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More on SCO vs. IBM Lawsuit 538

Posted by michael
from the circumstantial-evidence dept.
Colin Stanners writes "SCO has held a TeleConference and put up a page with information on their lawsuit against IBM. The key phrase (from their complaint) is: 'It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM.' Their page also includes a Q&A, presentation, and exhibits, although these are mostly licensing agreements and not code." Bruce Perens had an interesting comment on the situation, more than one group is trying to organize a boycott, and Newsforge has a story based on SCO's press conference this morning. Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN.
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More on SCO vs. IBM Lawsuit

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  • why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by reaper20 (23396) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:32PM (#5460814) Homepage
    more than one group is trying to organize a boycott

    The market has been "boycotting" SCO and it's crap for years, not like there needs to be a special effort.
    • Re:why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:36PM (#5460873) Homepage Journal
      The market has been "boycotting" SCO and it's crap for years, not like there needs to be a special effort.

      hehehehe Isn't that the truth.

      Better yet--

      Why not have everyone send them letters of complaint, requesting a response. Do this repeatedly....

      $0.37 is not much to each of us, but adding up all the postage and processing labor would likely cause a much higher cost (and lost oppertunity) to them.

      In otherwords, lets apply the principles used in DDOS to saturate their mailrooms :) And we can do this *legally* :-D.....
      • Re:why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by stephanruby (542433) on Friday March 07, 2003 @04:28PM (#5462575)
        "Why not have everyone send them letters of complaint, requesting a response. Do this repeatedly...."

        It's not that I'm lazy and it's not that I don't trust the company to reply to my complaint, but I think it would be easier to saturate their toll-free sales phone line, or their web form, instead.

        Caldera Product and Sales Inquiries
        1-888-GO-LINUX
        1-888-465-4689
        http://www.caldera.com/company/feedback/ [caldera.com]

        Incidently, here is the Canopy Group's contact information, but please be aware 801 is not a toll-free number, it's a Utah area code.
        The Canopy Group
        333 South 520 West
        Suite 300
        Lindon, UT 84042
        phone: 801.229.2223 (not a free toll-free number)
        fax: 801.229.2458
        e-mail: info@canopy.com
        http://www.canopy.com/aboutus/contact.htm [canopy.com]

        • Let's see. Somebody replying to the other article said they're worth 16 million bucks.

          They probably pay a nickel per minute for their 888 number.

          That means that we can bankrupt them by making 320 million minutes worth of useless calls, navigating their stupid voice menus! If we can each make 100 minutes worth of calls, we only need 3.2 million slashdotters to participate!

          Looks like it's time for an offensive slashdotting, old school!
    • by Praxxus (19048) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:38PM (#5460896) Homepage
      How do you boycott a product that nobody is using, anyway?

      Does SCO even care that they:
      1. Look like big, broke whiny crybabies
      2. Are shooting themselves in the feet, knees, hips, spines, etc. and can kiss any business (save for the Rambus business model) goodbye for the rest of their pitiful existence??

      I hope IBM bitchslaps them. Litigiously speaking, of course.

      --
    • Re:why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TopShelf (92521) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:42PM (#5460942) Homepage Journal
      Perens doesn't believe SCO realistically thinks it has a chance of winning this lawsuit. "In filing this suit they have put a gun to the head of their own software business and pulled the trigger. No one in the Linux world will ever recommend them for anything again, and other people will look at this and say 'no, this too nutty, I don't trust these guys.'"

      He hit it right on the head here. After a lawsuit like this, who'd want to work with them? It's not worth the risk...

      • Re:why? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tony-A (29931) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:04PM (#5461200)
        The future will require a large degree of interoperability. IBM customers do not want AIX or Linux. They want AIX and Linux. This is going in the direction where I should be able to depend on IBM big iron working productively with Sun big iron. (Which has nothing to do with IBM and Sun liking each other;) There is enough force behind Linux that whatever IP SCO had, there's always another way to do things, and SCO gets cut off and isolated. It's like owning a lot of land where the railroad decided not to go.
    • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:11PM (#5461256) Homepage Journal
      Their sales line is 1-888-GO-LINUX.

      Please MR Linus--

      Please make them license the trademark from you! ;)
    • Re:why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tim Macinta (1052) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:14PM (#5461282) Homepage
      The market has been "boycotting" SCO and it's crap for years, not like there needs to be a special effort.
      I think that the boycotts being referred to are of the Canopy Group and not just SCO. See this reply to Bruce's comment [slashdot.org] for a nice list of companies under the Canopy Group. Unfortunately, TrollTech is in that list.
    • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by refactored (260886)
      SCO is dead and worse than dead. You can't boycott them.

      However, this must be entirely at the behest and with the intent of their majority holding group....Canopy Group [slashdot.org]

      If someone can create a list of companies that Canopy Group has a majority stake in, then you have a focus for a boycott.

  • Whatever SCO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheViffer (128272) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:34PM (#5460833)
    "It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code"

    Umm SCO is no gem in the rough. My opinion Five years ago Linux was a better choice then that of SCO.

    Sounds like Penis envy to me.

    Sorry, it was the dedication of thousands of programmers and millions of testers that made Linux what it is today.
    • by tuffy (10202)
      "It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code"

      Maybe SCO should subpoena IBM for the Linux source and find the offending code themselves ;)

      • Re:Whatever SCO (Score:3, Informative)

        by tomhudson (43916)
        Nah, that would not only destroy any chance of a lawsuit, but, after having read the source code, if they continued with their lawsuit in bad faith, they would be open to counter-suits.
        SCO monkey:"psst - we already have the source, we've sold linux in the past."
        SCO PHB: "You're fired!"

        Mind you, just look at their stock symbol : SCOX - say it fast, it sounds like "sucks cocks", or in this case "$uck$ cock$"

    • Re:Whatever SCO (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TaliesinWI (454205) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:43PM (#5460962) Journal
      Yeah, no kidding. I switched more than one client away from UnixWare to Linux back in 1997 and 1998, well before IBM was seriously involved, AND got all the legacy applications running under the SysV emulation, even back then. Some of those systems are still running (they never really needed to be bleeding edge), and their upgrade path has been made an order of magnitude easier (and cheaper) by switching.

      SCO was irrelevant five years ago. They figure that the possibility of getting any money from IBM beats killing off what little credibility they might have, because they're sinking anyway.

    • It's like when I used to play Euchre with my friend Ryan. Everybody would accuse us of cheating with comments such as: "You must cheat at Euchre because whenever you are partners, you always win".

      The same people who considered that to be valid logic when on to become doctors and engineers.

    • Re: Whatever SCO (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday March 07, 2003 @03:12PM (#5461803)


      > > "It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code"

      > Sounds like Penis envy to me.

      It's an incredibly stupid a priori claim to base a court case on, for sure. Do they expect the court to just accept it as a given and move directly to the penalty phase?

    • From the compaint:

      Except for SCO, none of the primary UNIX vendors ever developed a UNIX "flavor" to operate on an Intel-based processor chip set. This is because the earlier Intel processors were considered to have inadequate processing power for use in the more demanding enterprise market applications.


      Hmmm.... I guess that Solaris x86 doesn't count?

      Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car.

      And SCO UNIX was the equivalent of that Mercedes Sportscar until you discover that it had a really cheap transmission in it and 2 cycle lawn-mower engine....

      Nother interesting point which regardless of accuracy should give Shared Source advocates pause is:

      Based on other published statements, IBM currently has over 7,000 employees involved in the transfer of UNIX knowledge into the Linux business of IBM, Red Hat and SuSE (the largest European Linux distributor). On information and belief, a large number of the said IBM employees currently working in the transfer of UNIX to Linux have, or have had, access to the UNIX Software Code.


      It seems to me that this suit is interesting because as a derivative works suit... This is very dangerous for Microsoft and its shared source initiative. So the idea that this is good for Microsoft is actually very misleading. Normally, lawyers will usually take a "play it safe" mentality where unless victory is quite likely, suits are often discouraged. Particularly in expensive areas like copyright or patent laws. So the fact that SCO has moved into the DMZ of copyright law is significant and could redefine where the DMZ is. In fact their presence there, if they lose would be a severe blow to their ability to pursue other suits. So if IBM wins, this is a victory for all of us.

      Now as to what can be done:
      1: Can the FSF get involved?
      2: If so, cvan we all donate to them?
  • In other words... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by GeckoX (259575)
    In other words SCO appears to believe that fair competition is unfair...to them anyways ;-)
    It must be anti-competitive than right? heh, what a joke.

    SCO -> Flames -> Crash -> Burn...bubye, don't let the door hit you on the way out...
  • Harsh link! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:35PM (#5460850) Homepage Journal
    The lawsuit information found from the SCOSource link is an audio recording - it'll take about 1/10th of a normal /. effect to bring that to its knees!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:35PM (#5460861)
    you have to admit that SCO is the better platform for rapping, because SCO rhymes with "fro", "dough", and "blow".
  • Upside (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skroz (7870) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:35PM (#5460862) Homepage
    Interesting thing... if/when this resolves itself, and it's shown that SCO's allegations are false, and Linux DID scale to those performance levels in such a short period of time, this will weigh extremely favorably on the side of the effectiveness of the open source model.
    • Re:Upside (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:56PM (#5461106) Journal
      this will weigh extremely favorably on the side of the effectiveness of the open source model.

      As much as I would like to agree with your sentiment, unfortunately, it doesn't hold true. As the result of defeating a strawman, you get... A pile of straw.

      I personally find it amazing that SCO would even suggest this as a reason to sue for IP violations. The speed of Linux development has NO connection whatsoever with SCO, aside from what code they VOLUNTARILY added to the open source community. And, even if their claim did have even a hint of validity (which it does not), UCB, AT&T, and DEC (aka Compaq) would all have just as much, if not more, right to sue by that logic.

      Sad.

      But, just to save people the trouble of rumblings of a boycott... What exactly would folks boycott? This suit comes as an end-of-life move by a defunct company, apparently looking to utterly destroy their once-good reputation to toss a few bucks to their stockholders. They just don't have anything (of relevance in the past decade) to boycott About the only thing that might get the message to them consists of those same stockholders waking up, realizing that, regardless of the outcome of this frivolous suit SCO will no longer exist, and dumping their shares as fast as physically possible. Perhaps killing SCO before this all goes through would remedy the situation, but nothing else will.
  • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:36PM (#5460865) Homepage Journal
    more than one group is trying to organize a boycott


    Everyone who has installed SCO (any type or version) in the last year raise your hand.

    I don't think there is much of a point in boycotting a company who has clearly turned away from producting anything and now simply exists to litigate based on its IP.

    -Peter
    • Read the Bruce Perens comment posted above and then the list of companies that the Canopy Group is a part of in a post below his. There are plenty of ways to hurt the Canopy Group through boycotts.
    • by jbolden (176878)
      OK I'll hide my head in shame. Oce printing uses a SCO solution for their postscript control center:
      (individual systems -> SCO master -> ?SCO slave? -> Postscript rip -> SCO slave/master -> ?IOCA RIP? -> Printer. Its switching to Linux but it isn't converted yet (since it works and scales big enough).

      [Screams of "but its not my fault" in the background]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:36PM (#5460871)
    Maybe SCO/Caldera could hire some technical people to fix serious security exploits instead of spending money on lawyers. Instead, what does SCO post a week after the exploit on their security site?

    We are aware of the CERT CA-2003-07 sendmail issue, and are currently working on fixes for our supported distributions. We will announce the fixes via our normal channels:

    Maybe I can sue SCO for $1B when my sendmail gets hacked. SCO SUCKS!
  • wtf? (Score:2, Troll)

    by Visaris (553352)
    It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM.

    Of course! Nothing can possibly be as good as your product unless they steal from you! I mean, after all, your product is perfect isn't it? If the person who made that comment meant it, I can't understand how they came to be in such a profession when they are clearly clueless. If they didn't mean it, I'm not so surprised. Liars are successful these days.
  • GPL in court (Score:4, Insightful)

    by watzinaneihm (627119) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:38PM (#5460897) Journal
    From bruce perens article:
    SCO is also party to the GPL, which invalidates their patent portfolio for any of their patents that happen to have been used in a Linux system that they distributed. Under the GPL terms, if you distribute your patented practice in GPL software, you must grant a license to everyone to make use of that patent in any GPL software, for any field of use.
    Would be interesting if it comes to court, if nothing else, just to see just how enforcable GPL is.
  • FYI: press release (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:38PM (#5460903)
    I don't know if anyone posted this yet, but the official press release is here [sco.com].
  • It's fairly obvious to me what this is all about; Linux is stealing UNIX marketshare, so SCO is going to do everything it possibly can to discredit it's competitior. It's typical FUD. Unfortunately for SCO, they're too late. IBM has made too much money from linux to allow a little gnat of a company like SCO push it around. Even if this lawsuit isn't thrown right out of court, it'll be proven in short order that none of the code to the linux kernel comes from SCO's IP. ipso facto, IBM can countersue SCO into oblivion.

    At least, that's how I see it.
    • ipso facto, IBM can countersue SCO into oblivion.

      Non sequitor

      Perhaps IBM can prove SCO's allegations are false, but fail to see how it is a self evident fact that IBM can countersue. On what grounds? Even if they could countersue for SCO making a frivolous claim, all they could recoup is their court costs. I highly doubt that will destroy them.

  • I think this is just a ploy by Microsoft to gain control of both entities, or maybe rather a ploy by both of these to become so pathetic that they get bought by the giant itself. See, it could be IBM vs SCO which would be IBMSCO or, I B MS CO, or I Be MicroSoft COmpany. This is obviously a cry for help.

    I mean, if that isnt, then by golly, I must be crazy. Now where did I leave my tin foil hat...
  • It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM.

    So a big iron company hiring people to work on linux is a "misappropriation" of resources where hiring lawyers to sue someone into oblivion isn't?
    • by einhverfr (238914)

      So a big iron company hiring people to work on linux is a "misappropriation" of resources where hiring lawyers to sue someone into oblivion isn't?


      I don't think that this suit will push IBM into oblivion. Sco, OTOH, possibly ;-)

      I think that Caldera *never* liked the GPL. My first impression of them was that they found that territory scary and were trying to appeal to risk-adverse businesses by trying to package it as proprietary software. Of course RedHat pulled the rug out from under then and now they can't even make that work.

      So Caldera is trying make money by lawsuits because they are now so far behind, I doubt they could come back.
  • The obvious first step that would occurr to any of us would be to shun SCO - not to do business with them, not to recommend them in our jobs, etc.

    That's from Perens. Funny thing is, I don't think SCO is even a player anymore are they? They're only revenue stream must be from old licenses.

    An easy way out for IBM would be to buy and fire them, but then Canopy would get what they want. A better solution would be for IBM to kick the shit outta them in court and drag down Canopy as low as possible.

    This is really beneath contempt.

    JB
    • MotorSabbath said: "Funny thing is, I don't think SCO is even a player anymore are they? They're only revenue stream must be from old licenses."

      That's for sure... I don't think very many people would bother with SCO these days...

      I used to work at a small company where the system administrator was a hopeless dork in love with SCO. Instead of Linux, he put SCO on all the boxen, and man, what a cruddy environment THAT was. The whole setup sucked ass. You had to do your own keyboard mapping when you first logged into your account, for instance... I haven't had to do that in Linux since before 1995! This was in 2001, mind you. And, none of the commercial packages we needed to set up websites were available in a SCO-friendly version. Getting open source stuff to work was possible, but required editing C and recompiling. Yuck, ick, foo.

      This is just my opinion, but I think SCO sucks. It has to be the worst Unix I've ever worked with. SCO (and the dork sysadmin who loved it, who was a pain in the ass in numerous other ways) was one of the reasons I quit that chickenshit outfit and never looked back.

      EEESH. I'm getting the shakes just thinking about it...

      If as you suggest IBM mushes SCO in court and SCO just quietly sort of goes away, I think that will increase the overall dignity of the IT industry in the same way knocking down a condemned house improves a neighborhood. We can only hope...
  • Acronym (Score:5, Funny)

    by daeley (126313) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:41PM (#5460931) Homepage
    Market Cap of SCO: $25 million.

    Desired SCO suit damages: $1 billion.

    Having the biggest, baddest lawyers and patent holdings on the planet: Priceless.

    SCO for corporate suicide; for everything else, there's Big Blue. ;)
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:42PM (#5460933) Journal
    What if SCO ends up being right in court?

    Why would they poke the T-Rex that is IBM with a stick, unless they think they can bring it down?

    We can sit around laughing or bitching or whining or moaning, but what will happen if there turns out to be code in Linux that we dont have the rights to, either by way of trade secrets or patents?

    Can all the SysV and other SCO stuff be removed without killing Linux? Would a setback be weeks, months, years, or would it be the end?
    • by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:47PM (#5460999) Homepage

      We can sit around laughing or bitching or whining or moaning, but what will happen if there turns out to be code in Linux that we dont have the rights to, either by way of trade secrets or patents?

      They distribute their own distro of Linux, Caldera Linux. So all the code there is in Linux, they have distributed themselves under the GPL. So we have the rights to it. This is really quite funny :-).

    • We can sit around laughing or bitching or whining or moaning, but what will happen if there turns out to be code in Linux that we dont have the rights to, either by way of trade secrets or patents?

      And if Caldera has included those binaries, we still have rights to it :-D

      So they could get damages from IBM, but this still looks like a derivative words lawsuit, and it s very murkey territory. But Linux Users will be unlikely to be affected.
    • by SquadBoy (167263) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:58PM (#5461142) Homepage Journal
      Simple answer (Stolen from someone much smarter than me)

      This is suicide by cop[1].

      Or it's something similarly twisted. SCO is simply dead. The back
      story may be interesting though.

      The news.com story notes that SCO may be pissed over the failure of
      Project Monterey, which was aimed at reimplementing GNU/Linux as a
      proprietary Unix for the Itanic (that's just so wrong so many ways I
      won't even start).

      Just a few off-the-cuff observations.

      - You don't launch a land war in Asia.

      - You don't launch a billion-dollar patent battle with IBM, if your
      strategy is in fact to win that battle.

      - Corrolary of the above is that you're either trying to lose, you're
      not calling the shots, or you're aiming to win another battle.
      These are not mutually exclusive, though options 2 & 3 are the most
      likely pairing.

      - Aside: IBM generates over $1b (approaching 1.5b IIRC) annually in
      patent licensing revenues. Their patent portfolio numbers over
      22,000. IBM is the single largest holder and recipient of US patent
      grants.

      - Theory: somebody's trying to sow patent problems for IBM, and/or
      tie up IBM legal in a suit, while somebody else pulls a fast one.

      - Theory: Caldera wants to prod IBM into reviving the DR-DOS suit (or
      something similar) against Microsoft (or other parties). I find
      this unlikely, but mention it for completeness.

      - Theory: Caldera's management is trying to avoid breach-of-
      fiduciary-interest or other similar charges, while disposing of the
      company while putatively pursuing a fiduciary interest of the
      company.

      - Theory: This is Wang v. Netscape again. In that case, Microsoft
      bought a significant interest in the dying Wang corporation, and
      Wang pursued patent suits against Netscape. The patent was
      eventually invalidated, but such battles are costly.

      - Theory: (left field variety) LFP or similar[2] have corraled
      Caldera into making a blatent demonstration of just how broken the
      patent system is by going after its (the patent system's) largest
      beneficiary.

      Watch this space, things got interesting.

      Peace.

      --------------------
      Notes:

      1. If you're not familiar with the term: a perp assaults a police
      officer, in such a way that the cop has to use deadly force. This
      being the apparently desired outcome of the perp.

      2. LPF: League for Programming Freedom, an anti-patent group associated
      with Richard M. Stallman.

      Credit to Karsten on this one. This is good enough that it needs to be posted here.
      • Just a few off-the-cuff observations.

        - You don't launch a land war in Asia.

        - You don't launch a billion-dollar patent battle with IBM, if your
        strategy is in fact to win that battle.


        - NEVER go against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!
    • Well, since the code in question they distribute in Caldera, it means that we -do- have the right to distribute.

      It's in the GPL, section 7.

      They cannot restrict the patent to GPL'ed software that has only been released by them. If they do so, they cannot distribute under the GPL, which means they cannot distribute the code at all, and they cannot make it a part of their Linux Distribution.
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:45PM (#5461570) Homepage
      Why would they poke the T-Rex that is IBM with a stick, unless they think they can bring it down?

      Because, as Mr. Perens points out, they don't want to bring it down. They want to be bought out. Again.

      You'd have an amazingly hard time proving infringement in court by IBM -- the bits that are most worrisome (such as SysV IPC) were in place long before IBM touched Linux or viewed SCO source. They were implemented because they were widely documented in Unix manuals, books, and taught in schools.

      SCO's legal brief has quite a few sections that are laughable:

      82. Linux started as a hobby project of a 19-year old student. Linux has evolved through bits and pieces of various contributions by numerous software developers using single processor computers. Virtually none of these software developers and hobbyists had access to enterprise-scale equipment and testing facilities for Linux development. Without access to such equipment, facilities, sophisticated methods, concepts and coordinated know-how, it would be difficult or impossible for the Linux development community to create a grade of Linux adequate for enterprise use.

      84. Prior to IBM's involvement, Linux was the software equivalent of a bicycle. UNIX was the software equivalent of a luxury car. To make Linux of necessary quality for use by enterprise customers, it must be re-designed so that Linux also becomes the software equivalent of a luxury car. This re-design is not technologically feasible or even possible at the enterprise level without (1) a high degree of design coordination, (2) access to expensive and sophisticated design and testing equipment; (3) access to UNIX code, methods and concepts; (4) UNIX architectural experience; and (5) a very significant financial investment.

      Section 82 is humorous. Section 84 is downright absurd. Point by point:

      1) It's called a mailing list and revision control. The very same methods that are used in a vast amount of corporate development.

      2) What expensive design and test equipment? Earlier in the brief SCO admitted that x86 hardware was vastly less expensive. The design and test equipment is these very same inexpensive boxes.

      SMP wasn't that absurdly uncommon in the early 90s, and lots of people had access to large scale equipment, especially at a university. I know people who had unfettered access to early 90s supercomputers (Crays, etc), as well as SP-2s. Or built a cluster of SMP boxes running on Linux for PhD projects -- all of this in the early to mid 90s.

      3) Code? No need. Methods and concepts? Sure. They're documented in man pages, thousands of books, and taught as part of most university CS curriculums. They're not difficult concepts really, and re-implementing them may not be trivial, but it's not impossible either.

      4) Yes, because nobody knows the UNIX architecture except SCO. Uh huh. It's not in the very same books and courses mentioned previously.

      5) There is a large financial investment - look at Redhat, Slackware, FSF, or just start counting man-hours donated to the kernel. If volunteer efforts were incapable of accomplishing anything then Habitat for Humanity would've gone belly up over a decade ago.

      To top it all off there's a good bit of questioning with regards to Caldera Linux, the GPL, and SCO. If SCO knew that there were IP violations in the Linux kernel then it willfully violated the GPL in distributing them in Caldera Linux. That doesn't mean that those IP rights suddenly get lost, but it does mean that their legal case becomes a whole lot more hairy.
  • SCO to IBM (Score:3, Funny)

    by L7_ (645377) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:42PM (#5460941)
    "We know your develoers and they are not competant enough to do that. So obviously you ripped it off of us."
  • by dd (15470) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:42PM (#5460947) Homepage
    One of the best comments that I've read about this lawsuit was made by "josh_stern" over on LWN.net [lwn.net], and I quote:

    But I hope Bruce and others won't lose time pointing out the implications for people who want to participate in programs like MSFT's "shared source". They open themselves up to later lawsuits if they later develop or distribute anything technologically related, even if it isn't textually derived from the original.

    It is an interesting counterpoint in case Microsoft wants to use the lawsuit in any anti-linux campaign ...

  • They're a little nuts... They suggest that IBM should buy SCO, release SCO's IP into the public domain, and then fire all the SCO employees... that seems a bit harsh to employees that probably had about 0 part in the decision to pursue this IP strategy.

    I live in Boston where the job market is tough even with a zillion computer-related companies around. I can't imagine how rough finding a job must be in Utah. It seems unfair to fault people for keeping a job in these tough times.

    sujal

  • 'It is not possible for Linux to rapidly reach UNIX performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM.'

    So how long has this linux thing been going on, then? A mere day and a half, from the sound of things. And there aren't tens of thousands more programmers available for linux than any other O/S, are there?
  • I already asked this question on Newsforge, but...

    Does IBM have an official position statement, or any kind of response to this, available yet? I would very much like to read it.

    Thank you for any help...
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that trade secrets, which seems to be the basis of this action, are only as good as you're trying to enforce them.

    IBM has been interested in Linux for some time, and Linux has been around for even longer; if there were trade secret problems, SCO should have complained immediately, back then. Waiting until now may provide IBM with a lot of ammo.

    On the other hand, I may be confusing trade secrets with trademarks... little help?

  • Fighting Back! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:50PM (#5461035)
    How about someone setting up a list for Linux Hackers willing to spend time migrating SCO customers to the linux platform for free. To fight back I am willing to spend some of my time.
    • by dbc (135354)
      Great idea! And cheap, too! Should only take 4 or 5 guys a couple of weeks.
    • How about someone setting up a list for Linux Hackers willing to spend time migrating SCO customers to the linux platform for free. To fight back I am willing to spend some of my time.

      It could work out nicely for you too, if the company you help then decides to come back to you for some paid work. Feel the quality of the goods and all that.
  • by CoolVibe (11466) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:51PM (#5461046) Journal
    What's going to happen to all that old UNIX licensing stuff that they do? AFAIK, I've used their ancient unix archives to play with a pdp-11 emulator. Heck, it was a great quick place to get a real UNIX from quickly that would boot on it.

    What's going to happen to SCO's intellectual property when it croaks? Who will buy it? I think the ancient unices that they own are of great interest. I'd love to see those in the public domain, but that's probably wishful thinking.

  • by MrTilney (188646) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:51PM (#5461047)
    From the complaint:

    Except for SCO, none of the primary UNIX vendors ever developed a UNIX "flavor" to operate on an Intel-based processor chip set. This is because the earlier Intel processors were considered to have inadequate processing power for use in the more demanding enterprise market applications.

    What about the x86 version of Solaris?
    • by kerskine (46804)
      Sun purchased a paid-up right-to-use from AT&T before AT&T sold UNIX to Novell (which subsequently sold it to SCO, which got acquired by Caldera, which then changed its name to SCO)
  • IBM *buy* SCO? WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gosand (234100) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:51PM (#5461050)
    From Bruce's comments: So, I think the claims I've heard are specious, and not enforcible in court. Why, then, is SCO doing this? They want to be purchased. This is the exit strategy for their investors, Canopy Group. IBM can buy them just to shut them up. Or Microsoft can buy them to use them to FUD Linux. And Canopy Group management figures they'll play the two against each other to drive up the price. But IBM management is smart enough to poison this particular well, by bringing counter-claims against SCO. SCO is also party to the GPL, which invalidates their patent portfolio for any of their patents that happen to have been used in a Linux system that they distributed. Under the GPL terms, if you distribute your patented practice in GPL software, you must grant a license to everyone to make use of that patent in any GPL software, for any field of use.

    Why would IBM *buy* SCO? If they released their product under the GPL, couldn't IBM just take a distro and re-release it as "SCOSUCKS" under the GPL? Couldn't anyone? What would burn the top brass at SCO if after this lawsuit (clearly aimed at them just trying to cash in), someone took their distro and made it successful.

    • I don't think it's in IBM's interest to actually win the case, because that would poison any chance of IBM's bringing similar claims against other companies. It's better for them to buy the company and leave the case unresolved.

      But then, I'm Machivellian. Most corporations are too. But are we the same Machievellian? :-)

      Bruce

  • IBM buys SCO and flushed it's UNIX IP down the toilet.

    SCO is dead.

  • http://www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,579 55,00.html [wired.com]

    AT&T's Unix Systems Laboratories developed Unix in the 1960s.

    UNIX was developed by Ken Thomson in the 1960's. There was no AT&T USL in the 1960's.

    More [bell-labs.com]
  • And yet, SCO still offers products named OpenLinux. Is that going to change to ClosedUNIX or OpenLinuxfor$100.
  • SCO's claims (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dspeyer (531333) <dspeyer@wam.umd . e du> on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:57PM (#5461116) Homepage Journal
    As near as I can make out from their site, SCO is claiming that Linux is derived from Minix (which is sort of true) which was derived from BSD (again, a stretch) which came from AT&T Unix (true for once) which SCO now owns. Of course, no Minix code is present in Linux, so they're not claiming actual piracy (besides, with Linux's code available, they can hardly claim secret violations!), but maybe some mystical Unix-essence.

    They're probably hoping IBM will buy them out for a couple million dollars in an effort to avoid bad publicity, and then the SCO managers can retirs in luxury. The sad thing is, it might even happen

    • Re:SCO's claims (Score:3, Informative)

      by SN74S181 (581549)
      SCO is claiming that IBM has recently merged code into Linux from their AIX codebase, which has licensed code from AT&T UUNIX, which they own.

      It isn't a matter of 'lineage' going back through the decades. It's a matter of new code submissions by IBM that IBM doesn't have the right to pass along freely.

      That's their claim, anyhow. We'll see how it turns out in court.
    • Re:SCO's claims (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nathanh (1214)
      SCO is claiming that Linux is derived from Minix (which is sort of true) ... Of course, no Minix code is present in Linux, so they're not claiming actual piracy

      It's not "sort of true". Though you know the truth (there is no Minix source code in Linux and never was) unfortunately there are people who honestly believe that Linux is a Minix derivative. They point to minix.c as proof! These people don't need encouragement in any form. I know that you meant Linus used Minix as the development environment and Linux orignally used the Minix filesystem, but there are plenty of people who don't understand this subtlety. So please say "not even remotely true" instead of "sort of true".

  • by ctid (449118) on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:58PM (#5461134) Homepage
    I've never seen SCO Unix (is that what it's called) anywhere. I wonder if it would be better for our community to kill SCO with kindness? I'm considering writing to SCO (in my own name) asking for information on their products. I won't put anything in my letter about a protest or about this issue at all. I will just ask them to send me some details. I wonder what the effect of hundreds of thousands of people doing this would be. At the very least it might make it difficult for them to identify real would-be customers.

    Is this legal? Is it a good idea? Would it have any effect at all?

  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail. ... m minus language> on Friday March 07, 2003 @01:58PM (#5461137)
    I just LOVE listening to the audio broadcast of this on SCO's site. I think I'll listen to it again, and again, and again. Maybe I could listen to it on every computer in my house...
  • We use SCO... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jregel (39009) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:08PM (#5461229) Homepage
    I work for a software company and we provide a Unixware port. Out of approximately 200 customers, I would say that no more than 10 sites are running Unixware. Most are running Solaris, with AIX and Windows taking second and third place.

    I recently had a discussion with our SCO account manager and suggested to him that SCO was "perceived" (ha!) as dying, that OpenUnix 8 was a marketing disaster and no-one is asking for Unixware 7.1.3. We had met at the Linux Expo last year and he seemed more interested in pushing Linux than Unixware. The fact that SCO have stopped developing an Itanium port of Unixware, and Openserver (their really old OS) is pretty much for legacy sites only, they seem to be pinning their future on UnitedLinux.

    We got onto the subject of patents and he tried to explain how their licensing scheme would only be used in situations where other companies were using code that enabled SCO apps to run under Linux. Hmm. I told him that wasn't how it appeared and that SCO looked as if they were desperate to make money and this is their last resort. I then suggested they had an issue with marketing. It now transpires he was either misinformed, or lying. No-one here is surprised or shocked.

    My manager has a meeting with SCO in a couple of weeks and I'll be sure to brief him on their current tactics first.

    On a different note, I find it strange that SCO and IBM were working together on Monterrey, a project that would supposedly combine Unixware and AIX for IA-64. This was going to have the Unixware kernel which I always found odd as my understanding is that the AIX kernel is far more advanced. The project seemed to fall apart and both companies developed their own products with added support for Linux compatibility. Now SCO is suing IBM for patent infringement...

    I personally hope that SCO dies, or that IBM buys them out and releases the patented code as GPL. I actually quite like Unixware 7 as it's about as pure an implementation of System V you can get (which is interesting when compared with other Unices which have differing degrees of SysV/BSD), but if Unixware dying is the price for SCO dying, then it'll be worth it.
  • by isn't my name (514234) <slash.threenorth@com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:16PM (#5461299)
    IANAL. However, I am trying to read through the exhibits SCO provided on its website. I have not looked at all of them, but I couldn't resist passing this on. Their exhibit C is a letter of understanding between AT&T and IBM which re-writes some of the clauses of the contract and license in an earlier exhibit.

    I would point people to the 4th page of the pdf file, which addresses clause 7.06a of an earlier agreement. It reads in part:

    "LICENSSE agrees that it shall hold SOFTWARE PRODUCT subject to this agreement in confidence for AT&T. . . . Nothing in this agreement shall prevent LICENSEE from developing or marketing products or services employing ideas, concepts, know-how of techniques relating to data processing embodied in SOFTWAR PRODUCTS subject to this agreement, provided that LICENSEE shall not copy any code from such SOFTWARE PRODUCTS into any such product or in connection with any such service and employees of LICENSEE shall not refer to the physical documents and materials comprising SOFTWARE PRODUCTS subject to this agreement when they are developing any such product or service or providing any such service. If information relating to a SOFTWARE PRODUCT subject to this agreement at any time becomes available without restriction to the general public by acts not attributable to LICENSEE or its employees, LICENSEES obligations under this section shall not apply to such information after such time."

    Now, I've not glanced at exhibits D and E and have not read completely exhibits A,B and C. However, this clause, if not overridden in D or E, would seem to me (remember IANAL) to give IBM the right to use IP embedded in licensed code to produce other code or services. It would even seem to allow people who have worked with licensed code to work on the new project so long as they do not refer to licensed code or documentation while working on the new project.

    So, even if IBM took SCO intellectual property and placed it into Linux, so long as they didn't copy SCO owned code or look at while working on the Linux code, it seems to me that it would have been perfectly legal under the contracts for IBM to co-opt SCO owned IP and place it under the GPL in Linux.

    Anyone read it differently?

  • by douglips (513461) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:16PM (#5461305) Homepage Journal
    The most well known of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." But only slightly less well known is "Never go up against IBM, when Intellectual Property is on the line!" A ha ha ha! A ha ha ha! A ha ha...
    (thud)
  • by stienman (51024) <[adavis] [at] [ubasics.com]> on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:26PM (#5461383) Homepage Journal
    Trolltech, front page: "IBM Pervasive Chooses Trolltech's Qt/Embedded and Qtopia for its New Embedded Linux Reference Platform"

    So, let's get this straight.

    1. Canopy invests in SCO
    2. SCO is suing IBM over Linux stuff
    3. IBM is using Trolltech's Linux stuff
    4. Canopy invests in Trolltech


    So either Canopy doesn't know what's going on, or is pretty hands-off, or they have no qualms about using one business in a way that would hurt or kill off one or more of their other viable businesses. Either way, they aren't a good company to work with.

    Kind of like the dilbert comic, "The net-net at the end of the days is we owe ourselves 3 billion dollars."

    -Adam
  • by jbolden (176878) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:33PM (#5461456) Homepage
    The case is worse than you think. There are all sorts of factual inaccuracies in the filling.

    For example they make a great deal out of the fact that Linux = Linux + Unix; to show that the intent was to steal Unix intellectual property. As a side note Linux is a pun on Linix which was an abbreviation for Linus' Minix and SCO owns no Minix intellectual property.

    They refer to Stallman as a former MIT professor.

    Where it is not just factually untrue they often are highly misleading. For example they talk about SCO intellectual property as part of the Monterey project and then have quotes from IBM indicating the version of JFS in Linux is from Monterey project. The clear intent is to leave the reader with the impression that JFS came from SCO and was stolen by IBM.

    Unlike the other two mistakes (which might just show negligence is preparing a court filing) this one is clearly an attempt to mislead the court.

    Similarly they have multiple sections outlining the fact that the probability of someone randomly creating libraries compatible with the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries are close to 0; which hints but never states that Linux is compatible with the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries.

    I think a very good case can be made for summary dismissal. As for IBM winning in court there won't be a problem. If this is the best claim Caldera has they really are in deep trouble.
  • by ryanwright (450832) on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:36PM (#5461487)
    This is horse shit. I picked up some nice long sleeved shirts at SCO's booth @ LinuxWorld in January. They're great looking, comfortable shirts, and now I can't wear them...

    SCO, you bastards.
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@b ... h u d s o n .com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @02:44PM (#5461562) Journal
    Quote from the complaint:
    Shared libraries are by their nature unique creations based on various decisions to write code in certain ways, which are in great part random decisions of the software developers who create the shared library code base. There is no established way to create a specific shared library and the random choices in the location and access calls for "hooks" that are part of the creation of any shared library. Therefore, the mathematical probability of a customer being able to recreate the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries without unauthorized access to or use of the source code of the SCO OpenServer Shared Libraries is nil.

    Aside from the insult proffered to programmers everywhere (calling our decisions "random"), there's the real problem that it IS possible to duplicate functionality in shared libraries without the source code. Check out WINE as an excellent example.

  • by chuckfee (93392) on Friday March 07, 2003 @03:07PM (#5461751)
    It appears that SCO has helped themselves to
    Éric Lévénez's unix family tree, possibly in
    violation of the "you can freely use this diagram
    for non-commercial purposes" line at the bottom
    of the page.

    compare http://www.levenez.com/unix/

    with

    http://www.sco.com/scosource/unixtree/unixhistor y0 1.html

    http://www.sco.com/scosource/SCOsource_Presentat io n.ppt (slide #4)

    I guess "What's mine is mine, and what's yours
    is negotiable" rings true at SCO.

    --chuck
  • by einnor (242611) <ziroby@ziroby.com> on Friday March 07, 2003 @03:30PM (#5461978) Homepage
    The SCO lawyers seem to have quite a few misconceptions about Linux, and especially GNU, in their brief. Is the FSF gonna file a friend of the court brief? Someone should correct them.

    Here's some of the misconceptions they have:

    In their brief, one of the points they make is that Linux was originally created for not-for-profit uses:

    76. The initial market positioning of Linux was to create a free UNIX-like operating system to be used by developers and computer hobbyists in personal, experimental, and not-for-profit applications. As such, Linux posed little, if any, commercial threat to UNIX.

    I don't know for sure about what Linus was thinking, but I know for certain that GNU was intended to be used in commercial, for-profit applications. Stallman has repeatedly stated that people can GPL stuff and sell it. His analogy was with legal help: you pay a lawyer to write up a contract, but then you can give the contract to a friend in a similar situation. You pay once for the lawyer to write up the contract; the lawyer doesn't get royalties every time you use it. OTH, your friend would be wise to at least run it by a lawyer before using the contract to make sure it fits his/her situation. You can produce GPL'ed software that way, too. You can offer custom GPL'ed programs for a fee. The GPL has ALWAYS been intended to be applicable to for-profit programs.

    79. In order to assure that the Linux operating system (and other software) would remain free of charge and not-for-profit, GNU created a licensing agreement entitled the General Public License ('GPL').

    Free of charge, yes. Not-for-profitt, no. I can sell GPL'ed code for a gazillion dollars if I want. Of course, the first person who buys it can then put it on an ftp site and distribute it to the world...

    80. Any software licensed under the GPL (including Linux) must, by its terms, not be held proprietary or confidential, and may not be claimed by any party as a trade secret or copyright property.

    All GPL'ed software is copyright property. That's the only way the GPL works.

    And then they go on to claim that IBM is trying to "destroy the economic value of UNIX (paragraph 90)." Um, guys, Stallman's intent at the outset was to destroy the economic value of all proprietary software.

    I just hope that IBM's lawyers don't let them get away with such huge misconceptions. I really hope IBM can squash this suit like a bug (oh, wait, is that a good analogy? IBM... squashing bugs...infinitely growing bug lists... hmmm...))
  • by Malor (3658) on Friday March 07, 2003 @04:01PM (#5462225) Journal
    Per Netcraft:

    The site www.sco.com is running Apache/1.3.14 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.7.1 OpenSSL/0.9.6 PHP/4.0.3pl1 on Linux.

    Looks like they started to switch in August of 2002, had some problems and switched back to SCO for a few days, and then completed their switch on August 14, 2002.

    You KNOW a company is dying when they don't eat their own dog food.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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