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FSF, GCC, and SCO Compiler Support 525

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hadn't-really-thought-of-that-one dept.
Ancipital was one of several who noted that a special patch is going into GCC. The file is README.SCO, and it is a short writeup about the SCO situation written by the FSF. It stops short of demanding that GCC developers strip SCO support from the compiler, and says more will be announced before the next compiler release.
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FSF, GCC, and SCO Compiler Support

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  • Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:27AM (#6674045)
    They should have just removed the support. I don't see how it would harm normal people, as they can keep on using older compilers.

    Anyway, this is the right direction. I just hope projects can strip out SCO support without breaking much good code.
    • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ergonal (609484) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:31AM (#6674068)
      Maybe because they didn't want to stoop to SCO's level (yet).
      • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:56AM (#6674698)
        Maybe because they didn't want to stoop to SCO's level (yet).

        Call me cynical, but I think that's just what they are doing. The file effectively implies that SCO developers will not be affected, but may be in the future - this is FUD, which is what SCO is using to try to screw money out of various parties. Not that I'm against it, mind you ;-)

        • Re:Damn (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mbrod (19122)
          I wouldn't quite call it FUD. I think it is more informational. If they painted a picture of crashing servers and millions of dollars needing to be spent if someone is using SCO it would be FUD'ish.

          I don't think the wording will actually cause "fear" in anyone. This just lets them know to be ready.

        • Re:Damn (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @11:59AM (#6676098) Homepage
          I say fight FUD with FUD.

          Don't remove and SCO support and don't currupt any data on SCO system. But every time a program detects it is launching on a SCO system pop up the following dialog:

          Caution: SCO is not an officially supported platform. Use of this software on an unsupported platform may result in data curruption or hardware damage. (C)ontinue anyway or (A)bort safely?

          -
    • by shachart (471014) <shachar-slashdot ... Gion.ac.il minus> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:31AM (#6674069)
      I do not believe this is the right way to approach the issue. Let them work this ugly legalese - in courts. How are we any different from Microsoft, if we happen to "exclude" some support from projects because we do not like the receipient? I do not say "let's all develop code for SCO support", but please do not remove any *existing* code.
      • by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:34AM (#6674089)
        How are we any different from Microsoft, if we happen to "exclude" some support from projects because we do not like the receipient?

        It's open source, SCO can fix whatever it wants. I don't see why we should maintain any code who is only going to benefits instances we don't wish to support. Even existing code needs maintenance.

        but please do not remove any *existing* code.

        On the contrary, please do. Call it a cleanup or refactoring. GCC removes support for obsolete archs all the time.
        • by Bananenrepublik (49759) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:49AM (#6674652)
          If you look at GCC's MAINTAINERS file you will see that SCO's Kean Johnston is the OS port maintainer for SCO's platforms. If you search through gcc-patches, you will see that he still is actively contributing, using his @sco.com address. So they seem to allow this to happen.
          • And who says we want his help. Who says that SCO isn't going to turn around and sue anyone distributing gcc commercially claiming it's infringing patents just like the Linux kernel? How can we trust their contributions at all anymore.
            • by KeanJohnston (697439) <jkj@sco.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @12:58PM (#6676843)

              Well sir, if you had ever actually contributed to the GCC project you would know that they have very strict rules regarding copyright assignment. I have a copyright assignment on file that covers just about every GNU project. Any work I contribute to GCC or other GNU projects is protected by it, and the FSF holds the copyright to my work.

              If you ARE a contributor then you know this already and shame on you for trying to spread FUD. And as for who says they want my help ... so far, they do. I was quite warmly welcomed to the GCC team, and I thank them for it.

              Kean

              • by mec (14700) <mec@shout.net> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @01:30PM (#6677217) Journal
                SCO's opinion of the GPL:

                From their filing of 2003-03-06:

                "80. Any software licensed under the GPL (including Linux) must, by its terms, not be held proprietary or confidential, and may not be claimed by any party as a trade secret or copyright property."

                SCO denies that any GPL software is the copyrighted property of anybody. This means that SCO denies that the Free Software Foundation owns the copyright to gcc.

                That's SCO's interpretation of copyright law. You don't agree with it, and I don't agree with it, but in the hands of an expensive lawyer such as David Boies, it could cause a great deal of grief to the Free Software Foundation.

                ... the FSF holds the copyright to my work.

                You think so, and I think so. SCO thinks that nobody holds this copyright. Which would leave the status of a copyright assignment in limbo.

                Can you cite any recent public statement from a SCO officer that says otherwise?

                As far as wanting help goes: my copyright assignment with the FSF says that I indemnify the FSF in case I contribute any code that contains other people's intellectual property.

                Developer ... will indemnify FSF for all losses if the claim [of adverse ownership] is not spurious ...

                I'm curious -- is that clause in your copyright assignment?

                Which means, given SCO's litigious behavior, that I won't even be reading any contributions from any SCO employees in the future. I don't want to be the target of an SCO lawsuit.
              • by dipipanone (570849) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @01:36PM (#6677283)
                Well sir, if you had ever actually contributed to the GCC project you would know that they have very strict rules regarding copyright assignment.

                Unfortunately, you seem to find yourself in the employ of a company who wants to take advantage open source software, but doesn't appear to feel that it has any obligations to the other people who have contributed to that software in return.

                Not only are they trying to charge licensing fees for other people's IP -- without any authority to do so, but they clearly have no respect at all for the GPL, and claim that it is fatally flawed.

                I'm sure that as an individual, you're a person of enormous ability and integrity. However, you work for a company that has proven themselves time after time to be little better than whoremasters.

                In light of that fact, how can you feel secure about the prospect that SCO won't treat your copyright in the same way as it does that of all of those people who contribute to linux and start demanding license fees for it?

                And can you, in all conscience, argue that open source coders are making a rational decision if they voluntarily allow any of their efforts to be used by SCO, their employees, their customers or their developers?
                • by KeanJohnston (697439) <jkj@sco.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @02:00PM (#6677548)
                  Not only are they trying to charge licensing fees for other people's IP -- without any authority to do so

                  For obvious reasons I cannot comment on this. I have an opinion but I cannot share it. All I can say is that from what I have read publically, SCO is not charging for other people's IP but what they believe to be their own. But this is off-topic. This thread was about my involvement with the GCC project.

                  I'm sure that as an individual, you're a person of enormous ability and integrity. However, you work for a company that has proven themselves time after time to be little better than whoremasters.

                  Since my brain was compiled with gcc -pedantic, I must point out that in effect, since they are my masters (at least at work) you are calling me a whore :) I'm just kidding trying to keep this light ... dont take offence :)

                  And can you, in all conscience, argue that open source coders are making a rational decision if they voluntarily allow any of their efforts to be used by SCO, their employees, their customers or their developers?

                  Well, yes I can. There are hundreds of thousands of open source projects out there. Unless I am missing something SCO is not suing, nor have they stated any intention to, nor do I believe they ever would, any of those projects. Please bare in mind that the scope of the lawsuit is confined to breach of contract with IBM, not against the entire community. The fact that the community has missed this point and taken that lawsuit as having a much broader scope than it does is unfortunate.

                  However, I would like to address your actual question. I understand that people are upset with SCO, I even understand why. However, GCC is a program, it is not a political platform. That program runs on multiple architectures, one of which is SCO OpenServer. Even though the majority of my contributions are aimed at improving support for that platforms, not all are. Even if all my contributions were SCO-centric, they still have value beyond the scope of the individual platform. Each platform has its quirks and nuances, and when those quirks and nuances exposes wekanesses in the overal design of the program, addressing those weaknesses helps improve the program for everybody. Even though my contributions are SCO-centric, this too is not unusual. Linux folks tend to submit Linux-centric patches, FreeBSD folks submit FreeBSD-centric patches etc. It is simply the nature of the beast. In order for the open source model to really work, you generally take code where it is offered.

                  I am a geek. I love writing code, and I do so at every opportunity I get. The fact that I work for a company that is in disfavour with the community does not (or should not) have any bearing on contributions to open source projects. But look at some of the history of this particular project. At one point, Microsoft was public enemy #1, yet people still worked really hard to get things like DJGPP and Cygwin working, all the while trying to rally support against Microsoft. If you (or others) are real geeks, then I am surprised you care so much. Its all about the code and the joy of coding. All this political stuff makes my head ache :)

                  Having said that ... I am off to do another make bootstrap on gcc 3.4 :) Have an absolutely fabulous timezone.

                  Kean

                  • by mec (14700) <mec@shout.net> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @02:43PM (#6678017) Journal
                    You claim that the scope of this lawsuit is a dispute with IBM.

                    sCO has sent thousands of letters to Linux end users warning them of legal liability. SCO publicly stated that Linux cannot possibly work on enterprise systems without illegal code theft from SCO. And Darl McBride said last week: "What is at issue is more than SCO and Red Hat. What is at issue is intellectual property rights in the age of the Internet." (Conference Call, 2003-08-05).

                    So don't even try copping that "this is about IBM, why is the community so upset?" line. SCO says that it is about the community and attacks the community repeatedly in their conference calls and legal filings.

                    • That is becuase it was brought to my attention that someone had posted about me and my involement with GCC. Today was the very first time I have ever read slashdot, and outside of this thread, most probably the last. I have a hard enough time keeping up with regular mail without being sidetracked here.

                      Kean

                  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @03:01PM (#6678229) Homepage Journal
                    the scope of the lawsuit is confined to breach of contract with IBM, not against the entire community.

                    It WAS only about breach of contract with IBM, neglecting language insulting to the community... eg, linux was a "bicycle" until IBM stole SCO's IP to turn it into a luxury car, open source developers were incapable of creating enterprise quality code, and so on.

                    The fact that the community has missed this point and taken that lawsuit as having a much broader scope than it does is unfortunate.

                    When McBride and Sontag made numerous public threats against the larger community, they left the realm of insults and directly threated litigation.

                    In at least one statement to the media, they mentioned the possibility of litigation against Linus and others. 1500 threatening letters were sent, not to developers but to users, with the intention to cause them to reconsider deloying linux. I'd call that an attack on the community.

                    But on a purely technical level, you are correct. The lawsuit is between SCO and IBM. Though SCO hasn't yet filed any other suits, the FUD-based media circus McBride and Sontag have created, the 1500 threating letters, and the licensing campaign are all additional facts that conspire to portray SCO as an enemy of the free software community.

      • Amen. Otherwise GCC support becomes a political issue with Ins and Outs. What is to keep someone from turning a spat with Microsoft into a severing of Cygwin development.

        Indeed, it is a better knife in the back of SCO for everyone who uses it to see it is built upon open foundations.

      • I have to say this (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LinuxGeek (6139)
        Do like for your neighbor's dog to come over and crap in your yard? If you let it go every day for a week and they try make it stop, you will have a tough job. If the first dog feels free to come over and poop away, then other dogs will start to feel that they also have the right to use your yard as their own personal pooping grounds. How long before you can't freely use your own yard because it is like a mine field?

        You wait just as long as you like to speak up about what SCO is pulling, but shut the fu
        • by kinnell (607819) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:05AM (#6674760)
          So what you're saying is that we should all go over and poop on Darl McBride's lawn? That would be the ultimate slashdotting. Scary thought.
      • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <{kcocknozzle} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:47AM (#6674194) Homepage
        I do not believe this is the right way to approach the issue. Let them work this ugly legalese - in courts. How are we any different from Microsoft, if we happen to "exclude" some support from projects because we do not like the receipient? I do not say "let's all develop code for SCO support", but please do not remove any *existing* code.

        Removing SCO support is the right move, and here is why...

        Free software is about community. SCO is attempting to destroy that community. Why should community authors help SCO sell their wares and fund the holy war against, essentially, themselves? If supporting an antique operating system in your open-source code perpetuates this lawsuit for even one more day, why should I be required to do it? If I owned any copyrights to code that would be detrimental to SCO if withdrawn, you bet your ass I would consider it. Or at the least, I'd ponder a patch to remove SCO support while maintaining functionality for everybody else. Yes, I know its OSS, and they can download the code, but there's an expense involved for SCO there, too, since developers need to pay mortgages and food bills too.

        Yes, it would probably be considered punitive, but as an author I am under no requirement to permanently support every stupid operating system for my software. Crap, does SCO even matter anymore outside of their lawsuit against IBM? I don't really think so.
        • by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:55AM (#6674263) Journal
          "Why should community authors help SCO sell their wares and fund the holy war against, essentially, themselves?"

          Because it's the only way to remain free. 'I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend your right to say it to the death'. We can't just stop supporting a large userbase because the company that produced their os is now doing some things that are against some peoples ethics/morals.
          • by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:04AM (#6674320)
            'I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend your right to say it to the death'.

            'but you should not expect me to invite you for lunch'.
          • by myster0n (216276) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:05AM (#6674328)
            In this particular case, IMHO it's more like : "I'm against the death-penalty, but I'll defend your right to have me executed".
          • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:53AM (#6675287)
            Because it's the only way to remain free. 'I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend your right to say it to the death'.
            Unfortunately some freedoms are antithetical to freedom itself. Such as the freedom to own slaves, or the freedom to kill people. Some freedoms must be taken away because their existence precludes more imortant freedoms.

            SCO is telling linux developers, "if you want to use the code you wrote, you must first pay us, because we've assumed control of your work and we're selling it now." Supporting that is stupid.

        • by JimDabell (42870) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:28AM (#6674494) Homepage

          Free software is about community.

          The Free Software Movement might be about community, but Free Software, on its own, is just something that gets the job done for many people. If its developers yank your support because they don't like the operating system you use (why haven't they done this already for Windows?), then they run the risk of being percieved as unreliable. And how community-friendly is it to yank support for an OS that some people might be heavily reliant upon, when those people aren't responsible for the lawsuit madness?

        • by Rysc (136391) <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:33AM (#6675077) Homepage Journal
          Free software is about community. SCO is attempting to destroy that community. Why should community authors help SCO sell their wares and fund the holy war against, essentially, themselves?

          The reason OSS is being successful is our reputation. Not only do we have the moral high ground when it comes to software, but we are percieved to have the moral high ground.

          Developers out there may rave aout how it will never work, and they can't make money at it, but they'll all admit it's a really nice idea if only it would work. That's good will we've got going for us. That's more valuable than any money.

          If we, as a community, start fighting dirty, then we lose. On the surface it seems like a good idea, but a little while down the road the OSS community will no longer be seen as morally upright. We will be vindictive little bastards, and people (and companies) working with us will forever be wary, waiting for that knife in the back.

          Confidence, that's the game we're playing. SCO undermines ours by this case of theirs, but we undermine our own even more so if we hit back like this.

          The OSS definition states one cannot descriminate against people or organizations. How can you suggest it is right to exclude our enemy from the benefits of Free software? Sure, they will take and take from us, but eventually they will be overtaken as well and will become part of our community. If we exclude them, it is no longer Free for anyone, it becomes something only for a privileged few.

          This fight isn't about SCO, or the people who may be harmed by not having the latest GCC. This fight is about our reputation in the future and the spirit of the movement.
    • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChiefArcher (1753)
      But doesn't SCO have their own compiler they ship with their OS (for $$$).. sort of like Solaris and IRIX?

      All it would have the opposite effect... developers running SCO would then have to purchase the SCO C Compiler from SCO.. therefore SCO gets more money..

      my 2 cents.
      ChiefArcher
    • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Except that a programer from SCO is maintaning the SCO port. There is no way that you can stop him and still have GCC under GPL. Under the GPL you can not stop someone from using your code just because you do not like them. Taking away SCO support in GCC will only hurt SCO users not the company. If SCO wants to have GCC in SCO all they have to do is port it. There is nothing that FSF can do to stop them except to stop using the GPL. Then who wins.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:27AM (#6674046)
    Of course, the output of this compiler is not executable code. It produces lawsuits instead.
  • SCO support... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by borgdows (599861) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:29AM (#6674054)
    SCO don't care about GCC support of their OS, they do not are a software company anymore but a litigation company.
    Stripping SCO support from GCC will only harm SCO's old customers who don't have anything to do with SCO evil.
    • Re:SCO support... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mark_lybarger (199098)
      it might make their customers bitch a little up the ladder and eventually take some time away from the litigation. it's basically giving a blow in the gut any way you can.
      • Re:SCO support... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ebh (116526) *
        The customers/ISVs big enough to matter all use SCO's own development tools, not the GNU toolchain. GCC support or lack thereof will not direct their actions. However, those customers depend heavily on the stability and continued existence of their vendors. Were I one of those customers, I'd have already written them a scathing letter telling exactly what I think of the prospect of going through the pain of changing platforms because SCO litigated itself out of business.

        Claimer: I worked on those develo
    • by fritter (27792) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:40AM (#6674127)
      Stripping SCO support from GCC will only harm SCO's old customers who don't have anything to do with SCO evil.

      Both of them?
      • Re:SCO support... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JediTrainer (314273) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:26AM (#6674467)
        Both of them?

        Funny you should say that. The company I work for has a number of SCO servers, and we are now looking to replace them with Linux boxes because of all this nonsense. (We already have a number of new servers running Linux - it's the legacy ones that are still running SCO).

        SCO's 'support' costs an arm and a leg, and is pretty lousy. They do not fix problems in a timely manner, and many software packages that run on their OS are usually old and obsolete.

        Ever try running Java code on SCO?
    • Re:SCO support... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ReadParse (38517) <.john. .at. .funnycow.com.> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:43AM (#6674162) Homepage
      If you had RTF message, you would have seen that the FSF used the exact same argument to NOT break GCC on SCO Unix.
  • by rokzy (687636) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:29AM (#6674055)
    it threatens to remove support for SCO Unix, then says it won't.

    what's the point?
    • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:46AM (#6674190) Homepage

      No, read it again.

      It says they've been urged to do so, but will not at this time. They're considering it, but have very good reasons not to. If they did remove it, it would be basically a symbolic move that would hurt a few innocent people. Putting in this readme drawing attention to the controversy achieves a similar symbolic statement, without hurting those people. I think it's a good move.

  • shameless (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    shameless karma plug for the coward:

    The FSF has asked me to check in this file on both the branch and the
    mainline.

    Please direct any questions or comments to the FSF.

    --
    Mark Mitchell
    CodeSourcery, LLC
    mark@codesourcery.com

    2003-08-03 Mark Mitchell

    * README.SCO: New file.

    ===

    As all users of GCC will know, SCO has recently made claims concerning
    alleged copyright infringement by recent versions of the operating
    system kernel called Linux. SCO has made irresponsible public
    statements about this supposed
    • Don't do it! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@@@etoyoc...com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:44AM (#6674175) Homepage Journal
      I hate SCO. But to throw a spanner into the works for every GCC user on SCO is evil. It would be like razing an entire town because the city council has a border dispute with you.

      Your problem is with the officials, not the inhabitants. All you would achieve is to turn sympathetic users of GCC into your sworn enemy. At what gain?

      Many companies use proprietary technology. Some misappropriate Free Software, others allow it to mingle with their own. When a misappropriation takes place, our action need to be litigation, not misguided populist sentiment.

      • Re:Don't do it! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Wolfier (94144) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:47AM (#6674641)
        Think about it...the publicity stunt this README creates is enough. I'd be happy if CNet, Yahoo and NY Times are the next to report it.

        They *SAY* they would continue support, but throws a FUD effort to the game. It won't affect SCO users a bit, except to make them ponder whether or not to continue to use SCO, *exactly* like what SCO is doing to Linux users.

        I think, if SCO has any future plan for SCO Unix, this move is important: it forces current SCO users to migrate to another OS, or SCO to develop on gcc (impossible, they don't employ any developers anymore, plus they won't release anything in GPL from now on)

        Also, it'll lower the worth of the Unixware, if SCO plans to sell the Unixware IP to another company, it would certainly be bad news.

        If I were FSF, I'd go further and announce that "while support for current SCO Unix is retained, for all future versions of SCO Unix it is dropped until further notice".
  • So now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mopslik (688435) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:30AM (#6674063)
    ...all programs compiled with the -sco flag will now start with a nag screen urging you to pay $699 to legalize your software?
  • by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:30AM (#6674064)
    The only thing better than stripping out the support would be generating code that would execute slightly wrongly when run on an SCO OS. Adjusting small decimal numbers just a bit, corrupting a database here and there... every 3 years.

    Talk about Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt ;-).
    • "The only thing better than stripping out the support would be generating code that would execute slightly wrongly when run on an SCO OS."

      Or when run in a microsoft.com domain
    • by HiQ (159108) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:55AM (#6674257)
      No just make a nagging compiler. Let it put up a nag screen with each statement it compiles, showing the statement and asking the programmer if it's allright to compile this and if it's not violating one or more IP's (Yes/No/Abort). :)
    • by adric (91323)
      GNU's not done 'till SCO won't run! ;-)
  • by aggieben (620937) <aggieben@gmail.cCOFFEEom minus caffeine> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:31AM (#6674073) Homepage Journal
    The README suggests that removing support for SCO unix from GCC would hurt SCO's users, but not SCO. I disagree: If SCO's users can't develop software for their chosen platform anymore, then they will likely choose another platform, and SCO will be the one hurting in the end (which is the desired effect). Of course, there are other compilers out there, but the best ones are limited by platform (icc comes to mind) or can't very well just be a drop in replacement for gcc (everything else).
    • by hellbunnie (70297) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:44AM (#6674171) Homepage
      Yeah, but I'm not so sure that SCO actually want customers anymore. They know that their market share is falling, acting the bully isn't going to change that. I reckon all this lawsuit stuff is just their dying throes, in which case hurting SCO users won't really have any impact on SCO.
    • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:51AM (#6674225) Homepage

      SCOs customers are a miniscule source of profit anyway. Their customer base is tiny and shrinking. No one with half a brain has bought it in years, there install base is mostly very old installations that are only there because no one wants to break a working system.

      Trying to coerce people like that usually backfires. The people still using SCO, all 10 of them, are already working on installing Linux or *BSD instead. No need to antagonise them. They didn't file the lawsuits, and they didn't buy from the company calling itself SCO in the first place anyway - they bought from what is now Tarantella and while you might not like old SCO either, they're certainly on a different plane from Darl & Co.

    • by JimDabell (42870) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:53AM (#6674241) Homepage

      The README suggests that removing support for SCO unix from GCC would hurt SCO's users, but not SCO. I disagree: If SCO's users can't develop software for their chosen platform anymore, then they will likely choose another platform, and SCO will be the one hurting in the end (which is the desired effect).

      Well that depends on whether or not SCO's operating systems are a part of their business plan any more. A lot of people would argue that they are just a lawsuit company now.

      There's a big problem with this proposed action though. What message does it send to people who happen to be using SCO, and decided upon Free Software (GCC) for their compiler? Essentially, they are getting the message "you are using an operating system we don't like, so we'll leave you high and dry". It's Free Software, so it's not as bad as when a proprietary vendor drops support, but it's still a big business risk.

      We don't want to give the impression that you can't depend on Free Software unless you buy into the whole philosophy and only use FSF-approved operating systems. I think they have done the right thing by making a public issue out of this before actually doing anything, it lets people plan ahead in case this goes ahead, and it gives end-users a chance to talk to SCO about it (if they aren't already).

    • by cdrudge (68377) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:57AM (#6674274) Homepage
      If you are really intent on developing code for the SCO platform, you probably have already shelled out the money for a true developers license. This includes cc making gcc unnecessary.
    • If SCO's users can't develop software for their chosen platform anymore, then they will likely choose another platform

      The availability of GCC and other free software on OpenServer and UnixWare may make it easier to eventually migrate off of those platforms. If a user has a compiler, he can build Apache, MySQL, and PHP, in preparation to migrate from SCAMP to LAMP.

      As tempting as it is to excommunicate a platform for political reasons, it's a bad idea. OpenServer and UnixWare support may eventually die du

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:25AM (#6674464) Homepage Journal
      Oh SCO users would still be able to develop code. They'd just have to drop the extra cash (Used to be $1200 back in the xenix days) for SCO's C compiler. I'm sure SCO would be happy if the GCC people dropped SCO support.

      For a long time, Stallman strongly urged everyone not to develop to Apple's platform either, because of the GUI lawsuits against Microsoft. It was a pretty effective campagin IIRC; for a long time it was nigh unto impossible to find emacs for the Mac and I'm sure that discouraged a lot of developers from going to the platform.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aol.LISPcom minus language> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:33AM (#6674078) Journal
    There is no reason to continue to support SCO. In fact, I think this action is immediately necessary to let potential licensees of SCO know that they will NOT have a free compiler if they buy SCO/Unix.

    There is no reason not to defend the free software community against the illegal actions of SCO. This aggression will not stand.

    SCO has profiteered off of the goodwill and charity of millions of programmers across the world. How are they repaying you? By suing you into oblivion and STEALING your code!

    This is not the time to be benevolent and charitable. This is the time to be assertive and not let them bully you around.

    I strongly urge the likes of the FSF and RedHat, who has already established a legal "defense" fund to also establish a legal "offense" fund and start fighing SCO for violating the GPL and the Copyrights of every developer that had their code distributed by SCO in violation of the GPL.

    Everyone is so worried that the GPL won't hold water in court. If you're so worried, than it won't. The time to test the GPL is NOW, so that any weaknesses can be found and corrected.

    SCO needs to be taken seriously no matter how irrational or stupid their claims become. Remember that the people they pack juries with are usually just as stupid and irrational.
  • Pressure (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonsb (668273) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:33AM (#6674082)
    Might cause SCO's clients to put some pressure on them in regards to the current action SCO is taking...
    • Re:Pressure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morgajel (568462)
      doubtful- I get the feeling this is SCO's blaze of glory before dying out.... I really can't see them recovering from this in any way.

      Business make money by pleasing customers, not muscling them into paying. All their doing is pissing people off.

      most of the younger generation (myself included) have never had much experience with any unix, only linux. it's what we can run at home on a spare box. It's cheap and easy. When we finally get up the ladder in companies that are actually RUNNINIG SCO products
  • Difficult (Score:5, Informative)

    by passthecrackpipe (598773) * <passthecrackpipe ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:35AM (#6674093)
    As much as I loath the actions that SCO is taking, this is a difficult issue. Explicitly removing support for SCO systems from GCC goes against the open source definition, items 5 and 6:

    • 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
      The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
    • 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
      The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
    Does this mean the FSF is no longer open source compatible? For the knee-jerkers out there, this is not a troll, it is a serious question. The issue is that Free software should be free, warts and all. Unintended consequences aside, you can't just remove the right to use GCC of any organisation that uses SCO software, it's not right....
    • Seriously, this is exactly the type of thing that will make people look at open source / free software and scream:"Look, they are against making money! Scumbag Communistic hippies!!"
      • Having read the "README.SCO", I would take it more as a warning from the gcc folks to SCO that SCO's recent activities regarding licensing their IP supposedly contain in the Linux kernel is inconsistent with the GPL. What the free/open source software community lacks in high priced lawyers they can make up for by choosing to continue support for or not support commercial operating systems that are distributed by companies who violate the GPL.

        I would hardly call this approach "against making money." If I
        • Dave, I appreciate and agree with your opinion. I agree totally. But what I am trying to point is that the opinion of a few slashdotters, as informed as it may be, doesn't count for much when the Open Source Discussion is just about to be held in the Boardroom. Trust me, been there, done that, got the t-shirt. When you are in the Boardroom, these people will have 15 minutes to listen to your argument about why they should do Open Source. You do not want to have to spend 10 minutes explaining why GCC all of
          • I hear you but I think the FSF people are playing this extremely well. As I pointed out in another post, README.SCO is the lawyerless equivalent of a "cease and desist" letter. Everyone in the free/open source software community has an interest in enforcing the GPL. README.SCO simply points out that SCO is violating the GPL and a consequence of that violation may be withdrawl of support for SCO Unix.

            Actually, I see the free software community handling this in an open, responsible and reasonable manner

    • No (Score:5, Informative)

      by sfraggle (212671) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:44AM (#6674174)
      gcc is still Open Source. They would not be placing any additional restrictions on the use of gcc, so anybody could create a patch for gcc to make it work again. They would simply be choosing to remove support for SCO Unix from the mainline gcc source, so it would no longer work "out of the box". Besides, they havent actually removed support yet, though they have hinted they may do in the future if SCO continues its behaviour.
  • by rlsnyder (231869) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:36AM (#6674101)
    Instead of striving for the best possible compiler and tools for the open source community, it's better to engage in a pissing match with SCO? Wouldn't it, perhaps, be better just to keep things moving forward?

  • Slippery Slope... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@@@etoyoc...com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:36AM (#6674102) Homepage Journal
    You aren't damaging SCO by stripping support in GCC, you are damaging SCO's users. I do not subscribe to either notion of "My enemy's enemy is my friend" nor "My enemy's friend is my enemy."

    We must take the higher ground and turn the other cheek, lest we threaten the very trust upon which Open Source is built.

  • by wfmcwalter (124904) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:42AM (#6674146) Homepage
    I heartily support the readme.sco idea (frankly its wording is fairly mild).

    But GCC shouldn't remove SCO support for reasons of pique or spite. As other posters have said, it won't hurt SCO one bit, but to do so would make GCC, FSF, and the entire free/open software community look petty, and perhaps untrustworthy. GNU software has a long history of running on unsupportive or openly hostile platforms (i.e. windows) and its continuing to do so gives users of those platforms an incremental upgrade-path to freedom. Any action like this, however justified it might feel, would do much more to harm innocent SCO customers and the entire free software community's reputation.

  • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:49AM (#6674215)
    Right now, there is a very important PR battle going on around whether 'free' software is developed by responsible organisations and individuals or a bunch of left wing anti capitalists. 'Free' software's long term commercial success depends to a significant extent on the result of this battle.

    Saying that we are going to waste time removing support that already exists because we do not like what SCO has done would look childish to many observers. The message seems like 'you cannot play with us any more'. It would not disturb SCO in the slightest, as any customer crazy enough to buy a SCO license (or SCO maintenance contract) now would not be deterred by the fact that they cannot use leading edge features of the GCC compiler. All it would do is make FSF look unprofessional.

  • Windows Support (Score:3, Insightful)

    by affenmann (195152) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:55AM (#6674258)
    So, should they remove support for Windows as well? I don't think so. Let's behave like adults here, not like SCO!
  • -1 Troll (Score:5, Informative)

    by samhalliday (653858) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @08:56AM (#6674266) Homepage Journal
    It stops short of demanding that GCC developers strip SCO support from the compiler, and says more will be announced before the next compiler release.

    did the submitter even read the README?? it says no such thing, and i quote:

    "We have been urged to drop support for SCO Unix from this release of GCC
    ...snip... we have decided not to take that action. The Free Software Foundation's overriding goal is to protect the freedom of the free software community, including developers and users"
  • by norwoodites (226775) <pinskia@gmail.cYEATSom minus poet> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:02AM (#6674310) Journal
    You should look at this bug which was filed, PR11842 [gnu.org].
    People calm down, this is not really big news as FSF has done this before with Apple and other people so this should have not come as a big surprise.
  • SCO Unix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stephenry (648792) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:14AM (#6674383)
    The removal of support for SCO Unix in GCC may indeed hurt its end users and developers to a greater extent than SCO itself, but, isn't it already common practise to remove deprecated/obsolete systems (I noticed they just removed a pile of old CPU architectures in the previous release). I don't think anybody will argue that the future prospects of the SCO Unix operating system are looking rosey at the moment. Indeed, in a few months, it maybe along side those old CPU's in the annals of computing history.

    Furthermore, the process of eliminating support in future versions of gcc, does not detract from the fact that current versions *do* support SCO Unix. As such, couldn't current SCO Unix users simply use the older versions in any case?

    I'm all for the impartiallity in the development of software as important and necessary as the open source compiler, however, there is a point where we, as a community, must take the stand. There is an acute difference between impartiallity in our work, and allowing those whom wish to assimilate it, walking all over us.
  • by Black Noise (683584) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:21AM (#6674436)
    It stops short of demanding that GCC developers strip SCO support from the compiler

    It does nothing of the kind. It merely states that they have been urged (by whom?) to drop SCO support, but they have decided not to for the time being. And, if you ask me, they never will, because that would be the exact opposite to what the FSF fights for. But they could have been a bit more diplomatic about it in my opinion... Most people should be able to see the obvious.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:30AM (#6674502) Homepage
    The FSF used to boycott Apple in exactly the same way they have now decided not to boycott SCO, namely by removing (or refusing to add) explicit support for Apple configurations from their software.

    The Apple boycott was motivated by Apple's "look and feel" lawsuit against HP. If look and feel was copyrightable, the GNU projeect itself was threatened since GNU very much look and feel like Unix.

    Evcantually, the FSF dropped the boycott with the reason that it was not effective, the Apple management didn't care if they even knew about it.

    I believe the same reason will apply to SCO, their management no longer have any interest in their own products, they are solely a litigation company these days.

    I consider boycotts a legitime weapon, despite that it also hits innocents. Nobody have a moral obbligation to buy or support anything. However, such weapons should only be used when they are effective.
  • by morgajel (568462) <slashreader&morgajel,com> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:43AM (#6674608) Homepage
    don't worry if it's cubs will go hungry.

    This is a life and death battle. If you don't fight, there's a slim chance that some moron judge will side the wrong way.

    SCO has the audacity to attack linux, and hence, Free Software. How many GCC developers run linux? How many of us do?

    I'm completely looking forward to the linux revolution that's creeping in. This is our chance to prove how strong free sofware really is. We can't seem meek, because if we do, and just barely squeak by SCO, microsoft or someone else with a bag of cash is gonna crush us. We gotta give everything we got.

    It's sorta like a prison movie. Either kick someone's ass the first day or become someone's bitch.

    We need to pull out all the stops. No survivors. lay them of them to the man. cut up their credit cards. Throw the board of directors in the electric chair. If we hold back, there will be dire concequences.

    Unfortunately all of my software [morgajel.com] is pretty simple, and there's no way of removing support for SCO since there's none to begin with.

    Yes, This will hurt SCO users, but then again, they can always complain to SCO and notice that SCO doesn't give a damn about them. Perhaps they'll consider moving to another platform.
  • by LordKaT (619540) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @09:44AM (#6674610) Homepage Journal
    Folks,

    Every argument here thus far has been either to strip the SCO support, or not to. Mostly as a symbolic gesture, but have all of you forgotten how open source works? Even if you do strip SCO support, they (SCO, people compiling under SCO, etc ...) can readily use their old versions of GCC, and even put SCO support back into newer versions and create a different branch.

    Quite honestly, I don't see where the harm comes into play, other than this being a symbolic gesture.

    --LordKaT

  • by unoengborg (209251) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:06AM (#6674768) Homepage
    FSF did boycot Apple A/UX back when Apple and Microsoft was fighting in courts about look & feel.

    This made life as an A/UX admin much more difficult. Not that GNU software didn't run, they did, but you had to port it yourself.

    I think this actually contributed to Apples decision to discontinue A/UX. Other reasons for the decision was that Apple had its focus elsewhere. Just like SCO have changed focus to become a litegation company instead of a software house.

    I'd say don't just drop support in gcc. Drop it in the entire product line.(emacs, autoconf,...) After all it is free software and SCO users can port it if they like.

  • I tend to agree... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JaJ_D (652372) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:11AM (#6674854)
    .... that users of SCO products shouldn't be deprived the right to use things like GCC. It's not the person at the sharp end (e.g. fellow geeks, techs, developers) that would suffer NOT SCO.

    What _may_ be affective (if its possible) is to, for the time being initially, revoke the GCC licence for use of SCO - so SCO cannot package it up on their systems (nor use it inside SCO to copmile products - i.e. stopping development at SCO until a new "GCC" style compiler has been written that _DOESN'T_ use FSF/GCC code), but allow individuals to do this.

    Also, if SCO release ANY product, state that they _must_ be using copyrighted code illegally, and report them to the appropraite people and then, possibly, sue them!

    Might have an effect.

    JaJ
  • by StormyWeather (543593) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:15AM (#6674899) Homepage
    If you get rid of GCC on SCO, then you get rid of a cross platform migration utility.

    Oh, and I'm forced to use SCO at work because of a ton of legacy code and proprietary applications that SA refuses to port. We hate it, but what are you going to do? The cogs grind slowly :).
  • Ouch. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Wakko Warner (324) * on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @10:24AM (#6674993) Homepage Journal
    This will surely piss off all three SCO users.

    - A.P.
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @12:07PM (#6676195)
    The current patch--Why do it?

    Political Reasons Is the source code an appropriate place to put a short, relevant political statement? My answer to that is YES. We're not talking about a manifesto here. This is a short relevant statement that becomes part of the "history" of GNU. Good place for it.


    Discontinuing SCO support--Why do it?


    Legal Does including SCO support in gcc undermine the legal position of the gcc developers and users w.r.t. the SCO situation? (My guess is NO). And even if that was true, would acknowledging the fact there MIGHT be a legal issue further undermine that position? (Again, my guess is NO). Legal Reason: No
    Logistical Does continuing to include SCO support in gcc cost an unacceptable amount of resources--(developers time)? I know that after SCO has pissed everyone off, some would say that "One second of developer's time is unacceptable." That's a different issue. We'll get to that farther down. My guess here is SCO support does not delay gcc releases a whole lot, but the developers can answer better. Logistical Reason: Probably Not
    Design Do developers sit around saying "Dammit, if we didn't have to support SCO, gcc could be twenty percent faster/smaller and we could add all these features people have been wanting." My guess no, but again, ask the developers. Design Reason" Probably Not
    Retribution Did SCO offend the community who has worked so hard to develop the GNU they use and (used to) distribute? Yes. Does that community now have the opportunity to abandon SCO (and all the users unfortunate enough to be dependant on SCO)? Yes. Is Retribution against SCO a valid reason for the gcc project to modify their code? Ask the developers. Only the people doing the work can say what they want their role in this community to be.
    Social(Don't Tread On Me)--Would discontinuing support for SCO send a message: "If you stand before the community and falsely accuse and harass us, you should not expect the community to continue to support you. You are now outcast." Why would the developers care how they are perceived?


    Explicitly Removing SCO support--Why not do it? IF it is a good idea to discontinue SCO support, why not remove it altogether? What's the cost?


    Functionality--What does removing SCO support break?
    Logistics--How much time and effort do the developers want to commit to excising this code?
    Collateral Damage--Who else would be hurt by the gcc project's retribution against SCO?
    Social(...thine Enemies)--Would the gcc developers be perceived as vindictive for removing SCO support? Why would the developers care how they are perceived? How would this affect future collaboration?

  • by mec (14700) <mec@shout.net> on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @01:06PM (#6676933) Journal
    Re: Deprecate dwarf and mdebug support, delete nlm? [redhat.com]

    Some facts:

    SCO pays at least one employee to maintain gcc and gdb for SCO operating systems.

    SCO's supported version of gcc is gcc 2. They are working on upgrading to gcc 3 but are not planning to support gcc until gcc 3.4.

    SCO's gcc generates dwarf-1 debugging format (not dwarf-2). I've researched this, and the only dwarf-1 compilers I sighted were proprietary compilers from Diab and Absoft and the SCO version of gcc. All other versions of gcc in the field use other debugging formats now (dwarf-2 and stabs+, mostly).

    My opinion: disengaging from SCO would hurt SCO's version of the gnu toolchain materially. Which would be good.

  • by Greg@RageNet (39860) on Tuesday August 12, 2003 @02:13PM (#6677667) Homepage
    This is my enterpretation of the SCO corporate logo [rage.net]

    -- Greg

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