[linux-elitists] SCO drops its bomb

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Mon Jun 16 14:06:46 PDT 2003

begin Jonathan Corbet quotation of Mon, Jun 16, 2003 at 02:53:18PM -0600:

> As expected, SCO has attempted to shut down IBM's AIX license.  The amusing
> part, to me, is yet another fun quote from Chris Sontag (as reported on
> News.com - http://news.com.com/2100-1016-1017719.html):
> 	 SCO said that the termination of the AIX license means that all
> 	 IBM Unix customers also have no license to use the software. "This
> 	 termination not only applies to new business by IBM, but also
> 	 existing copies of AIX that are installed at all customer
> 	 sites. All of it has to be destroyed," Sontag said.

You heard the man.  Destroy it.  Don't forget the backup tapes and
the original install CDs.  What's the AIX equivalent of fdisk?

This raises the make-IBM-mad/mess-up-free-software ratio of the case,
which can't hurt.

> Somehow I thought this all about how free software is scary (it can have
> intellectual property bombs in it) while proprietary is all nice, warm,
> fuzzy, and safe.  AIX users have just found out how untrue that is.  When
> you pick a vendor, make sure to get one that won't piss off SCO, or you're
> screwed.

Good point.  And for the love of God, people, don't sign a "shared
source" or "gated source" agreement to look at other people's source
under NDA.  Take a look at Darl McBride's POV on how "viral" his
license is.


  When we take a top-tier view of the amount of code showing up inside of
  Linux today that is either directly related to our Unix System 5 that we
  directly own or is related to one of our flavors of Unix that we have
  derivative works rights over--we don't necessarily own those flavors,
  but we have control rights over how that information gets
  disseminated--the amount is substantial. We're not talking about just
  lines of code; we're talking about entire programs. We're talking about
  hundred of thousands of lines of code.

  Where people get a little confused is when they think of SCO Unix as
  just the Unix that runs the cash register at McDonalds. We think of this
  as a tree. We have the tree trunk, with Unix System 5 running right down
  the middle of the trunk. That is our core ownership position on Unix.

  Off the tree trunk, you have a number of branches, and these are the
  various flavors of Unix. HP-UX, IBM's AIX, Sun Solaris, Fujitsu,
  NEC--there are a number of flavors out there. SCO has a couple of
  flavors, too, called OpenServer and UnixWare. But don't confuse the
  branches with the trunk. The System 5 source code, that is really the
  area that gives us incredible rights, because it includes the control
  rights on the derivative works that branch off from that trunk. 

So if you write a filesystem for Unix, then port _your own code_
to Linux, are you violating the SCO license?  Somehow I doubt IBM
would have signed a license like that, but I wouldn't be surprised
if certain Dumbass Unix Vendors(tm) of the 1980s did.

Finally, I do finally have a credible report of a "chilling
effect" from the SCO mess.  Someone in a position to know, at a
big medium-evil corporation that I think the world would be better
off without, has told me that a Unix-to-Linux migration project has
been put on hold until the case is resolved.  Don't know if it's AIX.

Don Marti                Reform copyright law -- return abandoned works
http://zgp.org/~dmarti   to the public domain after 50 years:
dmarti@zgp.org           http://www.PetitionOnline.com/eldred/petition.html

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