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June 3, 2003

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MozillaQuest Op-Ed

SCO-Caldera v IBM:

IS SCO NDA Sideshow Setting a Trap for Analysts and Linux Developers?

Linux and the SCO-Caldera v IBM Lawsuit

By Mike Angelo -- 3 June 2003 (C) -- Page 5

Burden on SCO-Caldera to Prove Its Unix Code in Linux

Article Index

SCO-Caldera v. IBM:

SCO Clears Linux Kernel but Implicates Red Hat and SuSE

IBM Files Answer to SCO's Caldera v IBM Complaint

IBM Response to SCO-Caldera Complaint Is Outrageous!

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community:

Summary and Conclusions

SCO-Caldera has dug quite a hole for itself. And that hole keeps getting deeper and wider. A smart person finding himself or herself in a hole that he or she does not want to be in gets rid of the shovel and tries to climb out of the hole -- before the hole gets too deep to climb out. On the other hand, McBride and his SCO crew seem to be amassing even more shovels and digging themselves in deeper and deeper.

Whether SCO-Caldera has good reason to ask for NDAs for observing the tainted Linux code is one issue. And on that issue, overall SCO-Caldera's reasons are not that cogent. To the extent they might be cogent, the reasons are for SCO-Caldera's benefit and not for the Linux community's benefit.

However, the burden is on SCO-Caldera to prove there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux. Since the burden is on SCO-Caldera, its demands that people and organizations sign SCO-Caldera NDAs so that SCO-Caldera can attempt to prove its claims are outrageous.

Therefore, if SCO-Caldera wants to show the Linux community there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux, then SCO-Caldera is not in a position to dictate the terms for such a showing. The only acceptable way for SCO-Caldera to prove there is SCO-owned Unix code in Linux is for SCO-Caldera to publicly publish the file names and code lines that it says are tainted -- with no strings attached.

Interestingly, it appears not many people are buying into SCO-Caldera's NDA scam. While this article was under development, Computerworld published a story on 30 May by Patrick Thibodeau and Todd R. Weiss, Analysts to SCO: No thanks to code review offer, indicating that people are declining to participate in the SCO NDA-scam.

Analysts are balking at The SCO Group Inc.'s offer to view its proof that there is illegal Unix code in Linux, with one calling the move a publicity stunt. Meanwhile, Linux creator Linus Torvalds today said that he has no plans to look at the code and that the battle between SCO, IBM and Novell Inc. is on par with a rancorous episode of the Jerry Springer Show. (Ibid. This is an excellent article. You ought to read it. Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.)

Any person, organization, or company certainly has every right to protect its intellectual property. That is not at issue in the SCO IP saga. The controversy and mess is the manner in which SCO-Caldera has been going about protecting what it claims are its intellectual property rights.

SCO-Caldera has alienated the entire Linux community and more. Even worse, SCO-Caldera's unforgivable dark-side antics have created substantial disturbance in the Linux world. SCO-Caldera has distracted from the growth and development of Linux -- causing irreparable harm.

Speaking of distractions, the biggest smoke and mirrors trick might be that SCO-Caldera has no copyright or patent rights to Unix. Until that controversy is resolved there is not much use to reviewing Linux for SCO-owned Unix code. And that resolves down to the battle between Novell and SCO over who owns the Unix copyrights and patents.

Unfortunately, the SCO IP saga is not over. There is lots more to come.

Stay tuned.

Update Note -- 4 June 2003 -- 18:55 EDT: On 4 June 2003, Don Marti published an article on Linux Journal that includes a copy of the NDA that SCO wants the code-observers to sign. That NDA is a trap and a scam. Don Marti explains why it is a trap in his 4 June article, SCO NDA Offers Little Information, Much Risk. Among other things in that article, Chris DiBona, the former Slashdot editor . . . said he does not think anyone actively involved in kernel development or planning to contribute to free software projects should sign the NDA. It's a good and important article. Read it.

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

Article Index


Analysts to SCO: No thanks to code review offer, By Patrick Thibodeau and Todd R. Weiss, MAY 30, 2003. Computerworld

Follow the Patents, People, Don Marti, Linux Journal News Notes 6 March 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

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries

Novell's Unix copyright announcement?

SCO Statement on Novell's Recent Actions

(Note: subsequent to our calling SCO's attention to the inconsistencies between this SCO press release and statements made by Darl McBride in his 30 May 2003 telephone press conference, SCO removed this press release from its Web site. However you can find it here.)

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

About the "Hey SCO, sue me" Petition

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

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