[Talk] Re: [Linux-aus] SCO position, rationale and AUUG

Greg 'groggy' Lehey Greg.Lehey at auug.org.au
Thu May 22 18:35:50 EST 2003

On Thursday, 22 May 2003 at 17:34:56 +1000, Chris Samuel wrote:
> On Thursday 22 May 2003 4:37 pm, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
>> I think we need to look at where, if at all, SCO UNIX runs on
>> significant numbers of CPUs.
> You also need to be very clear about whether you are talking about SCO Unix or
> Unixware. The former is SCO's, the latter is the renamed System V Release 4
> from USG that Novell had before they sold it to Caldera (and AT&T had before
> them).
> This case is about Unixware, not SCO Unix.

After reading the complaint, I'm not sure what this case is about.
But yes, the old SCO UNIX, now called Open Deathtrap or Open Server,
is based on System V.3.2.  I have a complete set of the ODT software

> Bear in mind that one of the reasons that (I was told) Sun went
> System V for Solaris was because of the fact that the SunOS BSD
> kernel didn't MP anywhere near as well as System V

So they say, at least nowadays.  I find that hard to believe, given
that at the time (System V.3(.0)) it didn't have *any* support for
SMP.  That didn't come until the early 1990s.

> (although Sun rewrote a lot the the SVR4 kernel).

It took Sun approximately until SunOS 2.5 to get reasonable SMP
support.  They did it in a completely different way from System V.4.2,
the SMP version of System V (not to be confused with System V.4.2,
also known as UnixWare).

>> 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.
> Don't get into the trap of confusing Unixware and SCO Unix!

Not a hope.  I was present at the launch of UnixWare (of which I also
have a complete software set), and made a lot of money out of it.  I
sold Univel 10,000 CDs of free software (the software was free, the
CDs weren't), and they only sold a fraction of that number of UnixWare
licenses worldwide in the first year.

>> 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.
> Microsoft has had copyright messages in System V since around 1987,

Yes, this was System V.3.2, which merged XENIX and (I think) SunOS 4
functionality into System V.  Earlier versions weren't very compatible
with XENIX.

> because of the original SCO's work on Xenix which MS released in
> 1980 (remember that SCO did the work under subcontract for MS, and
> the fall out from this is why SCO took MS to the European Commission
> in the late 1990's. See the webpage at:
> 	http://www.vcnet.com/bms/features/tale.shtml
> for more).

Hmm, interesting.  Thanks for the background.  Of course, some of the
stuff is contradictory:

    Looking further back to 1980, we find Microsoft developing a
    commercial version of Unix called Xenix under license from AT&T.
    Actually, Microsoft didn't develop Xenix, though they did obtain a
    license from AT&T to do so -- and subcontracted the actual coding
    to SCO.

    By the time SCO acquired it, the archaic Xenix code had more than
    outlived its technical usefulness.

One of the problems SCO (the old one) had was that, although their
product was archaic and not real UNIX, it was relatively easy to use.
It didn't have as many of the sharp edges that many commercial UNIXes
still have (not counting compatibility problems with System V, of
course).  That's why OpenDesktop was based on XENIX, and why it's
still a System V.3.2 base.  Even UnixWare, a much more modern system,
had difficulties keeping up.  There are a number of loyal SCO users
out there even today.

>>> 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?
> Warning - SCO Unix is irrelevant at this point, Unixware is the
> issue.  It needs clarification about whether MS dropped support for
> SCO Unix, Unixware or both.

It's a valid distinction, but I don't know how important it is.

>> 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.
> FreeBSD and NetBSD didn't even exist at that time.

Of course they did.  I was there in the middle of it.  The NetBSD
project was founded on 21 March 1983.  The FreeBSD project was founded
on 19 June 1983 (and we're having a party at my place round then;
watch this space).  The initial complaint was filed on 20 April 1992,
before 386/BSD had spawned FreeBSD and NetBSD, but it carried on until
early 1994.

> There's a nice piece on the BSD history and the lawsuit in Kirk
> McKusick's BSD chapter of the O'Reilly OpenSources book at:
> 	http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/kirkmck.html

Yes, it's correct.  To quote:

  Soon after the filing in state court, USL was bought from AT&T by
  Novell. The CEO of Novell, Ray Noorda, stated publicly that he would
  rather compete in the marketplace than in court. By the summer of
  1993, settlement talks had started. Unfortunately, the two sides had
  dug in so deep that the talks proceed slowly. With some further
  prodding by Ray Noorda on the USL side, many of the sticking points
  were removed and a settlement was finally reached in January
  1994. The result was that three files were removed from the 18,000
  that made up Networking Release 2, and a number of minor changes
  were made to other files. In addition, the University agreed to add
  USL copyrights to about 70 files, although those files continued to
  be freely redistributed.

Thanks for the info.

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