My Lawyer Made Me Do It

Sunday, May 18 2003 @ 12:09 AM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

SCO now says it has no intention of suing Linux users. Their lawyer made them send out their notice, which they say wasn't a warning.

Huh? So ... which is it? Here's a snip on reaction to the SCO mess from the article on Yahoo:

"Meanwhile, SCO's actions have created a backlash among Linux programmers....In any case, SCO's tactics look to some like an act of desperation. 'SCO seems willing to play as hardball and as dirty as they can,' says Gordon Haff, an analyst with IT research firm Illuminata. 'My view is, they want to be bought. I don't see how they can continue in this business long term after this.'"

And here is an interesting thought from Bruce Perens, namely that SCO might have already lost because SCO was also, until this week, a Linux vendor. And the Linux kernel is released under the GPL. Perens points out that if the disputed code was released under the GPL, SCO at that point lost their proprietary rights anyway.

The GPL (General Public License) says this, in relevant part:

"2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

" a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

"b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License. . . .

"These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it."