[Talk] Re: [Linux-aus] SCO position, rationale and AUUG - Grog's thread

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Thu May 22 17:35:38 EST 2003

On Thu, 22 May 2003 14:37, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
> Take a look at their stock prices.  The stock has really rallied
> since the lawsuits were announced.

Only because the investors think they might get a substantial windfall, 
which IRL is extremely unlikely.

> Note that it's a tossup as to whether the correct people are on
> talk at . I don't know how many of our Board of Directors are.

True, but I've seen messages from you and Maddog, which is a roaring 
start. (-:

>> I value AUUG not so much for their press contacts (although those
>> are good) as because they have a set of valuable points of view
>> which are centred around different concerns to either SLPWA or
>> LA's.

> This is a good point.  It might be a good enough reason for AUUG and
> Linux Australia to put out similar (but not contradictory)
> statements. It would certainly increase press coverage.  The AUUG BoD
> is meeting on Saturday, and this item is on our agenda.

I guess we should cover some ground for them, then. (-:

> I don't think that SCO is the Santa Cruz Operation any more.

True, they are now "The SCO Group" according to their website, having 
briefly been Caldera since their S-C-O days.

>> The extensive quality control systems which a patch must pass
>> before it is accepted into the main Linux kernel would massively
>> modify and almost certainly reject any incoming SCO UNIX code. The
>> internal systems of SCO UNIX and Linux are quite different, so it
>> would make little sense to try grafting code from one kernel into
>> the other.

> The second point is much more plausible than the first.


> Recall that SCO is saying exactly the opposite about quality control.

...and have been doing so for about 4 years now. I think we need to at 
least contradict this, and now is as good a time as any to start.

> Before you can say that Linux QC is better than SCO, you need to
> convince your audience.  And that takes too long.

Yes and no. Just stating it will have some effect, the following 
statement about big systems adds credibility, and no matter how much 
time is spent, some will remain completely unconvinced.

I think this will be as much as we can achieve without labouring the 
point, and I think we need to ping this concept occasionally anyway, 
since many PHBs assume no quality control and it's something that 
Microsoft pumps as often as it can. After the flood, no raindrop will 
admit responsibility. (-:

>> The legal complaint filed by SCO against IBM contains many
>> substantial errors of fact which leads [assorted organisations] to
>> the conclusion that SCO have made a serious mistake in their
>> evaluation of the situation, and that they should withdraw their
>> suit against IBM.

>> One error of fact centres on using Linux with large arrays of
>> processors. The collaboration which led to Linux running on
>> 64-to-512 processor systems such as SGI's Altix 3000 involved many
>> people and companies - not just IBM - and resulted in Linux
>> performance which dramatically outclasses SCO UNIX.

> I think we need to look at where, if at all, SCO UNIX runs on
> significant numbers of CPUs.

They only claim 32 peak.

> Sure, various versions of AIX, IRIX and
> Solaris do, but you can be pretty sure that that has nothing to do
> with the SCO code base.  But this is where it gets tricky: SCO could
> say, for example, that the AIX development is based on SCO's code
> (not true AFAICT), and that IBM's know-how (not necessarily code,
> recall?) makes Linux better.  Turn that the right way, and just
> before you strangle the last grain of truth, you might make a case
> which some people would believe.

That's precisely what SCO have said. Do you think we need to explicitly 
touch on input from SGI and others at this point?

>> SCO have freely published the source code in question (under the
>> terms of the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) which protects the
>> Linux kernel) for some time after filing the complaint, so even if
>> the complaint once had any merit, it no longer does.

> We don't know that.  They don't say how long.

True. So instead of saying "in question" it should read "to the Linux 
kernel". That and them chopping their own distro should say all that we 
need said without leaving room for carping if they want to get picky. 
Their distro did ship with a 2.4 kernel while it was still Caldera.

>> Microsoft have recently purchased a UNIX licence from SCO to
>> "improve the Unix compatibility of [...] Services For Unix", but
>> while Microsoft would evidently like to stop shipping GPLed
>> software itself for political reasons, their move does not validate
>> SCO's charges.

> This purchase of a UNIX license is really confusing.


> By all accounts
> Microsoft has various UNIX source code, so they must have had a
> license.  After all, when SCO was effectively a part of Microsoft,
> they wrote or at least maintained XENIX.

Agree. Should we change what we say as a result of it being confusing? 
At least put rabbit ears around "a UNIX licence" to hint that the 
description may not be accurate?

>> We also note that Microsoft have dropped support for some of their
>> software on SCO UNIX, but support those programs on Linux.

> The point?  That even Microsoft doesn't believe in SCO's viability?

Yes. Actions vs words.

>> Linux's future is bright and certain, underwritten and stabilised
>> more by the political and technical freedoms embodied in the GPL
>> than by the fickle to and fro of shareholders or the dangerous
>> flame of personal or corporate ambition.

>> It is quite safe to continue using Linux. This is true in terms of
>> virus immunity and general reliability as well as in the legal and
>> political senses.

> Wearing my devil's advocate horns, this somehow doesn't ring true.
> I'm not sure why, but I suspect that it won't be enough to counter
> SCO's FUD.

That's fine - as long as what we wind up with _is_ if not enough to 
counter, then enough to keep poor conclusions from being jumped at.

> You'll note that I've criticized what you have to say

Hoorah! I would that more could be bothered! (-:

> I hope you'll agree with the points I made

Some of them. (-:

> but I haven't said very much myself.
> There's a good reason for that, and it's also the reason why AUUG
> hasn't made a stand on the subject: I'm still trying to understand
> the implications.  But we need to be very careful about what we do
> say. Of one thing I am certain: this lawsuit *does* have the
> potential to do serious damage to Linux.  Look at the effect on BSD
> of the AT&T vs. BSDI lawsuit 10 years ago.  FreeBSD and NetBSD
> weren't even involved in that lawsuit.


> I do have a web page on the subject, at
> http://www.lemis.com/grog/sco.html.  Note that these are my personal
> opinions and have no relationship to any official AUUG standpoint.


Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Committee Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Committee Member, Linux Australia

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