On with the interviews and discussions
Bill Claybrook, Abderdeen Group, Discussions
MozillaQuest Magazine: In your report, you say:"
"It appears that there are at least two ways that System V licensees (as well as those who have not licensed System V) can risk legal confrontation with SCO:
Does that mean that GNU/Linux end-users do not risk legal confrontation with SCO, even if there is SCO-owned Unix code in the GNU/Linux distribution they use?
Bill Claybrook: I said "at least" two ways. I would not make the assumption that SCO would not go after the users that you mention. However, SCO has said that they are primarily interested in the enterprises that are reaping financial benefits from what they consider to be illegal use of their code. Good question, but I could only speculate because I don't know how far SCO is willing to go with this.
MozillaQuest Magazine: How about Linux kernel, GNU/Linux OS, and Linux distribution developers?
Bill Claybrook: Same answer.
MozillaQuest Magazine: In your report, you say:
MozillaQuest Magazine: Is the SCO-owned Unix code that allegedly was copied into "Linux" copied into the kernel.org Linux kernel, some other hacked or patched kernel, the GNU/Linux operating system, a Linux distribution, or elsewhere?
Bill Claybrook: The code that I was shown was reputed to be from Unix System V source and from Linux source that had been modified by a large IHV. I did not have the source code for the 2.2, 2.4, and 2.5 (development) Linux kernels with me to compare, nor do I recall more than a few thousand lines by memory (my limit), but SCO said that the Linux code is in those three kernels which may tell you something about how long ago this alleged copying took place.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Were there any IHVs involved in the original Linux kernel development by Linux Torvalds and others in the early 1990's?
Bill Claybrook: I don't know, but my guess and it is only a guess, that there probably was not if you are talking 1991-1993. I have also not heard of any, so likely no. Please see sidebar Note.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Since it is IHVs that have allegedly copied Unix code into the "Linux" code-base, does that mean that the Linux kernel was not derived from Unix as SCO-Caldera claims?
Bill Claybrook: I did not say that only IHVs have allegedly copied Unix System V code into Linux. I don't have a list of any of the alleged violators, except SCO did say that IBM has copied Unix System V code into Linux. I personally find that hard to believe because IBM has one of the best screening processes of any major supplier for making sure that code does not move into Linux. And SCO said no to IBM's copying the first time I asked the question and then several hours later changed their answer to the one that I just gave. (Emphasis added. This is not the first time SCO's Chris Sontag has changed what he says.)
MozillaQuest Magazine: How about the GNU/Linux operating system?
MozillaQuest Magazine: This interviewer is somewhat confused here. You say:
But later on you say:
It seems that in one instance you are saying IBM is not one of the IHVs that put SCO-owned code into "Linux" and then later it seems that you are saying that IBM allegedly put SCO-owned code into "Linux". Could you explain that please?
Bill Claybrook: I was referring only to the code that I saw. The specific code that I saw was not copied by IBM, according to SCO, but by some other large IHV. Later they did say that IBM had copied source code from System V to Linux, but I saw no examples of that. (Emphasis added.)
MozillaQuest Magazine: If you are referring to an IHV other than IBM, how did IHVs (independent hardware vendors) get SCO-Owned Unix code into "Linux"? Or is this code tainting restricted to products the IHVs sell?
Bill Claybrook: I don't know how they got the code into Linux. If the large IHV did copy the code as SCO says, then, presumably, a developer or developers working for the large IHV was working on Linux and copied the code. I have no knowledge of who the IHV is or what products they sell or if they even sell Linux products (however, I would assume that they do).
MozillaQuest Magazine: You say,
and that you were shown only 80 lines of code. Are any or all of these 80 lines of code already in the public domain and/or well-known enough so as not to be trade secrets?
Bill Claybrook: I did not say that I was shown only 80 lines of code. I was shown much more code than 80 lines plus comments but about 80 lines of code/comments were identical in the two sets of code. The code that I saw was in a very common Unix kernel function that anyone who has done Unix or Linux kernel development has seen. I don't get the connection with respect to trade secrets. We are just talking about some C code here that SCO claims was copied. (Emphasis added.)
Bill Claybrook: The code and comments that were allegedly copied were not 80 contiguous lines of code and comments. The comments in some cases had another sentence inserted into the allegedly copied comments, but in the sections of the code that were copied, the code was identical with no inserted code.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Are these 80 lines of code that you were shown exactly identical in SCO-owned Unix and "Linux" or just similar?
Bill Claybrook: The lines of code that were claimed to be copied were identical even the spacing was identical.
MozillaQuest Magazine: To the extent that SCO owns the Unix copyrights and/or patents, do these 80 lines of code out of, what, maybe four-million lines of "Linux" code, suffice to constitute either a copyright infringement and/or a patent infringement?
Bill Claybrook: I'm not a lawyer. I don't know how many lines it takes. But SCO claims that there are other pieces of code that has been copied.
MozillaQuest Magazine: To the extent that these 80 lines of code are under SCO-owned Unix copyrights or patents, how easy would it be for the Linux kernel and/or GNU/Linux developers to yank that code and replace it? How long would it take to do that?
Bill Claybrook: I think for this particular function, it would not take long. I couldn't do it anymore, but maybe you could. But for derivative code like the NUMA technology code that SCO claims IBM has moved to Linux, it could take many person years.
MozillaQuest Magazine: This is particularly interesting:
MozillaQuest Magazine: Who made those statements? How much time elapsed between the "no" and then the revised "We have that code" statement?
Bill Claybrook: I asked the question of Chris Sontag. Several hours.
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.
Related MozillaQuest Articles
SCO-Caldera v IBM: