[TUHS] Microsoft, SCO, and a certain License

Larry J. Blunk ljb at merit.edu
Sat Mar 6 01:40:14 AEST 2004

On Sun, 2004-02-29 at 02:34, Wesley Parish wrote:
> I know the SCO topic's been done to death, and all, but I was thinking about 
> the Microsoft purchase of a Unix license (apparently) for their MS SFU 
> (Windows Services For Unix) which contrary to the plain meaning of the name, 
> is essentially a Unix (apparently OpenBSD, according to rumour) box on top of 
> the Windows kernel and Win32 API.
> The question is, wouldn't that put Microsoft and the SCO Group in breach of 
> the settlement between AT&T and Berkeley?  If Win SFU _is_ OpenBSD, and 
> Microsoft have bought a license to run it from the SCO Group of all people, 
> isn't that in effect picking a fight with Theo de Raadt?
> This isn't definite, of course - some details I'm not sure of.  But I think if 
> this is so, we have some very interesting few years to look forward to.

 Microsoft and SCO have been very coy about what it is that Microsoft
actually licensed.  I believe the closest they have come to explaining
it can be found in a Byte interview by Trevor Marshall --
where Chris Sontag of SCO is quoted as saying that Microsoft merely
licensed an "applications interface layer."

  I take this to mean they are probably talking about header files
like errno.h, signal.h, etc.   I believe that Microsoft development
products have iterations of these and they only have Microsoft copyright
notices in them (no AT&T or BSD notices).   SFU would have them
as well, although I'm not sure what copyright notices are on those.
SCO claims that the lack of a copyright notices violates the USL vs.
BSDi settlement.  Of course, this claim is extremely tenuous (since
Microsoft's headers files origination likely predates the settlement
and were derived independently from public sources).

  In the end, I strongly suspect this was a way for Microsoft to funnel
money to SCO to attack Linux as opposed to Microsoft claims of
"respecting Intellectual Property Rights."

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