In the past year, the battle over UNIX has generated significant litigation and lots of anxiety among the open source community and software users alike. However, the multi-front battle is complex, making it hard to understand what’s going on and what’s at stake. This article explains the disputes, summarizes the latest status (as of 6/14/04), and offers some possible lessons to learn.
SCO and the Battle Over UNIX: A Clear Explanation
2004-06-22 SCO 13 Comments
The four points made at the end were valuable but I guess to anyone that knew its kinda obvious that those problems would exist. If anyone releases code onto the web that does kinda kill trade secret arguments(dont see how anyone can miss that).
To anyone whose been under a rock the past year it does bring them up to date on what the SCO issue is. Im just waiting for the resolution to this mess.
It covers the various actions, counteractions and so forth pretty well and accurately, and if the aim of the piece was to show that you need to think about copyrights when writing open source software as well as closed source, it did its job well.
As an account of the current state of the case, who appears stringer, who is saying seventeen different things in four different courts, etc, I thought it was much worse.
I was disappointed it mentioned SCO had publically identified two chunks Linux code with humorous comments, etc which proved it came from UNIX, and that the only defence was that it came from a legal source. As I recall, there was onyl one piece which looked like it came from any UNIX, and that was bad code specific to SGI and instantly removed when it was found to be a problem.
I was also disappointed that it seemed to indicate that SCO would have be able to sue end users for infringement of copyrights if they own them, mainly because SCO can and will sue people whether they have rights to assert or not. I can’t believe a court would uphold that someone who was not knowingly infringing copyright (and no one is knowingly infringing SCO’s copyrights at the moment, as they haven’t said what infringes so that people can check) would be liable for any damages, an injunction would be far more likely, the code would be cleaned out, life would continue as normal.
IANAL, but I know one or two, and I talk to them about these things.
Additionally, SCO cannot sue users for copyright infringement unless it could that they redistributed copyrighted material. Owning and using copyrighted material is find – redistributing it without its owner’s consent is illegal.
Of course, here the point is moot, as a) there’s no code in Linux that was stolen from UNIX and b) it’s not clear at all that SCO actually owns the UNIX copyrights.
For those of us who have had the sad opportunity of following the SCO vs IBM (vs RedHat, Daimler, etc.) charade, there is no such thing as a battle over Unix. There is only a sick puppy (SCO) that can’t be put to sleep yet. I’m saying this because SCO executives have displayed quite a lack of decency and have behaved more like clowns than respectable guys.
I find it much more powerful than Linux…
I am not sure about that. At the least, why aren’t there reviews and/or comparisons about SCO’s products at OSNews.com? Even if your claim is correct, only few would appear to risk doing business with SCO, because SCO is primarily a company that has so far made a fortune from lawsuits and FUDs.
Many telling points were ignored by the article. Most prominantly, The SCO Group has ignored two court orders to “show the code” to IBM. They’ve been claiming for more than a year to have “mountains of code” found by “MIT scientists” who “deep dived” into the code bases. They claim to have shown proof of copying to anyone willing to sign an NDA. They’ve made public statements that they felt they could win their case based on code they had on hand six months ago with no additional code from IBM.
In the latest court papers, TSG now says they need more code from IBM or they will be unable to prove anything at all. They have provided no proof which they publically claimed to have eariler. They say without every single line of code IBM has every written, it will be “literally impossible” to make their case. This is a far cry from what they have been claiming in public for the last year. The “millions of lines” have turned into a few hundred that they are still unwilling to specify in a court of law.
Another telling point ignored by the article is that TSG pointedly ignores “Amendment X”. That is because while the article claims the amendment further restricts what IBM can do with the code, it is actually just the opposite. Amendment X gives IBM wide lattitude to do whatever they want with their code. It says specifically that what code IBM writes, IBM owns regardless of its origin. It also says IBM can use it in any manner and has no confidentiality requirements on their own code. That is why TSG NEVER even mentions Amendment X in ANY of their papers… they are hoping the court ignores it too.
Another telling point ignored was that TSG was told by the German courts to “put up or shut up.” TSG chose to shut up and pay a fine. You draw your own conclusions.
I can go on, but I’d rather just point people to Groklaw where they can find the truth. Sure, there is a lot of anti-SCO sentiment there, but everything is backed by legal documents and public statements by the people involved. For every claim, there are links to the material that backs it up. Copies of EVERY public court document can be found there in the original PDF and text formats. If you don’t believe someone, go look at the original documents. In particular, go look at Amendment X and see for yourself why The SCO Group tries to ignore it.
the code theft rings that abound in the OSS community (just check any IRC server)
I’ve actually investigated some of those sorts of places out of sheer cussed curiosity, and it’s not Free/Libre Open Source Software they’re swapping, and the people tend to heap scorn on Linux (or anything Un*xy/Un*xish) anyway.
So I doubt you can prove your point, and I don’t know what you’re smoking – but please stay off it while posting, please. This is supposed to be some sort of “whole famdamily” show!!!
Get thee to Groklaw.net et al.s and get your facts in order! Not only is your “Unix History Flow-chart” inaccurate & misleading, Autozone & Daimler-Chrysler have in fact responded to SCOG accusations; on several occasions. TIA!
~Daemons @ the Jersey Shore~
The source code for Unix has been contributed to by so many different companies, universities, individuals, hackers, etc….. it’s been transferred to and fro… through so many different levels… a little chunk here, a little chunk there…
The courts need to just declare UNIX a generic, open IP…
Honestly, I don’t think SCO really believes it *owns* UNIX. They invested big bucks in something that is freely available in about 100 different forms/flavors on the net… and now that SCO is po’, they’re desperately trying to appease their board with promises of riches by means of litigation.
…a strategy that will probably put the final nail in the company’s coffin.
The 4th point on the first page is wrong:
Finally, SCO recently took its claims to their logical conclusion by suing two end users of Linux and AIX: AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler.
This is what SCO wants everyone to believe. They talk in the media like this is true, but the court documents tell otherwise. What actually occured is that they sued two former SCO customers over alleged breaches in their contracts with SCO. In the AutoZone case they also allege that they violated some copyrights in some kind of code contribution to Linux, but they are so vague that no one (not even AutoZone) can figure out what they’re talking about.
In neither case was a Linux end-user sued for being a Linux end-user, nor could any be sued for the reasons listed in these suits.
So it looks like only those that have the misfortune of being a customer of SCO have to worry about SCO suing them.
Actually Stephen J Vauguan(sorry I can’t speell this morning) From Eweek was On The Linuxshow on tues the 22.
he said that with all the conversations that he and Darl have had over the year, that He believes that Darl and Company really do believe in their tales. They think the Unix Buisness, and Unix are the same thing. Novell Sold an exclusive business Hence why Novell couldn’t produce a competing product, using the same code.
According to a Lewis A. Mettler, Esq., on his web page http://www.lamlaw.com/, the frivolous lawsuits are specifically designed so that SCO can make extremely slanderous remarks against Linux without fear of legal retaliation. Making wild accusations during court does not constitute slander. This allows SCO to bypass all court orders telling them not to make public accusations against Linux without proof. In case you are trying to make sense of the largely contradictory and incoherent accusations levelled against Linux during the AZ and DC trials, and what on earth do they have to do with end users – it isn’t designed to make sense – it is designed for lazy and incompetent journalists to report them as fact, thus sowing FUD to corporate Linux users and potential users.
Don’t agree with the scare mongering about Linux in sections 7 & 8.