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Today's SCO News 417

Posted by michael
from the feel-the-excitement dept.
joebeone writes "Linus has commented on the SCO v. IBM suit saying "SCO is playing it like the Raelians" and that he will withhold his judgement until the code in question is shown in court. He has also recommended that former slashdot editor, Chris DiBona, be appointed to a panel offered by SCO to examine the evidence." Businessweek has an interview with SCO's CEO. The Open Group would like to remind everyone that SCO is only one of many in the Unix world.
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Today's SCO News

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  • Lawyers... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Albert Pussyjuice (675113) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:48AM (#6023718) Homepage Journal
    "One source close to SCO confirmed that IBM lawyers are in "discussions about possible discussions" with SCO's legal team."
    Aren't lawyers great?

    Why charge for one discussion when you can charge for two?

  • In an e-mail response to CRN, Torvalds, widely considered the father of Linux

    Who the hell else is under consideration? SCO's CEO?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Tanenbaum (sic)
    • by aborchers (471342) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:53AM (#6023765) Homepage Journal
      This SCO guy raises one really disturbing question. What if someone has, in the past or future, malicously or accidentally, injected proprietary code w/ copyright or patent entanglements, into core Linux systems? What are the implications for users who have no way of recognizing the code in violation? Is this really a serious flaw in the open source model?

      • by RoLi (141856) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:17AM (#6023968)
        What if someone has, in the past or future, malicously or accidentally, injected proprietary code w/ copyright or patent entanglements, into core Linux systems? What are the implications for users who have no way of recognizing the code in violation?

        What if Microsoft has, in the past or future, malicously or accidentally, injected proprietary code w/ copyright or patent entanglements, into core Windows systems? What are the implications for users who have no way of recognizing the code in violation?

        There are no implications for the user, period. If someone uses code he is not allowed to, it's his problem and nobody else's. And this applies to all licenses and all development models equally.

        • by cygnus (17101) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:46AM (#6024228) Homepage
          What if someone has, in the past or future, malicously or accidentally, injected proprietary code w/ copyright or patent entanglements, into core Linux systems?
          There are no implications for the user, period. If someone uses code he is not allowed to, it's his problem and nobody else's. And this applies to all licenses and all development models equally.
          i believe the question was asked because there are parties that might see fit to sabatoge Linux and other Open Source projects. Not to say that the Open Source/Free Software methodologies a priori are on shakier legal ground, but that they're possibly more vulnerable to sabotage given malicious third parties.
      • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@gmai l . c om> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:21AM (#6024004) Homepage
        Weel, patents are a problem, but because of the stupid laws it's actually worse for the kernel types to check patents! If they do, they open themselves up to the charge of "willful violation" and triple damages; if they can plausibly plead ignorance the risk is much lower.

        Just one of those fun legal quirks.

      • by killmenow (184444) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:29AM (#6024061)
        There is nothing disturbing about this. It is a ruse.

        My favorite quote from SCO's CEO: "You need some comfort level other than 'We can warrant none of this...' "

        That's odd, Darl. Ever read a fucking Microsoft EULA?
        LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.

        To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no event shall microsoft or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, indirect, or consequential damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out of the use of or inability to use the software product or the failure to provide support services, even if microsoft has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In any case, microsoft's entire liability under any provision of this eula shall be limited to the greater of the amount actually paid by you for the software product or u.s.$5.00; provided, however, if you have entered into a microsoft support services agreement, microsoft's entire liability regarding support services shall be governed by the terms of that agreement. Because some states/jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability, the above limitation may not apply to you.
    • by finkployd (12902) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:54AM (#6023775) Homepage
      I understand back in the 70's Al Gore took the initiative in creating Linux :)

      Finkployd
    • "In an e-mail response to CRN, Torvalds, widely considered the father of Linux"

      From the reverence he gets, it seems some think of him as God.

    • by TopShelf (92521) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:57AM (#6023806) Homepage Journal
      Well, has there ever really been a paternity test? Perhaps he can go on Montel...
    • Who the hell else is under consideration? SCO's CEO?
      Nope, Actually SCO's CEO's wife ran of with Linus and they produced Linux. Thats why he wants revenge ;-)
    • Didn't Al Gore invent Linux?
  • by DailyGrind (456659) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:51AM (#6023742) Homepage
    Hello Bill,

    Re: Dropping of the anti-trust matter - done
    Re: Slowing down Linux - done

    I am eagerly awaiting your third wish.

    Sincerely,
    Satan
  • Something Mismatches (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:52AM (#6023748) Homepage Journal
    Yea the SCO is firing on all counts against Linux. But there are certain strange anomalies as far as their India Division is concerned. SCO India is apprently still pusihing linux!

    The May Issue [linuxforu.com] of Linux for You India [linuxforyou] has interview of SCO India Head in which that guy is pushing linux and says linux is the key focus of SCO with they wanting to contribute to the Linux Community by way of more software. Isnt that a bit odd!

    • This months issue of a US linux magazine (Probably "Linux Magazine", but I'd need to go home to check) has a pretty favorable review of SCO Linux in it.

      The problem is that magazines are put together quite a while before they actually are released, so the information in them can be out of date by the time people actually see it.

      The May issue of a magazine usually comes out in April. It probably goes to the printers 6 weeks before being released, so that would put the magazine being created in each March,
      • by steveha (103154) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:59PM (#6025001) Homepage
        This months issue of a US linux magazine (Probably "Linux Magazine", but I'd need to go home to check) has a pretty favorable review of SCO Linux in it.

        That's the June 2003 issue of Linux Journal, page 78. And I didn't think it was "pretty favorable". It was as neutral as possible. The part about the delays in the sendmail security patch was not at all favorable.

        The May issue of a magazine usually comes out in April. It probably goes to the printers 6 weeks before being released, so that would put the magazine being created in each March, before the lawsuit.

        The final draft was submitted to the magazine about a week after SCO announced its lawsuit, but most of the writing was before that.

        I know this stuff because I wrote that article.

        steveha
  • by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:52AM (#6023753) Homepage Journal
    Linus is the maintainer of the whole system. He should be allowed to see the code. If not him, then his designate, preferably a maintainer of a large part of the kernel.

    Even better, if SCO is willing to say what area of the code infringes, the maintainer for that section should be allowed to see the code. Along with Linus.

    If SCO gets to pick all the "experts", they can seriously stack the deck. Linus and IBM together should be allowed to choose the same number of experts as SCO chooses.

    • by GGardner (97375) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:01AM (#6023841)
      Linus is the last person you want on the panel, for once he's seen the Unix(tm) source code in question, he is "unclean", and further work he does on the kernel (even the integration work he mostly does now) would be suspect.
      • Hmm...true. Didn't think of that.

        So what they need is somebody who knows the kernel, but will never be able to contribute again. Someone that Linus and IBM can trust. Is Chris that man, then?

        • by SuperDuG (134989) <beNO@SPAMeclec.tk> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:14AM (#6023947) Homepage Journal
          STALLMAN!!! I ELECT STALLMAN!!

          hehehe he'd go in "unclean" and leave even more "unclean" ... eh eh eh

        • There are many reputable, old-school Unix hackers, who won their Unix kernel hacking merit badges by working on the original Unix source code. As these people are already, in some way, "contaminated" by the copyright code, further looking at the Unix(tm) source code won't be a problem.

          People like the BSD team of Quarterman, McKusick, Karels, and Leffler would be good choices. People from the Bell Labs team, like Ken Thompson, or even Rob Pike would be good to have on the panel. I don't know who the exp

      • That's the part that burns me up about copyrights and patents. So f'ing what if he saw their proprietary code. Unless code he writes (an I don't even really believe in it to this extent either, but for the sake of argument) is a character for character copy directly from a copy of their source, it's not their code.


        I guess I can't paint a woman not smiling, because DaVinci did it first.

      • by number6x (626555) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:09PM (#6024499)

        This is not the problem most people think it is. Having knowledge of copyrighted or patented materials is not damaging. Using that knowledge without authorization is damaging.

        If you consider patents in the U.S.A., all patented 'inventions' are open sourced! The specifications of every patented item, and a working model is available for the public to see. The reason for this is to promote competition.

        If Cyrus McCormick invents and patents a reaper or a harvester, he has to file plans and a working model with the patent office. John Deere can also make and patent a harvester. But he better do his homework and examine good old Cyrus' filings with the patent office. If John doesn't check the prior art, he may inadvertantly re-implement a method already patented by Cyrus.

        Patenting or copyrighting a mouse trap or an operating system does not exclude all other mouse traps or operating systems from being created.

        It just gives you the right to your own work. If someone examines your work, and comes up with a better mouse trap, they can patent their own alternative.

        Open source software follows this same pro-business, pro-competition model. The current business climate that threatens law suits for rival products is anti-free market, and leads to lethargic weak businesses, that are unable to compete on the basis of merit or cost.

        When you read a Tom Clancy book, you actually get to read the copyrighted material. If you try to steal that material by changing the names of the characters and the places of the events, you risk legal punishment. Mr. Clancy and other works are protected by copyright. However you can write your own novel, full of espionage and intrigue. Just read a bunch of the other books out there to make sure you are not stealing any prior art. If books, music and movies were closed source, you would not be allowed to read them, listen to them, or view them. You would just be allowed to hear Roger Ebert or someone's review, and then have to pay full price!

        If you are familiar with prior copyrighted software, and cannot create a 'better' alternative, don't! Check archives for an already existing alternative. Try to interest a better programmer in creating one for you ( with pay or with kudos ). If you can't find or create a solution, pay the original copyright holder for the rights to use theirs.

        AT&T sued BSD for copyright infringement. I think there were only three or four snippets of code that were questionable. BSD replaced the code with alternatives, and the problem was solved.

        It turned out that AT&T actually had more BSD code in its UNIX without giving proper credit to the original authors, than BSD had AT&T code! I wonder if the same would be true for SCO UNIXWARE with respect to Linux?

    • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FreeLinux (555387) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:07AM (#6023895)
      As Linus himself has already stated, he cannot be on the panel. Remember that this panel is a SCO setup and SCO is requiring panel members to sign NDAs before seeing the code. This would contaminate and restrict panel members, making them unable to contribute further to the kernel. Linus is too close and too omportant to the kernel to be retired by SCO's NDA. So is Alan Cox et al. Linus recommended chrisd because he feels that chrisd is knowledgeable enough about the kernel to make sense of it all, yet chrisd does not actively contribute to the kernel's development so his restriction by the NDA would not impact future kernel development.

      In any case, the whole panel thing is just a ruse by SCO. They are not going to disclose anything outside of court and I am sure that they will make every effort to have this whole thing settled out of court. If the case is settled out of court, the supposed infringment evidence will never be revealed.
  • SCO's own goal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bazik (672335) <(gro.ootneg) (ta) (kizab)> on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:53AM (#6023759) Homepage Journal
    Anyone else noticed that SCO continued to sell their Linux distribution for two months _AFTER_ they sued IBM? They even had a kernel source code on their servers available for download >:)


    For more information click here [smh.com.au].
    • Re:SCO's own goal (Score:3, Interesting)

      by s20451 (410424)
      I am not a lawyer, but I can think logically.

      There are scenarios under which a company might not be compelled to stop releasing GPL'd code as soon as it realizes a violation has occurred. Suppose IBM set SCO up by stealing Unix code and then including it in Linux. Because SCO distributes Linux, they would also be releasing the offending code under the GPL. However, because IBM's intent was malicious, you could argue that the GPL cannot apply.

      As for the delay in stopping Linux sales, SCO could argue tha
      • Re:SCO's own goal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)
        That dog won't hunt.

        There are really only two possible choices for SCO once they found out that Linux was contaminated.

        a) They willfully violated the GPL.

        b) They willfully released their own code as GPL.

        Either way, they needed to stop distributing Linux IMMEDIATELY.
  • by codefool (189025) <ghester@@@codefool...org> on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:55AM (#6023783) Homepage Journal
    "If trade secrets are the issue, it wouldn't be hard for the Linux community to recode the offending software."

    This is precicely why SCO does not divulge exactly what's in question: it would be too easy for IBM et al to say "Oh. So sorry. Many regretti." and recode it, thus deflating any hope they have for the Home Run.

    All SCO can be after is money - QED.

    • by spitzak (4019) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:17AM (#6023967) Homepage
      Revealing the code would not remove the fact that copyright infringment has been done already, and they could still collect exactly as much damages as before.

      There are only two reasons for them not to reveal the code:

      1. There is no such code

      2. The code is in some laughably insignificant or obsolete part of Linux, which would backfire on them because everybody would then say that SCO's code is obsolete and this proves that Linux has far surpassed them.

      Some people say there is a conspiracy and Microsoft is paying SCO to cast fear and doubt on Linux, and that this doubt is more valuable to them than winning the case. But this still does not explain why they don't reveal any of the code. If there was any code of value, it would likely be in several pieces. They could reveal one piece so that everybody knows they are serious and they can prove they have a case, and say "there are several others that we will reveal later". This would be far more damaging to Linux than their current actions and would make Microsoft happy. Therefore I feel pretty confident now that they have no case whatsoever.

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:30AM (#6024066)


        > Some people say there is a conspiracy and Microsoft is paying SCO to cast fear and doubt on Linux, and that this doubt is more valuable to them than winning the case. But this still does not explain why they don't reveal any of the code.

        My take on that yesterday [slashdot.org]:

        That's also why I believe that this is an anti-Linux FUD campaign. If they were really concerned with IP then they have nothing to gain by keeping the code secret. If they announce it now it will get removed now (which is what they want, right?) but they'll still be entitled to any legal remedy they'd be entitled to without announcing it (assuming any at all). There's simply no IP-based reason not to announce it.


        But as for FUD-based reasons, well, it's only FUDworthy so long as everything is up in the air and businesses thinking about making the switch have something to worry about. Point to the code and the argument switches to the facts of the claim, or the code gets ripped out, and the FUD-bubble bursts overnight.

        The IP motivation says "announce it", and the FUD motivations says "mum's the word".

        No, this isn't about IP.
      • If there was any code of value, it would likely be in several pieces. They could reveal one piece so that everybody knows they are serious and they can prove they have a case, and say "there are several others that we will reveal later". This would be far more damaging to Linux than their current actions and would make Microsoft happy. Therefore I feel pretty confident now that they have no case whatsoever.

        Thanks for the tip.

        --Bob, SCO IP lawyer
    • This is precicely why SCO does not divulge exactly what's in question: it would be too easy for IBM et al to say "Oh. So sorry. Many regretti." and recode it, thus deflating any hope they have for the Home Run.

      If so its a poor strategy, SCO will be forced to specify the exact code chunks in dispute during discovery.

      Also the fact that the capabilities are not in dispute, only the code means that damages are likely to be small, if any should SCO win. The fact that

      Linus was wrong, the Raelians had far m

    • All SCO can be after is money - QED.

      They already got the money. (from MS) And they will get more.

      Either from IBM (to shut the fuck up) or from MS (to continue to spread FUD)

      They don't have any proof, but the damage they can do with their FUD is still incredible.

  • Does it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:56AM (#6023788) Homepage
    Does it occur to any one , that the result of this problem is not of much importance.
    Think about it, Microsoft has been spreading the FUD that GPL is THE big problem in enterprise environments not open source.
    With all the bad publicity this is generating for linux, even if SCO were to loose its case in court, the Damage has already been done

    Do managers really care whether linux code has or has not infringed upon copyright code? Do they ?

    All they will see is that, GPLed code could potentially land them in problem.

    This has a two fold implications on a IT manager thinking of deploying linux

    • One:- As long as the case is not resolved, using Linux could mean risking being sued for copyright infringments. Also what's to gurantee that no other company could sue in future.
    • Secondly mixing GPLed code, or even using the GPLed libraries with their own propritory code is now a NO-NO
    This has been probably the most successful attack policy of Microsoft. Shoot from the shoulders of SCO and scare the IT managers.

    Remember programmers like you and me, don't matter as long as IT managers are scared to use linux in their enterprise.

    • by AppHack (622902) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:15AM (#6023957)
      I was at a meeting yesterday with 60 or so Security and IT leaders from around our city. One of the items being discussed was the use of OSS. The general consensus of the non-techie leaders was that they would steer away from OSS when things like SCO were going on. The more technical leaders were trying to explain some of the issues, but that largely fell on deaf ears.

      This entire issue has nothing to do with the code. It doesn't matter when SCO release the "offending" code or if the code is really an IP infraction or not. Most people's understanding of this will simply be a headline here and there. The idea that you might get sued for using Linux will be all they remember. If the courts determine there is some basis to this, it will get even worse. Those things take a long time for the general population to forget.
    • Re:Does it... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LMCBoy (185365) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:16AM (#6023961) Homepage Journal
      Remember programmers like you and me, don't matter as long as IT managers are scared to use linux in their enterprise.

      Why do you think that? I seriously do not understand this. Linux is and always has been of the hackers, for the hackers, and by the hackers. Who cares if Linux is adopted by the "enterprise" or not? Sure, it's nice to have the boost in development that large companies can bring, but to say that IT managers are more important than active members of the community just boggles my mind.
      Don't think of Linux as a business product. If we fall into that trap, they've won.
      • Contrary to a popular hacker belief, Linux (for purposes of this post, Linux refers to the kernel, GNU, assorted tools and environments, etc) can effectively die if we, the community, aren't careful.

        In order to stay "alive" Linux must continue to provide innovative and useful tools AND support for modern Internet standards and protocols on on modern hardware. Without support for new Internet standards/protocols and new hardware, fewer people will be inclined to try Linux, and some Linux users will be incl

    • * Secondly mixing GPLed code, or even using the GPLed libraries with their own propritory code is now a NO-NO

      What's wrong with that? Mixing GPL'd code with proprietary (that is, non-GPL) code is a no-no.

      If they did not know that already, it's good to learn it.

    • Follow the Money (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333)
      • SCO releases trivial code under GPL.
      • SCO sues IBM (Microsoft's most feared competitor) for releasing said code in Linux distro - plans large court battle to find IBM guilty/GPL invalid. Announces intention to sue linux system integrators.
      • Major media all run articles spreading FUD as to whether developing for linux is a recipe for disaster. Microsoft purchases advertising in said media.
      • Microsoft pays SCO 'undisclosed sum of money' to license code most people think they likely don't and won't use.
      • SCO announce
  • heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Talisman (39902) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:57AM (#6023811) Homepage
    From the article:

    "...Linus Torvalds has suggested...former Slashdot editor Chris DiBona for membership on the panel of experts to which SCO executive Chris Sontag has offered to reveal evidence of copying code from SCO UnixWare to Linux."

    And you just freakin' know what LT wanted to add was, "I would also recommend Slashdot editor CmdrTaco, but judging from his posts, he doesn't seem to know much about UNIX and is kinda stupid in general."

    Talisman
  • by borgdows (599861) on Friday May 23, 2003 @10:58AM (#6023822)
    What the f*** do you think you are doing?

    (with the express permission from Madonna)
    • Why dosen't IBM just jingle some pocket change, buy SCO, and fire all the useless knobs...? They've sunk megabucks into Linux already, this would just be another minor investment in Linux...

      Or use *BSD.

      • by cdrudge (68377)
        3 reasons.

        First because it would give at least the appearance that SCO was right. Even if they were wrong, there will always be someone that says IBM did contribute code they were not suppose to. This reason is a PR/Marketing move for IBM.

        Second, every little crappy company will then start suing IBM (and possibly other companies) in the attempt to inflate their price for a buyout or settlement. This is a Financial/Legal reason for IBM.

        Third, they just want to stick it to IBM because of the principle o
    • by HisMother (413313) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:23AM (#6024012)
      Isn't that "What the F# do you think you're doing?"
  • One source close to SCO confirmed that IBM lawyers are in "discussions about possible discussions" with SCO's legal team.

    Its nice to see that the two sides are moving closer together. It seems like only last week that they were only discussing the possibility of disscussing discussions regarding the discussion of case discussions.

  • by LinuxParanoid (64467) * on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:04AM (#6023875) Homepage Journal
    The key quotes from the CEO are:

    "We have examples of code being lifted verbatim. If you look at the code we believe has been copied in, it's not just a line or two, it's an entire section -- and in some cases, an entire program. "

    Now this may or may not be true or may be true in some mostly-irrelevant way. But that leads me to a question.

    My question would be, if, theoretically, a coder knows in their conscience that they did violate copyright in this way, what would be their best recourse to fix the situation?

    Should they patch the code themselves and submit a patch? Would such a patch withstand legal scrutiny?
    And should they warn the person who they send the patch to about the urgency/motivation of the patch?

    Alternatively, should they merely notify/tell someone else ASAP so that the violating code can
    be removed and replaced by someone 'clean', and sooner rather than later?

    It would seem one of these two would be wise. That way, the amount of time between when the violation is ruled to have occurred, and the time when it is 'made right' through a fix is minimized, and the effects of any judge-ruled injunctions to correct things are minimized. Or if the issue is fixed particularly before the case is ruled upon, perhaps the point can be ruled as 'moot' since the violation has since been fixed.

    Either way, this raises some sub-questions:
    A) who should they tell in the open source community about their indiscretion?
    B) should they attempt to be anonymous in their communications? (to avoid legal liability)
    C) does telling someone else then open the tell-ee to some sort of potential legal liability?

    Clearly a swamp of legal issues that are better avoided entirely. Any answers though?

    --LP

    P.S. Of course Slashdot advice/commentary isn't legal advice/comment. But it's an interesting question and I figure *someone* on here has a more considered opinion than I.
    • Reeding stuff at /. has learned me how to scan text for signs of BS. Reading the quoted text above,
      "If you look at the code we believe has been copied in, it's not just a line or two, it's an entire section -- and in some cases, an entire program."
      one has to react to the program part. What is an 'program' doing in the linux-kernel?? What does that mean??
      I remembered when I read that statement that I quit reading the rest, since it is obvious BS (to me that is).
    • by egoff (636181) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:33AM (#6024091)
      Another thing that quote brings up is what program? Can anyone who has a SCO UNIX license go program by program through the code in Linux and find any possible culprits? If SCO won't show the code, perhaps we can find (or not find) anything based on these clues. Anyone with a copy of SCO's UNIX should be able to do this, even if you can't program you can at least be able to tell, "This block of mumbo jumbo is the same as that block". The results of a study like this would be very valuable
  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by eric2hill (33085) <[ten.kcaji] [ta] [cire]> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:05AM (#6023880) Homepage

    "He has also recommended that former slashdot editor, Chris DiBona, be appointed to a panel offered by SCO to examine the evidence."

    Why's that? So that it can get sent to court three or four times?

    <ducks>

  • by Mensa Babe (675349) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:12AM (#6023922) Homepage Journal
    OSI Position Paper on the SCO-vs.-IBM Complaint by Eric Raymond, President of The Open Source Initiative [opensource.org]. Do we really have to say more, than what have already been said?
  • by mocm (141920) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:12AM (#6023924) Homepage
    how can they prove that they did not take the linux code and incorporate into their code.
    The dates and times of code inclusion into linux are pretty well documented, but how can you do that with closed source.
  • by wine (211387) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:12AM (#6023927)
    In the business week article Darl McBride tries to scare (potential) OSS consumers:

    I believe the way the open-source community works right now has some fundamental flaws that have got to be addressed. We need to address how this open-source intellectual property is developed, routed, and sold. Thousands of software developers send code to contribute to open-source projects -- but there isn't a protective device for the customer using the software to ensure they're not in violation of the law by using stolen code.

    This might be true, IANAL. But this is no different for proprieraty, closed source code. For open and closed source alike, you cannot trace if code has illegaly been copied into it from another source. So, even if you buy a proprietary closed source application, you might as well be in violation of the law.
    • That's a good analogy. However, in the case of closed source, how does one go about analyzing the closed source code to see if it is in violation of the law? By it's very nature, closed source prevents outside scrutiny. I mean, who has gone through Microsoft's code and ensured they don't have code that belongs to someone else, to whom they have not given credit? Unless you have a suspicion that copying of code has taken place, there's really no way to determine this (as far as I know! I'm just an idiot
    • Case in point... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gillbates (106458)
      So, even if you buy a proprietary closed source application, you might as well be in violation of the law.

      IIRC, Microsoft's customers are now facing the threat of legal action because Microsoft improperly included Timeline's intellectual property in their SQL server offerings. So even though Microsoft's customers bought licenses from Microsoft, they may still end up owing money to Timeline! And IIRC, Microsoft is also being sued by their customers for this practice. So much for the "safe" proprietar

    • This might be true, IANAL. But this is no different for proprieraty, closed source code. For open and closed source alike, you cannot trace if code has illegaly been copied into it from another source. So, even if you buy a proprietary closed source application, you might as well be in violation of the law.

      I can see that you might be able to use DRM "technology" to make verifiable timestamps on files. As such Microsoft giving SCO money makes perfect sense; If this trial leads to the conclusion that th

  • by FFFish (7567) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:13AM (#6023928) Homepage
    ...except the Raelians don't appear to be a doomsday death cult.

    SCO is playing it much more like, say, Heaven's Gate or Jonestown. Drink the koolaid, take a trip on the passing comet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was just wondering, since Linux is open source anyone can see the code. What stops SCO, or anyone for that matter, from copying some code directly from Linux and then saying that it was theirs to begin with. Sure there are some commit logs, etc... that can trace code here and there but SCO or someone else can always claim that it was stolen from them. If the SCO like company is really deceptive then they could fabricate a trail within their company that shows they had this code all along. I know it so
  • How come... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:29AM (#6024063)
    it is ok for the open source crowd to simply remove the offending code, but not for those who have GPL violations, like OpenTV to simply remove their offending code?

    Violation, you scream. You must pay the consequences, no matter how the code got in there.

    But, if it is the open source crowd that put the bad code in, then just remove it, it's all good.

    More open source double-standards.
    • Re:How come... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smillie (30605)
      it is ok for the open source crowd to simply remove the offending code, but not for those who have GPL violations, like OpenTV to simply remove their offending code?

      This shouldn't have been modded insightful.

      There is a world of difference between the two. The Linux crowd is waiting to be shown the infringing code so it can be replaced. I expect it will be replaced within 24 hours of being found.

      The OpenTV group have been told where their violation was over a year ago and have declined to repa

  • by fstanchina (564024) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:31AM (#6024077) Homepage
    The article from Newsforge had this (anonymous) comment attached to it. I didn't think of this, but it looks like he's right.

    [disclaimer: as stated above, this comment was written by an Anonymous Reader -- I'm just pasting; any positive moderation doesn't belong to me, except a "+1 informative" if you will]

    "As people may recall from the original settlement of the BSD lawsuit, three files had to be removed from BSD that represented things in SysV source. What is often forgotten, though, is that AT&T itself was in a far greater bind because while there was some SysV code in BSD, there was a LOT of "borrowed" and misattributed BSD code found to be in AT&T SysV. BSD permits this, but the license at the time required the advertising clause, and AT&T fraudulently ignored this. The actual settlement said that AT&T would no longer sue the BSD people, and that the University of California would also agree to hold AT&T harmless for misappropriating BSD code. Hence, much of the code that SCO owns is actually misattributed BSD code for which UC permitted AT&T (and it's decendents) to use."

    "Now much of Linux also shares code derived from ancestrial BSD sources or people who have worked in common on both, and I am sure many of the same ancestrial routines still found today at the core of SysV are in fact also BSD derived. Hence, where common code may exist, it's code that AT&T originally misappropriated, and that SCO is free to use and relicense from the AT&T/BSD settlement, but in point of law neither AT&T nor the current SysV owner has actual legal copyright over. Perhaps the regents of UC could hall these SCO scum back into court, as they are in fact in material breach of the AT&T/BSD settlement if SCO now claims copyright "ownership" of that originally misappropriated code since the settlement gave AT&T no such rights."
  • So lets see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:34AM (#6024101) Journal
    IBM misappropriated SCO's code, which was then incorporated into the Linux kernel released by Caldera, making Caldera liable. SCO then bought Caldera, thus implying that SCO had been misled into buying a license to their own code. SCO fails to realise this and releases Linux as per the GPL.

    Okay. That bit makes sense. SCO then realise that some of their code is amisapprpriated. They contuinue to distribute it under the GPL even though they claim the GPL doesn't cover it. They also claim that some of SCO's code is in the Linux kernel, but fail to say what. All this time they continue to distibute their own code under a license which states that either they are not allowed to, or that they must allow others to do exactly what they're claiming everyone else shouldn't do.

    SCO make some statement that says that it isn't being distributed under the GPL, and the GPL says so, disregarding the fact that says that if they distribute GPLed code they give a license to use all the code that's included.

    This is where I sart getting a headache. I just can't make the facts of that last sentence sound coherent however hard I try.
  • that SCO is only one of many in the Unix world

    You really meant UNIX® [unix-systems.org], right ;-)
  • by vinsci (537958) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:35AM (#6024115) Journal
    In an e-mail interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, FSF's executive director Bradley Kuhn says several interesting things, for example:

    "Indeed, FSF holds documents from SCO regarding some of this code. SCO has disclaimed copyright on changes that were submitted and assigned by their employees to key GNU operating system components."
    and earlier:

    "SCO was not merely a distributor of the kernel named Linux; they were the distributor off the entire GNU/Linux system, which includes Linux as well as the core components of the GNU operating system, such as glibc, GCC, GDB, etc.

    "Most of the core GNU components are all copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation and distributed under our auspices under GPL. SCO's right to redistribute them, and Linux too, is the GNU GPL and only the GNU GPL."

    [...]
    "For nearly two decades, the FSF has carefully and arduously collected copyright assignments on each contribution to the GPL'ed programs on which we hold copyright. We carry out due diligence to ask contributors if they have any reason to believe that trade secrets, patents, or other copyright claims cover their work before they submit it to us. We then collect a copyright assignment from the contributor (and a copyright disclaimer from their employer when necessary) to ensure that we hold proper title to the software on which we place our copyright notice and license freely under GPL or LGPL.

    "Individuals and companies using FSF copyrighted programs know as much as one can know that the software has been examined carefully, that its authors certify that the work is their own, and that the authors have no knowledge of other claims conflicting with its licensing under GPL or LGPL."

    For several other interesting quotes, see the whole interview [smh.com.au].

  • by Cranst0n (617823) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:41AM (#6024162) Journal
    Has anyone else noticed that in all the reports, press releases, and other things related to this frivolous lawsuit, two major playres are not mentioned by anyone. Mandrake and Debian don't appear in anything SCO has released. Is this just a coincidence or is it intentional? And either way.. why not warn them and their users also, why only talk about Red HAt and SuSe? Just a thought....
  • by small_dick (127697) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:28PM (#6024718)
    Why not? Isn't SCO's action libelous against the core developers of Linux? There appear to be several derisive comments about Linux in the SCO complaint.

    The kernel developers have carefully crafted Linux over many years. It seems to me they would be willing to protect *their* image and *their* product from these kind of attacks.

    Especially the people who developed the capabilities that SCO claims did not exist in Linux until IBMs intervention. The SCO action claims these developers are lying, that they never did the work!

    If EFF files a lawsuit on behalf of named developers of the Linux kernel, I'd pledge $100 over paypal to such an effort.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:13PM (#6025123)
    Reason Online [reason.com] has this [reason.com] to say about Microsoft paying off^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfunding^H^H^H^H^H^H^H licensing Unix from SCO:

    2. Penguin Patrol

    Someone in Redmond has a wicked sense of humor -- and timing. Just after the SCO Group got done sending letters to 1,350 users of the Linux operating system warning them that "Linux infringes on our Unix intellectual property and other rights" and that "legal liability that may arise from the Linux development process may also rest with the end user," Microsoft decided, gee, let's license some SCO Group software. In one delicious move, Microsoft has in effect hired its old antitrust nemesis, David Boies, to go to work beating Linux competitors off its Windows server installs.

    The SCO Group had selected Boies to research an intellectual property case that many in the software industry felt was bogus -- nothing more than a last-ditch attempt by a failing software company to shake some cash from the trees. Sure enough, the SCO Group sued IBM in March, charging unfair competition and breach of contract.

    Now, with Redmond lining up behind SCO and Boies, IBM must be just thrilled. For a tiny investment Microsoft gets to make potential corporate buyers of Linux, or IBM's operating system AIX, worry about getting dragged in court over the software running in their back office. The message is clear: Buy Windows, stay out of court.

    Of course, this is why it was a horribly bad idea for Netscape and friends to run to the feds and the state attorneys general over Microsoft Internet Explorer way back in the day. Make politicians, lawyers, and judges the arbiters of good software, and you'll get software as buggy as the law.
  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:37PM (#6025327)
    I mean really... Unix System V vs. any version of Caldera's Linux distributions... Post the results on Slashdot for any lines of code that end up being the same...
  • The Age [theage.com.au] is running a story [theage.com.au] about more than 2500 Linux users signing an online petition calling on the SCO Group to sue them. Titled, 'Hey SCO, sue me', the petition [petitiononline.com] says: 'I am a Linux user. I feel that SCO's tactics toward an operating system of my choice are unjust, ill founded and bizarre.'

    I submitted this as a story to Slashdot, but it was rejected.

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