Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Fri 18th Jul 2008 23:29 UTC, submitted by Dale Smoker
Legal The convoluted case of SCO v. Novell dealt a heady blow to the SCO Group Wednesday, with United States District Judge Dale Kimball ordering the company to pay $2.5 million to Novell for improperly claiming, and collecting royalties for, the Unix operating system.
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It'll make no difference to SCO
by obsidian on Fri 18th Jul 2008 23:47 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

Nothing has changed - I don't think it'll make any difference whatsoever to SCO.

SCO will keep staggering on and on, like something out of "Night of the Living Dead".

Reply Score: 6

What about 32v?!
by neozeed on Sat 19th Jul 2008 00:29 UTC
neozeed
Member since:
2006-03-03

I know this is a weird question, but does anyone know how this handles when Caldera "released" the source to Unix 32v?

It's kind of important in the BSD world.... Not that anyone really runs 32v (well you can, thanks to simh & it's 11/780 emulator) but more so with 4BSD......

When they gave 32v away, it basically ended the old AT&T vs BSDi/BSD legal wars.....

Now I wonder if all that old code is now questionable? And if they can finally open AT&T SYSVr4, or is Solaris 10 as close as you are going to get to that...

Reply Score: 1

RE: What about 32v?!
by dlundh on Sat 19th Jul 2008 07:16 UTC in reply to "What about 32v?!"
dlundh Member since:
2007-03-29

Caldera nee SCO has released 32v under a nice permissive license. There is nothing to suggest that Novell should reverse such a decision - and since they have taken no action to stop SCO I think there is some legal entanglements to trying to stop it by now.

In fact, if there are no appeals this could possibly happen:
1a. SCO goes into chapter 7 and liquidates
1b. SCO pays up (maybe Microsoft or Sun will give them more money?) and continue to change their story in the IBM litigation to keep it alive
2a. Novell open sources all of SysV
2b. Novell demands money and/or sues Sun for acting in bad faith and open sourcing SysV - and THEN open sources SysV

Other ghosts that may appear - the arbitration between SuSE (Novell) and SCO in Switzerland.

Novell has no interest in the litigation "business", after all, how well has it worked for the SCOundrels?

Reply Score: 1

RE: What about 32v?!
by zztaz on Sat 19th Jul 2008 07:31 UTC in reply to "What about 32v?!"
zztaz Member since:
2006-09-16

32V and earlier are more than likely in the public domain. This is one of the reasons AT&T settled the case with the UC Regents, and asked that the terms of the settlement be secret. Some of those secrets have leaked. The rumor is that while AT&T showed that the BSD release infringed on a minor amount of AT&T code, AT&T was claiming copyright on and distributing a large quantity of code written by others.

When Unix development began, the conventional wisdom was that copyright did not apply to software. NDAs and other contract provisions typical of trade secrets were used instead.

At some point, someone claimed copyright on software and won in court. So AT&T retroactively pasted copyright notices on the then-current code. But they botched the details, such as registration, and also failed to distinguish AT&T code from that contributed by universities and licensees. No one had kept track of who owned the copyrights to which lines at a time when everyone assumed copyrights didn't apply to code.

So some code was released without copyright, but under NDA. But AT&T was sloppy, and gave the code to many people without an NDA. Courts have held that you can't require someone to keep secret something that you yourself have disclosed to the public.

Some early code is under an unenforceable NDA. Some later code is under unenforceable copyright. Only later code, System III or V, is clearly protected by copyright.

None of the Unix licensees were willing to challenge the copyright status of 32V. It was in their interests as much as AT&T's to pretend that AT&T's copyright claims were valid and that they had good licenses. Only McBride and friends were stupid enough to raise that lose/lose situation, and once the good lawyers looked at it, they told McBride to shut up about 32V.

It looks like Caldera gave away copyrights that they didn't own. On the other hand, Novell's claim to 32V copyrights (through AT&T) isn't worth warm spit. A good working assumption is that no one owns 32V, it is in the public domain. No one with any sense will go to court over 32V, on any side.

Reply Score: 8

Comment by Coral Snake
by Coral Snake on Sat 19th Jul 2008 04:34 UTC
Coral Snake
Member since:
2005-07-07

Don't know what to make of Novel. They seem to be doing good things for Linux and F/OSS on the SCO front but Bad things for Linux and F/OSS on the Microsoft front.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Coral Snake
by OSGuy on Sat 19th Jul 2008 06:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by Coral Snake"
OSGuy Member since:
2006-01-01

Signing a contract with Microsoft does not make a company a bad company. All they want to do is protect their customers -- may be they believe there are patent violations in the open source world? I don't know. Novell is a commercial company and Linux without the support of commercial companies such as Novell and IBM will not prevail.

Lets see what happens if MS decides to threaten legal actions? Novell customers would be protected and by saying customers, I mean big organizations that heavily utilize Novell's Linux based tools. Now is that a bad thing or good? You be the judge.

Edited 2008-07-19 06:43 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Comment by Coral Snake
by theTSF on Sat 19th Jul 2008 11:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by Coral Snake"
theTSF Member since:
2005-09-27

It business. There is nothing wrong with working with Microsoft in term of patent protection. It is very common. You can be competitors and have strategic alliances at the same time. This Microsoft is pure evil concept only hurts the Open Source movement as it really turns off the moderates out there, who don't have these strong feelings. Yea I don't care much for windows but I like office. Or I don't like paying for office but I like windows....

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Coral Snake
by mabhatter on Sun 20th Jul 2008 06:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Coral Snake"
mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

"It business. There is nothing wrong with working with Microsoft in term of patent protection. It is very common."

The problem is that such "protection" is a golden collar on everything you do later. Microsoft didn't settle with the EU over opening file formats until they had these patent deals in their pocket... then settled with the EU that the interoperability requirements should be "protected" as IP... creating a new patent threat that didn't exist in the EU or USA before the agreement! Novell is now bound by the outcome of the agreement and can't/won't challenge Microsoft's change to the basic rules of the game.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Coral Snake
by tweakedenigma on Sat 19th Jul 2008 13:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by Coral Snake"
tweakedenigma Member since:
2006-12-27

In my dealings with the people at Novell, I have found them to be the types to act in good faith. Look at it this way they are now working with MS on interoperability so perhaps it is Novell that is using Microsoft for their own gains and not the other way round as we often think.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Coral Snake
by trenchsol on Sat 19th Jul 2008 14:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by Coral Snake"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

It is almost two years since the initial deal between Novell and Microsoft. What happened ? What har has come to Linux users ? To Microsoft customers ? I don't see any.

Only thing I noticed recently is that I am able to write VB.Net program on Linux and run it on Windows. I am able to deploy ASP.NET web application on Apache. I think that 2 years ago it worked with C# only. Yes, recently I had need for that, and, to my surprise, it worked. As far as I am concerned it's a good thing.

On the other hand, SCO threat was removed couple of years ago. Destroying SCO doesn't mean much to Linux any more.

I think that original post was more about ideology and politics, and less about computers and IT.

DG

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Coral Snake
by Coral Snake on Sun 20th Jul 2008 02:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Coral Snake"
Coral Snake Member since:
2005-07-07

Actually I believe I'm more of a moderate as far as software licensing politics goes. Here is my view:

Operating systems:
In general I believe these should be under the GNU GPL or similar licensing with exceptions for linking system calls into proprietary programs in order to prevent one company monopolies that can dictate to other software and computer manufacturers on what their products should be like Microsoft does. (This is why Linux is my favorite OS.)

GUI, TUI, Game Programming and other programming libraries:
These should be under GNU LGPL, BSD or MIT style licensing or in the Public Domain to allow their use in both F/OSS and proprietary software on equal terms. (My favorite ones here as far as licensing goes are wxWidgets, FLTK, GTK, SDL, ncurses and the fox toolkit,)

Applications:
My view is that application level software can be either proprietary or F/OSS at the determination of the developer as long as it uses open standards for the documents it saves to prevent Microsoft style dictatorship.

So as you can see I'm not a Stallmanite or a Microsoftie in my software politics but somewhere between the two.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Coral Snake
by trenchsol on Sun 20th Jul 2008 13:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Coral Snake"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

--- citation ---
In general I believe these should be under the GNU GPL or similar licensing with exceptions for linking system calls into proprietary programs in order to prevent one company monopolies that can dictate to other software and computer manufacturers on what their products should be like Microsoft does. (This is why Linux is my favorite OS.)
--- end of citation ---

I thought that Linux is your favorite OS because it meets your needs. It looks to me that you have chosen OS on political criteria. Personally I would have never done that. Correct me if I am wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Coral Snake
by liamdawe on Sun 20th Jul 2008 13:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Coral Snake"
liamdawe Member since:
2006-07-04

Many people choose Linux for that same reason, pretty much all people like using it as well, if someone likes the license but not the software, they won't use it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by Coral Snake
by trenchsol on Sun 20th Jul 2008 13:46 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Coral Snake"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I dislike GPL and derivatives very much, but I still use Linux, because, across the board, it is the fastest and easiest way to get the job done. Stallman and FSF generally make me sick.

FreeBSD and even Windows are much more my "political" choice. Run FreeBSD for almost a year, but I had issues, and went to SUSE. I can discuss it with somebody is interested.

Windows do not offer enough flexibility, using them for anything but entertainment is pain.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Comment by Coral Snake
by Coral Snake on Mon 21st Jul 2008 01:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Coral Snake"
Coral Snake Member since:
2005-07-07

That is why I believe in exceptions to the GPL for system calls needed to make certain types of proprietary software. (Device Drivers which in Linux are called kernel modules as a forinstance).

Other than those exceptions I believe that OSs should be under the strictest F/OSS licensing which is the GPL.

As for Stallman I looked at his genuine political site (not the FSF but his own site) and see him to be a Socialist dangerous to ALL individual freedom and not just the software freedom he yammers on about. I most certainly would not want a monopoly under his GPL than I would want one under Microsoft (an advocate of Fascism, another branch of Socialism and another danger to ALL individual freedom in my opinion)

I don't see the GPL as Socialist however as a lot of capitalist entities like IBM, Novel, Mandriva, etc seem to want to back it up.

However I do see it as basically a band-aid over the serious problem of our unconstitutional and abusive copyright laws and terms, and software patents that should have never been allowed to exist in the first place. What really needs to be done is to reform copyright and patent law back to the form where copyrights had strict term limits that can not constantly be extended by Congress and patents only appling to HARDWARE inventions.

If we would have kept our copyright and patent laws within Constitutional limitations monopolies like Microsoft would have never existed and therefore licensing like the GPL would not need to exist to counter Microsoft style dictatorial monopolies.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Comment by Coral Snake
by trenchsol on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 00:48 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Coral Snake"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I generally agree that GPL is very much fit for certain situations. It has practical value, although I don't like it.

Reply Score: 2

Two comments
by troy.w.banther on Sat 19th Jul 2008 12:46 UTC
troy.w.banther
Member since:
2008-06-28

There were two comments I disagree with. The first is that Linux would not survive without a big company.

This is naive.

Linux, while an operating system, is a business model. IBM, Novell and other companies, big, medium, SMB and others have 'found' billions of dollars in Linux.

It can be said that big businesses like IBM, Novell and others would not survive if they had not starting using Linux and its business model.

Our university is literally saving hundreds of thousands of dollars just in licensing fees alone. Aside from the proper stewardship of public funds the Linux business model makes sense for the academic environment as well.

The second comment is signing a contract with Microsoft does not make a company a bad company.

Microsoft is not a bad company. It is is just a publicly or shareholder owned and profit driven entity. Some of its actions could be viewed as less than ideal.

If I owned a small business, say a music business, and I used one of Microsoft's products, like Windows, on all of my computers, then did not properly track Microsoft's products and licensing, I could be legally sued.

I have already paid for the computer equipment. I have already paid for the license to use Microsoft's Windows. I have already paid for the license to use Microsoft's Office product. Now Microsoft wants more money since we did not really know the difference between its retail and OEM versions of its product line? We also failed to properly track the licenses?

How many SMBs and other businesses track their licenses? How many 'individuals' on this site, who use Microsoft Windows and|or Office track their individual licenses? Households with small networks and multiple computers running the Redmond product can be legally sued for not keeping their OEM or retail versions in order.

How many people who read OSNews could afford the fines, fees and potential jail time, depending on your laws and customs, a Microsoft licensing audit could produce.

Fortunately for me, personally, I use open source. My money stays local. Linux and its business model makes me money locally.

Each year we perform an audit of all Microsoft products and licenses under our control here at the university. It's a given that Microsoft could at any time perform an audit of all its products on campus.

So I suggest again, that Microsoft is not evil. That's just silly. It's a company looking out for its product and profits. Signing a contract with Microsoft has its potential expenditures.

Microsoft is a company with an aging business model. Linux is an operating system with another form of business model.

Microsoft is learning its business model is failing to bring in new sources of money in the new or more modern business environment.

Edited 2008-07-19 12:57 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE: Two comments
by PlatformAgnostic on Sat 19th Jul 2008 17:02 UTC in reply to "Two comments"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

Eh? I'm not seeing that the shrink-wrapped proprietary software business model is failing yet. In fact, it seems like it's displacing Linux on the Unix-compatible desktop in the form of OS X.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Two comments
by kaiwai on Sun 20th Jul 2008 08:15 UTC in reply to "Two comments"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

1) Microsoft already give deep discounts to university; don't just look at the top layer (price of acquiring software) as some sort of benchmark as to the whether something is 'good value' or whether it saves money. A free lunch that results in diarrhoea for four days afterwards is a free lunch most people would opt out of - regardless of its 'free' status.

2) When they mean survive, they mean in the capacity of being a commercial entity. The software landscape is consolidating. Oracle is going on a spending spree, Microsoft maybe looking at purchasing AOL and Yahoo. Sun has been on a spending spree buying up needed software.

Novell and Red Hat - for them to remain as stand alone entities they'll need to expand beyond operating systems. Unless they do that, they'll remain low rung software companies ripe for the picking. Don't be surprised if in the next couple of years Novell or Red Hat are bought off for a song and a dance.

3) Microsoft do need to get their licencing under control; its complex and its also confusing. Regarding computers, they can be easily upgraded every three years - the whole fleet. Looking at NZ tax records, one can depreciate computers over a period of three years - resulting in almost a free computer by the time it needs to be replaced. So it isn't as though doing a mass upgrade every three years is all that expensive.

As for OEM - its easy to know the difference. OEM you can't transfer between machines and you get your technical support from the hardware company you bought it from as part of a bundle with the computer - and no Microsoft; that is why the OEM version costs less than the retail, Microsoft isn't providing support for it.

Edited 2008-07-20 08:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Two comments
by dagw on Sun 20th Jul 2008 10:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Two comments"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Novell and Red Hat - for them to remain as stand alone entities they'll need to expand beyond operating systems.

For what it's worth both have already expanded beyond operating systems. Both make money off of training and consulting fees. Novell offers a whole range of system management and monitoring solution, which I imagine is where they make a lot of their money. Red Hat has a database and a java middleware platform on offer to its customers, as well as cluster computing tools.

Neither Novell or Red Hat are interested in selling just Linux. They want to sell and, more importantly, support complete application stacks. Linux is just basis they are using to build their solutions on.

Reply Score: 3

Ah the irony...
by Anonymous Penguin on Sat 19th Jul 2008 21:11 UTC
Anonymous Penguin
Member since:
2005-07-06

They began the litigation to get money from IBM.
What happens? It is they who must pay Novell.
Karma? :-)

Reply Score: 5