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Caldera Operating Systems Software Unix

SCO Awarded UNIX Copyright Regs, McBride Interview 1388

Posted by Hemos
from the it-drags-on-and-on-and-on dept.
Prizm writes "It seems that SCO is continuing to build up its case for world domination, as today it was awarded U.S. copyright registrations for UNIX System V source code by the U.S. Copyright Office. Shares are up 20%, Novell is nowhere to be found, and SCO is releasing binary, run-only Linux licensing. You can read all about it over in their press release." C|Net is also running an interview with McBride.
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SCO Awarded UNIX Copyright Regs, McBride Interview

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  • And how do they intend to enforce that, as long as there is no judgment yet????
  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:40PM (#6491285) Homepage
    One reader of Linux magazine (not me) expressed the idea that the reason for SCO's recent stock rise was NOT that the market thinks they will win this lawsuit, but because someone has been quietly buying up their stock in advance of a hostile take over. That someone would be IBM, and McBride and his deatheaters will find themselves kicked out without a golden parachute. We can only hope!
  • by Albanach (527650) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:41PM (#6491290) Homepage
    They claim that some of their code made its way into the Linux Kernel, so now they're packaging the entire kernel, making it only available in bianry form and selling it?!?

    If anyone has been waiting to test the GPL in court surely now's the time to set up a fighting fund - everyone who's contributed to the kernel is today seing their hard work being stolen, exploited and sold by SCO.

  • by bono2001 (539564) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:43PM (#6491309)
    Is the beef they have with kernel 2.4 and above and primarily suspcions due to the increase in SMP capabilities that were made in this series? If so are those using kernels in the 2.2 series and below immune to the System V threats?

  • Re:The scary thing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by garcia (6573) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:43PM (#6491313) Homepage
    unfortunatly, no matter how we feel about this, they are doing it legally.

    If they own the copyrights to SysV code then they can enforce them as they see fit.

    If they can prove that Linux infringes upon those copyrights, then they will be able to charge for its use.

    And please don't say copyright law is crap, we all know it, but it doesn't make it any less valid/enforcable.
  • by Roofus (15591) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:43PM (#6491315) Homepage
    They'll send nasty lawyergrams. And if you don't pay up, they'll send some more!
  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:44PM (#6491324)
    This is not at all clear.

    SCO will hold harmless commercial Linux customers that purchase a UnixWare license against any past copyright violations, and for any future use of Linux in a run-only, binary format.

    and

    In May, SCO announced that Linux contained SCO's UNIX System V source code and that Linux was an unauthorized derivative of UNIX.

    Does SCO claim they own Linux? Do they claim to license Linux binaries that every one else provides? Will they distribute binaries only, and not provide the source? Are they going to sue everyone else who distributes Linux?

    I cannot believe the gall of these idiots, it is breathtaking, far exceeding any nonsense coming out of Redmond.

    I wonder if this will be the first GPL case to go to court. And Microsoft ... what a position ... they sure don't want to make the GPL illegal, since it could cascade into making all copyright licenses illegal. I wonder if they knew who they were going to bed with when they bought a license from SCO to keep them afloat. As much as I despise Microsoft, I can't believe this would do them any good, except in the short term FUD department. If SCO can claim ownership of Linux, it doesn't seem like a far stretch to own every other OS which ever borrowed from Unix ideas.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Fanta Menace (607612) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:45PM (#6491338) Homepage

    How can they force people to pay for the bits that don't belong to them? Assuming any do at all, that is.

  • Re:Extortion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:45PM (#6491348) Homepage

    It's also cretinous, because any "use" that involves duplication (including, let's see, installation from CD or network, or uploading or downloading or distributing externally or internally) will constitute a fat violation of the copy rights of every other contributor ot the kernel.

    There's a GPL exemption in the linux kernal for binary only Nvidia drivers. SCO has no such provision. If you cave in to these terms, expect to hear from other rights owners, each and every one of whom has as much claim as SCO.

  • by JessLeah (625838) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:46PM (#6491355)
    ...what about NONCOMMERCIAL Linux use? Such as, for instance, me running Debian/PPC on my Power Mac G4 (which I am doing at this very moment)?

    Also, wouldn't the whole "binary-only" thing destroy half of the usefulness of Linux? Half the whole point of Linux is that you are free to do what you wish to it-- including modifying it. Not to be a tinfoil-hat loony about things, but ... what was that little "rumor" or "guess" several people have posted, about Microsoft being in league with SCO?
  • Hey, no problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:51PM (#6491424) Homepage

    We can just replace that dirty IBM contributed code with, uh, let's see, the exact same code that SCO chose to distribute themselves under the terms of a GPL license for year after year. Mmm, yup, I'll just replace it file for file, then recompile to produce an identical binary. Prove otherwise?

    Sorry about the italics. I know it's traditional to point out idiotic licensing terms USING UPPER CASE AOLSPEAK, but I thought I'd try and sneak this wheeze under the crack SCO legal team's beady eyes.

  • No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:53PM (#6491448)
    They claim that Linux is an illegal derivative of Unix, to which they own the copyright. That's in their latest press release. What they have claimed before is that they own all sorts of crap related to Unix, and that any operating system which incorporates those ideas is violating their intellectual property rights. No joke, they seriously believe that just about every current OS violates their rights to Unix. If you are to read their comments and interviews and take them seriously, the recent license they sold to Microsoft does not preclude later claims against Windows for violating their UNIX IP rights.

    This is entirely separate from SCO code having made its way into the Linux sources.

    They also claim that any code IBM contributed to Linux belongs to SCO, because they UNIX license IBM has makes all subsequent UNIX development at IBM belong to SCO.

    The sheer arrogance is amazing.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DevilM (191311) <`devilm' `at' `devilm.com'> on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:54PM (#6491451) Homepage
    You are not entirely correct. As have others have shown, they are still distributing a Linux kernel via FTP.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ebh (116526) * <ebh-slashdot@hyp ... g ['l.o' in gap]> on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:54PM (#6491453) Journal
    Here's their current price list [caldera.com]. I don't know if their "insurance policy" binary licenses will be priced the same. I suspect they'll be lower, because they're trying to get as many sux0rs to buy into their protection racket as possible.

    As a manager, I'd be more likely to bet $200 (for, say, a single-page hold-harmless letter masquerading as a 0-user 0-CPU 0GB UW "license") than I would be to bet $2400 (the current cost of a 25-user dual-CPU 4GB UW7.1.3 license plus media).

  • by JWW (79176) on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:54PM (#6491462)
    I of convinced of one thing I believe is absolutely certain to happen.

    McBride will after all is said and done, win or lose or lose badly, be offered a cushy high paying VP job at Microsoft.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xerithane (13482) <xerithaneNO@SPAMnerdfarm.org> on Monday July 21, 2003 @12:58PM (#6491493) Homepage Journal
    In other words, SCO, by releasing a binary-only Linux, is violating the terms of the GNU General Public License, and hence, they are breaking the law.


    Not breaking the law, they are in breach of contract. Who is going to take them to court to fight it? Nobody. However, this issue will be pressed by the IBM law team, and quite probably will have a favorable outcome on this point.

    However, unless the members at SCO had authority (ostensible, I believe) to release the kernel source than it is not binding that SCO released it knowingly and willingly. Just like if I release proprietary source at my job, it would not be binding unless I had authority to do it. I think that it is a given that whomever released the packages at SCO did have the proper authority to do it, so I don't think any of this paragraph actually matters.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:00PM (#6491519)
    Ooo. They got registration for a copyright. Big deal. Copyright ownership can still be challenged and owning a copyright doesn't guarantee that the other side is infringing that copyright.

    While this might be good PR for SCO, registration does not indicate any likelihood of success regarding this situation.
  • by DevilM (191311) <`devilm' `at' `devilm.com'> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:00PM (#6491522) Homepage
    When asked about dealings with Linus, SCO indicated that they had only done email exchanges and that Linus had indicated the situation was a contract dispute and he was staying out of it. McBride then went on to say that as of today everything has changed. SCO stated that everyone involved with Linux from the users to the contributors to the distributors are either violation of their Unix copyrights or are contributing to the violation. They also stated that they could sue for copyright violations without showing damages.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWW (79176) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:01PM (#6491531)
    What I like about all this is that they own the copyrights to the CODE, but are choosing to license the BINARY implementation.

    Convinent that, it will be awfully hard for Linux users to find the offending CODE in all those 0's and 1's.

    Also if the code SCO owns is in the Linux kernel, and they sell it, aren't they required to distribute it under the GPL for free?

    This is mindblowingly evil and an absolute anethma to everything open source stands for.

    I can only hope to have a chance to soon view a press conference where IBM announces its takeover of SCO, and fires everyone who still "works" there. The only bad thing about this is how much money McBride will make on the deal.

  • Sure looks that way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:02PM (#6491538)
    And that's a very intriguing development, from the point of Redmond. Defeating the GPL likely will invalidate just about every other software license. Not only is there a real question of whether SCO wants what they appear to be going after, but you have to wonder about what is going on at Microsoft right now ... no way do they want software licensing defeated. As much as they want to destroy the GPL, I can't believe they want to destroy licensing itself. I imagine all sorts of shock in Microsoft conference rooms right now.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JWW (79176) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:05PM (#6491561)
    It hasn't happened because no one really knows what code is bad and SCO won't tell you unless you sign an NDA.

    If you're a kernel developer signing the NDA probably prohibts you from actualy going about removing the code as that would "disclose" what code is in question.

    I think I'm actaully beginning to hate SCO more than Saddam Hussein!
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Surak (18578) * <surak@mailblCOLAocks.com minus caffeine> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:08PM (#6491601) Homepage Journal
    Hmm...then what's this this doing on their FTP server [sco.com]? Hmm?

  • non-sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:09PM (#6491613) Homepage Journal
    They distributed a GNU/Linux distribution. They had the source for that distribution offered until a few weeks after they launched the lawsuit. There is no plausible way that you can say that it was released by one renegade employee without authority.
  • by dachshund (300733) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:10PM (#6491622)
    They obviously believe that they can defeat the GPL in court.

    I doubt that victory in court is part of their plan. SCO believes that IBM or some other company will step in and buy them out, rather than having to endure the multi-year legal war that threatens to ensue.

    The GPL battle is only one front in that war. Should IBM choose to take this to court, they will almost certainly break out their patent arsenal, which will add years and millions of dollars to the process. SCO and its newfound stockholders are hoping to cut a deal and make some money from this turkey.

  • Please explain (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lildogie (54998) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:11PM (#6491630)
    Why can't someone who got the extortion letter subpoena SCO to identify the infringing code?
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:11PM (#6491631)
    You cannot redistribute GPL'ed software if it infringes on anybody's intellectual property. That clause was put there with the intention of preventing SCO-style blackmail. It could be argued that that means that companies that obtain software with the intention of paying a licensing fees already are not covered by the GPL because they believe it infringes on someone's intellectual property.

    The clause may not be strong enough to achieve its intended effect, so perhaps it should be revised for the next version of the GPL to something that explicitly states "if you pay anyone a license fee for using this piece of software, you lose your rights to use or redistribute it under the GPL".
  • by Glamdrlng (654792) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:11PM (#6491635)

    Understatement of the year: "We're not exactly winning the Miss Congeniality contest"

    What's funny is, McBride actually saved us the trouble and compared SCO to the MPAA and the RIAA for us. The difference is, the RIAA didn't give any MP3's away. McBride's argument is crap. U.S. copyright law may prevent a copyright holder from accidentally giving up their rights, but there's no excuse for violating the GPL when all of the code is right there.

    And if that wasn't a total line of bullshit, how bout when McBride said "We don't wanna sue anybody"? For somebody who doesn't wanna sue anybody, they sure have an awful lot of lawyers going to work for them...

    Line of bullshit #3: "The pull of linux is not the operating system, it's the ability to run unix on cheap intel hardware" Having worked on SCO machines and having worked on linux machines, I had to swallow my teeth when he dropped this one.

    I wonder if McBride would do an Ask Slashdot interview? Lemme get my question in now:

    "So tell me sir, how does it feel to have the absolute worst karma on the planet?"
  • Re:Hello, SCO? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by axxackall (579006) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:12PM (#6491638) Homepage Journal
    from the article:

    Hundreds of files of misappropriated UNIX source code and derivative UNIX code have been contributed to Linux in a variety of areas, including multi-processing capabilities. The Linux 2.2.x kernel was able to scale to 2-4 processors. With Linux 2.4.x and the 2.5.x development kernel, Linux now scales to 32 and 64 processors through the addition of advanced Symmetrical Multi-Processing (SMP) capabilities taken from UNIX System V and derivative works, in violation of SCO's contract agreements and copyrights.

    I wonder if someone from LKML is already working on digging the original source of those commits. I don't believe they will find out the stolen code, but who knows, maybe SCO has already digged there. Otherwise why are they so comfortable? From the other point why IBM is so comfortable too? Or is it just a poker-bluffing game on both sides?

  • Where is the FSF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:14PM (#6491644)
    Isn't about time that we as Linux users file a class action lawsuit against SCO for misuse of Linux source?

    A better question would be, "Why hasn't the FSF done anything about a major challenge to the GNU license?" "Why are they sitting on their hands, doing nothing but releasing 'statements'?"

    From the GNU homepage:

    We rely on support from individuals like you who support FSF's mission to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.

    Second question would be "Why hasn't IBM slapped SCO with a Legal Ugly Stick yet?"

  • by Chicane-UK (455253) <chicane-uk@ntlwo[ ].com ['rld' in gap]> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:14PM (#6491646) Homepage
    Agreed.. I can't see how SCO will continue to get away with this. It seems a bit of an irony that SCO want to protect the IP (god I hate that term) and work by all of those Unix engineers from so long ago.. yet is quite content to steamroller & attempt to claim ownership of all the hardwork and effort by the Linux coders of the past 10 or 11 years.

    Laughable.

    Please.. IBM, just take them to court or something!!
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dastardly (4204) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:23PM (#6491736)
    Does anybody have info as to how expensive this Linux licensing is going to be? It's quite possible that many companies may just pay the fee instead of going through the time, effort, cost and liability of doing otherwise. It's sad to see SCO actually get rewarded for how they're conducting themselves...

    Paying the fee actually opens companies to liability from Linux developers. Because now they have received a copy of Linux code in violation of the GPL because whoever they got their Linux from could not have given it to them. Since, they did not receive the code in accordance with the GPL, they have no license for the code whatsoever and standard copyright law applies giving them no rights with regards to Linux.

    So, Linux developers can sue, and win, because by paying the fee to SCO they acknowledge that they have kowingly received Linux in violation of the GPL, and have no license to do anything with said software. Are developers likely to sue linux customers... No, they will do everything they can not to, but it may come down to that to at least prevent SCO from hijacking Linux.

    IANAL
    Dastardly
  • Mitigating damage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NormalVisual (565491) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:23PM (#6491741)
    I have a question, and being that I'm not a lawyer, perhaps someone more knowledgable can chime in - I seem to remember reading that in any kind of civil action like this, the plaintiff has a duty to actively mitigate his damages to the maximum extent possible - for instance, if some schmuck pulls out in front of me on the highway, I have a duty to attempt to prevent an accident, even if it's his fault. Regarding the SCO/Linux situation, SCO has steadfastly refused to tell Linus or anyone else specifically where the code is that's infringing while being fully aware of the fact that armed with that knowledge, the OSS community would very quickly make the needed changes to remove the disputed IP.

    By acting in this manner, SCO appears to not be interested in mitigating their claimed damages in the least, and actually appears to be attempting to increase them as much as possbile - how do you suppose a judge/jury is going to look upon this?
  • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:24PM (#6491757)
    He literally claims that developing any code for a UNIX clone violates UNIX IP rights, thus if you or I or anyone writes code for Linux, it belongs to SCO.

    In a theroretical sense, it makes sense -- if I own land, and you build a house on it, thanks, you just built me a house (actually happened to the land I won, with the people I bought it from). Look at all the Harry Potter parodies which have been shut down.

    SCO will certainly lose long term, the question is how much of a circus it will be getting there.
  • Re:Not that simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dissy (172727) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:26PM (#6491777)
    > You do not understand the arrogance of McBride and his brethren. He has
    > claimed in interviews that all of Linux, and every other UNIX clone, is a
    > derivative of UNIX, whether the code was developed from scratch or not. He
    > even hinted that Windows was not immune to this, that the license bought by
    > Microsoft did not protect them from being sued for violating SCO rights
    > concerning UNIX.

    Yea, but he can claim copyright to sunlight too and it doesnt make it any more true in a court of law :)

    If they had any basis for this, we would have seen it.
    Ford would have sued all other car makers for making cars, as they own the copyright on cars.
    Authors would sue others for having a book with the same plot line.
    All music would go away, after all, your rock song is based off my rock song, and the first song has a copyright on rock music.

    Copyright doesnt apply to basic concepts.
    Only to very specific cases of those concepts.

    If they won, not just the american way of life is over as we know it (Nothing new will be allowed to be created, because its all based off previous work.. that is how technology works) but the entire world economy will fail for a short time, as we sue and press charges aginst every other country there is until the US is finally shunned as a world power and we are ignored.

    This will _never_ be allowed to happen.
    Bush would come right up and tell the courts to fuck right the hell off if they even tried.

    But the point is, copyright law does not give ANYONE the right to do what they are claiming over at SCO.

    If you wrote some code, and copyrighted it, and i stole that code, you can ONLY tell me to not distribute it.
    As a matter of fact, i am perfectly within the bounds of copyright law to take your copyrighted work and use it however i see fit, as long as it never leaves my hands. You have no say so over the matter. They would legally (and in all cases in the past) side with me.

    Copyright prevents the distribution of others works.
    The only right they have (assuming they are correct) is they can say 'noone has the right to distribute our code'
    And as I said, the problem would be fixed by replacing that code, or just removing it all together. Then they have no legal right to say anything.

    They have no legal right to charge for linux, and are activly breaking the law by distributing it in binary only form without the source, even IF they win their dispute aginst IBM.

    Think of it this way.
    Band B steals some lyrics from Band A.
    Does this give the world the right to steal all of Band B's music because their copyrights are somehow invalid now?
    No.
    Nor does SCO have any right to invalidate the copyright of thousands of developers who have copyrighted code in the kernel as well, whom are licencing it under GPL.
    SCO owns their little part. Nothing more. Any any more that they take is copyright-voilation (Or theft as p2p haters like to call it)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:27PM (#6491780)
    I actually do believe that 2.4's NUMA architecture, SMP, et al, came in bulk from outside the linux kernel hackers cadre.

    I dont believe that they fumbled for a decade with scalability, only to hit the nail on the head, miraculously, in time for IBM to hitch it's cart to the horse.

    SCO may be right, and then what? Rollback to 2.2 kernel, or earlier. IBM helped shove that code in there, hoping that if the genie was out of the bottle, no court could put it back in for SCO.

    I actually believe 95% of all open source projects are due to stolen code or other IP.

  • From the GPL:

    If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all.

    meaning that even if they win they cannot distribute the binary-only version of Linux they are distributing, as announced in the article. Hence, as I mentioned before, they are currently violating the GPL. Whether or not they did it before is another issue altogether.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:35PM (#6491862) Homepage
    If, on the other hand they say, "your existing license is invalid, here have another." Then they are in the right.

    Then never mind licensing for a momen. It seems to me that if they are explicitly saying "if you run linux you are in violation and need to buy a license from us", that is a libellous statement.

    It seems to me that the FSF, or Linus, or any major Linux vendor is now free to sue SCO, for either libel or barratry or whatever laws govern deceptive harrassment of your competitor's customers, at the least.

    In fact, I'm shocked they haven't already. I cannot imagine why the FSF and/or Redhat would stand by and let this happen. It made sense to just stand and wait when everything SCO did fell under the heading of making insinuatious about Linux while discussing their IBM case, but this is something of a wholly and totally different order. This is publicly making attacks on Linux itself, and publicly stating that (for example) Redhat does not have the legal right to sell their own product, and that if you buy a product from Redhat you owe SCO money. I can't imagine that's legal, and I'm certain it's damaging to Redhat.

    Why don't the linux distros just file suit, now that SCO has crossed the line, and subpeona what exactly the line numbers of these fabled bits of SCO code in the linux kernel are?
  • by Idou (572394) * on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:37PM (#6491885) Journal
    "At that point, the distribution of every piece of linux that they don't explicitly own becomes prohibited, completely, because Linux falls back to copyright law which indicates that the contributors of the other pieces still own them and have not licensed them to any distribution but GPL."

    Okay, we know who the contributors are, isn't it time someone like the FSF (who I am a member of) sues SCO for copyright infringement?
  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:38PM (#6491897) Homepage Journal
    It still mystifies me why IBM isn't doing anything at this point.

    One thing to remember, even post-2000: IBM is SLOW. Every move is calculated, weighed, optioned, signed off by multiple layers of beauracracy, and conditioned in sherry casks, before actually being acted upon. They will make no move before they have to. Right now, they (still) don't have to, and it wouldn't help much, anyways 'cause McBride's an asshole and IBM is above all that. The bully will back down, or be taken down, but it'll happen on IBM's time because that's how IBM operates. IBM's had almost 50 years of being able to deal with this type of legal idiot; trust their experience.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xerithane (13482) <xerithaneNO@SPAMnerdfarm.org> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:43PM (#6491942) Homepage Journal
    They're not in breach of contract. The GPL is a license, not a contract. If they don't adhere to the terms of that license, they're (arguably) in breach of copyright. I say "arguably" because it will be up to the rights owners to show that, but it won't exactly be difficuly.

    Yes, they are in breach of contract. Licenses are contracts. There are two ways to go after a license violation. IP infringment (copyright), or contract law. Depending upon the circumstances, it's easier to do either. Typically, with software, it is easier to go after copyright infringement but you can still do both. It depends upon the license. If it's a signed license, it's easy. Otherwise it gets into this:
    Resolving the issue of enforceability of a "shrink-wrap" license, the court essentially decides the dilemma: was it a contract of sale in which an offer and acceptance were made at the store; or was it a licensing contract in which an offer was made at the store and acceptance was made sometimes later by an incident of use of the software.


    You see the common thread there, "contract" -- in the terms of "Licensing Contract".

    Let's keep our terms straight.

    Yes, lets.

  • CONFIG_SMP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajrs (186276) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:44PM (#6491946) Homepage
    I don't know about you guys, but I'm not even using the alleged infringing code on any of my 4 Linux boxes. I've got SMP turned off.

    from /usr/src/linux-2.4.20/Documentation/Configure.help :

    Symmetric Multi-Processing support

    CONFIG_SMP

    This enables support for systems with more than one CPU. If you have
    a system with only one CPU, like most personal computers, say N. If
    you have a system with more than one CPU, say Y.

    If you say N here, the kernel will run on single and multiprocessor
    machines, but will use only one CPU of a multiprocessor machine. If
    you say Y here, the kernel will run on many, but not all,
    single machines. On a singleprocessor machine, the kernel
    will run faster if you say N here.

    Note that if you say Y here and choose architecture "586" or
    "Pentium" under "Processor family", the kernel will not work on 486
    architectures. Similarly, multiprocessor kernels for the "PPro"
    architecture may not work on all Pentium based boards.

    People using multiprocessor machines who say Y here should also say
    Y to "Enhanced Real Time Clock Support", below. The "Advanced Power
    Management" code will be disabled if you say Y here.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:48PM (#6491990)
    Yeah, because "This is a private FTP server, you are not allowed to access anything on this site!" style disclaimers on public FTPs are working just brilliant as a legal defense for Warez sites. If you're running a non-protected, DNS'ed, anonymous FTP server, which you also link to on your web site[1], you'd better be ready to be liable for its contents. It's not like they'd start claiming their box got owned and somebody places those files there, distro style.

    Heck, they don't have a DON'T DOWNLOAD disclaimer of any sort on the FTP itself - and the web disclaimer is far from explicit: they say they've suspended their activities, well obviously that's not true!

    Note that I don't have a clue whether this is actually relevant for the case in point, I'm just saying they are in fact distributing those files.

    [1] I assume they do that, though not necessarily to that folder.
  • by His name cannot be s (16831) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:49PM (#6491995) Journal
    I've been putting off posting a message like this, but it appears that SCO is intending on profiting off the hard labors of others, and denying them their rights to their own fruits of labor.

    SCO MUST BE STOPPED. NOW.

    My proposal to stop SCO is a simple, easy to implement little plan.

    The Goal : Make SCO's stock drop like a rock.

    The Method: If as many people as possible go onto stock boards, and post their negative feelings about SCO, and their own speculations as to what the outcome of the battle with IBM will be, Buyers will begin to flee from the stock.

    It is important, that if you use this technique, that you label your comments as an OPINION, and that they are simply your own feelings as to what the outcome will be.

    It would be also well to do if you indicate that your company will NEVER purchase, license, or other wise enter into a business agreement with SCO, as you feel that their products (specifically name them) are of low quality and should not be used in production environments.

    If this is to work, as many people who care about the freedom of Open Source and Free Software should find a stock board, and start posting.

    SCO is getting away with many lies, spreading FUD, and generally making everyone's life a little hellish. These acts are a direct threat to our way of life, and must be dealt with in a most severe fashion.

    In order to ensure SCO does not have the tools to fight such a fight, we must eliminate the largest source of income from them at this point: STOCK.

  • No RICO here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by siskbc (598067) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:50PM (#6491999) Homepage
    I call RICO.

    For RICO to apply,the "protection" racket would have to involve some illegal act that they're going to do if you don't give them money. Like, if I'm the mob, you might take out "fire insurance" on your business so I don't burn it down. That's a protection racket.

    However, if you do something illegal, it's not racketeering for me to grant you license to continue doing that (now formerly) illegal thing in exchange for money. The difference is that you put yourself in the squeeze by doing said illegal thing in the first place.

    Obviously, the viability of that racket is contingent upon SCO being right, but they're effectively offering the "licenses" at dramatically reduced prices compared to any penalties - in other words, take your chances if you want, or act now and get a discount. So, assuming their IP claim has any merit at all (or if they genuinely think it does), what they're doing is *not* racketeering.

    Of course, since they almost certainly have no case, this stinks like crap, but it's certainly not racketeering regardless. Now, if they've intentionally fabricated evidence of SysV being in linux, now *that* would be a protection racket. Or at least fraud.

  • by jdhutchins (559010) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:57PM (#6492062)
    Their case is a contract dispute with IBM. IBM wrote RCU (among other things) and placed the code (which IBM owned) under the GPL so that it could be a part of Linux.

    They also placed the code in AIX. SCO claims their contract with IBM says that any code that is put into SysV code becomes THEIRS. Based on that claim, SCO says that they own the RCU code, and that they don't want it to be GPL'd.

    I don't know if anyone at SCO really is sure what their case is about. If I'm correct about what their case is about, the FSF has a very good defamation (and probably more severe charges, but IANAL) suit against SCO. The case has nothing to with the valadility of the GPL, or even code being copied into Linux. If I'm right about their case, then everyone knows that that code was put into Linux, and SCO is saying that it shouldn't have been put into Linux.

    Even if they win, I think there's an excellent lawsuit against SCO. They're dragging this on, and spreading a bunch of crap, which is unnecessary. IANAL, but from the eleventy-billion SCO articles that have been run in Slashdot, I think I might be correct.

    The other issue is, can they copyright the SysV code? How much of it is code that was fought over in ATT vs Berkely? I bet that 99.9% of this code is already copyright, and SCO can't go re-copyrighting it. Someone (*coughIBMFSFcough*) has to challenge this, and force them to show their code. We'd have to pick some programmers (not kernel developers, etc, because they would be come "tainted") to look at it and evaluate the claims.

    Just my 2 (or maybe 3) cents, and IANAL.
  • by Bilbo (7015) on Monday July 21, 2003 @01:58PM (#6492076) Homepage
    > In fact, if they actually make anyone pay to run linux, then they can be sued by the contributor of every other piece of code for copyright violation. After all, they distributed the rest of the code without a valid license to do so.

    Does anyone else get the feeling that this is just the sort of thing people like RMS and the IBM legal department have been quietly waiting for? If SCO is stupid enough to try to enforce this, then they will have the "smoking gun" they need to really slam SCO into the ground, on the basis of clear and continuing violation of a legal contract (the GPL). Basically, they (RMS, etc.) have been patiently waiting for SCO to tie its own noose and stick its head in it, before they trigger the trap door...

  • by TerryAtWork (598364) <research@aceretail.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:03PM (#6492115)
    And the reason they're trying to break GPL is that they have nothing to lose.

    They're betting the company that their damn expensive lawyers can beat the pro deim people they think the gpl community can throw up, and you know what? They may be right.

  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:08PM (#6492163) Homepage
    If Linux is using SysV code (which apparently it is)


    Care to back this claim up? It was my understanding that Linux was coded from scratch, and contains no SysV code.

  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andreMA (643885) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:10PM (#6492183)
    ...the src rpm they have there no longer contains any actual source...
    If true, it would seem then that now is the time for every other contributor to kernel development to send DMCA cease and desist orders to both SCO and their upstream bandwidth provider, since SCO no longer has any right to distribute anything else in the kernel?

    I don't know if they would win, but there's enough of a case that the C/D order could not be considered frivolous or an abuse of process...?

  • SCO-Borg (Score:2, Interesting)

    by squashed (664265) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:11PM (#6492192)
    Time to Borg-i-fy the SCO icon
  • Actually, it depends on the extent of the (highly unlikely) victory. If they only win on the specific "lines of code" that IBM took, then IBM pays a negligable amount (by IBM standards) and IBM rewrites the code (or has someone else do it). If IBM settles out of court, nothing changes, so a new court case would have to come up to prove McBride's idiocy.

    If they win the big one, the "linux is a derivative" claim (unlikely given the precedent set in the BSD case), then they would be within their rights to overrule Linus and change the license to the 2.4 kernel. The GPL would be irrelevant because any distribution of 2.4 under the GPL was already established as an illegal distribution. Copyright holders can (and do; look at XP vs the old win98 system) change the licenses for products.

    But IBM's not going to lose this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:21PM (#6492297)
    Perhaps rather than just opining, it's time for civil disobedience. Copyright and patent law (in the U.S. at least) is completely out balance.

    Perhaps the only way to truly register one's utter disgust (and fear) at the direction things are heading is to completely ignore, en masse, any legal ruling affirming SCO's sickening claims. It maybe time to take back some of our freedoms from a government and judicial system disproportionately swayed by corporate interests. Spit in their face. Dare them to sue the whole damn world. At this moment, someone, somewhere maybe working up a plan to patent "thinking". Enough is enough!

    Brent Farwick
  • by Windcatcher (566458) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:21PM (#6492301)
    My father asked me about SCO and it's stock, since he saw it rising. I explained the problem and told him to avoid it like the plague. While I find what they're doing abhorrent, he is my father, and my reasoning was based solely on the *investor risk*. Simply put, I told him, we don't know how it will all turn out. Three, five, seven years from now, whatever, there will come a *judgment*. Linux will either contain SCO code or it won't. If it does, that's great for any shareholders, but if it *doesn't*, the drop in SCO's stock will make Qwest's fall look like a gentle slide. Until SCO actually releases any hard evidence (and the nature of the problem assures us that such evidence should exist), the investor risk is simply too enormous. If anything, the fact that they've been reluctant to release any evidence tells me that there likely isn't any, since there is absolutely no reason not to release it. Investors might noe understand any of the technical discussions on this board, but they can and will understand this.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:33PM (#6492469) Homepage
    They only have 2 options:

    a) They are violating the license of some code that is not registered at the US Copyright Office. Their legal liability is minimal in a civil court of law.

    b) They are violating criminal provisions in the US Copyright Statute. Their legal liability is severe and outweighs anything they might gain from selling Linux licenses.

    This isn't like Monsanto dumping toxic waste. SCO is far too small and the profit they stand to make on their venture is miniscuele.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbrutus (71639) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:35PM (#6492495) Homepage
    They only have 13.1M shares outstanding and they're only selling at $11 a share. So you need 6.6M shares to stop the insanity by shareholder vote. If they win in court, they get bought out, it's that simple.
  • Of course they'd prefer licensing. They were NOT granted a copyright on SysV Unix, but on a 20-page printout of some modifications to Sys5 verseion 4.1.

    Now, since it's a copyrighted work on deposit w. the Library of Congress, maybe someone can mosey on down there and get that 20-page printout (TX-5-705-356), and show the world the "millions of lines of source code" that were supposedly copied into Linux (must have been using really fine print to cram it all on 20 pages).

  • Re:very telling... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pacman on prozac (448607) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:50PM (#6492689)
    from that url:

    Q: Earlier you said you were still a products company and not a strictly IP company. This appears to have changed and you are now an IP company. Would you agree with that assessment? Linux has succceeded while your product failed in the marketplace.

    A: Our Unixware product was damaged by Linux and that is why it isn't successful. That is why we are doing this. We didn't fail, it is Linux' fault we failed.


    ratings: 15 troll, 4 informative, 18million overrated.
  • How to hurt SCO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wintermute740 (450084) <wintermute@niERD ... m minus math_god> on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:56PM (#6492742) Homepage
    For anyone interested, the easy way to hurt SCO is to dial their sales rep at 800-726-8649 (number taken directly from article) and making BS inquiries. Bogus inquiries = wasted resources = lost revenue.
  • by Panoramix (31263) on Monday July 21, 2003 @02:58PM (#6492768) Homepage
    No, if they encumber the linux codebase with their own license, then the GPL becomes void and no longer can be used to distribute Linux [...] In fact, if they actually make anyone pay to run linux, then they can be sued by the contributor of every other piece of code for copyright violation. After all, they distributed the rest of the code without a valid license to do so.

    Quite insightful. I have a question now. Couldn't the kernel developers use this to force SCO to reveal once and for all exactly what code is in Linux that infringes on their "intellectual property"? (whatever that means)

    What I mean is, what if some fifty, or say a hundred kernel developers individually sue SCO for copyright infringement? The argument is that, since SCO claims to have the rights to impose a license on Linux, then the GPL becomes void, and they cannot distribute Linux at all. But they are doing it, distributing Linux, even as I write! Thus, by their own claims, they are infringing on the copyrights of quite a lot of coders.

    Just think of the DoS to SCO's legal team! And the headlines: SCO bitchslapped by dozens of lawsuits by Linux developers! And of asshole McBride being called as a witness for the prosecution to show how the GPL is void and they are infringing copyright!

    But the important part is, it seems to me that then SCO would have to either (a) claim themselves guilty of copyright infringement, be fined and forced to compensate the copyright holders (paying through the nose, I only hope), making themselves the laughingstock of the whole industry; or (b) admit they did not have any rights over Linux to begin with, ending this madness once and for all.

    Of course, I'm no lawyer, not even a citizen of the U.S. of A., so I may be just wanking here. Also, if things were to go through my (otherwise happy) option (b), that could be not too good for the kernel developers (I'm thinking about they losing their suits and having to pay attorney fees and so). But maybe the EFF could give some support here. At least I would gladly donate for this cause.

    Anyway. What do you think, sirs?

  • by adrenaline_junky (243428) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:00PM (#6492786)
    To whom it may concern,

    I am a commercial user of the Linux kernel. As the president of my company I hereby declare that I am willfully using Linux without any additional licensing from SCO beyond acceptance of the terms of the standard GPL. Go ahead and try to sue me you sick pathetic morons. I'd love to see it.

    There, you have been notified. Maybe I'll send some certified mail as well, just for good measure. Any lack of action on your part constitutes acceptance that SCO owns no rights to Linux kernel source code outside of those provided by the GPL.

    [Name and address]
  • by XO (250276) <blade@eric.gmail@com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:06PM (#6492840) Homepage Journal
    At home, I have the "Source Code CD" for "Open Linux 2.2" ... from Caldera... :-)

    hmm.

  • Tell me this: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:06PM (#6492845) Journal

    Is it legal for SCO to even take these actions before anything is proven in court? It seems as though they're saying "OK! We filed a lawsuit! That proves it, pay up!"

    I would think they couldn't (by law) collect on such claims until after the suit, and even then, only with a ruling in their favor? Or can they say what they want, and the suckers shall fall?
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara DOT huds ... a-hudson DOT com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:07PM (#6492850) Journal
    Novell did not say that they had asigned the copyright to SCO. Quite the contrary, nobody has seen the letter that SCO claims to have, that supposedly did this transfer. It's kind of strange that, if SCO actually were the copyright holder, they would have continued begging Novell to sell these rights, right up until the lawsuit started.

    The original agreement only transferred such rights as was required to allow SCO to sell copies of Unix as a licensee of Novell. In other words, that SCO could make changes, and those changes would belong to SCO, not Novell. As a licensee, SCO did not have to own the copyright to Unix, and this is why it was never transferred to SCO.

    It's the same as if I wrote a book, and I assign to you the rights to distribute the first edition of it. I've assigned to you a limited right to make copies, but this does NOT make you the copyright owner.

    I've got a feeling Novell knows this, and is biding it's time before giving SCO another nuking, or holding off so they can leverage something from someone (IBM?)

  • Minor nit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilroy (155262) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:07PM (#6492851) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:

    If I give you the binary and source code to a program I wrote, and it contains a copryright notice, you have NO RIGHT to distribute or disclose that source NOR it's binary to third parties.

    Actually, there's no need for a "copyright notice". Under the Berne Convention everything is automatically copyrighted at creation. If you want to collect maximum damages, you'll need a copyright notice (and a filing with the Registrar of Copyright), but its absence doesn't negate your copyright. It sounds like SCO might be shooting themselves in the foot on this...
  • by expro (597113) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:13PM (#6492926)

    Who needs to sue? Instead use SCO's tactics against them.

    Dear Linux users:

    SCO has claimed that the source code which they distributed for years, and even for months after publicly claiming copyright to unspecified portions of it, is not covered by GPL.

    If their claims are true, then the code cannot be distributed under GPL, in which case you have no right to use the code which I have personally contributed to GPL. I am happy to license these lines of code to you for 50 billion dollars. Be sure to ask each other contributor how much he requires to run the code not under GPL.

    So, the choice is either believe that the code is GPLed or pay for a SCO license plus $50 billion to me, plus the proper compensation to each other contributor.

  • by YoJ (20860) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:19PM (#6493006) Journal
    The stock jump is not so unreasonable. Think of what happens when a company announces a new corporate philosophy (i.e. downsizing or something). All it takes is five minutes of a secretary's time to write the note, a stamp, etc., but these announcements can drastically affect stock prices.

    In this case, I think the market is reacting to the fact that the copyright registration provides more evidence that SCO is acting in good faith. If SCO were not convinced that it was right, it would be more hesitant to register the copyright since that would open them up to claims of acting in bad faith, i.e. registering something they knew wasn't theirs, which would hurt their legal chances for everything (even things not directly related to copyright, like patent and trademark claims).

  • by m11533 (263900) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:24PM (#6493059)
    I have been following all of the discussions regarding SCO and their claims to Unix/Linux. One issue that I have not seen mentioned is that there were concerns in the second half of the 1980's that something like this was going to happen.

    Back then, the focal point for everything was AT&T and their licensing of System V Release 4 (I believe that's the right release). All of the commercial Unix vendors were licensing rights to Unix from AT&T. Prior to System V Release 4 AT&T was charging a very minor fee and licensing under a minimally restrictive set of terms and conditions. With the release of System V Release 4, AT&T tightened up the terms and conditions. My memory is that they did not significantly increase pricing. But, the industry reacted with a great deal of concern that AT&T was laying the foundation for significant increases in licensing pricing. These companies viewed this as a major threat to their existance. If they signed on for the System V Release 4 license, went their line of reasoning, they were giving up control of their Unix OS product pricing, and at any point, AT&T could jack up prices and put them out of business.

    Thus motivated, Apollo Computer (remember them?) put together a consortium that included HP, IBM, Digital, and forgive me for forgetting the other players. Their initial charter was to produce a Unix OS reference code base that was licensed under terms and conditions that ensured all parties had control of their own destinies. To the best of my knowledge, the only vendor to ever actually ship that OS was Digital, initially shipping it under the OSF name of OSF1, and then renaming it Tru64.

    One company visibly went a different path. Sun very early in the process partnered with AT&T. They, in fact, had a lot of involvement in the development of System V Release 4.

    So, why is this history important?

    First, Sun and their Solaris product line is exempt from the SCO excitment because of their special licensing terms and conditions that originated in their partnering with AT&T in their work on System V Release 4.

    Second, as I see it, the actions being taken by SCO are precisely those that motivated the formation of the OSF.

    Does anyone know if Digital and Tru64 are also exempt from SCO's actions? If so, then it would give HP an unexpected (they couldn't be THAT visionary, could they?) benefit from their purchase of Digital.
  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:28PM (#6493103) Homepage
    I have to ask, and it's too bad that I'm too late to be modded up, but at what point is Linus Torvalds going to pull his head out of his ass and sue SCO for violating HIS copyrights? They are still distributing his copyrighted material, and they have decided to not abide by the terms of the GPL. $150K/incident (download) in statutory damages are waiting for him. He can own their company (literally, they can't begin to pay what they owe) and make their "IP" freely available.

    Please, Linus, take care of this festering wound. It's not going away.

    Michael
  • Best Comment Ever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mansing (42708) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:48PM (#6493311)
    "I don't see it as something that should incite an enterprise Linux customer to do any more than they did last week," he said. "The threat level increases a bit, but mainly because the perception that SCO is a psycho killer, not that the case has changed."

    Jonathan Eunice, Illuminata Inc., Nashua, N.H. in ComputerWorld [computerworld.com]
    (Emphasis mine)
  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris...travers@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:57PM (#6493399) Homepage Journal
    A binary only Linux license is SOFTWARE PIRACY.

    Exactly. You beat me to it. Now how to appeal to investors:

    1: File a class action lawsuit on the behalf of all kernel developers against SCO accusing them of software piracy, breach of contract, et. al.

    2: Publicize the GPL and that SCO distributed Linux under the GPL for some time *after* they filed the complaint with IBM.

    I have sympathized with Linus for staying out, but now, I think it is time for he and every other kernel developer to stop software piracy.
  • Re:Tell me this: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jasonsfa98 (648370) on Monday July 21, 2003 @03:57PM (#6493401)
    I agree. It's like telling someone that you invented the light bulb, and if they believe you, charge them for it.

    I think FRAUD is the word we are looking for.
  • by Retired Replicant (668463) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:06PM (#6493523)
    Isn't this the same thing as if you bought a bunch of building materials from a supplier at price X to build your house with, and then the supplier returns after the house is built to say that they goofed and some of the materials they sent you were more expensive extra-super-duper materials and you need to pay them X+$1500 to make amends (for their own mistake) or else stop living in your house?

    Now, I think any court in the land would say that the supplier's claim is at best a laughable bunch of hooey if the supplier actually made an honest goof (it was their own fault for being careless). However if it could be shown that the supplier knew ahead of time that the extra-super-duper materials were being sent but said nothing to the customer about it until after the house was built, a court would call that fraud and possibly extortion on the part of the supplier.

    Also, imagine that you make the generous offer to the supplier to return the extra-super-duper materials and replace them with other materials of your own choosing. However, the supplier refuses to identify which materials are the extra-super-duper ones so their is no way for you to return them and replace them with other materials. In this case any court would order the supplier to identify the extra-super-duper materials and give you the chance to replace them with other materials. If the supplier refused to identify the materials, the court would throw it's case out in about 2 seconds (and maybe fine them for wasting the court's time).

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:18PM (#6493646) Homepage Journal

    Ummm.... I don't like being the rain, but you won't even make a dent. The people who trade stock professionally in these quantities don't hang out in chat rooms.

    When I got to college in 1986, the big political issue of conversation on campus was Apartheid. Well, not Apartheid, actually, but rather the divestment of university funds from companies maintained a business relationship with the country of South Africa, where Apartheid was the status quo. It seems that a bunch of empty-headed group-thinking pseudo-intellectual protestor types woke up halfway through macro-economics 101 classes and concluded that the best way to deal with the humanitarian atrocities committed by the South African government was to protest so convincingly that it compelled the university trustees to sell off all ownership in friendly corporations, thereby putting pressure on the South African government to abolish Apartheid. and restore political freedom to the black majority of the population.

    In other words, they wanted to coerce the S.A. goverment by artificially manipulating the stock prices of friendly corporations in such a way that would result in additional control of the corporations being handed over AT A DISCOUNT to people who didn't give a rats ass how many black people were murdered to maintain the white minority control.

    Brilliant, simply brilliant.

    I would suggest that if you really want to fight SCO with their own stock, that you would be better off advising groups friendly to Linux to BUY as much SCO stock as possible. Stock is ownership ('0wn3X0r5h1p'?). Literally.

    Take a look: SCOX [yahoo.com]

    With 13 million shares outstanding, at worst, we need 51%, or around 7 million voting shares (almost all of the publicly available outstanding shares) to make it work. If I'm reading this right, this is less than the number of shares they are floating publicly (7.1 million) so technically it should be *possible* (however unlikely) to get 7 million friends to pony up $20 or so each to fire McBride and his dork friends with a big fat bonus at next years shareholder meeting.

    Realisticaly, my plan probably won't work either without a sugar daddy, but at least it takes the market seriously.

    (BTW, that Yahoo! The numbers on that finance page make for a fun read. Their EBITDA was $168K for all last year? On sales of 65+ million? That's close enough to zero to arouse my suspicions about their accounting. Microsoft's had almost 15 billion, NVidia was around 10+ million, IBM: 8+ billion, Red Hat's was -10 million (a loss), Wal-Mart reported 18+ billion. FYI.)

    (BTWA, Investor Words [investorwords.com] will help you decipher the data.)
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:28PM (#6493741)

    This is just something to milk for a press opportunity. As has already been pointed out, all registering a copyright does for you is attach a date to a submission, and nothing else-- it does not prove that you own the rights to the submission, merely that you claimed to have at a given time. It's up to the courts to sort out what that means. Anyone can register anything.

    The fact that SCO has turned it into an important event shows that their strategy is based on continued FUD in the marketplace. What better way to bully some Linux users into paying license fees? If the FUD subsides, they lose their leverage in that regard. So expect an announcement of some kind by them periodically, when interest and concern about the issue wanes, just to keep their name in the news in an attempt to fan the FUD flames. Pathetic, really.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@noSPam.ajs.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:29PM (#6493754) Homepage Journal
    For those who are interested, and for posterity:
    Summary : Linux kernel sources and compiled kernel image.

    Copyright : GPL
    #Packager : Bishop Clark (LC957) <bishop@caldera.com>
    Packager : Ashish Kalra <ashishk@sco.com>
    URL : http://www.kernel.org/
    That was in the file linux.spec, in the distributed linux-2.4.13-21S.src.rpm [sco.com] , which was dated May 3 08:46. That was on their public FTP server, which I downloaded at Jul 21 16:05.

    On thier site, the timestamp on the SRPM file was 5/9/03 17:51:00

    Ammusingly enough, the first entry in the changelog is:
    * Wed May 02 2003 Varun Sethi <varuns@sco.com> 2.4.13-21
    - updated IBM ServeRAID 6.x drivers
    - erg712269
    - erg712288
    Also from the spec file. Heh, fixing an IBM RAID driver... oh, their prophetic souls.

    Inside the SRPM, I do not see anything that could indicate that SCO does not wish to distribute this code under the terms of the GPL. As such, I believe that I am now the owner of a SCO-issued license to use, distribute and modify Linux source code as of version 2.4.13 (the entire tar-file for that version is contained in SRPM as a discrete and separarable file which also contains a copy of the GPL).

    If you area a lawyer, and you read this, please speak up. I would like to know what my rights are here and to what extent I can re-distribute and modify this work in accordance with its stated license.

    SCO is speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They continue to support thier Linux customers with distributions of source code licensed under the GPL while saying that no one but they have the right to do so (staunchly ignoring the terms of their own licensing of the Linux soruce code). My head is spinning. Clearly there is a deck involved here, and it's not quite full. Is it mine?
  • by kroyd (29866) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#6493777)
    Apparently it is possible to install ext2 support on SCO Unixware 7 and newer. (See http://www.sco.com/skunkware/COMPONENTS.html [sco.com] for version 7 information)

    According to someone who used to work for SCO (or Caldera) it is a good possibility that this support is based on code stolen from Linux: linux kernel posting [google.com]. IMHO the Linux community should be allowed to examine this code, and if it is found to disregard the copyright the remaining Unixware code should be examined closely.

    As it apears that US copyright law is based around "give lawers as much income as possible" I imagine that there is plenty of precedence for suing a company over this, but certainly press released should be issued, and all SCO customers should be made aware of their (possible) rights under the GPL to Unixware source.

    Oh, and the Canopy group should be mentioned as well: They owned 68% of SCO before the first press releases in March, but just a few days later stated in a SEC filling that they would start selling off stock. It shouldn't be too hard to show that it is possible that this is simply a ploy by the Canopy group to boost share price while selling out.

    (With the stock at 13$ up from a .60$ low last year they might already have made more from selling at 13$ than they might have made from selling their entire holding at around 1$.)
  • Can we see it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paul Johnson (33553) on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:32PM (#6493779) Homepage
    Does this mean we can go and look at it?

    (Or to be more precise, could someone in Washington DC go and look at it?)

    If so, could someone please take a look and note down some search strings to grep the Linux kernel for? This could be the way around the NDA to figure out what bits of Linux they are going to claim to own.

    Paul.

  • This is ridiculous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @04:35PM (#6493798)
    I am going to use an analogy for this.

    Let say SCO wrote a book called Unixware. They give IBM the right to edit the book and to then publish that book. IBM changes the name of that book to AIX and sells it to the to anyone that wants to buy it. If IBM decides to contribute some of the book that SCO originally wrote as their own work into another book who is going to be sued IBM, the publisher for the new book or the person that bought the book and read it?

    On top of it all SCO is saying that because so many people have read the book that no other books on this topic can be written unless royalties are paid to them because they provided all the inspiration.

    We all know that this wouldn't work. I mean come on they don't want to tell us because then we would comply with the law and remove the offending code then they don't have a business model. How many businesses do you know that make you pay for something that you are using without telling you what it is you are using.
  • Look around.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Genetically Enginerd (444624) <malicious@meddleware.net> on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:11PM (#6494111) Homepage
    Where are the bucks to put up a defense for Linux?

    IBM has no stake, they don't distribute Linux. They contributed; they push Linux compatible hardware; but they don't sell Linux. Same with HP and SUN.

    The FSF could care less. They don't hold the copyright on Linux because Linus didn't sign it over

    Even RedHat bailed out by making 9.0.3 a project instead of a product.

    What will SuSE and Mandrake do? Will they follow in RedHats' footsteps?

    So, SCO says (paraphrased) if we do happen to win this lawsuit, USERS (BIG, commercial USERS with deep pockets) are going to be the target. Pay us now or pay us later and the premium for this ext^H^H^Hinsurance is one UnixWare license for each of your CPUs that is currently running Linux. In return, if we win, we won't sue you; ever. If we lose, you get to keep the UnixWare licenses!

  • by cryptonomiciosis (691228) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:11PM (#6494114)
    I went through the text of the SCO press release and despite all the legal jargon and promises not to hurt any body or entity already using Linux (if you pay) there was a line or two I found kind of interesting.
    "While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way."
    This almost seems like that time not too long ago when Congress tried to give themselves a retroactive raise.

    It's like saying "We know that you started using this product before we got bent about it, but we want the money we're charging now for the product you started using several years ago." Apparently SCO didn't take issue with the use of Linux several years ago, but they see the bank it gets and they want to get their hands on a cut of that check. Frankly I think the copyright, as legally weak as it is, should only be used proactively and not retroactively. It's hard to say that 3 years ago Company X broke the law when the law wasn't codified. Of course I am no legal expert, and I guess somehow that is saying you were ignorant of the law (existant or not) which is inadmissable.

    I have kind of kept an eye on this story, and I know this isn't the most informed reply, but I found that fact interesting.

  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mark-t (151149) <`markt' `at' `lynx.bc.ca'> on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:13PM (#6494125) Journal
    Who is going to take them to court to fight it?
    Anyone who owns copyrights over portions of the Linux kernel.

    But here's the catch...

    They can do to SCO what SCO did to them.

    Scenario: Party A, consisting of some number of copyright holders and SCO. SCO receives a cease and desist letter telling them to stop distributing party A's code in violation of copyright, as SCO does not have permission to distribute party A's code. SCO asks party A where their code is so that it can be removed from their own Linux distro, and party A then refuses to disclose this information to SCO, telling SCO that if they can't figure it out for themselves, the cease and desist order still stands. If they fail to comply, party A can then sue them for copyright infringement.

  • by adiposity (684943) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:24PM (#6494202)
    ...but I'd like to be proven wrong. IANAL.

    So far, I have seen a few arguments as to why SCO could not possible get away with this. For the sake of argument, let's assume SCO is telling the truth about the copyrighted code. Their claim, while dubious, is probably not entirely without merit.

    1. SCO released a GPL distro of Linux which necessarily GPLs any source code of their own which was included.

    Why it doesn't matter:

    SCO themselves did not insert the code. They simply redistributed a source package which already contained their code before it came into their possession. A judge is probably going to look at this claim and dismiss it outright. Let me illustrate with an example

    If I work for Microsoft, steal some code, create a free Unix driver for WinFS, and distribute it, this creates a copyright violation for the users. If MS provided this to Solaris users (even with mods) on their website afterwards, it is very doubtful that a judge would suddenly declare the stolen code in the public domain. The fact that MS participated in the public code license doesn't suddenly indemnify all the users of the proprietary code of a copyright violation.

    At this point, MS would almost certainly be able to sue users of the code, as well as me for releasing the code. I can hear some of you crying out, "But SCO went one further! They kept distributing the code even after they 'discovered' the violation." This is true; in fact they are still distributing the code, although this may be accidental. I'm sure you can find the SRPM link somewhere around here. Let me explain why this doesn't matter:

    SCO is going to claim that they were not the ones to insert their proprietary code into Linux, IBM was. Therefore, it isn't their responsibility to take it out. In fact, they allege that they still are not aware of the extent of the violation. It's not as if SCO received a clean GPLed version of Linux, added their proprietary code, rereleased it under the GPL, and now expect payment for their code. What they have done is participate in a "good faith" way in the GPL license, adding code and releasing it under the GPL. If the code they received wasn't GPL, however, it isn't legally their fault, but the fault of the individuals who added it originally. SCO doesn't immediately give up their rights to their code just because they added GPLed code to a non-GPL product.

    SCO doesn't bear responsibility for the code getting into Linux. Therefore, releasing Linux under the GPL doesn't GPL any unauthorized code simply because SCO is the owner. I would say a judge would probably consider the GPL violation to have occurred when IBM inserted the code, not at SCO. SCO can probably keep releasing Linux under the GPL without giving up the rights to their code, because the violation occurs before them in the distribution stream.

    If it is a GPL violation for SCO to release their distro (which is doubtful), then they will have to deal with that. But, if it is, it is also a violation for every single other Linux distro. Therefore, even if this particular claim is correct, it damns all distros along with SCO's. It would mean ANY distributer such as RH, Suse, etc., could be sued at any time by any of the copyright holders of the Linux source code. Surely, this isn't the victory the Linux community is seeking. It makes more sense to leave the violation where it allegedly occured: namely, at IBM. Everyone else (including SCO) can then begin releasing a legal version of Linux as soon as possible.

    In essence, SCO is not GPLing their code by rereleasing it under the GPL. They are only GPLing it when they primarily release it under the GPL. I sincerely doubt a judge would set the precedent of allowing unauthorized code to be GPLed by the owner simply for redistributing it.

    SCO may be found in GPL violation for knowingly redistributing GPL code which shouldn't have been. Most likely,
  • by Heggsy (55536) on Monday July 21, 2003 @05:58PM (#6494493)
    Ah, thanks for the clarification, I've been wondering about it all evening (details like that niggle me).

    I can't help feeling that it's a rather odd system... I mean, what's to stop XYZ Corp. from inserting a function into the code that has not been deposited, and then claiming breach of copyright? In the case of a printed book, there's a fairly good chance that there will at least be a copy in the Library of Congress which would be fairly decisive in determining when a copyrighted work was created, but it seems to me that it would be hard to get independent verification of the veracity of the copyright claim if it was something like 'Umm, well you know those 20 pages of source code we deposited, well this function just happens to be on pages 48-53. Look, here are the relevant pages!'

    I'm sure there's a completely obvious answer to this which I have overlooked entirely, but in my defence, it's late, and I'm hungry.
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ces (119879) <christopher DOT stefan#gmail DOT com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:28PM (#6494670) Homepage Journal
    there will be plenty of IBM lawyers to contradict anything that a SCO lawyer might say.

    I understand IBM buys lawyers in bulk.

    Should be *VERY* interesting once they unleash the horde on SCO.
  • by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Monday July 21, 2003 @06:50PM (#6494800) Journal
    Question #10 Laura Didio, Yankee Group

    Question: How can you be so sure that this code did not come from BSD Unix or from Linux versions?

    Question: Have you had talks with Linux gurus such as Linus Torvalds?


    This Laura Didio [smh.com.au]?

    I wonder why she would lob a question like this in McBride's direction.

    Her interview is worth reading again--if the infringing code is in both 2.4 and 2.2, as Didio claims she saw, and the UnixWare licence is only being applied to 2.4 distributions, then does that mean the infringing code in 2.2 is worth nothing?
  • Re:The scary thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekee (591277) on Monday July 21, 2003 @07:53PM (#6495182)
    "No, if they encumber the linux codebase with their own license, then the GPL becomes void and no longer can be used to distribute Linux. At that point, the distribution of every piece of linux that they don't explicitly own becomes prohibited, completely, because Linux falls back to copyright law which indicates that the contributors of the other pieces still own them and have not licensed them to any distribution but GPL. Therefore, if they tell people they need to pay to run linux, linux becomes un-runnable."

    Actually, the GPL is probably no longer strictly valid for the Linux Kernal if it contains copyrighted work from SCO. In the end, it's up to the courts to decide what the proper remedy is for the situation. SCO can't really decide, as you have pointed out, but neither can Linus, et. al., because they have harmed SCO, if SCO's claims are true. Therefore, the court system will eventually determine a remedy and award damages, if any are necessary, and both SCO and Linux must abide by the court's decision. MS went through this same thing, except with antitrust laws. In the end, judges decided the remedy, not the DOJ or MS. Same thing here.
  • Re:In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MuParadigm (687680) <jgabriel66@yahoo.com> on Monday July 21, 2003 @08:58PM (#6495585) Homepage Journal
    Introduction:

    This is a bit long.

    Most of the arguments here against SCO have been about how it violates the GPL, or otherwise come from an Open Source point of view. I thought it might be a good idea to look at the contracts and court filings themselves, ignoring the other issues, just to see if SCO has *any* contractual claims that can be held.

    My conclusion is that the only claims they have any right to make are in regard to copyright, and that given Unix's tangled development history as well as its historical and continuing use in educational settings, they would have a very difficult time proving that as well.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Everything that follow is my own opinion. And it is my biased opinion that SCO is full of shit. However, when this first started, I was willing to give SCO the benefit of the doubt, and my opinion has been mosttly influenced by my reading of the complaints and contracts SCO itself has posted on its web site at http://www.sco.com/ibmlawsuit.

    Argument:

    A) I've assumed ever since Novell backed down from its copyright claims that SCO does own the copyrights. However, it's kind of immaterial, unless (and until, I'm guessing) SCO amends its complaint to include copyright infringement. SCO's other claims regarding trade secrets and "Unix methods and concepts" don't seem to have any contractual basis.

    B) Novell claims to own the SYS V patents and SCO has not disputed that claim. Therefore, I assume Novell owns the patents.

    C) The trademarks for Unix, and its specification, are owned by The Open Group. (I wonder if there is any legal way The Open Group could terminate SCO's rights to the trademarks for Unix and Unixware? Now *that* would really kill SCO's stock price.)

    D) ATT sold IBM a license for a "SOFTWARE PRODUCT" consisting entirely of source code and Sys V documentation. There are no clauses in any of the contracts cited in SCO's complaint regarding "UNIX methods and concepts". SCO's claim to own the rights to "Unix methods and concepts" therefore doesn't hold water contractually, at least as applied to IBM.

    E) ATT had very unusual contracts for SYS V, in that it required the licensee to grant ATT ownership of all derived work. However, and this is extremely important, IBM's side agreement with ATT, XFER-00015B, explicitly states that IBM owns all derivative work produced "by or for it" from the "SOFTWARE PRODUCTS", except for the portions of SOFTWARE PRODUCTS included in the derivative works. I. E., you can modify the work and own it, but don't claim to own anything we copyrighted.

    ATT also specifically references section 2.01 of the license SOFT-00015, the clause that grants it right to derivative work, therby stating that section 2 of XFER-00015B overrides it.

    F) SCO's assertion (in paragraph 105 of the amended complaint) that it owns the derivative work of IBM is therefore in bad faith. This is, in particular, really egregious, and I expect they will at least get a reprimand from the court for this part of the complaint. The case may even be thrown out on this basis since most of SCO's complaints crumble without this assertion, though maybe I'm just being hopeful.

    I'm not sure why IBM hasn't brought this up in its responses yet. I think they're probably waiting to do so until the case is presented in a "proper venue" rather than in a Utah state or Utah federal court.

    G) SCO's trade secret claims are also pretty bogus since the code is likely on the internet and has been used in educational settings for the past 20-35 years. See the judgement denying ATT's temporary injunction request against BSD for further elucidation (sorry, I don't have the URL handy but I know it's somewhere here on Slashdot).

    H) Okay, here is a little bit of bad news: SCO's claims to own RCU and NUMA *may* have some *contractual* basis. Sequent signed contracts with ATT similiar to IBM's, however, Sequent didn't have any side agreement giving them ownership of their derivative works. As n
  • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@gmail.CHICAGOcom minus city> on Monday July 21, 2003 @09:18PM (#6495677) Homepage
    The "story" on Yahoo is just a reprint of the SCO press release (note the "source" line at the bottom). I think it rather lacks professional ethics to display this as a regular article, but heck, what do I know about buisness.
  • They most certainly are claiming that. It's a wide run around the idea that "all code that's produced for Unix is ours [which is overstating a bit, granted, but the certainly lean in that direction]), but one thing they are unfailingly clear about is that there is code that they consider thiers, and that code is in Linux, and therefore Linux is thiers and people using it are pirates.

    I'm actually not sure that it's ever been put quite so baldly as in this press release (note that this is an SCO press release, not an actual article, which is why it does things like state as fact rather than as allegations that Linux code is pirated). I'd think that someone would have pretty good grounds for a lawsuit now, if they didn't before - this is a flat statement of something that had better be true if they're going to threaten people with it.

    I think Daryl is putting a little too much faith in the respect the market has for ballsiness...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2003 @09:45PM (#6495814)
    The kernel being offered there is based on 2.4.13, and has apparently had 21 vendor-specific patches to it. That's funny. The idea that SCO is modifying the kernel at all surprises me. You would think that they would just compile a stock kernel.

    However, it is worth noting that 2.4.13 is old. Really old. That was before Marcelo started maintaining 2.4 almost two years ago, and before the 2.5 branch started. 2.4 has made tremendous advances since then, and shipping a distro based on 2.4.13 is not a great idea. Goes to show you that SCO is really behind.
  • by Curtman (556920) on Monday July 21, 2003 @10:52PM (#6496196)
    We most certainly do not have to respect licenses that remove our freedom. The GPL gives the copyright holder the right to relicense that code commercially or otherwise at their discretion. Its this very type of licensing that prompted RMS to found the FSF long before Bill was enemy #1. This type of license needs to be fought vigilantly. It IS cancerous, for exactly the same reasons that the GPL is not. We do have to honor those licenses, with the caveat that those licenses do still need to be legally enforceable but they are not deserving of any respect. I could ship some software with a licensing clause that I now own your first born, but that doesn't automatically make it so. The burden of proof should clearly be on SCO to prove that the IBM code was derivitive of their work, not for IBM to show that they still own their own code. Thats rediculous.
  • ...during the interview reported in this BYTE article [byte.com]. You can see here [cyberknights.com.au] that Microsoft have updated the later builds of MS-Windows 2003 to reflect this.
  • by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Monday July 21, 2003 @11:20PM (#6496374) Homepage
    ...that before this the "My" in "My Computer" used to stand for William Henry "Trey" Gates III, so as far as the users are concerned, it's just a flag day. Swap one litigious, greedy control freak for another, big whoop-ti-doo.

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