Good News re PDP Unix Licensing

Warren Toomey wkt at
Thu Jun 27 12:06:47 AEST 1996

	I just received a very pleasing letter from Dion L. Johnson II, the
Product Manager at SCO, about the legal status of the PDP UNIXs. I've included
his email and my response below. If I can get a legally authorative statement
on paper from SCO, I'll pass it on to you all, especially Steven Schultz.


In atricle by Dion:
> SCO owns the licensing rights all versions of the UNIX system, or
> so our legal folks tell me.  Now, of course there are many
> derivative, licensed versions, and some of the holders of those
> licenses have rights to sublicense.  In the case of BSD
> enhancements, the Berkeley additions are owned by the Regents of
> the University of California, and I believe the UCB license terms
> are well known.
> As for your friends who have rescued ancient PDP machines...  I
> am confident that SCO would cheerfully encourage them to run UNIX
> on these antiques without any payment to us.  I cant quite
> officially give that permission myself, but I can speculate that
> SCO certainly would not mind.
> So go for it.  Does this help?
> -Dion
>Dion L. Johnson II  - The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.              dionj at
>SCO Product Manager - Development Systems and Various Other Stuff
>400 Encinal St.  Santa Cruz, CA 95061    FAX: 408-427-5417  Voice: 408-427-7565

Dion, thanks very much for your email, in fact I'm ecstatic! I know this
could be a tricky legal minefield, so if possible could SCO draft a letter
(and run it past their lawyers) which sets out exactly what you said above.

In particular, you said that ``SCO would cheerfully encourage them to run UNIX
on these antiques without any payment to us''. Does this mean I can legally
distribute the source code to the PDP versions of UNIX, and to anybody? or
just to people who own PDP-11s. There are PDP-11 emulators available, so
it is conceivable that people who don't even have a real PDP-11 might like
to try UNIX out on these emulators. If to anybody, then I assume this means
the source is legally owned by SCO but freely distributable?

I really appreciate your offer of making these old versions of UNIX
available, but given the legal status of the code to this point, I would
like to cover myself with an officially blessed and signed document from SCO.
Let me know what you can do, and many many thanks again for this!


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