McBride Interviewed by Heise

Friday, August 22 2003 @ 03:37 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

Slashdot Translation Snips of the Heise Interviews

Obviously, I can't vouch for the accuracy, except that it seems to match the computer translation, except for making good English sense, so here it is:

c't: Mr. Sontag, the code sequences shown by you on the forum have been analyzed by experts. Result: Silicon graphics inserted them into Linux, not IBM

Chris Sontag: That is right. This example is not from IBM, but another of our licensees. At the moment, I cannot comment on who it is.

c't: The copy is supposed to go much further back than your rights on Unix. Moreover, it is said to have already been distributed by AT&T under the BSD licence, therefore freely accessible, and could have entered into Linux that way.

Sontag: That's completely wrong. We posess all files of this code with the complete source tree (lit: pedigree) in all version, up to the origin in 1969. We have looked through all tapes and all versions of the code. The code in question dates from exactly the version of Unix System V which we have delivered to SGI and licenced with a signed contract. This version was at the disposal of the licensee, and it was never in BSD or other releases. And the letter-by-letter copy of this version is found in Linux. We want to point out such flagrant breaches.

c't: But this evidence is useless in the dispute with IBM?

Sontag: Correct.

c't: Why then are you demonstrating exactly this code publicly as evidence? You are sueing IBM.

Sontag: We found several kinds of breaches of copyright and of contracts. Literal copying of code was the most obvious kind, and we wanted to prove this as well. Therefore, we have shown it in the public talk, and demonstrate the example also unter terms of an NDA. In the case of IBM, we have not yet found such cases of verbatim copying, but we have not examined everything yet. With IBM, this is above all about a different kind of breach of contract, namely the transfer of derived results on a very large scale. The licensing agreement provides that all changes and derived products remain within the originally licensed body of work. . . .

Darl McBride talked about the authorship of SGI of the code examples demonstrated by SCO, which Chris Sontag didn't want to confirm. In his interview with c't, the head of SCO was less shy in naming names.

c't: The code examples you demonstrated are said to be entered into Linux by Silicon Graphics, not IBM

Darl McBride: That's right, these were examples for literal copying from Unix into Linux, which happened at SGI.

c't: Does SGI have to prepare itself for a billion-dollar law suit?

McBride: Possible. For sure they're not on the safe side. But currently, we are fully focusing on the IBM case, this takes enough of our energy and ressources. . . .

c't: Others have made their decision for Linux already a long time ago, especially public governments. In Europe, as well as in China, there's big support for Linux. Don't you fear negative consequences from that side?

McBride: That is thinkable, but it can't stop us from getting our rights. By the way, we have just hired Gregory Blepp from SuSE for international business. He's from the Linux side and is supposed to help us with international business development.

c't: You are acting fairly belligerent on this forum. You declared war against open source, since it becomes destructive for the software industry. Does the whole movement have to die so that a few software companies can live well?

McBride: Actually, that was more aimed at the GPL, not open source as a whole. There's a lot of very valuable effort in open source. But the extreme interpretation that nobody himself owns anything that he developed himself, that can't remain like this. With this, created value gets destroyed. The GPL must change or it will not survive in the long run. I have discussed with many exponents of the open source side about this already.

c't: And what did they tell you?

McBride: The spectrum of views is very broad. Let's put it this way: With some, I could discuss reasonably about the fact that a software company needs to earn money. But not with all of them, I could find a common denominator.