re:what code? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lspd (566786)
      No doubt. Cite a damn file name and line numbers. Without it, this looks like a scam to get traffic.

      What use are vague references to jokes in comments? Tell the line numbers so that we can know for certain whether or not the code being shown comes from a questionable source.

      If this story is true and someone did see SCO's code without a NDA then they're wasting the chance they've been given to cite some concrete examples of what SCO is claiming.

      Since the author elected to provide the same sort of wi
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why the hell would someone write out saying they saw the code and never once mention a single file name or function name for that matter?

    How difficult is it to say: function foo() in Linux is the same as bar() in SCO code? Duh! Give me a break.

    This looks more and more like a bad soap opera.

    Better luck next time.
  • My 2 cents is that SCOX stock price should be driven down to 2 cents.

    If all Linux kernel copyright holders (or most) do what this German fellow did, but formed a class action (or several, in each country), SCOX stock price would drop like a stone. It would make SCO a more palatable acquisition target for IBM, but not at a price that makes this strategy threats of men with badges and guns enfocing the a worthy exit for stockholders. This would rid the world of SCO, but in a way that would not validate the
  • by pen (7191) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:22PM (#6207318)
    Why bother trying to prove that the code was acquired "legally" when they have not even shown publicly what the actual code is?
  • or does anyone else think that /. is turning into an SCO soap opera. I for one hope they die soon.
  • O.J? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DaBj (168491) <dabj&dabj,net> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:29PM (#6207353) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me or is this starting to look like the nerd version of the O.J. trial?

    (No lame glove references please.)
  • UNIX and derivatives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hobsonchoice (680456) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:34PM (#6207379)
    I am not a lawyer (get this out the way first), but my opinion of some highly relevant issues:

    According to McBride's public statements, SCO view all the *nix variants as derivatives of their stuff. If anybody is interested enough to discuss this, but doesn't remember, I'll locate the news links and post them.

    However as far as IBM is concerned: IBM are fully authorized in their contract to create derivatives of *nix - use any methods in the source - sublicense it as they choose - and what's more the contract says IBM own any derivative products that they create. The only proviso appears to be IBM should not copy code or whatever associated paperwork came with it (copying ideas and methods is explicitly allowed).

    Furthermore, it actually explicitly says this on SCO's own web site, and as part of SCO's evidence. Go, for example, to top of page 2: http://www.sco.com/scosource/ExhibitC.qxd.pdf [sco.com]

    So now, I think, we have yet another problem with SCO's case (aside from GPL issue, ATT v BSD issue, whether code was copied from or to SCO, whether SCO have the copyrights, whether anything in *nix is a trade secret given it's history, BSD contamination in *nix history undermining any copyright claim to entire *nix source, etc): Namely IBM are allowed to do more or less whatever they like in and with derivative UNIX products, explicitly stated in the contracts with ATT (which SCO inherited).
  • Novell's claim? (Score:2, Informative)

    by datan (659165)
    Novell backs off copyright claims against SCO [computerworld.com.au]

    Does anyone know what to make of this? Does it bolster SCO's case? Those documents that the paralegal 'found' couldn't be forged, right?

  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by utahjazz (177190) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:37PM (#6207400)
    -Code was 46 pairs of printouts, no dates associated.
    -2 sections of code looked very similar
    -The rest was mostly copied comments, including jokes that were copied.
    -Observer found it curious that the source code near the copied comments was completely different.

  • by Fished (574624) * <amphigory&gmail,com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:39PM (#6207419)
    I find it interesting that this "independent" developer manages to talk at great length without actually describing the codee in sufficient detail that we could determine what it is. If someone competent had actually seen that code, and were discussing it without fear of NDA, would they not have described it in more detail? Just a function name is all that's really needed, neh?

    Can somebody say "troll"? (Probably some teenage Windozer having a good laugh.)

  • I don't speak German, but I do know C:
    Some possible translations of the German programming terms
    Kettenabfrage (chained conditions?) sounds like switch statements.
    Bitmuster (bit patterns ?) sounds like bitmasks
  • Here is what you will see in the release notes for 2.4.22:

    Revised scheduler functions.
    Revised memory management routine.

  • SCO fsck yourself. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:50PM (#6207479) Journal

    Did I read in that English translation that all date and time info was removed from the code that was shown, and that the Linux code presented was taken from MAILING LIST POSTINGS? Assumng this isn't some hoax, I smell the very, very pungant odor of bullshit...
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:03PM (#6207549)
    The fact that SCO presented this without dates or source control log entries strongly suggests that either they either are completely naive about how to establish that code was copied, or that they simply don't have a case and are just playing a huge bluff.
  • by john82 (68332) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:09PM (#6207595)
    I found the second link (re: kernel developer getting uppity with SCO) to be much more interesting. He claims to be the author (or significant modifier) of code which SCO purports to be in violation. His remark in short is "The violation is yours, 'cause I wrote the code". In a challenge to SCO, he's threatening to sue SCO unless they remove the paticular code sections from their list of copyright violations.

    This may be one of the ways to put chinks in SCOs armor. Get other Linux kernel developers to compare what they've written against corresponding sections of OpenLinux. Then note SCO's violations.
    • chink in the armor, this is more like checkmate
      consider this,
      1. SCO distributed GPL'ed software, ie Linux
      2. SCO claims that IBM Illegaly transfered IP into Linux.
      3. SCO continues to distribute LINUX after allegedly discovery of non-GPLed code contamination Linux, a violation of the GPL and an infingement of the linux code copywrite owners rights.
      4. the only possible defense against an infringement suit from the kernel developers would be to say they were mistake about IBM's inclusion of SCO's IP into Linux,
    • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr.ticam@utexas@edu> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:38PM (#6208921) Homepage
      I found the second link (re: kernel developer getting uppity with SCO) to be much more interesting. He claims to be the author (or significant modifier) of code which SCO purports to be in violation.

      This isn't the case. SCO hasn't even publically stated which parts of Linux are supposedly in violation, they have just stated that there's some violation(s) in the kernel. The developer in the second link doesn't claim to have authored code that SCO has claimed to be copied; he claims to be a co-author of the Linux kernel, which SCO is still distributing.

      His remark in short is "The violation is yours, 'cause I wrote the code".

      No, his remark is: "If you won't release every part of this binary I am coauthor of under the GPL, then you are redistributing my code without adhering to my license on it, and you are violating my copyright." This doesn't necessarily even mean that SCO's plagarism claims are false, only that if they pursue those claims then they have themselves been unknowingly violating Linux developers' copyrights for years and are knowingly doing so at this minute.

      In a challenge to SCO, he's threatening to sue SCO unless they remove the paticular code sections from their list of copyright violations.

      No, he's threatening to sue SCO unless they "retroactively" make their distribution of Linux compatible with the GPL (which, if any kernel code has been copied from SCO, would require SCO to license it under the GPL).
  • Gutsfull (Score:3, Interesting)

    by donnz (135658) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:15PM (#6207636) Homepage Journal
    I now this is way OT but frankly I've had a gutsful of my chosen industry. We have M$ behaving like total jerks for over a decade, Oracle looking like a complete bunch of bully boy tossers and now SCO behaving in a manner that would surely see them heading directly to jail for extortion if they had Italien heritage.

    Frankly OSS is the only point of sanity and some morality left to the industry (I can't quite believe that the IBM of the 70s and 80s is suddenly transposed itself to that touchstone).

    Phew, its off my chest, quick, mod me down.
    • Re:Gutsfull (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @09:54PM (#6208272)
      Frankly OSS is the only point of sanity and some morality left to the industry (I can't quite believe that the IBM of the 70s and 80s is suddenly transposed itself to that touchstone).

      They haven't, not one bit. It is just business for IBM. They made a business decision that making the OS a commodity would be good for them. They see it as a way to knock Microsoft off their revenue base and to similarly make the hundreds of millions if not billions invested in Solaris, HPUX, IRIX and even SCO as moot. Yeah, it hurts them in short run with the waste of their AIX development dollars, but AIX was always an also-ran in the unix space and IBM is a hardware and services company and Linux is the perfect complement to that business model.

      But don't ever forget that IBM is first and foremost a ruthless, amoral business just as it has always been, Microsoft is, HP has become and Sun wants to be. If management decided that fighting linux instead of supporting it would benefit their corporate coffers, you can bet that IBM would turn on OSS in an instant.
  • GPL question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:17PM (#6207644) Homepage
    I'm curious.. how can they distribute GPL code under an NDA. Linux code is copyright the author, and the only right SCO has to redistribute it is under the GPL.

    Even if they think it's their code, if they downloaded the Linux source to get their copy, they are bound by the GPL just like the rest of us.

    I think. IANAL and such. Anyone?
    • Re:GPL question (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DarkMan (32280)
      In general, you are correct.

      However, three matters apply here. Firstly, SCO claim that it is thier code, which means that if they are correct, it is not GPL. This complicates things, and I don't know USA law well enough to say what that means.

      Secondly, SCO are not distributing the Linux code, but rather pointing to parts of that that have special relevence. They did not give out copies, but rather pointed to a single printout. Thus, no distribution was taking place.

      Thirdly, and I think, strongest - F
  • Nonsense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Terminator (300566) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:27PM (#6207703)
    As the author of the article stated himself:
    As long as there are no original sources available where nothing is altered or deleted - especially the dates - and as long as SCO does not give any evidence that the sources under scrutiny are unaltered, all there allegations are simply said bullshit.
    I think at least in Germany they can be sued for misuse of the court and up to now they can be sued for damaging IBM and everybody who sells and supports LINUX.

    Well - let us sue them into oblivion :)

    CU
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:34PM (#6207736) Homepage
    1) We have no function names, no file names, not even a precise description of what code or comments. Now, true, this guy says he was shown PAGES of code - NOT files, but Xerox copies - and that most of the Linux code was from Linux mailing list posts. Still, he can't write down (or remember, if he was not allowed to write notes) function names or specific comments? Something fishy, there.

    2) He says some of the comments are identical but the code next to them ISN'T. This makes no sense unless SCO manipulated the comments. But why would SCO place identical comments next to non-identical code? Isn't that an OBVIOUS fake? Why would SCO do an OBVIOUS fake? Are they that stupid? Or was it an attempt to show fake code to analysts that will NOT be shown to the court - in other words, a publicity stunt?

    3) This story doesn't resolve anything or even contribute to anything given its omissions and ambiguity.

  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:51PM (#6207864)
    some of the jokes are the same on both sides

    Our primary means of revenue is licensing of our source code. The jokes are the only significant value of this source. As events of the last few months have shown, ridicule and laughter are what makes our company great. By shamefully incorporating the jokes into an open source product, IBM has removed the only rational reason why anyone would pay to license our IP. Our copying of large sections of the Linux code into our own products is irrelevent to the discussion because we deliberately removed any good jokes in the process.

  • Start d/l *BSD? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hrbrmstr (324215) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @08:52PM (#6207877) Homepage Journal
    Looks like we all should start grabbing *BSD ISO's and CVS trees and start over. Makes me kind of glad I got a Mac.

    I'm not saying we should be throwing in the towel just yet, but SCO sure has managed to knee linux right in the enterprise stomach and seems to be digging in for a long fight.

    I know that this has severely hurt the chances of getting linux in my Fortune 100 company, no matter who the vendor is (HPaQ, Sun, IBM...it won't matter how many or few letters they have in their name). Linux - even if vindicated - will be relegated to niche apps (probably embedded appliances) and the chances of finally getting open source projects brought in will be even slimmer than they are now.

    SCO hurt themselves and damaged the entire linux/open source community with this money-grab. I will take great pleasure in dancing on SCO's grave and will be one of the first persons making bids on their equipment when it's put up for auction.
  • by Nucleon500 (628631) <tcfelker@example.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @09:35PM (#6208152) Homepage
    I wonder if this guy, or anyone else who's seen the code, can remember any of it. If it were me, I'd wait until I saw the big function, commit to memory 5 lines of it, and as soon as I got home, I'd have grepped the source for it. I couldn't legally tell anyone else what code it was, but in about 5 minutes I could determine whether or not SCO was full of shit.

    Once I'd found the real author of the code, I'd notify him, and watch the fun as he tries to sign the NDA. It'd get real entertaining real fast.

    • Seconded! (-: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by leonbrooks (8043)

      Once I'd found the real author of the code, I'd notify him, and watch the fun as he tries to sign the NDA. It'd get real entertaining real fast.

      Legally interesting...

      Since SCO did not disclose that author's name to you, it can't be covered by their NDA - true/false?

      How much could you tell the developer about the code you had seen before their NDA bit you? Since SCO did not supply filenames and line numbers to you, their NDA does not cover you giving him file and line - true/false?

  • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @10:57PM (#6208654) Homepage Journal
    I received the following in my Inbox this morning:

    THIS IS ONLY A WORKING TRANSLATION; I DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AS TO POSSIBLE MISTAKES OR ERRORS. I WILL NOT TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY CONCERNING THE CONTENT OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT.

    Today, I had the possibility to have a look at the incriminating code passages.

    Due to a mistake on the part of the representing lawyer's office, my colleague and I - as opposed to the 7 other representatives that were allowed to look at things today - did not have to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. This was in full contrast to the examiners of Microsoft corp., who apparently had to maintain silence even towards their own superiors and may only give notice to the internal company audit department.

    Now for the code itself:
    Under the supervision of a notary public, 46 pages were shown, each containing, by one half, code from Linux (for the most part, print-outs of posts taken directly from the Linux-Kernel-Mailing List) and, by the other half, listings of SCO. Whether these are indeed sources of SysV is not comprehensible that way, as they are taken out of their context. Another interesting thing is that all date and time details have been removed from both, even from the comments. The comments themselves are really identical here and there, even some jokes are the same on both sides. It is, however, conspicuous that in the places that correspond most, the source code that can be found in front of the comments is quite dissimilar after all. The fundamental construction of the queried functions is similar; however, the concrete implementation is quite different. Variables and names of functions are different, loops are structured differently, conditions work via chain queries (?) (Kettenabfrage) or bit patterns (?) (Bitmuster). All in all, only one thing can be said for certain: The functions offered by the respective code passages are often equal, which, however, was to be expected from the start anyway.

    In the concrete implementation, there are, however, so many differences, that a proof of the origin being the same will be difficult, even though certainly not impossible.

    The crunch, however, is a function of the scheduler, which is, over a length of about 60 lines, indeed identical except for slight differences. In this section, there is also a whole lot of corresponding comments.
    Comparable similarity can only be found in one routine of the memory management, which is, however, only in the Linux version accompanied by comments.
    Whether a competent proof can be made out of these two correspondences can only be estimated with certainty by a lawyer. I consider the vague similarities in other passages to be insufficient, as the same standards were the basis for both and therefore, a certain correspondence is to be expected.

    Concerning the same comments to different source passages, I can see no rhyme or reason in it. This would in any case have to be investigated in again meticulously, in particular with the date and time details provided. Because only with these could a breach of copyright be proved at all.

    Concerning the discussion about the part of Linux sold under the GPL by SCO/Caldera, it must be stated that up to the present, no court has had to decide on the legal validity of the GPL. Should this, however, be ascertained, which is not certain, SCO can use only those parts of Linux by way of comparison that were not published by SCO and in the development or co-development SCO did not take part. I consider this, too, a difficulty in the proceedings to come.
    As the original, unpatched Linux-sources were not touched but only modifications that had been inserted by different distributors, it has to be clarified in any case whether these might have rights to the queried passages, be it directly or indirectly, e.g. through company mergers, take-overs, "all-inclusive"-deals etc. The chances for proceedings to open are not especially good, as in most comparable
  • Comments from POSIX (Score:5, Interesting)

    by minkwe (222331) on Monday June 16, 2003 @03:19AM (#6209910) Journal
    Many of the comments in the Linux kernel are from the posix specification which is available on the internet. http://www.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/007904975/ [opengroup.org]

    It makes a lot of sense for a developer to copy the specification as comments and fill it up with implementation details. That's the way I would do it! That would explain why comments are the same and code is different.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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