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

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Fri May 23 09:51:08 EST 2003

On Thu, May 22, 2003 at 05:34:56PM +1000, Chris Samuel wrote:
> /*
>  * Sorry about the rampant cross-post, just felt it was important to clear up
>  * some points in Greg's post.
>  */
> On Thursday 22 May 2003 4:37 pm, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
> > > [Assorted organisations] are coming under increasing membership
> > > pressure to respond to accusations of code plagiarism from the Santa
> > > Cruz Operation (SCO).
> >
> > I don't think that SCO is the Santa Cruz Operation any more.
> SCO who were the Santa Cruz Operation are now Tarantella, they sold their OS 
> division to Caldera in 2001 and then changed the name.
> 	http://www.tarantella.com/about/history.html

A few newish pieces which many have escaped the attention of 
memebers of this forum, and just to add flavour to discussions thus far :-)

- - - -
What is Microsoft really up to by licensing Unix from SCO for between 10 to
30 million dollars? I think the answer's quite simple: they want to hurt
Linux. Anything that damages Linux's reputation, which lending support to   
SCO's Unix intellectual property claims does, is to Microsoft's advantage.
Mary Jo Foley, top reporter of Microsoft Watch agrees with me. She tells
me, "This is just Microsoft making sure the Linux waters get muddier They
are doing this to hurt Linux and keep customers off balance. Eric Raymond,
president of the Open Source Initative agrees and adds "Any money they
(Microsoft) give SCO helps SCO hurt Linux. I think it's that simple."
Dan Kusnetzky, IDC vice president for system software research, also
believes that Microsoft winning can be the only sure result from SCO's
legal maneuvering. But, he also thinks that whether SCO wins, loses, or
draws, Microsoft will get blamed for SCO's actions.  
He's right. People are already accusing Microsoft of bankrolling SCO's  
attacks on IBM and Linux.
Indeed, as Perens told me the other day, in addition to all the points that
has already been made about SCO's weak case, SCO made most 16-bit Unix and
32V Unix source code freely available. To be precise, on January 23, 2002,
Caldera wrote , "Caldera International, Inc. hereby grants a fee free
license that includes the rights use, modify and distribute this named
source code, including creating derived binary products created from the
source code." Although not mentioned by name, the letter seems to me to put
these operating systems under the BSD license .While System III and System
V code are specifically not included, it certainly makes SCO's case even
SCO has since taken down its own 'Ancient Unix' source code site, but the
code and the letter remain available at many mirror sites .
Given all this, I think Microsoft has done all they're going to do with
SCO. They've helped spread more FUD for a minimal investment. To try more
could only entangle them in further legal problems. No, SCO alone is
responsible for our current Unix/Linux situation and alone SCO will have to
face its day in court.

- - - -


- SCO says IBM's decision to contribute elements of AIX, its own Unix-based
operating system, to the open-source community was unlawful. "IBM is
obligated not to open source AIX because it contains SCO's confidential and
proprietary Unix operating system and, more importantly, the code that is
essential for running mission critical applications," the complaint says.

- Without stating it outright, SCO implies that portions of the SCO
OpenServer Shared Libraries have been incorporated into Linux. "The
mathematical probability of a customer being able to re-create the SCO
OpenServer Shared Libraries without unauthorized access to or use of the
source code of the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries is nil," SCO says.

- SCO alleges that IBM's Linux development efforts "misappropriated SCO's
trade secrets" that Big Blue had acquired by licensing Unix from the SCO
Group, which owns the intellectual property rights to the original Unix
code created at AT&T's Unix Systems Laboratories. Additional confidential
collaboration occurred, SCO alleges, when the two companies worked together
on a plan called Project Monterey to build a new 64-bit Unix operating
system for computers with Intel processors. When the onetime partners went
their separate ways, in May 2001, IBM illegally "chose to use and
appropriate for its own business the proprietary information obtained from
SCO," SCO charges.

- SCO says IBM's decision to spend a billion dollars on Linux development
was the single most important factor in transforming Linux from a hobbyist
platform into one that businesses would embrace. That could not have
happened "without the misappropriation of Unix code, methods or concepts to
achieve such performance," SCO says. Other allegations include unfair
competition, breach of contract and tortious interference with contract.

Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne 03 9621 2377 
Cybersource: Unix/Linux, TCP/IP and Web App. Development  www.cyber.com.au

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