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

M. Warner Losh imp at harmony.village.org
Fri May 30 09:56:39 AEST 2003

In message: <20030529235027.GE20321 at wantadilla.lemis.com>
            "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> writes:
: On Thursday, 29 May 2003 at  6:33:54 -0600, M. Warner Losh wrote:
: > In message: <BAFBB8B1.118%rob at vetsystems.com>
: >             Robert Tillyard <rob at vetsystems.com> writes:
: >> I believe the legal action is over breach on contract with IBM and
: >> not on copyright issues.
: >
: > All of SCO's statements to the court have been contractual.  Their
: > statements to the press have been inflated to include things that
: > aren't actually alledged in the court filings.
: What's not very clear here is that there seem to be two issues.  The
: IBM issue is, as you say, a contractual one which about which they
: have been remarkably vague.  The suspension of Linux distribution is a
: different matter.  From http://www.lemis.com/grog/sco.html:
:    On Tuesday, 27 May 2003, I spoke to Kieran O'Shaughnessy, managing
:    director of SCO Australia. He told me that SCO had entrusted three
:    independent companies to compare the code of the UnixWare and Linux
:    kernels. All three had come back pointing to significant
:    occurrences of common code ("UnixWare code", as he put it) in both
:    kernels.
:    In view of the long and varied history of UNIX, I wondered whether
:    the code in question might have been legally transferred from an
:    older version of UNIX to Linux, so I asked him if he really meant
:    UnixWare and not System V.4. He stated that it was specifically
:    UnixWare 7.

I base my statements on the legal filings that are available at the
SCO site.  I do not base them on anything that SCO has said to the
press, since those statements are nearly universally overinflated.
Since these are statements to the press, or other public statements, I
trust them as much as I trust public statements by politicians.

: > That's the rub.  Do they, in point of fact, actually have any code
: > they own the Copyright to or the patent rights to?
: Of course they have lots of code with their own copyright.  The
: release of JFS was one example.  Probably the majority of AIX was
: developed by IBM, not by AT&T.  It's rather similar to the issue with
: 4BSD in the early 90s: with a little bit of work you could probably
: replace the entire AT&T code in AIX and have a system which did not
: require an SCO license.

I was speaking of SCO, not IBM.  What code does SCO own the copyright

: For what it's worth, I'd be astounded if SCO's claims were found to be
: true.

Me too.  There's another article that is saying that there are 10-15
line snippets scattered all through the kernel.  Give me a break.
That claim is so absurd as to be not credible on its face.  I can see
one or two files, maybe stretching my disbelief to its limits, but I
can't see anything more pervasive than that.


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