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

Greg 'groggy' Lehey Greg.Lehey at auug.org.au
Thu May 22 18:53:17 EST 2003

On Thursday, 22 May 2003 at 15:35:38 +0800, Leon Brooks wrote:
> 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.

I don't disagree, but it's possible that this was intended.

>> 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 think Maddog's on the Linux Australia list, not talk at auug.org.au.

>>> 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. (-:

Sure, go for it.

>> 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.

That's a valid intention, but is now the time?  It's not relevant to
the complaint, and it will tend to confuse people.  I'd personally be
more inclined to drop it.

>> 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.

It might be worth making a core statement (can I say that without
sounding like a policitian?), and maybe making some PS statements at
the end.  The question of QC should be a PS.

> 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. (-:

Agreed, it's worth mentioning at some point.

>> I think we need to look at where, if at all, SCO UNIX runs on
>> significant numbers of CPUs.
> They only claim 32 peak.

I'd like to see anywhere where they run on more than 4.  They're Intel
based, remember?

>> 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?

I started writing something about SMP support, with particular
reference to IBM, in my SCO page (http://www.lemis.com/grog/sco.html).
I didn't say anything that isn't public knowledge (for example, Anton
Blanchard's 7 second kernel compile using 24 of 32 CPUs, based on a
paper presented at AUUG 2002).  I know that Anton and the people he
works with have had absolutely no exposure to AIX code.  Even if they
had, the best they could have done with it is to extract the ideas and
rewrite it.  That's not illegal, as you point out.

Nevertheless, I then threw it out again because I was concerned that
people could misinterpret it.

>>> 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".

Yes, but that nullifies the effect of the statement.

> 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.

I think the fact that they've chopped their own kernel makes it pretty
clear that they weren't making any money out of it.  I think even the
PHBs will appreciate that.  Assuming that they have identified which
parts of the kernel are contaminated, they could simply have reverted
to an earlier, non-contaminated version.  But I heard as long ago as
last September that Caldera hadn't been making any money with Linux,
which is why they changed their name back to SCO.

> Their distro did ship with a 2.4 kernel while it was still Caldera.

The stuff they're complaining about could easily have been 2.5.

>>> 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.
> Agree.
>> 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?

I'd be inclined to say pretty much what I just have.  That the report
is confusing and that the original intention may have been something
completely different.  There are various rights you can buy to source
code.  At one point I thought this meant that Microsoft had bought the
rights to the UNIX code base from SCO, leaving SCO without those
rights.  I no longer think that is the case, but I'm pretty sure that
a couple of layers of reporters have muddied the waters.

>> You'll note that I've criticized what you have to say
> Hoorah! I would that more could be bothered! (-:

I'd rather have made some positive suggestions.

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