[TUHS] SCO vs. IBM: NOVELL steps up to the plate

Norman Wilson norman at nose.cs.utoronto.ca
Tue Jun 10 00:00:31 AEST 2003

Kenneth Stailey:

  Two words: "version control".

  If the code that SCO purports is copied into Linux is known
  the version control archives will say who inserted it.  It will
  be very easy to prove if Caldera inserted the code

Alas, two more words: "read-write storage."  Version control
info is stored in a file; how do we know (as SCalderaO might
argue) that some hacker hasn't edited it after the fact to
pretend something was put in by Caldera, or that they just
lied about it to begin with?

Version control data might be a useful, but I suspect only as
a trail to specific people whose could then offer personal
testimony about the history of a particular piece of code.
The testimony would be harder to impeach than the code.

Even a read-only copy of the version control info, e.g. a
CD-ROM, isn't a lot more solid; some hard evidence would
be needed of when that CD-ROM was written, beyond the
easily-forged timestamps on the disc itself, and there could
still be a claim that someone just lied when writing it,
especially if there is a claim that malice was involved.  So
it still would probably come down to personal testimony.

The usual disclaimer applies: I'm no lawyer.  I'm just trying
to think of counter-arguments, both those reasonable in
abstract and those that seem to fit within the spirit of the
complaint against IBM.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

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