Re: SCO's case against IBM (and Linux) just got weaker

From: Bill Unruh (
Date: 02/09/04

Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 22:46:12 +0000 (UTC)

"Kurt" <> writes:

]> 4. We need the latest AIX source code to perform the comparison.

]Well thats absurd.

]SCO "own" SYS V code - although they are only just once licensee to it,
]they can protect the value of that license.

They claim that the copyright was transfered to them, and thus the
copyright to the code belongs to them.

]AIX contains SYS V code - IBM has a license to SYS V , so IBM release
]binaries based on SYS V, but not the source code.

Yes, but according to SCO, that license was terminated by SCO and IBM is
thus not allowed to use any code derived from that licensed code
anymore. It was terminated according to SCO because IBM released some of
the code as public code in code they wrote for Linux. Why SCO would need
the AIX code to look at what is linux is obscure. And why they would
claim that some of the linux code is hidden is even more obscure.

]But wy would later versions of AIX contain any extra SYS V code ?
]SYS V is such old technology.

Now technologies are usually built on old technologies. If it is it is
derived from the old code and shares the copyright of the old code.

Ie, if you use Bind 8 and rewrite portions by changing bind 8 then your
code is derived from bind 8 and must satisfy the license conditions of
bind 8

]The copyright breaches are meant to be limited to only a very short list of
]They arent looking for entire slabs of code here.

Yes, they claim that there are huge slabs. They just have not found them

]SCO are wanting to prove IBM was responsible for a copyright breach, as well
]as to prove that Linux contains copyrighted code.


]The copyright breach is so trivial and so easily fixed , and besides they
]wont get a payout.

No. They claim that IBM took SysV and rewrote it for use in AIX. They
then took that code from AIX and rewrote it for Linux. But if that is
what happened then the Linux code is derived from the SysV code and
shares in teh copyright of the SysV code. They claim that there are huge
bunches of linux (all the smp stuff has been mentioned), but that they
need to look at AIX to follow up the forensic trail to show that the
code came from SCO proprietary stuff, went into AIX, got changed through
generations of AIX versions, and finally went out, greatly changed, into
Linux. But is A->B->C->D->E....->Z where at each step the code is just a
changed version of the previous one (rather than independently invented
or created) then Z is a derivative work of A no matter how Z is changed
so as to be unrecognizable in its derivation from A. Thus they demand to
see all AIX code from the beginning so that they can trace this chain of
derivation. That is their theory.
Now at what point such a chain breaks is I think legally unclear. But
the judge seems to be saying "Horseshit-- I will only consider Z as
derived from A if Z shares substantial similarity with A"
So SCO should by looking at the end result, Z-- whichis open source
Linux-- be able to say which sections are similar enough to Ai (SCO
claimed code) for a case to proceed.

]they want to make IBM responsible so that the court may then decide that
]SCO 'owns' Linux.

SCO will never own linux. At best SCO would show that they were damaged
by the inclusion of their code in Linux and ask for damages.
Their theory is that if they show that Linux contains proprietary code,
they can then ask all the users of linux for damages, a theory I do not
think any court has ever upheld (they do not award damages against
innocent third parties). Linux would then be forced to change the
infringing code, or cease distribution.

]Why would anyone pay for a license fee to SCO for linux ? SCO owns 0.001%
]of linux, so if the license fee for SCO's bit was $1000, then linux must be
]worth $1,000,000 per machine.

That is simply protection money. In the past people went around to
businesses and said "If you do not pay us, you might find mysterious
fires breaking out on your premises." SCO says "If you do not pay up, we
may sue you, as we are entitled to do" Now their chance of winning the
suit are zero, but the cost to the business of defending against the
suit could be very high. So you pay the protection money.
That seems to be the theory.

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