[Talk] SCO news - analysts says they saw UNIX code in Linux

Greg 'groggy' Lehey Greg.Lehey at auug.org.au
Tue Jun 10 10:42:31 EST 2003

On Tuesday, 10 June 2003 at 10:20:19 +1000, Con Zymaris wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 10, 2003 at 09:43:14AM +0930, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
>> On Tuesday, 10 June 2003 at  9:12:21 +1000, David Purdue wrote:
>>> See the story at:
>>> http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/06/09/1055010912770.html
>>> A couple of non-programmers from a couple of analyst firms were
>>> shown two blocks of code and say that 80 lines of code and comments
>>> were the same.
>> Hmm.  If they're identical, I don't suppose you have to be a
>> programmer, especially if they contain comments.
>>> What they did not see were any change control records to establish
>>> where this block of code came from.
>> You'd think that SCO would want to make that clear, wouldn't you?
> I don't believe that it is possible to certify that the source revision
> system hasn't been tampered with or conjured into artificial existence.
> How, therefore, can SCO prove this point?

Well, the point I was making was that they haven't tried to.  That
suggests to me that they have something to hide.  But it occurs to me
that there's probably no single stretch of 80 lines of code anywhere
in the UNIX or Linux kernels which has been developed at one time.
There will be modifications.  I've just done a cvs annotate on some
FreeBSD kernel code, and newer code shows stretches of up to 30 lines
here and there which have been committed at the same time.  Older
code, including code imported from 4.4BSD, seldom shows more than 10
consecutive lines.  This is all code that has been functional through
all those revisions.  Therefore, looking at the revision history,

1.  If all 80 lines show up at once, that suggests it wasn't written
2.  If the 80 lines show a typical pattern of having been updated over
    a period of time, it should be possible to at least compile each
    intervening revision.

It's unfortunate that Linux wasn't kept under revision control until a
year or two ago.  But in this case there are so many versions out
there, burnt on CD-ROM, that the history of the code in Linux should
not be difficult to prove more reliably than SCO can prove their case.

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