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SCO Amends Suit, Clarifies "Violations", Triples Damages 1347

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the whole-scoop-o-sco dept.
Bootsy Collins writes "This evening on C|Net contains three new items. First, they've upped the damages they're seeking to $3 billion. Second, they claim that by making SMP technology generally available through Linux, IBM violated federal export controls and thus breached their contract with SCO through committing an illegal act. Finally, they elaborate on one specific technology they claim rights to which IBM inserted into the 2.5 kernel series -- the read-copy update memory management features which went in at 2.5.43. Unclear is why SCO thinks they have the rights to RCU, since the technology was originally developed by Sequent in the early 1990s."
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SCO Amends Suit, Clarifies "Violations", Triples Damages

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  • by rkz (667993) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:40AM (#6221456) Homepage Journal
    They sound like a crazy old drunk, making up more and more unsubstanciated cliams, C|Net's article sounds like their getting tired off this too.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:50AM (#6221537)
      Yeah no shit. I'm awaiting the day that SCO claims that Osama himself has submitted patches to the kernel and that Alan Cox colaborated with Saddam Hussain in the mid 90's.

      Admittedly, I wouldn't mind seeing D'ohl McBride stood in a street corner shouting idiotic nonsense at passers by. At least then his actions would be socialy unacceptable and the authorities could lock him up. It seems that it is perfectly O.K to act like a paranoid loon if you're a CEO and your conspiricy theories are printed in an international news outlet. Then its O.K

      If you were an SCO employee, would you feel at least a little concerned that your boss is aparently dilusional? I know I would.
      • by micromoog (206608) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:28AM (#6222354)
        If you were an SCO employee, would you feel at least a little concerned that your boss is aparently dilusional? I know I would.

        Not necessarily delusional, just driven by the same pathological greed that drives many corporations. Try it this way:

        "If you were an SCO employee, would you feel at least a little concerned that your boss is aparently driven by the same pathological greed that drives many corporations such as Enron and WorldCom into the ground? I know I would."

      • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani&dal,net> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:39AM (#6222477)
        I personally think that this is SCO trying to get IBM to buy them out. Trying Violently.

        Think about it - SCO's buisness model is failing because of Linux and Open Source. Claiming 3 Billion Dollars in Damage is probably a good way to get IBM to buy them out - because why spend the money on fighting the lawsuit or paying a settlement - buy out SCO, problem goes away, and all that "incredibly valuble" unix code can be dumped into linux, where useful.

        My Theory...
        • What lawsuit ? (Score:5, Informative)

          by AftanGustur (7715) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:03AM (#6222684) Homepage


          why spend the money on fighting the lawsuit or paying a settlement - buy out SCO

          SCO hasn't sued anybody yet..

          And if their behaviour can be used as a indicator of how solid their case is, I'd say here is a good change they won't be suing anybody in the forseeable future.

          Either that, or the case will be dismissed right after SCO has explained it's case and the judge has had a good belly laugh ..

        • IBM won't settle (Score:5, Insightful)

          by siskbc (598067) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:30AM (#6222978) Homepage
          I personally think that this is SCO trying to get IBM to buy them out. Trying Violently.

          Damn straight it is - Darl accidentally played his hand (or on purpose, who can tell with him) in an interview where he admitted that a buyout from IBM is "an option." That means he asks Jesus for a buyout every night. This guy's just a corporate raider - he has stock options, which are worth a lot more after this lawsuit talk, and he just wants to negotiate a sweet per-share buyout to make them worth even more. Of course, IBM would shitcan all the SCO employees if they did buy them out, including Darl, but he doesn't care. Nice.

          Problem is, IBM won't settle, as they're pissed. Also, if they were to settle, that would only encourage every other dipshit company with some marginal IP and no business plan to pull an SCO. IBM seems to be playing the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" bit, and I don't blame them.

          Also, as SCO has virtually no chance of winning, settling doesn't make financial sense. Naturally, THAT'S why SCO increased the suit to $3B - it lets IBM think that settling makes sense now at a lower SCO success rate. If the break-even point for a settlement was a 50% chance of SCO victory, now it makes sense at a 17% chance. For example, obviously, as both numbers are too high. ;)

          Bottom line, though, is that SCO picked on the wrong dog. This one's gonna eat 'em.

          • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuelNO@SPAMbcgreen.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @12:41PM (#6223695) Homepage Journal
            Also, as SCO has virtually no chance of winning, settling doesn't make financial sense. Naturally, THAT'S why SCO increased the suit to $3B - it lets IBM think that settling makes sense now at a lower SCO success rate. If the break-even point for a settlement was a 50% chance of SCO victory, now it makes sense at a 17% chance. For example, obviously, as both numbers are too high. ;)

            the 17% solution only makes sense if SCO has a minimal chance of winning the suit and gettint a reasonable percentage of what they're claiming. Right now, they're suing IBM for GPL'ing a piece of code that (as far as I can tell) was created by a sequent -> IBM employee (and, I presume, assigned to Sequent then transferred to IBM).

            This is my quick summary of the SCO conversation:

            SCO: Stop selling UNIX or we'll sue you to stop you.
            IBM: Why? We have a license!
            SCO: Because you've done something wrong, and you won't fix it.
            IBM: What have we done wrong?
            SCO: We Can't tell you (na na na na naaaa!)
            IBM: You have to tell us what we did wrong if we're going to be able to fix it.
            SCO: We could let one of your engineers see the code we think you stole, but then you'd have to shoot him
            IBM: Can we subpoena your therapist in the counter suit?
            SCO: OK: It's the RCU code. By the way, we're tripling our damages.
            IBM: But we wrote that!
            SCO: And your point is????
            IBM:I don't think we'll be needing your therapist.
        • by barfomar (557172) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:32AM (#6223009)
          If I were a CEO of barely breathing tech company in the midst of a shakeout, I'd consider accumulating a few million shares of my company thru an off-shore broker when everybody is puking them out. Pick them up quietly, like gathering apples as they fall from the tree. Then, file some outgeous suit against some deep pocket, wait for the shares to multiply by 20-30 times, call my broker on payphone using a phone card purchased a gas station, and head for the islands. But, I'm not in that position....
        • by vladkrupin (44145) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @12:21PM (#6223472) Homepage
          I personally think that this is SCO trying to get IBM to buy them out.

          Yes, it is also true that the sun is going to raise in the morning tomorrow. There are a few things that are plain obvious, true.

          On the other hand, they were doing a much better job trying to get bought out before today. At least they had something that resembled substantiated claims. Not anymore... I mean, it's almost a textbook example of how NOT to try to get bought out. Think of it:

          1. SCO isn't worth a billion bucks. Much less likely are they to be worth 3 billion. If IBM were to buy them, they would rather spend a few million bucks to buy them out rather than a billion dollars to settle, right? By upping the settlement three-fold SCO at best ticked off IBM a bit more, and have not contributed to their worth or their chances of being bought out one bit.

          2. Ticking off IBM for them is like a death warrant - if IBM was considering whether to sue them out of existence or be nice to them and buy them out, the chances of the latter happening are diminishing rapidly with every new claim against IBM SCO makes. SCO had to make sure that IBM takes them seriously. IBM understood that. SCO got IBM's attention. Now SCO has to sit back and pray that IBM will be nice to them. Instead they make more claims that makes IBM unhappy. Not very wise, if you ask me.

          3. Also, if this garbage EVER makes it to court, the judge has got to just laugh at the number - 3 billion! They could as well have claimed a trillion dollars in damages! It's like me suing you for a million bucks because your dog dug up my lawn!

          4. SCO tries to involve a dumb export restriction imposed by the government that never worked and has been abolished long ago because its effectiveness was zero, and pain for US companies was significant. I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that whether or not IBM violated any export restrictions has nothing to do whatsoever with SCOs intellectual property. IBM has either misappropriated the IP and trade secrets or not - no government involved. If I buy a car from you and run a red light, I pay the ticket to the government; you have no right to try to take my car back!

          5. It's dumb to even mention something that just made its way into 2.5.43 kernel as something you own. I mean, you are suing for years of infringement, you are threatening corporate linux users who are still using 2.2 or 2.4, and presenting code that hasn't even made it into any stable kernels yet as evidence!

          6. And lastly, they just upped the number of claims of ownership on things that they clearly do not own. I thought their previous similar claims damaged their cridibility bad enough not to try that again. Looks like they haven't learned the lesson...

          At times I wonder, if they just figured they have a snowball's chance in hell to be bought out by IBM and just decided to make a really cool fun show for all of us to see...
      • by vladkrupin (44145) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:28AM (#6222958) Homepage
        Yeah no shit. I'm awaiting the day that SCO claims that Osama himself has submitted patches to the kernel and that Alan Cox colaborated with Saddam Hussain in the mid 90's.

        They aren't first to try this though. There are a few large-ish companies (and one very large in particular - guess who!) that claim that Open Source in general and Linux in particular aids terrorists by providing them with a reliable and secure tool without intentionally placed backdoors (for law enforcement or otherwise).

        In other words, SCO is just a few years too late to try to claim that. Which brings up an interesting point: If MS accused Linux of something, can SCO do that now too? Or are they infringing on M$ accusation?
    • by Forge (2456) <kevinforge AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:55AM (#6221582) Homepage Journal
      Pore SCO. The funny thing is that "someone" has demonstraighted a major comitment to Linux by steping forward to pay Dr. Torvalds a full time salary to work on just the kernel with no obligations to any specific vendor etc...

      My gues ? It has something to do with SCO's silly little lawsuite. See the story before this one.

      Now here is the tall order SCO has to fill to compleat this case.

      1: These specific lines were introduced into the Linux Kernel by IBM at this date.

      2: That date must be after the comensment of Trilian.

      3: That item was not in any IBM product before Trilian.

      4: That item was not in BSD.

      5: And finaly. That item was in SCO before the Trilian project.

      That's a lot to prove and I doubt SCO will ever do it.
    • by BroncoInCalifornia (605476) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:01AM (#6221627)
      I do not think they are serious about the lawsuit. SCO is serious about making a lot of noise.

      IBM did not offer to buy them. So SCO will try to raise the noise level some more.

      But now all they can do is sound like the Iraqi disinformation minister.

      "Those penquins are infidels. There is no way penguins can write SMP code without our help. We will slaughter all the penquins and have them for dinner"
      • by Mohammed Al-Sahaf (665285) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:28AM (#6221853)
        There is no way penguins can write SMP code without our help. We will slaughter all the penquins and have them for dinner
        As SCO's new press minister, I can confirm this.

        IBM are a superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone. These cowards have no morals - they have no shame about lying. We will slaughter them all .... most of them. The situation is excellent, they are going to try to sue us, and I believe their grave will be there. We will push those crooks, those mercenaries back into the swamp!

        Mohammed al-Sahaf (now SCO press spokesman)
    • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:13AM (#6221718) Homepage Journal
      Crazy drunk or like my three year old testing his limits. Their claims [byte.com] are so egregious and far-reaching that they're threatening everyone except Sun (wonder who that "mystery licensee" was?) -- including a not-so-veiled threat against Microsoft for Windows. And I did see that Cringley (at Infoworld [infoworld.com]) is rumor-porting AT&T may weigh in against SCO.

      My [large hardware company] rep who is supplying me with neat technology including handhelds, laptops, tablets and Linux server appliances, is also the rep for SCO. He tells me he doesn't even want to touch SCO now that they've pulled their shenanigans. He even referenced McBride's comment that contracts are strong bases for lawsuits as a real chiller. Imagine being so reviled that sales people don't want your money...

      I wonder if employees of SCO have any pride left, or any intention on working with the tech industry again? They may not be the source of SCO's vitrol and venom, but as long as they sit quietly and let the day traders pimp and pump the stock they are one and the same as McBride/Sontag/et al. We need a hacker revolt from within SCO -- if any are left. ... Until proven otherwise, no friends of tech or Open Source remain in SCO.

      If you work for SCO you better cut your ties with Sontag/McBride or lie on your resume for your next position. Pretending to be unemployed since Caldera brought on McBride will get you further than admitting you sat idly by while your company pulled the crap that it is pulling.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:26AM (#6221834)
        My [large hardware company] rep who is supplying me with neat technology including handhelds, laptops, tablets and Linux server appliances, is also the rep for SCO. He tells me he doesn't even want to touch SCO now that they've pulled their shenanigans.
        Yeah, that's what he tells you. He'll be telling his SCO clients how he doesn't want to touch Linux now it's potentially contaminated.
  • by edgrale (216858) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:42AM (#6221467)

    "There are two major products that come from Berkeley : LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence." -- Jeremy S. Anderson

    Soon SCO will claim ownership for LSD too ;)
    • by flacco (324089) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:27AM (#6221841)
      Soon SCO will claim ownership for LSD too ;)

      If they've already been experimenting with this technology, that would explain A LOT.

  • IBM's view (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:42AM (#6221471)
    Three times nothing is still nothing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:43AM (#6221481)
    Mr. Taco;

    On behalf of the /. crowd, I am formally requesting that the Caldera/SCO widget be changed to a steaming pile of poo.

    We feel that this is more appropriate.

    Sincerely, /.

  • SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:43AM (#6221483) Homepage Journal
    What?

    Since when did IBM have anything to do with SMP in the kernel?

    And RCU is clearly a technology that Sequent designed for DYNIX/ptx. Sequent, as the link to RCU states, is now owned by IBM, so I suppose they'd have clear rights to this, no problem. RCU is also notoriously absent from SCO's product, so how they can claim ownership of the technology is beyond me.

    I'm starting to think that the folks at SCO are on SERIOUS crack and they AREN'T SHARING. There's reason enough to hate them right there, forget all this Linux stuff. ;)

    • Re:SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dschuetz (10924) * <(slash) (at) (david.dasnet.org)> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:51AM (#6221549) Homepage
      Since when did IBM have anything to do with SMP in the kernel?

      I think they're complaining that SMP was a restricted technology, so by helping to add SMP to the Linux kernel, and making it freely available, IBM violated US export laws. By violating those laws, IBM is therefore in violation of the SCO / IBM license agreement (not sure how that connection was made), and therefore, all rights assigned to IBM are void, blah, blah, blah, blah.

      They're asking a judge for an injunction now? Good. The sooner the judicial system gets a chance to take a formal look at this, the better.

      • Re:SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:03AM (#6221639) Homepage Journal
        Um, IBM didn't make Linux freely available. Linus Torvalds did. They contributed to the code, but they didn't contribute the SMP code. THey contributed the RCU thing which helps with SMP, but the SMP code itself was already in there, and hence, if anyone is liable for SMP code being in there it's Alan Cox -- and he's in the U.K. and can't be held liable for U.S. export laws.

        SCO is high. That's the only explanation here. ;)

      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:14AM (#6221731)
        I think they're complaining that SMP was a restricted technology, so by helping to add SMP to the Linux kernel, and making it freely available, IBM violated US export laws.

        Who else very recently made the Linux kernel freely available to any foreign party including terrorists, communists and all three vertices of the Axis of Evil?

        Hmmm?

        Could it be .... SCO!!!???

        Didn't they do the due dilligence to see if the capabilities that they were distributing were exportable under U.S. law? Looks like they didn't, and now OBL himself could very well be running Caldera Linux on the Beowulf cluster in his cave simulating thermonuclear explosions.

    • by _|()|\| (159991) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:08AM (#6221675)
      RCU is also notoriously absent from SCO's product, so how they can claim ownership of the technology is beyond me.

      The latest twist in the lawsuit is revealed in a recent CNET interview [com.com] of Darl McBride: "The System 5 source code, that is really the area that gives us incredible rights, because it includes the control rights on the derivative works that branch off from that trunk. " It is SCO's position that JFS and RCU are derivative of System V.

      Opponents of the GNU General Public License perpetuate the misconception that it is somehow viral. In fact, it is copyright law itself that is viral. Quoting from IP in a Nutshell:

      A copyright owner has the right to exclude all others from creating works based on his own. ... The statutory definition of a "derivative work" is extremeley comprehensive, including such things as translations, arrangements, dramatizations, fictionalizations, films, recordings, abridgments, condensations, "or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted."
      If carried to its conclusion, this suit could be the textbook on derivative works with regard to software.
      • by Matrix272 (581458) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:12AM (#6221715)
        But that doesn't apply to parodies... so maybe IBM just released a "parody" of System V, eh?

        You can only fight insanity with insanity.
      • by Nutcase (86887) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:35AM (#6221915) Homepage Journal
        So they are saying the SysV license gives them rights to all derivitive works.. sort of a proprietary version of the GPL's "viral" nature.

        So if they win, the GPL also gains strength via precedent, but free software loses credibility as a development model.

        And if they lose, the GPL /loses/ credibility as a solid license, and it's enforcability comes into question.

        That's sneaky as hell. Whoever thought this up spent a long time covering their bases. For the first time, I am somewhat worried.
        • by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:31AM (#6222394) Homepage
          The license of the GPL is different from the "viral" copyright law. I would suggest that it would not lose any credibility as a solid license or in enforcability. The GPL doesn't claim that violations result in all derivative works transferring back to the original copyright holder, just that derivative works must also be GPL. That should be a lot easier to get past a judge than SCO's claims....we hope, at least.

      • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:29AM (#6222965) Homepage

        Well I'm English so as a country I hearby give notice that all people in the world who are using English are breaking copyright and all derivative works (including technical specifications and patent applications) are now owned by the UK Goverment.

        We are also claiming Charles Babbage and all derivative works that involve computation and concepts of automated computing.

        Unfortunately the Iraqi's are now claiming that they invented writing, the Chinese are laying claim to printing and basically everyone on without a 2,000 year+ history is screwed.
    • Re:SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bootsy Collins (549938) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:22AM (#6221800)

      And RCU is clearly a technology that Sequent designed for DYNIX/ptx. Sequent, as the link to RCU states, is now owned by IBM, so I suppose they'd have clear rights to this, no problem. RCU is also notoriously absent from SCO's product, so how they can claim ownership of the technology is beyond me.

      OK, I could be completely wrong here. Lord knows trying to figure out what's in these people's minds is hard. But here's what I think is going on, and why they make such a claim. I preface this by saying that it was other posters here, in yesterday's SCO-related articles, that first made this point to me. First, check out this C|Net article [com.com], containing a brief interview with the CEO of SCO. In particular, note this quote:

      Where people get a little confused is when they think of SCO Unix as just the Unix that runs the cash register at McDonalds. We think of this as a tree. We have the tree trunk, with Unix System 5 running right down the middle of the trunk. That is our core ownership position on Unix.

      Off the tree trunk, you have a number of branches, and these are the various flavors of Unix. HP-UX, IBM's AIX, Sun Solaris, Fujitsu, NEC--there are a number of flavors out there. SCO has a couple of flavors, too, called OpenServer and UnixWare. But don't confuse the branches with the trunk. The System 5 source code, that is really the area that gives us incredible rights, because it includes the control rights on the derivative works that branch off from that trunk.

      I added the boldface to that last clause for emphasis.

      Similarly, Chris Sontag, SCO's Senior Vice President of the Operating Systems Division, said the following in this Byte magazine article [byte.com]:

      We believe that UNIX System V provided the basic building blocks for all subsequent computer operating systems, and that they all tend to be derived from UNIX System V (and therefore are claimed as SCO's intellectual property).

      The point is that I think they feel they have some sort of rights over the additional code and technologies that licensees add to the System V code they license from SCO in the process of creating their particular product. IBM bought Sequent, acquiring Sequent's RCU technology. IBM added that technology to AIX. Apparently, in SCO's mind, that gives SCO some degree of rights over that technology, because it's now part of AIX, and AIX is a derivative work of SCO's System V code, and SCO believes they have some amount of rights over all derivative works. And therefore, claims SCO, adding it to Linux violated SCO's rights.

      This seems like what they're saying. It also seems completely nuts -- unless IBM's license for SysV code for AIX gives the rights for technologies they come up with and add to AIX back to the owner of the System V codebase. I can't imagine that being true, though.

      Another read on this is that it looks even more than it did before like an attempt to re-try the Unix Systems Labs vs. BSD case.

      • Re:SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Surak (18578) * <surakNO@SPAMmailblocks.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:36AM (#6221922) Homepage Journal
        Another read on this is that it looks even more than it did before like an attempt to re-try the Unix Systems Labs vs. BSD case.

        Yeah, and USL lost on that one. IBM's SysV license comes from AT&T, it did not originate from SCO. So IBM had the license with USL, and then later Novell, and then later SCO, and then later Caldera, and then later SCO.

        Okay. So if USL lost, then the precedence has already been set -- USL didn't have rights to derivative works as ruled by the courts, so neither does SCO, because SCO has the same rights USL had, presumably. The OSI position paper covers this.

        Yeah, so SCO even in your scenario, is STILL on crack and they STILL aren't sharing.

        Also, tinfoil hat mode, Look at Sontag's quote:

        We believe that UNIX System V provided the basic building blocks for all Subsequent Computer Operating systems, and that they all tend to be derived from UNIX System V (and therefore are claimed as SCO's intellectual property).

        Hmmmmm ....conspiracy? they changed their name to SCO Group to reflect their main source of revenue, which apparently is everyone who makes an operating system that comes after Unix. :)

      • Re:SMP? RCU? (Score:5, Informative)

        by vinsci (537958) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:41AM (#6222502) Journal
        None of that really matters, though, as it seems RCU technology is now public domain, due to the expiration of the patent US4809168 [espacenet.com], "Passive serialization in a multitasking environment".

        Thanks to xyote [slashdot.org] for pointing this out [slashdot.org]:

        "Even IBM doesn't own it. It's in the public domain. Because it was invented by IBM 3 times (hey, it's a big company). Once in the mid 80's in VM/XA Rel 2 (patent 4,809,168 now expired), once at Sequent which was acquired by IBM and where RCU was coined, and once as part of the K42 project at IBM research."
    • by delcielo (217760) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:40AM (#6223072) Journal
      2) OS Blending
      by 2names

      As Linux developers inside IBM, do you get to see the AIX source code? If you do, are you allowed to "steal" some ideas from AIX and implement them in Linux? If not, why not, and what's the IBM official line?

      IBM Kernel Hackers:

      First of all, before any of us were allowed to contribute to Linux, we were required to take an "Open Source Developers" class. This class gives us the guidelines we need to participate effectively in the open source community - both IBM guidelines and lessons learned about open source from others in IBM.

      We are definitely not allowed to cut and paste proprietary code into any open source projects (or vice versa!). There is an IBM committee who can and do approve the release of IBM proprietary or patented technology, like RCU.

      That covers "stealing" code, but what about ideas? We might talk to an AIX programmer and comment we're seeing performance issues in Linux in this area or that area and she tells us they discovered that they really needed to profile the network routines when they saw that. Having solved the problem once, our non-Linux peers can help steer us without spelling it out for us, allowing us to still develop solutions that can then be open sourced.

      It's a fine line to walk, especially as an engineer who just wants the answer :)

      Interview [slashdot.org]
  • by joeszilagyi (635484) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:45AM (#6221498)
    ...on grounds of comedy. This is starting to turn into an old Looney Tunes cartoon, where the SCO Coyote throws everything but the Acme kitchen sink at the IBM Roadrunner. Meep meep!
  • by walt-sjc (145127) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:47AM (#6221518)
    I found it interesting that they have dropped some claims about linux like the comment that it was like a bicycle compared to UNIX being a luxury car. I also find it funny that they cite IBM's Linux investment as evidence that they stole code. Wouldn't a big investment like IBM's indicate that they were doing NEW development as opposed to just taking it from somewhere else?

    What I REALLY wonder about is all the idiots buying SCO stock, and why it's still hovering around $10 as opposed to the 1 cent it's really worth.
  • Slashdot - (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_Bionic_lemming (446569) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:47AM (#6221519)
    Hmm - five - six more articles maybe, and SCO will become the most posted/hated OS on Slashdot?

    I wonder how Bill Gates will take losing the "Number One" spot here at /. ;)
  • by nich37ways (553075) <slashdot@37ways.org> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:48AM (#6221524) Homepage
    Seems pretty easy, all you have to do is find some company with a rapidly declining market share and large ip base.

    Then find some other big company that you have once done business with and sue them. Damn I wish I was a lawyer on this case, sitting back knowing I am earning a fat pay check while spewing as much crap as humanely possible to keep everything going.

    But really now, does this make it any clearer wether SCO has a vaguely legitimate case on UNIX code been in the Linux Kernel?? I want to see that proved before I even try and understand why IBM is responsible for it..
  • by realnowhereman (263389) <andyparkins@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:50AM (#6221538)
    Further - how can SCO be upping there damages if the infringing code is in the development kernel; that has nowhere near as wide a circulation as the stable tree. In fact (if they were right -- although obviously they're not) surely their duty of care would be to say which parts of the development kernel are infringing so that they can be removed before they get distributed to the four winds?

    Of course, I know who I'd like to distribute to the four winds.
  • by xyote (598794) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:51AM (#6221548)
    Even IBM doesn't own it. It's in the public domain. Because it was invented by IBM 3 times (hey, it's a big company). Once in the mid 80's in VM/XA Rel 2 (patent 4,809,168 now expired), once at Sequent which was acquired by IBM and where RCU was coined, and once as part of the K42 project at IBM research.
    • by _|()|\| (159991) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:16AM (#6221749)
      The code that found its way into Linux is "based on original DYNIX/ptx code (released by IBM under GPL)." SCO's position is that everything in DYNIX/ptx, including RCU, is derivative of System V.

      Most of us assumed that SCO's chest thumping about copyright infringement referred to literal copying of System V or Monterey code. Now, it seems, it is based on the more tenuous theory that any part of a System V-based O/S is derivative.

  • by Badgerman (19207) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:52AM (#6221551)
    These elements of the article stood out to me as indicating changes in tactics or tactics that they're planning to use:

    The amended suit also asserts that SCO holds copyrights to Unix, a point that could be key in future Linux and Unix litigation. Novell, which owned Unix intellectual property before selling it to SCO's predecessor, initially disputed SCO's ownership, but later relented.

    IANAL - I wonder why they've inserted this now. Did they forget? Is this just clarification? Are they hoping to get some mindshare here? It's weirder since the suit makes no claims of copyright violation . . .

    "As IBM executives know, a significant flaw of Linux is the inability and/or unwillingness of the Linux process manager, Linus Torvalds, to identify the intellectual property origins of contributed source code that comes in from those many different software developers. If source code is code copied from protected Unix code, there is no way for Linus Torvalds to identify that fact," the suit said. "As a result, a very significant amount of Unix protected code is currently found in Linux 2.4.x and Linux 2.5.x releases in violation of SCO's contractual rights and copyrights."

    I'm concerned this is getting personal (well, moreso). It casts doubt on Linus' competency and/or ethics, thus casting doubts on Linux, and I think may be a veiled threat towards Torvalds and suggest that in the future they may, as has been hinted, take action against him individually.

    Redesigning Linux for use by demanding business customers "is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (a) a high degree of design coordination, (b) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (c) access to Unix code and development methods; (d) Unix architectural experience; and (e) a very significant financial investment," the amended suit says.

    They either don't get how OS works or don't want to. Despite the changes, it pretty much the same thing - "Linux couldn't have gotten where it is without stealing. Which, by the way, is IBM and Linus' fault."

    The suit also adds illegal export issues stemming from the worldwide availability of open-source software. SCO claims IBM has breached its contract by making multiprocessor operating system technology available "for free distribution to anyone in the world," including residents of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Libya, countries to which the United States controls exports. The open-source technology IBM released "can be used for encryption, scientific research and weapons research," the suit said.

    The only way I can sum this up is "If you use Linux, the terrorists have already won." This addition is rather odd, as if they are so worried, why wasn't this in the original suit? It smacks of exploiting the fear of terrorism and rogue nations for their own ends, and to me hints that their next strategy could be to focus on the idea that "Linx is unethical."

    Overall? I expect it to get more personal and more nasty on the part of SCO. I expect them to target Linus more, and possibly other developers or groups.

  • by zeus_tfc (222250) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:53AM (#6221564) Homepage Journal
    I don't know all the history of Unix, Linux, etc. but from reading the comments in the past couple of stories, the consensus seems to be that SCO doesn't have a leg to stand on. There have also been repeated comments about IBM's lawyers.

    So my question(s) is(are):

    What does SCO hope to gain? Do they really think they have a chance against IBM's lawyers? Do they think they really have a case? Is this just some blatant attention-getting tactic?

    I mean, we know IBM has a massive legal team, and money to burn on this issue, especially since there is MORE money at stake, so why would SCO even try this if they don't actually have a valid case as most of the slashdotters seem to think? Could they HAVE a valid case? If not, why this continued charade? Are they mad?

    I'm confused.
    • by akiaki007 (148804) <aa316@EULERnyu.edu minus math_god> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:12AM (#6221703)
      What does SCO hope to gain?
      1 Billion Dollars. Which would six-tuple their revenue from the last year. That's a lot.

      Do they really think they have a chance against IBM's lawyers?
      Not a chance. Not especially since it's not just IBM, but the Linux community acting out against them. Just yesterday a programmer from Germany sent SCO a letter asking them to stop using OpenUnix and to provide him of all information as to who is running it, because it contains his copyrighted Linux kernel code and OpenUnix violates GPL (not part of it). I 'm sorry, I can't remember his name

      Do they think they really have a case? Is this just some blatant attention-getting tactic?
      I don't think so, and many don't. Attention getting? I think so. Their stocks were 2$ in Feb, and now are at 10.50 (as of 17:05 yesterday), and will open .40 cents lower than yesterday's close. That is a huge gain. Lots of attention. Also, their VP is selling 10,000 shares on open this morning (cash in obviously). He probably thinks they've reached their high point and have no where to go but down. The case currently stands at 50$ billion, and that is a LOT of attention. The company itslef is only worth a couple hundred million dollars, and IBM could easily just squash them with a hostile bid and buy out all their stock. Which I'm sure SCO execs would love, because the shares are incredibly high compared to Feb '03. Will IBM? Why would they? They get nothing out of the deal except a mouse. They'll play SCO's cards and see where it takes them. Perhaps in the end IBM will buy SCO (then MSFT will be paying IBM for the Unix licence ;))
    • by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:14AM (#6221738) Journal
      I'm still running on the stock scam theory. It explains the escalating shrillness of SCO (must stay in the news to affect the stock price) better then anything else.

      I'm not buying the Microsoft support conspiracy theory because whatever else you may think, you have to concede that Microsoft is a smart company and if they were going to indirectly support SCO in this, they would not leave an blatently obvious money trail to SCO. I think they licensed SCO's IP to just make them go away. Microsoft may have a huge legal team but odds are they are not sitting in Redmond twiddling their fingers; all else being equal even a company as large as Microsoft would probably prefer not to add another lawsuit to its plate.

      Without the Microsoft support (IMHO), the "trying to discredit Linux" isn't the motivation, it's just a side-effect of their need to continually ramp up the volume.

      If I'm right then we'll know in a bit; SCO can't maintain this volume much longer. I predict that in the next couple of weeks, SCO will unexpectedly drop the suit... and quite possible fold entirely.
  • IBM to SCO (Score:5, Funny)

    by earthforce_1 (454968) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `1_ecrofhtrae'> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:53AM (#6221565) Journal

    I see your 3 billion and raise you two more. Show your cards...
  • by BenjyD (316700) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @08:53AM (#6221568)

    ... available "for free distribution to anyone in the world," including residents of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Libya, countries to which the United States controls exports. The open-source technology IBM released "can be used for encryption, scientific research and weapons research," the suit said.

    So IBM is helping terrorists and rogue states now? I think we need an addition to Godwin's Law [science.uva.nl] - "As a dispute goes on, the probability of one side claiming the other is helping terrorists approaches one"

  • Export Regulations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vandan (151516) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:06AM (#6221659) Homepage
    I've always thought that the Export Regulation laws were screwed.
    Why would Iran, Syria, or whoever want to build a supercomputer to simulate a nuclear explosion, when they only have to ask the fucking yankees nicely and they will gladly provide them with the real thing "oh sure it killed millions of people & animals and poisened hundres of millions for millions of years to come, but think of how many american lives it saved".

    Seriosly, nuclear explosions have been studied to death (pun intended). Anyone serious about taking a shot at the US (I'm sure there are some out there) only need pay a laughably insignificant amount of money either on the black market or to the arms manufacturers who don't give a frig about what the Pentagon would like.

    Preventing SMP and supercomputer technology (and the fucking web browser I'm using, for fuck's sake) from entering [insert anti-american country here] is just demonstrating american arrogance. I'm sure it is done in the same spirit as all the bans on medical equipment entering Iraq. Can't have the fuckers healing themselves! The yankees aren't too keen on keeping their karma high, are they?
  • the weirdest claim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artifex (18308) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:06AM (#6221661) Journal
    SCO is asserting that IBM is violating export controls, but how that has anything to do with SCO is anyone's guess, unless of course SCO is claiming unfair competition in the giving-tech-to-hostile-countries-market.

    Seriously, only the U.S. government can really have much of a case against them for that, if in fact they are in violation.

    This is like one of my first graders, back when I tutored, coming up to me and complaining that some other kid was hogging the smelly markers (he had 1), oh and also, know what know what know what know what? He threw a rock at the doggy they saw on the way home yesterday, too!

    In other words, a finger-pointing smear campaign, because the original complaint is meritless.
    At least little kids are guileless enough to blush and admit it, when you call them on it.

  • by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:06AM (#6221663)
    I'm reposting this, since the previous posting was to an article that was pretty dead already .

    From McBride interview at ZDNet [com.com]:

    How did Microsoft's agreement to pay you for Unix rights happen?

    Darl: In the Microsoft case, they saw an opportunity. We originally approached them and said we're on a new licensing path; we have this intellectual property that we've started approaching vendors about. IBM is one we approached; Microsoft was another. We had about four big vendors in the last quarter that we talked with. With two of them, we signed deals. The other we're still talking with, and IBM we reached an impasse.

    To me it feels like they are still talking with HP, and Sun decided to pay up to take a stab at linux (in the back, I might as well say). Or is there any other interpretation? Was anyone surprised at how quick Sun was to advertise that they are in the clear?

    Also, SCO has said that Sun is the only company that is clear of all the violations. Even M$ is less clear.

    I hope someone brings this up in an interview with Scott, so he can explicitly deny this if it is untrue.
  • Translation of the next obfuscated memo to come out of IBM:

    No, seriously, you need to fuck off now. It's not funny anymore.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:15AM (#6221745) Homepage Journal
    "As IBM executives know, a significant flaw of Linux is the inability ... of the Linux process manager, Linus Torvalds, to identify the intellectual property origins of contributed source code.... If [contributed] source code is code copied from protected Unix code, there is no way for Linus Torvalds to identify that fact," the [filing] said.

    Is this a flaw of Linux, or just the simple fact that SCO is claiming that their closed source system is being infringed? 'Closed source' means the general public -- including the esteemed Mr. Torvalds -- are not privy to the original code. So exactly what method of verification did SCO have in mind for Linux developers to follow? Of course, we then have Linus' (less directed) retort:

    "It's not our side that isn't identifying the code. We'll work damn hard to identify everything they care to name," Torvalds said. "In fact, the source control system is out there in the public, and it identifies the source and the reason for patches."

    IOW, "we can't identify infringing code and remove it if you refuse to give us that information. Our process is out in the open and you are able to glean all the facts you may need ... what's your holdup?"

  • SCO = next Enron (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:20AM (#6221781) Homepage Journal
    It is obvious that the executives of this company have no long-term business plan for SCO. This lawsuit is obviously entirely bogus -- see the OSI position paper on it, and if it had any value IMB would have settled or bought SCO.

    Rather than focusing on creating a sound business plan and actually making a good product which consumers want to buy -- something which SCO has failed to do as of yet -- they have chosen to throw baseless allegations around. It generates stock-market interest.

    They are obviously planning on doing some insider trading, selling out the investors when the stock is at it's peak, long before the inevitable crash.

    As for the allegation that Torvalds can't determine what code contributed is proprietary, no-one can within reasonable means. The best anyone can do is get those contributing to accept responsibility for the contributed code and sign a legal agreement stating that it is their own code. He, nor anyone else, cannot put out bulletins asking the world "is this anyone's proprietary code" before contributing something to the kernel. Many companies would lie and say it was, wasting his time and putting an undue burden on him. Furthermore, he'd have no way of verifying such claims.

    The best approach to writing software is exactly what Linus has advocated. Pay no attention to legal patent/copyright, and simply write code. When accepting code from other's, make them claim liability for it, and legally say that it is their own, or code they're allowed to contribute to the best of their knowledge. Trying to find out for sure if contributed code may or may not be copyrighted is an undue burden, and puts additional liability on developers.

    Btw, Linux is international. So is GNU software. This lawsuite, even if it's claims of misappropriation are true, will not necessarily force any changes in Linux or GNU/Linux. If any code is SCO's, however, for the convenience of those working in the US, it will rapidly be coded around. This is a non-issue no matter which way you look at it.
  • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp AT freeshell DOT org> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:21AM (#6221788) Homepage Journal
    SCO upps damages to 6 billion - citing IBM's illegal use of 'international business machines' acroynm which they thought up first.

    Damages go up to 15 trillion when SCO discovers that gravity and other basic laws of the Universe which IBM has been using to build servers formed a basis for SCO's machines first.

    Finally, SCO ups damages to (quoting here) "forty bazillion-kabillion" for "having a successful business," which is what SCO was planning to do but couldn't because of IBM.

    It should be noted that this last figure was given just before the Executive board collectively passed out after coming down dangerously from a hallucenagic high caused by dry-erase markers, non-dairy creamer, pez, and possibly other office-related recreational drugs.
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:38AM (#6221939) Homepage
    Redesigning Linux for use by demanding business customers "is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (a) a high degree of design coordination, (b) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (c) access to Unix code and development methods; (d) Unix architectural experience; and (e) a very significant financial investment," the amended suit says.

    SCO: They built a better OS using so-called open source methods? Inconceivable!

    IBM: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by joncarwash (600744) <jonathanwhodges&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:42AM (#6221965) Homepage

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am waiting for IBM's response to all of this in court. I hope that they don't seal up everything because I would like to see their defense (or offense? - hey, the best defense is a good offense, right?).

    So far, IBM has only made small comments basically shoving aside the entire situation, like their most recent:

    Since filing a lawsuit against IBM, SCO has made public statements and accusations about IBM's Unix license and about Linux in an apparent attempt to create fear uncertainty and doubt among IBM's customers and the open source community.

    IBM's Unix license is irrevocable, perpetual and fully paid up. It cannot be terminated. This matter will eventually be resolved in the normal legal process.
    IBM will continue to ship, support and develop AIX which represents years of IBM innovation, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and many patents. As always, IBM will stand behind our products and our customers.

    I also remember at the beginning of this whole mess, IBM stated that they wanted this to go to court (specifically a jury trial if I remember correctly). I have no doubt that the IBM legal department has some very interesting material/arguments that they are ready to show everyone.

    Maybe SCO has been spewing with new "revelations" and "violations" but I am sure the very adept IBM legal department has been getting something ready that SCO won't stand a chance against.

    On slashdot (and many other places) people are really getting played by the SCO "FUD" meanwhile IBM doesn't seem to be playing anything up - and people seem to forget what company we are talking about here - the same IBM that has been around since forever and has fought their share of legal battles.

    We should have a little more confidence that good old Big Blue knows what they are doing here and not try to kill ourselves with the B$ flowing out of SCO.

  • by Ranger (1783) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @09:46AM (#6222002) Homepage
    The more I read about this lawsuit the more I'm convinced that SCO is a Microsoft Patsyâ [com.com]. It doesn't matter if SCO loses as long as it damages the Linux community in the eyes of corporate users. And Microsoft Patsy â will drag this out as long as it takes. It's a lose-lose situation for SCO, Linux, and IBM and a win-win situation for Microsoft.
  • by umrgregg (192838) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:04AM (#6222163) Homepage
    Dear Mr. Palmisano:

    I have become aware of a litigious situation between your company and that of Darl McBride (SCO). In your pending defense against their lawsuit(s) I would like to recommend to you that I, NMG be your sole defense attorney. I am not on your legal defense team, nor am I actually a lawyer. I am merely a reader of Slashdot [slashdot.org]. SCOâ(TM)s claimâ(TM)s of damages are so ludicrous, I believe that even a troop of Screaming Monkeyâ(TM)s could provide you proper defense. Unfortunately for you, the Screaming Monkeyâ(TM)s were already hired out for the year by the Federal Trade Commission. Therefore, I extend an offer of my services for your legal defense in return for a pack of smokes, a ThinkPad and a chance to punch SCO in the kisser. This union will save you a bundle of money in defense feeâ(TM)s and will save your legal resources for your pending investigation with the horde of Screaming Monkeyâ(TM)s. Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,
  • by smoondog (85133) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:11AM (#6222209)
    According to Infoworld, Sun has joined the debate by taking advantage of the uncertainty over IBM. They have taken out advertisements questioning the use of AIX over Solaris [infoworld.com].

    -Sean
  • by theolein (316044) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:26AM (#6222331) Journal
    The claim that IBM is aiding terrorism is something so cliched in America it's almost not even funny anymore. This is something so typically used as a last ditch defense when everything else fails that most people should be able to see it with ease. SCO's claims have varied from copyright infringment until proven otherwise, through contract breach by releasing SCO code until IBM called that bluff as well, up until now when SCO goes for the patriotic kneejerk reaction hoping to rally Americans to the cause.

    Incidentally, they're also claming RCU is in breach of contract. The RCU might very well be in breach of contract in that Sequent added code to Linux although that code was developed under the Unix licence from SCO. Sequent was bought by IBM and that makes IBM guilty although I'm not sure that SCO can claim ownership of anything that Sequent developed unless there was an agreement between them.

    Which would in fact leave only the patriotic fallback, and I'm pretty sure that that one is not going to hold up in court.

    So, in other words, you're fucked Darl.
  • SCO: axis of evil? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sterno (16320) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @10:53AM (#6222604) Homepage
    If you want to understand SCO's situation, look at the statements they make and then compare them to the statements North Korea makes. SCO is the corporate equivalent of a starving soviet state, desperate to hold onto its power. The only thing left in its arsenal are threats to use weapons with potentially catastrophic side-effects. Essentially, in both cases it's a plea for economic aid and recognition, and it all demonstrates a tremendous fear that the end is nigh.

  • by saikou (211301) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @11:38AM (#6223053) Homepage
    Planning meeting in Dr. Evil's lair.

    Dr.Evil: .... ozone layer
    Number Two: That already happend.
    Dr.Evil: Sh.t! Oh well, let's draft some frivolous lawsuit and sue the world's biggest computer company for...
    ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
    Number Two: *cough* Don't you think we should ask for more?
    Dr.Evil: OK. And sue them for ONE BILLION DOLLARS!
    Or heck, make it three.
    Good.
  • by Tony (765) on Tuesday June 17, 2003 @01:22PM (#6224178) Journal
    As is apparent by this post, IANAL, I have never wanted to be a lawyer, nor do I have any respect whatsoever for the lawyer profession. Fucking weasels.

    That said:

    SCO is not claiming copyright infringement, so the case isn't strictly about copied code. They are claiming violation of contract, so the *court case* will hang on contract law, *not* IP law.

    However, in *public* they are making this an IP case. They have made not-so-veiled claims to owning the rights to the concepts of *all* modern operating systems.

    If the case were based on their public claims, they wouldn't stand a chance. But, their case is based strictly on contract law. All this public posturing means nothing.... except....

    If they win the contract violation suit, it will appear as if their public claims were valid, and upheld by the force of law!

    This is subtle, and will have a chilling effect on all future SCO dealings. They can then extort money from every single OS vendor in the country, based not on actual fact, but on lies and innuendo. Look at how quickly (Sun?) and Microsoft payed up without a single court win.

    In any case, this public face is designed to get the top administration a chance to sell their shares at a nice profit. They don't really care about much else, near as I can tell.

    Fuckers.

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