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

Chris Samuel chris at csamuel.org
Fri May 23 13:15:41 EST 2003


On Thursday 22 May 2003 6:35 pm, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:

> On Thursday, 22 May 2003 at 17:34:56 +1000, Chris Samuel wrote:

> > This case is about Unixware, not SCO Unix.
> After reading the complaint, I'm not sure what this case is about.

My undertstanding from the court document, is that IBM mis-used the source 
code from their UNIX license (originally from AT&T) and from Project 
Monterey. It seems to boil down to:

	the improper extraction, use, and dissemination of SCO'S UNIX
	source code and libraries, and unauthorized misuse of UNIX methods,
	concepts, and know-how

from paragraph 96 of the complaint. 

SCO's case isn't helped by the fact that they explicitly mention that IBM's 
OmniPrint services (para. 91 & 92) and JFS (para 92) - both of which (IBM 
says) were ported to Linux from the OS/2 codebase, not the AIX codebase.

Mind you, they also quote Robert LeBlanc saying "We're willing to open source 
any part of AIX that the Linux community considers valuable.  We have 
open-sourced the journal filesystem, print driver for the Omniprint." which 
seems to contradict what IBM say about the source of JFS & OmniPrint. But 
seeing as SCO seem quite happy to do things like put the words of someone 
else into RMS's mouth on their website then I'm not certain we can trust this 
quote either.

> 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
> here.

I had the misfortune to have it as one of the over a dozen UNIX variants on a 
compiler development network I was jointly managing in 1994. It was almost 
(but not quite) the worst out of all of them. It was the only one that didn't 
implement symbolic links for a start. :-(

As an aside the worst was a Parsys transputer system running a Unix OS called, 
IIRC, Idris - the shutdown, halt and reboot commands didn't work so our MO 
for shutting it down was to do a shell script that continually called 
/bin/sync and flip the power off. We didn't turn it on very often at all.

> > 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.

This was told to me by either someone from Sun or a Sun reseller back around 
94 or 95 as justification for why Sun went System 5 for Solaris. It wasn't 
popular where I was and so I'd been asked to find out why they'd done it.

Here's an interesting (though not MP related) tidbit from version 1.74 of the 
Solaris 2.x FAQ by Casper Dik <Casper.Dik at Holland.Sun.COM>:

	SVR4.0, in turn, was developed jointly by AT&T and Sun while Sun was
	developing 4.1.0, which is why things like RFS, STREAMS, shared
	memory, etc., are in SunOS 4.1.x, and why things like vnodes, NFS and
	XView are in SVR4.0. (RFS, by the way, was dropped effective Solaris 2.3). 

> > (although Sun rewrote a lot the the SVR4 kernel).
> It took Sun approximately until SunOS 2.5 to get reasonable SMP
> support.

IMHO it took them to 2.5 before it was a reasonable OS. :-)

> 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).

OK - now I'm confused! I thought that the MP version was SVR4.2 MP ?

> 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.

I'm afraid I was too badly traumatised by my experience with SCO in 94,95 to 
ever consider it anything like a reasonable OS. Even the HP-SUX 7 boxes we 
had weren't that bad.

> >> 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.

Mea culpa!

According to McKusick the initial injunction against UCB and BSDI was heard in 
December 1992, and UCB counter-sued the week after (presumably still December 
1992). The first NetBSD release was about 4 months after, whilst the case was 
still going.  Sorry about my mistake.

> 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). 

I presume the 83 is a typo for 93. :-)

> The initial complaint was filed on 20 April 1992,
> before 386/BSD had spawned FreeBSD and NetBSD, but it carried on until
> early 1994.

OK - understood. Thanks for that.

> Thanks for the info.

Not a problem, thanks for the corrections!

Chris, proud owner of a "Free the Berkeley 4.4" t-shirt (Novell version,
         didn't get in early enough for a Death Star one)

- -- 
 Chris Samuel  :  http://csamuel.org/  :  Melbourne, VIC

 Need someone with 10 years of Linux, Unix, Networking
   & IT Security skills in Melbourne, VIC ? Email me.

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