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

Wesley Parish wes.parish at paradise.net.nz
Fri May 30 19:01:44 AEST 2003

On Friday 30 May 2003 11:50 am, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
> 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.
> >> But if it turns out the IBM is guilty of lifting SCO code and
> >> putting it into Linux I think SCO does have the right to get a bit
> >> upset about it, after all I wouldn't be to happy if I had to
> >> compete with a product that's just about free and contains code
> >> that I wrote.
> >
> > 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 would say that that is entirely likely.  AIX was developed by IBM for
IBM-specific machines running in IBM-style environments, and I can imagine
that SysVRx just _doesn't_ _cut_ _the_ _mustard_.

So, SCO's latching on the IBM for Monterey - RS-6000 was 64-bit, or am I
getting confused? - probably gave SCO much more than it gave IBM.  So
ironically, if IBM donated stuff to Monterey under the terms of the agreement
and later incorporated the same stuff into Linux, it _could_ look as if they
had taken stuff from SysVRx/Unixware - stuff that SCO had never had the
opportunity to develop if it hadn't been for Monterey and IBM's pre-existing

Just some thoughts - but if that is so, I can see why IBM's not getting too
het up about the whole muck-up.

Wesley Parish

> If you mean "is there IBM copyright code in Linux?", I think the
> answer is again yes, but it's under the GPL or possibly IPL, IBM's
> attempt at a compromise between proprietary licenses and the GPL.  I
> think they've given up on the IPL now.
> For what it's worth, I'd be astounded if SCO's claims were found to be
> true.
> Greg

Mau e ki, "He aha te mea nui?"
You ask, "What is the most important thing?"
Maku e ki, "He tangata, he tangata, he tangata."
I reply, "It is people, it is people, it is people."

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