Stallman on SCO: It's No Disaster

Wednesday, June 25 2003 @ 12:24 PM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

Richard Stallman has an article which you can read on ZDNet. He speaks with scorn but also restraint about what SCO is doing, saying they appear to be shaking the tree to see if any money falls down. No matter what they do, he adds, it doesn't really matter, because rewrites are possible and because GNU/Linux is only one possible combination. There are two other kernels that work just fine too:

"I cannot prognosticate about the SCO vs IBM lawsuit itself: I don't know what was in their contract, I don't know what IBM did, and I am not a lawyer. The Free Software Foundation's lawyer, Professor Moglen, believes that SCO gave permission for the community's use of the code that they distributed under the GNU GPL and other free software licenses in their version of GNU/Linux.

"However, I can address the broader issue of such situations. In a community of over half a million developers, we can hardly expect that there will never be plagiarism. But it is no disaster; we discard that material and move on. If there is material in Linux that was contributed without legal authorization, the Linux developers will learn what it is and replace it. SCO cannot use its copyrights, or its contracts with specific parties, to suppress the lawful contributions of thousands of others. Linux itself is no longer essential: the GNU system became popular in conjunction with Linux, but today it also runs with two BSD kernels and the GNU kernel. Our community cannot be defeated by this."

Here's what he didn't say: he didn't say, "I told you so." He didn't say, "SCO are skunks." He did say: if you say GNU/Linux instead of Linux, it helps you to think more clearly, and it would help a lot right now, because if Linux were to fall, Linux the kernel, then people understand right away that GNU/Hurd hits the ground running. In other words, Linux used to be essential, but it no longer is. If they kill the Linux kernel, which he doesn't expect, then a free operating system is still here and no one will be deprived of anything.

In a calm, cerebral way, he is saying: Take that, you big business ethically challenged bully strategists. Now whatcha gonna do?