[TUHS] Re: Sad news from IBM...

James Falknor james at peacemax.org
Thu Jun 9 15:07:34 AEST 2005

>I was reading Groklaw yesterday night when I came across this. It is a
>very sad thought to know that possibly tons of old/ancient code is being
>dumped in the trash bin.
>More so now since the advent of software patents: it may become very
>difficult to avoid a patent on a re-invention of the wheel if previous
>knowledge has been dumped.
>OK, the quote. It is from "the Todd Shaughnessy affidavit [PDF] from IBM 
>that Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells requested they file when they turned 
>over all the code and paperwork to SCO":
>	28. As I have noted above, IBM does not maintain revision control 
>	information for AIX source code pre-dating 1991. To the extent that 
>	any code for the AIX operating system (that did not duplicate the 
>	code already being produced in CMVC) was found during the search 
>	described in Paragraph 26-27 above, it was produced. Paragraphs 
>	29-31 below describe additional search efforts IBM undertook to 
>	locate pre-1991 versions of AIX code. No versions of AIX pre-dating 
>	1991 were found.
>	29. In the 1980s and early 1990s, IBM prepared vital records backups 
>	of AIX source code and transferred them to a remote storage location. 
>	At some point in the 1990s, the AIX vital records tapes were transferred 
>	to Austin, Texas. In late 2000, the tapes were determined to be obsolete, 
>	and were not retained.
>	30. The AIX development organization contacted other IBM employees who 
>	were known or believed to have been involved with the development or 
>	product release of AIX versions prior to 1991. In addition, IBM 
>	managers and attorneys asked current members of the AIX development 
>	organization whether they were aware of the location of pre-1991 
>	releases of AIX source code. No one asked was aware of any remaining 
>	copies of pre-1991 AIX source code.
>Perhaps we should do something to raise awareness about the relevance of 
>legacy (not only UNIX) source code. And in any case, it is a pity that all
>that historical information had been lost forever.
>I have always complained about this, and consider it the biggest drawback of
>closed proprietary source code: it is OK that law protects developer interests 
>with the goal of promoting innovation and the public benefit at large. But it
>is a lose for everybody whenever any such "protected" code is dumped into the
>bin banning anyone else from further benefitting from or exploiting it, and 
>opening the road for opportunists to claim they "newly invented" it.
>Sic. Sigh.
>				j

All may not be lost.

As it appears to me, TUHS has connections with Universities / Colleges 
and other types schools, as well as programmers, software engineers and 
the like.

All we need to do is put the word out that TUHS is seeking pre-1991 AIX 
source code and it's bound to surface. If all else fails, I'm sure 
someone has a pre-1991 AIX binary distribution that could be 
disassembled (that is if a binary distribution can be disassembled back 
to a rough source code).

To all TUHS members,
     As a part of the heritage of Unix, please search any and all your 
archives for pre-1991 AIX Source Code. Maybe, just maybe, a pre-1991 AIX 
Binary Distribution will suffice. Help IBM,  TUHS, and in the end, the 
heritage of Unix.

    Thank you,
    James Falknor
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