They "Show" the Code

Tuesday, August 19 2003 @ 04:27 AM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

Well, those slides went to SCOForum, even if Boies didn't. Here's the mainstream account:

"Sontag then showed, in a series of slides, Linux code that he claimed has been literally copied from Unix. He said numerous comments, unusual spellings and typographical errors had also been copied directly into Linux.

"Much of the Unix code in the slides was obscured, because the company wants to keep its intellectual property under wraps, but SCO is allowing people who want to see a more extensive side-by-side comparison during the conference to do so if they sign a nondisclosure agreement."

For Your Eyes Only, I guess. Somebody at the conference is posting to Yahoo! Finance as Korbomite, and his account of what he saw isn't exactly the same:

"McBride showed a number of what I would have thought were classroom exercises in a first-year c programming class. One side was marked as 'Linux,' one as UNIX®. The code seemed to be basic iterative programming and set-up code, as you would see in any text or on a test. Primarily, it seemed to be initializations of variables and set-up of stacks and heaps. At no time was there any explanation of or provision to provenance of either code example. No one brought up the general availability of the Linux source tree and the time it has been available vs. the date of SCO's filing. No one questioned the sheer AMOUNT of claimed code vs. the total in the kernel/module space. There WERE striking similarities in the examples, but there were also differences."

I see CNET reporting that the crowd burst into applause at one point. Korbomite says there were "far fewer" than 1,000 people there. I haven't seen that pointed out anywhere else. And when they applauded, it was about OpenServer's features, which include ... um... Samba, a GPLd product. Bit of a disconnect there.

ITWorld reports that they are now claiming a million lines of code, derivative code, not direct copying. eWeek says the same thing, adding that Sontag says "it's highly unlikely the matter could be resolved by removing that code". No, you won't let us remove it. Then the case would be over. Talking derivative code instead of copying means nothing can be fixed until we go to trial and hear their "rocket scientists" testify to how they used "spectral analysis" to find common code. Rocket scientists found the allegedly infringing code. Anything sound fishy to you about that?

Here's the CRN description:

"While it was difficult to ascertain the exact code being shown on screen, attorneys pointed to exact copying of some code from Unix to Linux and claimed that IBM improperly donated almost a million lines of Unix System V code to the Linux 2.4x and Linux 2.5x kernel that infringe on its Unix System V contract with SCO -- and SCO's intellectual property.

"SCO claimed that much of the core code of Linux including Non-Uniform Memory Access, the Read Copy Update for high-end database scalability, Journaling File System, XFS, Schedulers, Linux PPC 32 and 64-bit support and enterprise volume management is covered by SCO's Unix System V contracts and copyrights.

"For example, 110,000 lines of Unix System V code for read copy update, 55,000 lines of NUMA code and more than 750,000 lines of symmetric multi-processing code from Unix System V has made its way into Linux, attorneys and SCO executives claimed."

Again, McBride compared GNU/Linux users to pirates:

"'We're fighting for a right in the industry to make a living selling software,' McBride said. 'The whole notion that software should be free is something SCO doesn't stand for. We have drawn the line. We're supposed to be excited about that and we're not. . . . '

"Globally, it's not just about Red hat and IBM. There are a lot of issues around IP with music, and in Hollywood. We are in the software industry having these issues and this can have a significant impact going forward. The evidence we have is strong.'"

So, you've been warned, coders. SCO won't stand for it if you let people use your code for free.

And this tidbit: It seems HP is their new best friend, to hear McBride tell it:

"But SCO's McBride said that there are two companies he has no intention of going after: Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc. 'We have no problems with Sun and HP with regards to infringement as both have honored the conditions of their Unix license contracts and operated within these,' he said."

Seems they are planning on rolling out a 64-bit UNIX for Itanium 2 one of these days:

"SCO Group Inc is proving its commitment to the future of Unix on Intel Corp processors by announcing plans for new versions of its OpenServer and UnixWare flavors and a new 64-bit version for Itanium 2.

"The Lindon, Utah-based company has been through multiple projects to develop a 64-bit version of Unix for Intel in the past, most recently Project Monterey with IBM Corp, which led in part to the current legal battle between the two companies.

"SCO said it will be careful not to infringe on any information gained through those projects in the development of SCO Unix 9, the new 64-bit variant due for release in 2005."

What are the odds of this staying out of the case? My favorite quotation? One SCO exec said, "Under the microscope we're in, I'm sure we'll do the right thing." That's as opposed to when they are not being watched closely, I presume. Here, it says they have formed a partnership with Open Systems, Inc., a company that does accounting software for Windows, UNIX, and Linux. Here's what Open Systems, Inc.'s VP of Marketing Mil Miketic has to say about what they will be working on together with SCO:

"'SCO is a strategic partner for Open Systems,' said Miketic. 'Both of our organizations share a common target market, and we can leverage our combined channel strengths to take advantage of the rising popularity of Linux applications in creating accounting solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.'"

So, maybe the actual explanation is that SCO wishes to grab Linux for itself, claim ownership, get the GPL invalidated, get paid royalties, and then...profit! And this is about honoring IP? What about the owners of the GPL code? Planning on at least sharing the loot with the guys who actually wrote the code and didn't turn over their copyrights to you, you SCO pirates? Of course, I could be hallucinating, I suppose.

A bit more explanation from Moglen in the Register, on the GPL.