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How I see the SCO - IBM case and who is really to blame

 
 
The Flash
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      08-26-2003
This is quite a complex issue, it has a significant amount of noise around
it due to the parties involved, so this is my perspective on it.

SCO is tainted because MS has linkage to it - Even if SCO is/were 100% Clean
and wins 100% it will still be considered Dirty.

IBM is a big Corp that plays both sides of the field to get one thing,
profits - If IBM had found its code infringed by SCO what do you think they
would have done?

LINUX is a mixed bag, Unfortunately it has some very outspoken zealots who
cannot and will not see reason - They think that they are helping LINUX but
infact they are a major handicap that forces a large number of companies to
have doubt over LINUX. People who have a pathological hatred of MS do not
make good spokes people for your cause.

SO what do we know?

1) SCO claims IBM infringed its code.
2) SCO claim damages from IBM
3) IBM has conceded that it used SCO code but claims that SCO had released
the code under GPL and thus has nothing to answer for.
4) IBM claims damages due to SCO's lawsuit.


Lets forget all the damages bit and look at (3) now this is the critical
point and this is what SCO (Microsoft) want to test in court. The GPL
license - If the court rules that SCO code is not under GPL then IBM are in
the crap, Worse still is the impact that it allows SCO to go after Redhat
and SUSE etc.

If SCO wins (and it may or may not remember its the law, not who is morally
right or morally wrong but what your high priced lawyers can prove is right)
LINUX, and all the companies that have profited from it will have to pay the
piper.

What this really shows is that a whole lot of linux programmers/developers
have been caught out, for years these guys/gurls have likely been including
code that is owned by their employers or derived from their employers IP and
now some one has pointed the finger. Much Like a child caught with a cookie
that they shouldn't have they are abdicating responsibility and blaming some
one else while demanding indemnity from their actions.

Which person(s) included this code?, it did not get there by magic.


 
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AD.
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      08-26-2003
On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:11:10 +1200, The Flash wrote:

> SO what do we know?
>
> 1) SCO claims IBM infringed its code. 2) SCO claim damages from IBM
> 3) IBM has conceded that it used SCO code but claims that SCO had released
> the code under GPL and thus has nothing to answer for. 4) IBM claims
> damages due to SCO's lawsuit.


Not quite. SCO claims IBM violated a contract. The code in question for
that argument was written by Sequent (now owned by IBM), so IBM owns the
copyrights for that code. SCO is claiming that it owns the code -
apparently the original AT&T UNIX license was more viral than the GPL.

IBM's amendment to it's contract with AT&T lets IBM do that stuff. The
question seems to be whether Sequent's contract with AT&T overrides IBM's
one once Sequent was bought by IBM.

Or at least that's how I understand it.

Cheers
Anton


 
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Howard
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      08-26-2003
The Flash wrote:

> This is quite a complex issue,

No its not. The only question is whether SCO are criminals or just insane.

> it has a significant amount of noise
> around it due to the parties involved, so this is my perspective on
> it.


> SCO is tainted because MS has linkage to it - Even if SCO is/were
> 100% Clean and wins 100% it will still be considered Dirty.


> IBM is a big Corp that plays both sides of the field to get one thing,
> profits - If IBM had found its code infringed by SCO what do you
> think they would have done?


I would expect IBM to prove their case. And to do so early on in the peice,
so as to minimise damages ( as is required of the plaintiffs in any damages
case).

> LINUX is a mixed bag, Unfortunately it has some very outspoken
> zealots who cannot and will not see reason - They think that they are
> helping LINUX but infact they are a major handicap that forces a
> large number of companies to have doubt over LINUX. People who have a
> pathological hatred of MS do not make good spokes people for your
> cause.


Well, may you have a point here. Certainly some linux proponents are OTT,
but there are other people who have a dislike for MS whom I respect very
much.

> SO what do we know?
>
> 1) SCO claims IBM infringed its code.


"Infringed code" you say. How? Sco claims IBM has breech it's contractual
duties relating to keeping SCO trade secrets, not its copyrighted code or
patents.

1.5 Sco claims unspecified causes of action against _all_ Linux 2.4 kernal
users.

> 2) SCO claim damages from IBM


2.5 Sco attempts to extort an "insurance" license fee from all linux users.

> 3) IBM has conceded that it used SCO code but claims that SCO had
> released the code under GPL and thus has nothing to answer for.


I haven't seen any admission from IBM that it has used SCO code
Any unix code prior to System V code is not SCO code.

> 4) IBM claims damages due to SCO's lawsuit.


5) After seeing IBM's statement of defense, Sco get even more desparate and
claim the GPL itself is invalid.

6) Sco sells Linux + other OSS programs, in self-admitted breech of
copyright of the original authors.

7) Plus Redhat claim damages, which are quite real as at least a few
guillable CIO's are putting off further linux installs.

> Lets forget all the damages bit and look at (3) now this is the
> critical point and this is what SCO (Microsoft) want to test in
> court. The GPL license - If the court rules that SCO code is not
> under GPL then IBM are in the crap, Worse still is the impact that it
> allows SCO to go after Redhat and SUSE etc.


I could bring a suit against you, claiming you are responsible for all that
I ever suffered in my life. However I would have to prove that. Sco on the
other hand believes and acts like it doesn't have to prove anything. Its few
attempts to prove itself to its friends have been shown as baseless, and
IMO, plain fraud.

> If SCO wins (and it may or may not remember its the law, not who is
> morally right or morally wrong but what your high priced lawyers can
> prove is right) LINUX, and all the companies that have profited from
> it will have to pay the piper.


Well, its a bit pointless discussing what will happen if SCO wins, but since
you raised the point, only those distributing copyrighted code would have to
pay damages. End users would not, and so not "all the companies who have
profited" from using linux would have to pay.

> What this really shows is that a whole lot of linux
> programmers/developers have been caught out, for years these
> guys/gurls have likely been including code that is owned by their
> employers or derived from their employers IP and now some one has
> pointed the finger. Much Like a child caught with a cookie that they
> shouldn't have they are abdicating responsibility and blaming some
> one else while demanding indemnity from their actions.


This is your most blatantly erroneous point yet. The GNU/Linux contributors
have been most scrupulos at all times, and can prove it.

> Which person(s) included this code?, it did not get there by magic.

If SCO would only idetify the code, this question would be quickly answered.
But SCO can't, because their claim is baseless.

Here are some of my favourite links on this topic:

http://radio.weblogs.com/0120124/

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/8/6/32819/51827

http://www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html

And my alltime favourite (so far):
http://linux.com/article.pl?sid=03/08/22/1746248
" Peel off that dark helmet and deal with us like a reasonable human being,
or continue down a path that could be bad trouble for us but will be utter
ruin - quite possibly including jail time on fraud, intellectual-property
theft, barratry, and stock-manipulation charges - for you and the rest of
SCO's top management. " - ESR


 
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Uncle StoatWarbler
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      08-26-2003
On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:11:10 +1200, The Flash wrote:

> SO what do we know?
>
> 1) SCO claims IBM infringed its code.
> 2) SCO claim damages from IBM
> 3) IBM has conceded that it used SCO code but claims that SCO had released
> the code under GPL and thus has nothing to answer for.
> 4) IBM claims damages due to SCO's lawsuit.



5) SCO refuses to actually divulge what the code in question is.



 
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The Flash
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      08-26-2003

"N Lawton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:11:10 +1200, The Flash wrote:
>
> >
> > What this really shows is that a whole lot of linux

programmers/developers
> > have been caught out, for years these guys/gurls have likely been

including
> > code that is owned by their employers or derived from their employers IP

and
> > now some one has pointed the finger. Much Like a child caught with a

cookie
> > that they shouldn't have they are abdicating responsibility and blaming

some
> > one else while demanding indemnity from their actions.
> >
> > Which person(s) included this code?, it did not get there by magic.

>
> As you point out the issues are not black and white (if I may paraphrase).
> How then can you go on to state as fact "What this really shows..."
> Have you read this?
> http://www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html
> Unless you would claim to be more informed than Eric Raymond, it appears
> that the opposite may well be the case.


Eric has his Open Source bandwagon to push, As you succinctly and most
correctly put it is not Black or White and that's the whole problem.

From what I see the outcome is certainly not guaranteed that IBM will win
nor that SCO will lose.


 
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The Flash
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      08-26-2003

"techie" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:35:15 +1200, "N Lawton" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> >On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 12:11:10 +1200, The Flash wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> What this really shows is that a whole lot of linux

programmers/developers
> >> have been caught out, for years these guys/gurls have likely been

including
> >> code that is owned by their employers or derived from their employers

IP and
> >> now some one has pointed the finger. Much Like a child caught with a

cookie
> >> that they shouldn't have they are abdicating responsibility and blaming

some
> >> one else while demanding indemnity from their actions.
> >>
> >> Which person(s) included this code?, it did not get there by magic.

> >
> >As you point out the issues are not black and white (if I may

paraphrase).
> >How then can you go on to state as fact "What this really shows..."
> >Have you read this?
> >http://www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html
> >Unless you would claim to be more informed than Eric Raymond, it appears
> >that the opposite may well be the case.

>
> Heard the latest? SCO finally revealed some of the supposedly-stolen
> code. They converted the characters to greek to obfuscate it. Someone
> got hold of the info, converted the charactes back to english, and not
> a one of the snippets turns out to be proprietary. In fact Dennis
> Ritchie identified some of the code as his own creation! Other
> snippets were apparently taken from BSD and the copyrights removed.
>
> Then SCO claimed that a group of "MIT mathematicians" had verified
> that Linux code had been stolen from Unix - but it turns out those
> mathematicians no longer work at MIT (and one wonders what
> mathematicians know about source code and Unix history anyway).
>
>
> URL's:
>
> ==============================================
>
> http://perens.com/Articles/SCO/SCOSlideShow.html
>
>
> I will start with SCO's demonstrations regarding "copied" software. It
> is likely that SCO would present the very best
> examples that they have of "copied" code in their slide show. But I
> was easily able to determine that of the two examples,
> one isn't SCO's property at all, and the other is used in Linux under
> a valid license. If this is the best SCO has to offer, they
> will lose.
>
> Slide 15 purports to show "Obfuscated Copying" from Unix System V into
> Linux. SCO further obfuscated the code on this
> slide by switching it to a Greek font, but that was easily undone.
> It's entertaining that the SCO folks had no clue that the
> font-change could be so easily reversed. I'm glad they don't work on
> my computer security
>
> The code shown in this slide implements the Berkeley Packet Filter,
> internet firewall software often abbreviated as "BPF".
> SCO doesn't own BPF. It was created at the Lawrence Berkeley
> Laboratory with funding from the U.S. Government, and is
> itself derived from an older version called "enet", developed by
> Stanford and Carnegie-Mellon Universities. BPF was first
> deployed on the 4.3 BSD system produced by the University of
> California at Berkeley. SCO later copied the software into
> Unix System V.
>
> ==============================================
>
> http://www-tech.mit.edu/V123/N33/33sco.33n.html
>
> The SCO Group of Utah has had to backtrack after saying that MIT
> mathematicians verified its claims that Linux, the center of the
> popular and freely-available GNU/Linux operating system, is an illegal
> knock-off.
>
> ==============================================
>
> http://radio.weblogs.com/0120124/2003/08/23.html
>
> Dennis Ritchie Acknowledges the Code
>
> With all the speculation going on, I thought it made sense to just ask
> Dennis Ritchie himself if he wrote the code, as Bruce Perens
> suggested might be the case. His answer makes clear that this is
> definitely old code from the 70s, and here's what he says about
> authorship:
>
> "So: either Ken or I wrote it originally. I know that the comments
> that first appeared by the 6th edition were definitely written by me,
> since I spent some time annotating the almost comment-free earlier
> editions."
>
> ==============================================


Things that must be considered, who actually wrote the original code is not
important. All independent (biased or unbiased) analysis of the code seem to
be that Unix System 5 code is in some LINUX distributions and variants. Has
IBM distributed this code - Yes. Who claims to own this code - SCO claim
ownership. IBM claim that the code is royalty free as it was released under
GPL.

Lets see what comes out in the wash.
>



 
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The Flash
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      08-26-2003

"Howard Johnson" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
newsVQ2b.14071$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> "Mainlander" <*@*.*> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed). nz...
> > In article <FAx2b.127144$(E-Mail Removed)>, bootboys_88
> > @hotmail.com says...
> > > What this really shows is that a whole lot of linux

> programmers/developers
> > > have been caught out, for years these guys/gurls have likely been

> including
> > > code that is owned by their employers or derived from their employers

IP
> and
> > > now some one has pointed the finger. Much Like a child caught with a

> cookie
> > > that they shouldn't have they are abdicating responsibility and

blaming
> some
> > > one else while demanding indemnity from their actions.

> >
> > That may be so (or not) however SCO's latest tactic is to try and

declare
> > the GPL null and void. If they had a strong case of ownership of their
> > code, this would be totally unnecessary. Instead it seems like they are
> > trying to recall all of the code that has been GPLed that is not their
> > direct IP.
> >
> > Trying to overturn the GPL sounds like a Microsoft tactic, as they have
> > come out very strongly against open source, and the one thing they could
> > do that would just about kill open source dead is to get licensing like
> > GPL declared invalid.

>
> Do you mean the opinion from SCOs council that copyright law does not

allow
> the GPL to permit copying with conditions ?
> If so, how is any EULA for computer software going to be valid.
> Or do you mean the condition of the GPL that means that modified code must
> be distributed with the same license agreement ?
>
> Its another long shot that doesnt stand up to any scrutiny.
>
> Much of the software used in Linux distributions including Xfree86 is
> distributed under the BSD licence just like the code that SCO exhibited in
> the fiasco where it was disguised with a Greek font.
>
> There is no intrinsic reason why eliminating the GPL would cause any
> reduction in free open source software, (If that were possible, what the

SCO
> people are talking about is being free to break the conditions that they
> agreed to by distributing the Linux kernel) And thats what the advantage

of
> the GPL is for Linux, there is only one Linux kernel because of the GPL
> agreement


The problem is the Linux / open source zealots who actually damage the work
done by the large majority in a legal, respectful and business like manner.

For a 2nd time the SCO website has been knocked down due to a DoS attack by
some disgruntled Linux zealot. This is the WORST thing that some one could
do as it brands linux supports as potential vandals that will attack you
company if they don't like what you do. It also makes SCO a victim and thus
gains them sympathy, like it or not the Judge / Judges who here the case
will know about these attacks and it is something as trivial as this that
can swing the balance when the argument is not black and white.

People need to let the legal process take its course and not post such
inflammatory statements either one way or the other.


 
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techie
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      08-26-2003
On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 11:33:12 +1200, "The Flash"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>The problem is the Linux / open source zealots who actually damage the work
>done by the large majority in a legal, respectful and business like manner.


That's only a problem for those who would judge a nation of tens of
millions of people by the actions of a few.

>For a 2nd time the SCO website has been knocked down due to a DoS attack by
>some disgruntled Linux zealot.


How do you know "some disgruntled Linux zealot" did it, and that it
wasn't SCO pulling another of their stunts to discredit Linux users or
maybe the hacker equivalent of a troll?

>like it or not the Judge / Judges who here the case will know about these
>attacks and it is something as trivial as this that can swing the balance
>when the argument is not black and white.


I seriously doubt that a judge will jump to conclusions the way you
do.

>People need to let the legal process take its course and not post such
>inflammatory statements either one way or the other.


Most of the "inflammatory statements" I've seen from the Linux
community have turned out to be accurate. For example, long before SCO
produced any evidence of their claims it was predicted that any code
Linux had in common with SCO could only come from earlier,
non-proprietery code. And that's exactly what we're seeing.

 
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techie
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      08-26-2003
On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 16:32:00 +1200, "The Flash"
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Things that must be considered, who actually wrote the original code is not
>important.


It is if the code they created wasn't proprietary.

>All independent (biased or unbiased) analysis of the code seem to
>be that Unix System 5 code is in some LINUX distributions and variants.


The only "unbiased" analysis I've seen is from people who have no
qualifications for passing such judgements. For example a
non-programmer academic who looked at SCO's "evidence", looked at
GPL'd code, and pronounced the GPL'd code stolen simply because they
were both alike. As we just saw the supposedly stolen code was taken
from BSD by both Linux and SCO.

>Has IBM distributed this code - Yes. Who claims to own this code - SCO
>claim ownership. IBM claim that the code is royalty free as it was released
>under GPL.


I think you're referring here to their contractural dispute. I'll put
my money on IBM here. SCO is a failing company - IBM probably spends
more on paperclips every week than it would cost them to drag this out
in court for the next century.

>Lets see what comes out in the wash.


More laughs?

 
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T.N.O.
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      08-27-2003
"techie" wrote
> >The problem is the Linux / open source zealots who actually damage the

work
> >done by the large majority in a legal, respectful and business like

manner.
>
> That's only a problem for those who would judge a nation of tens of
> millions of people by the actions of a few.


You mean like the war mongering Yanks in regards to Afganistan and Iraq...
This is always the case... The loud minority are heard, the quiet majority,
are not.


 
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