Summary and Conclusion
In SCO's Caldera v IBM lawsuit SCO alleges there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux. However, SCO does not clearly state in its Caldera v IBM Complaint if the alleged tainted Linux code is kernel.org Linux kernel code, some other patched, hacked, or customized kernel code, GNU/Linux operating system code, Linux distribution code, or what? Additionally, in the more than two months since SCO filed its Caldera v IBM lawsuit, it has yet to show any SCO-owned Unix code anywhere in the Linux kernel, the GNU/Linux OS, any Linux distributions, and so forth.
On 24 and 25 April, SCO-Caldera Senior Vice President Chris Sontag cleared the kernel.org Linux kernel of including SCO-owned Unix kernel code in the official Linux kernel. He told MozillaQuest Magazine that the tainted code is not in the Linux kernel that Linus [Torvalds] and others have helped develop. We're talking about what's on the periphery of the Linux kernel." (SCO-Caldera v IBM: SCO Clears Linux Kernel but Implicates Red Hat and SuSE)
However, since then Sontag and SCO-Caldera CEO Darl McBride have made public statements alleging there is SCO-owned Unix code in the Linux kernel, including the official kernel.org Linux kernel. Thus throwing more confusion and FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) into the mess.
The most recent statement about whether there is SCO-owned Unix code in the kernel.org kernel is one made yesterday by SCO's Blake Stowell: The only thing we have stated is that we have found our SCO owned code in various Linux distributions (including Red Hat), and in the Linux kernel. We have not reviewed the code found on kernel.org or the GNU/Linux operating system.
This is a particularly key issue. SCO-Caldera's ability to attack just about every Linux distribution provider (LDP) and perhaps every Linux-based operating system user hinges in part on whether there is SCO-owned Unix code in the official kernel.org Linux kernel and/or the GNU/Linux OS.
If there is tainted, SCO-owned code in the core kernel.org Linux kernel, then that tainted code likely would be in every Linux distribution and every Linux-based computer system. Likewise, although to a slightly lesser degree, if there is SCO-owned code in the GNU/Linux operating system.
In such circumstances, SCO-Caldera might be able to mount copyright infringement claims against just about all Linux OS distributors, Linux VARs, perhaps even Linux ISVs and Linux users, and so forth. That does not mean that SCO-Caldera could win them, that just means it might have grounds for such claims.
However, if there is no SCO-owned Unix code in the kernel.org Linux kernel and the GNU/Linux OS, then any copyright infringement actions by SCO-Caldera could not be directed at virtually the entire Linux community. Rather SCO-Caldera copyright enforcement threats only could be directed at specific Linux distribution providers and perhaps secondary distributors of those specific Linux distributions, VARs, OEMs, ISVs, Linux users, and so forth who have unlicensed SCO-owned Unix code in their products or computers.
SCO's Darl McBride and Chris Sontag have been making press releases and touring the tech media circuit making statements that there is SCO-owned Unix code in the official, kernel.org kernel and the GNU/Linux operating system How can they do that honestly when SCO-Caldera has not either reviewed the official Linux kernel nor the GNU/Linux OS for SCO-owned Unix code and/or has not found any SCO-owned code in them?
Many people in the Linux community believe all the confusion and FUD that SCO-Caldera is spreading around is an intentional SCO-Caldera strategy aimed at disrupting Linux kernel, GNU/Linux operating system, and Linux software development. Linux community members also believe that SCO-Caldera's strategy is to stifle Linux distribution and Linux software sales, marketing, and deployment.
It's past time for vague, specious, and unfounded allegations and accusations from SCO-Caldera. Darl McBride and SCO-Caldera should publicly show what lines of Unix code are in the official kernel.org Linux kernel, any other patched, hacked, or customized Linux kernels, the GNU/Linux operating system, any Linux distributions, or whatever -- immediately.
Moreover, SCO-Caldera should do that without any strings such as NDAs. To whatever extent SCO-Caldera's Unix license agreements prevent SCO from so publicly listing the SCO-owned code it claims is in Linux, SCO-Caldera should seek permission from the involved licensees to do so.
Until such time as Darl McBride and SCO-Caldera do list publicly the SCO-owned code it claims is in Linux, Darl McBride's and SCO-Caldera's claims that there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux ought to be ignored and dismissed as FUD.
We take a look at the other issues raised in Blake Stowell's correction request, particularly what the kernel.org, GNU, and LDP people do in order to keep their code clean in an upcoming MozillaQuest Magazine article. We also examine SCO-Caldera's reasons for refusing to publicly show the Linux code that it claims is derived from SCO-owned Unix code in an upcoming article.
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.
Follow the Patents, People, Don Marti, Linux Journal News Notes 6 March 2003.
SCO: Unix code copied into Linux, Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com, May 1, 2003
Linux Buzz: SCO to Reveal Allegedly Copied Code, Don Marti, Linux Journal, 15 May 2003
Microsoft licenses a SCO patent? What patent?, Don Marti, Linux Journal, 19 May 2003
Linux and the GNU Project, By Richard Stallman
Related MozillaQuest Articles
SCO-Caldera v IBM: