[linux-elitists] [mds@hsmds2.prnewswire.com: SCO Suspends Distribution of Linux Pending Intellectual Property...]

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed May 14 23:47:28 PDT 2003

on Thu, May 15, 2003 at 01:25:52AM -0500, Ed Carp (erc@pobox.com) wrote:
> On Thu, 15 May 2003, Karsten M. Self wrote:

Answering an off-list comment -- I'm aware that the list of IBM
developers is likely incomplete.  That was what it says:  the result of
a few minutes with grep, sort, uniq, and vim.  It refuted a comment
elsewhere that there were only three or four IBM developers.  It also
illustrates that the accounting is going to require more than five
minutes' work.

> > Sixth, the point that Don raises about possible infringement, plagiarism
> > in the kernel source is a significant one.  There's a strong question as
> > to where culpability lies.  In scenario evaluation when I was helping
> > manage a corporate free software development project, one stipulation
> > was that the contributor who knowingly and willfully submitted work
> > under false pretenses was committing a fraud.  In that scenario,
> > contributor agreements specifically stated this.  Linus's code
> > management practices are significantly more lax, and might put him at
> > personal risk.  If IBM has facilitated transfer of code or secrets
> > gained in confidence from SCO, there is a significant issue.  Frankly,
> > the (d)evolution of this case, the shifting and vague claims by SCO, and
> > decades of cross-contamination between all flavors of Unix, makes this
> > a tenuous assertion.  
> I've worked on the kernel since 1991, and I can tell you that this issue
> was addressed on the linux kernel mailing list as early as 1992, I
> believe.  The only sources of kernel code that I am aware of was the BSD
> unencumbered sources, the Bach book, and Minix itself.  The posts were 
> very explicit as to the risks to Linux itself if encumbered or proprietary 
> code were to find its way into the Linux kernel.  Seeing as to how SCO is 
> keeping their cards close to their vest on this deal, I would think they 
> have a very poor case, considering your other points.  The comment by SCO 
> that they didn't want to jeopardize their case, suggesting that offending 
> code would be removed from the kernel source base if SCO were to show 
> their hand is asinine.

Another point I meant to make:  given SCO's current stance, GPL
violation is likely *not* something they can undo by simply running a
cease-and-desist at this point.  I don't recall the earlier case of GPL
violation where the issue was pursued, largely on account of the
obnoxious behavior of the defendant, even after the violation stopped.
SCO has tried to explain itself by saying it was unaware of the issue
until "the last couple of years", and that SCO's merger with Caldera
wasn't competed until May, 2001.


I don't suppose anyone ever pointed out to SCO that source to Linux is,
in fact, available.  Very poor excuse.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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