[TUHS] Lexical comparator, was Re: the battle against SCO

Norman Wilson norman at nose.cs.utoronto.ca
Tue Sep 16 10:02:52 AEST 2003

Warren Toomey:

  For me it's not just a matter of defeating SCO, it's also one of sheer
  indignation in the face of Saganesque FUD ("billions and billions of
  lines of code"). I seriously want to know if there's even the tiniest
  possibility that SCO is right, or if they're are just Smoking Crack Often.

That's fair enough.  Just remember that no matter how much you scan
the code, you can't beat the FUD campaign by doing so.  SCO can just
claim their tools are better than yours, and continue to stonewall
about showing their evidence.  

And as I said last week, both legally and morally the onus is on
SCO to provide proof of their claims: the infringement, that it
was done maliciously, that it has caused them harm.  The `evidence'
they have shown so far makes me doubt very much that they can
prove all three of those things, or possibly any but the least-
significant case of the first.

As I also said last week, I don't mean to discourage anyone from
doing code comparisons.  Intellectually it's an interesting exercise.
Ethically it's the right thing to do if the Linux community thinks it's
possible that licensed code got into the system.  Even legally it
might make some difference to have shown due diligence, though not
in the matter presently before the courts.  If it makes someone feel
less frustrated, that's fine too.

But scanning the Linux code won't provide hard proof of anything,
any more than you can claim to prove there are no leaks in your roof
solely by inspection.  If proof is possible, it will work the other way.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

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