More lawsuit silliness

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ryan Wright, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    For those who haven't been keeping up, SCO, a dying Linux company who can't make any money, has resorted to suing everybody under the sun. They claim ownership of Unix patents on which significant Linux code is supposedly based, thus, they believe everybody that is using Linux is infringing on their patents. They've filed suit against IBM and are currently threatening Novell.

    In one of the latest stories (http://www.computerworld.com/softwar...,81695,00.html), SCO has made offers to begin showing analysts their evidence (code), as long as they sign NDA agreements. Everybody is thus far refusing to do so, and one of the reasons they are doing so really bothers me:

     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    huh, I didn't know SCO was still around. I thought they had been absorbed by someone else.
    A lot systems still on SCO unix though.. like, the computer in every mcdonalds store.
     
  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  5. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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  6. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    My understanding is that SCO claimed that some of their proprietary code (that they developed) has been cut and pasted into Linux. If so, do they not have a right to keep linux from using it (or at lest to keep IBM from profiting from it)?

    This has always seemed like an achilles heel to me. Since Linux can be worked on by anybody, and since many of these people are gainfully employed in the computer community, what is to stop enthusiastic Linux supporters from cutting and pasting propriety code into Linux?
     
  7. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  8. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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  9. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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  10. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Well, if SCO just got into Linux, it doesn't change the fact that they weren't involved (ie. contributing source code) with Linux before then. Your statement implied that SCO was always a Linux company, which of course wasn't the case! Sorry if I misinterpreted your ambiguous sentence ("SCO, a dying Linux company"). [​IMG] I was briefly exposed to SCO many years ago, and it definitely is not Linux.
     
  11. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    If I read the GNU correctly, (IANAL) if someone could prove that GNU licensed code was put into a non-GNU licensed product, either the company would have to remove the code, or open the rest of the product to the GNU license.

    What I would be interested in seeing, is did SCO, either though it's acquisition of Caldera, or as part of the United Linux organization, put any of it's own code into the kernel or applications. If so, that would totally invalidate anything they tried to get from this law suit. Would they be able to prove concusively that the code in question was placed there by someone who had access to their source and cut and pasted the code, or was the coding done by themselves?


     
  12. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Lance, that's a good point. In an apparent oversight, SCO didn't stop selling its Linux product until two weeks after it filed the lawsuit with IBM over UNIX. This means that if SCO''s claims are true, then SCO itself was distributing its purloined UNIX code in its own Linux product under the GPL, even while the lawsuit was pending. It's as if somebody at SCO woke up a little late and said, “Hey, Linux is bad, right? So how come we're still selling it?”

    I wonder if any of the threatening letters SCO sent were to any of its own Linux customers? That would be the ultimate corporate hypocrisy: threatening to sue someone for using a product you sold to them.
     
  13. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    One more thing: SCO doesn't even need to reveal its own proprietary code in order to prove its case. Every line of Linux code can be traced to a developer and the date it was adopted into the Linux kernel. All SCO has to do is identify a single line of Linux code and the kernel version, and that's all an analyst needs to track it down. Once the developer and adoption date have been identified, determining whether that developer had previous access to UNIX proprietary code should be a reasonably simple investigative matter. If that investigation doesn't lead anywhere to SCO's satisfaction, then SCO can identify another line of code, until they get the results they want. (Or, more likely, until a judge gets sick of the whole mess and throws it out of court.)
     
  14. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    Ah, thanks Brian. I was wondering how granular the version control on Linux was. Still, they just have to ask for any offending code to be removed, and with the amount of man hours devoted to Linux as a whole, I am certain offending code could be replaced with "clean room" code pretty quickly.

    Now, is it the kernel itself SCO has beefs with, or is it with secondary applications? If ti is a kernel level code,that might be a problem. If it is an application, that should be a bit easier to deal with. Remove the offending application from disties until it can be re-worked.

    Personally, the entire thing smells rotten to me. Even if they won, and forced Linux off the market, what would they gain? The value of open source has been learned, and I would imagine most linux coders would switch to the other open source *nix OSes. I imagine the BSDs would profit, and not SCO's stunted System V derivatives.

    I for one would love to see OpenBSD get the development time that Linux has.
     
  15. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Lance, my understanding is that, in general, SCO is concerned with the Linux kernel, which is a major pain, especially since SCO wants to play "captain of the industry" by keeping its evidence private, and I can't think of a way to work the word “lieutenant” into this sentence.

    Furthermore, SCO is not willing to identify the offending code publicly because then, as you say, the Linux kernel would be quickly and dutifully fixed, and no money could then be extorted by way of a lawsuit. Darl McBride has even said as much, saying that there's no money in it for SCO if the Linux kernel is purged of all proprietary UNIX code before they're ready to present their evidence in court.

    How admiral. No, wait – I mean admirable. How admirable.
     

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