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March 18, 2003

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Linux Kernel Gurus Reject SCO-Caldera v IBM Lawsuit Claims

SCO-Caldera v IBM: Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall Respond to SCO's Linux-Related Claims

By Mike Angelo -- 18 March 2003 (C)

Article Index


SCO-Caldera v. IBM:


SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community:

Note: Until 2001, the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), a UNIX company, and Caldera International (CALD), a Linux company, were two different companies. In 2001, Caldera acquired SCO. Then in 2002 Caldera changed its business name to the SCO Group. However, the corporate name remains Caldera International.

Many people still think of the SCO Group's Linux operations as Caldera. In order to make sure that readers would know and realize throughout the article that what is now the SCO Group is also the company once called Caldera, the SCO Group is often referred to as SCO-Caldera in this article.

Today in our in-depth SCO IP and Caldera v IBM coverage, we look at discussions with three, extremely Linux-knowledgeable, very prominent, and well-respected members of the Linux kernel community, Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall. Alan Cox is the maintainer of the 2.2 Linux kernel and David Weinehall maintains the 2.0 Linux kernel. Richard Gooch, PhD, is the maintainer of The linux-kernel mailing list FAQ.

Introduction and Overview

In the previous two editions of our extensive Caldera v IBM coverage we discussed the lawsuit's Complaint with Linus Torvalds and Conectiva's Corporate Development Manager, Gordon Ho. While Linus Torvalds needs no introduction, he, along with Alan Cox and David Weinehall, also is a kernel maintainer (2.5 kernel). The kernel maintainers make the final decisions as to what source code goes into the Linux kernel they maintain.

We first interviewed Richard Gooch about the SCO intellectual property (IP) issues just before SCO-Caldera filed its now infamous Caldera v IBM lawsuit. Richard Gooch did not think much of the intellectual property saber-rattling and market posturing that SCO-was doing then. However, if you compare Richard Gooch's pre-lawsuit comments to his now post-lawsuit comments, you will notice a much harsher tone.

That's not surprising. In its pre-lawsuit IP saber-rattling, SCO-Caldera's main faux pas was claiming that Linux was derived from Unix.

SCO's Caldera v IBM Complaint goes way beyond that one faux pas. In paragraphs 74 and 82 through 86, SCO-Caldera's Complaint belittles and insults Linux developers, the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux, Linux distribution providers -- in essence the entire GNU/Linux and free software community -- for no apparent reason other than SCO-Caldera's hopes to recover more money from IBM than it might without its trashing everything Linux-related -- and/or a strong disdain for everything Linux.

In large part, SCO's money claims in its Caldera v IBM lawsuit depend upon SCO's proving that the alleged IBM misappropriation of UNIX code, methods or concepts (Caldera v IBM Complaint at paragraph 86) is responsible for making the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux server/enterprise grade, thus financially damaging SCO-Caldera. That's because GNU/Linux as a server/enterprise grade operating system allows GNU/Linux-based operating-system distributions to successfully compete against SCO's Unix products and derivatives thereof, for which SCO-Caldera receives licensing income.

Today's discussions were separate and conducted by e-mail during the period from about 9 March to 12 March 2003. However, for readability and context purposes, the answers to similar questions asked to Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall, are placed together below such similar questions. We have done some minor re-arranging in the order of the questions and answers and some minor editing -- primarily in order to improve flow, readability and context. Other than that, the comments of Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall are pretty much the way they made them and pretty much uncensored.

For the most part, the comments go in last name alphabetical order, Cox, Gooch, and Weinehall. However, in some instances that order has been re-arranged to provide better readability, flow, or context.

Putting the comments of all three interviewees together for similar questions provides an interesting dimensionality of adding more to the total breadth of any one person's response alone -- and letting you see where they agree and disagree on the issues. Not surprisingly, all three are pretty much in agreement in their responses to the Caldera v IBM allegations -- although at times with slightly different focus or emphasis.

In whatever way they express it, Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall all refute SCO-Caldera's claims that the Linux kernel is derived from SCO-owned Unix source code. Allen Brown, Richard Gooch, and Richard Stallman also rejected this SCO-Caldera claim in Part 2 of our SCO IP series.

While appreciative of IBM's contributions to the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux, all three state that the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux were already enterprise/server grade products before IBM started helping the Linux community. They also, each in his own way, point out that the knowledges, skills, and methodologies that SCO-Caldera alleges as its trade secrets and proprietary information are well known publicly -- and for the most part developed externally to AT&T, Novell, and SCO Unix development.

Linus Torvalds and Conectiva's Gordon Ho took this position too and also rejected SCO-Caldera's claims that the Linux kernel is derived from SCO-owned Unix source code. If you go back to our Linus Torvalds and Gordon Ho discussions, you will see that their comments overall are very consistent with the comments made today by Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, and David Weinehall.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Darl McBride! Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, Gordon Ho, Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, and David Weinehall all say the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux are not derived from SCO-owned Unix source code. That's a pretty darn impressive line-up of very creditable, Linux kernel and GNU/Linux experts that say your claims and allegations that the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux are derived from SCO-owned Unix source code are not true.

The shoe, Darl McBride, is on your foot now to prove that the Linux kernel and GNU/Linux are derived from SCO-owned Unix source code. Can you, Darl McBride, forthwith and without delay show substantial amounts of Linux kernel and/or GNU/Linux source code are the same as SCO-owned Unix source code? So far, you have failed to offer any proof of your naked claim!

SCO-Caldera's Senior Vice-President, Chris Sontag, takes exception to our couching the Caldera v IBM allegations in terms such as IBM bailing-out or rescuing Linux the GNU/Linux operating system and Linux distributions such as Red Hat and SuSE -- accusing us of putting words in their mouths. It is true that SCO-Caldera did not use the terms bailout or rescue in its IBM Complaint. Nor does it mention Red Hat, SuSE, and other specific GNU/Linux-based distributions by name as being bailed-out or rescued by IBM. However, SCO-Caldera's allegations are so broadly and vaguely pled that they clearly include Red Hat, SuSE, and other specific GNU/Linux-based distributions.

Nevertheless, if you read the Caldera v IBM Complaint, you likely will notice that a main thrust of SCO-Caldera's Linux-related allegations attempt to paint a picture of the Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux operating system, Linux developers, and Linux distribution providers as a rag-tag, intellectually deprived, resources deprived, uncoordinated, band of code-thieves floundering with a toy-like, bicycle-like, wholly un-fit for commercial or enterprise use operating-system -- until IBM stepped into the picture -- thus bailing-out and rescuing Linux from such a dismal undertaking.

Bah humbug! We believe our use of the terms bailout and rescue very appropriately describe what SCO is alleging in its Caldera v IBM Complaint. We stand by our use of those terms.

See On with today's discussion on Page 2 ----->


Please see the first two parts of our series about SCO-Caldera's IP claims plus its intentions to enforce and license its intellectual property rights.

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: Part 2, Under the Iceberg's Tip



Resources


Related MozillaQuest Articles


SCO-Caldera v IBM:


SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: Part 2, Under the Iceberg's Tip


Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1 Available

Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1 -- A First Look


UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part I

UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part II

SCO's Darl McBride and MozillaQuest Magazine's Mike Angelo Discuss Caldera Linux and LSB

Caldera/SCO 3.1.1 OpenLinux Distribution Gains LSB Certification


Linux Makes a Great Gift

Don't Forget the Books

LinuxWorld in New York City -- 21-24 January 2003


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