McBride Silent on Licenses

Thursday, July 10 2003 @ 01:18 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

McBride Silent on Licenses
but Lets Slip Hint Sun Is 2nd Licensee



Yesterday was supposed to be the big announcement about SCO's licenses. However, McBride, in Japan, although he met with the press, told them nothing about that, or at least Silicon.com didn't report anything in its article. He wouldn't say much about the results of his Japan trip either. What he did say though is surprising and may be an unintentional slip of the tongue, or a translation issue (presumably he spoke in Japanese) that seems to indicate that the second licensee, previously shrouded in mystery, is Sun Microsystems:

"'Actually, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems discussed with us, and got licenses from us. I expect we can repeat it with some Japanese counterparts,' said McBride. Also he added that SCO are now under discussion with Hewlett-Packard about Unix licensing."

If so, it might explain how Sun had a PR campaign ready as soon as SCO announced it had "terminated" IBM's AIX license. It also explains their confidence that they had no issues, although at the time, they said it was because they had bought a license 10 years ago. It also puts the Solaris Trap issue back on my radar. Here are some more articles on Sun's half-hearted "open source" (but not really) release of its proprietary Solaris code under the "Sun Community Source License", which is not a free software license, followed by withdrawal of the source.

With regard to SCO's earlier claim that it held IP rights over C++, reported both by ZDNet and MozillaQuest Magazine I have been able to determine that this just isn't so. I contacted the man who wrote C++, Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup and he says, "SCO may own the antique source of Cfront - my original C++ compiler - though I doubt even that. That is irrelevant, though, because the C++ standard upon which all modern C++ is based is 'owned' by the ISO (the International Standards Organization - an international organization reporting to the United Nations). That is, the copyright for the C++ standard is held by the ISO and the various compilers are owned by whoever produce them."

His web page says that ISO standards are specifications intended for "royalty-free use by everyone" once they have paid the ISO or a national standard committee for their copy of the standard. I then went to the ISO web page to verify, and it suggests contacting the national standard committee for your country for questions, and for the US, it is the American Standards Institute, or ANSI. I called them and they verified that C++ is ISO/IEC14882. Then I went back to ISO and they have it available also, here. I think we need a new word: vaporclaims.

Meanwhile, more selling of SCO stock by its execs. Here and here and here.

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