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SCO to Detail its Case against Linux to IBM by Monday

SCO to Detail its Case against Linux to IBM by Monday

At press time, the SCO Group expected that by Monday, January 12, it would turn over to IBM all the evidence it had of Linux' alleged infringement on SCO-owned Unix IP that IBM asked for in its motion to compel discovery last month, thereby meeting its court-imposed 30-day deadline, according to SCO spokesman Blake Stowell.

Provided IBM is satisfied with what SCO turns over, SCO expects to be back in court on Friday January 23 pursuing its own motion to compel IBM to turn over its AIX Unix source code to SCO. IBM previously turned over to SCO the Dynix UNIX source code that it acquired when it bought Sequent. SCO claims Linux got many of its high-end skills like SMP from the Sequent code.

SCO, which has a $3 billion breach-of-contract suit lodged against IBM, continues to maintain that having to spell out its case against Linux is an idle exercise because IBM knows darn well what Unix code it put in Linux. The motion to compel order also requires SCO to say what it thinks other vendors besides IBM poached from Unix and stuck in Linux.

Although the Linux camp would give practically anything to know the details of SCO's allegations, IBM is expected to threat the material as confidential, Stowell said.

The most detailed exposition of SCO's case given so far happened right before Christmas when the company sent "select" Fortune 1000 Linux users a letter citing 65 Unix header files in Linux that allegedly trifle with SCO IP.

In the letter SCO claimed its copyright notices were removed when Linux pinched the files and that, as a result, Linux violates the US Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that the music industry has been using to fight wholesale piracy of copyrighted songs.

The letter said the Fortune 1000s had one of three choices: either pay SCO one-time royalties of $699 per CPU for the privilege of running Linux or pull all the illegal header files out of Linux and cripple almost all the applications Linux can currently run or go to court.

The Linux establishment, including Linux creator and namesake Linus Torvalds, who has been subpoenaed in the SCO case, scoffed at SCO's list of header files claiming they were either original to Linux, or widgetry required by standards like Posix and C or similar because there's a limited number of ways to program.

Torvalds said he personally wrote a couple of the files himself, "ugly" and primitive though they may be, without copying from Unix and that he could prove it, apparently by the bugs.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
Rick 01/11/04 05:48:37 AM EST

Although this is a report of claims by Mr. Stowell, I feel that the Author should have taken note of the simple fact that the judge's order DIRECTLY REFUTES Mr. Stowell's claim that "SCO expects to be back in court on Friday January 23 pursuing its own motion to compel IBM to turn over its AIX Unix source code...".

The JUDGE, not Mr Stowell, has set the agenda for this hearing. The only issues which will be discussed are possible IBM dissatisfaction with the adequacy of TSG's ("The SCO Group", formerly Caldera) new discovery submissions, and TSG's responses (defending those submissions as being sufficiently).

The judge will decide, AFTER reviewing the hearing arguements, that TSG has or has not "fully complied" with the December 5th Court Order. TSG and its counsel would be OUT OF ORDER if they attempt ANY discussion of their Motion To Compel (stayed in the December 5th Order) at the hearing on Jan 23. They must wait until AFTER the Judge has found that their submissions "fully" comply with the current action (compelling SCO to provide more discovery items to IBM).

These are statements of fact, not opinion, and they are highly relevant for readers. If the Author is accurate in quoting Mr. Stowell on this matter, then he is either a liar, or he is unqualified to discuss such legal matters.

Bruce 01/10/04 08:13:46 PM EST

"SCO, which has a $3 billion breach-of-contract suit lodged against IBM, continues to maintain that having to spell out its case against Linux is an idle exercise because IBM knows darn well what Unix code it put in Linux." by Maureen O'Gara

And regardless of what SCO maintains, they are under a court order to answer the interrogatories with specificity. If specificity is 'actually' an idle exercise for SCO, they shouldn't have too much problem complying with the court order. VBG

"The letter said the Fortune 1000s had one of three choices: either pay SCO one-time royalties of $699 per CPU for the privilege of running Linux or pull all the illegal header files out of Linux and cripple almost all the applications Linux can currently run or go to court." by Maureen O'Gara

Are you sure? Did the letter say that or did Darl McBride say that verbally in a conference?

Thanks.

Paul 01/09/04 08:25:41 PM EST

In this case, LinuxWorld is reporting on, not editorializing about, what SCO said. They're doing their job correctly, and to do otherwise would be disrespectful to us, their readers. Look for plenty of editorials - and hopefully the legal system - to point out the sillyness of the SCO claim.

Bob 01/09/04 02:29:05 PM EST

There is a certain lack of respect for the readership in the reporting of this case. It is certainly not confined to LinuxWorld; many other publications are worse.

It strikes me as almost contemptuous to tell us that "SCO... continues to maintain that having to spell out its case against Linux is an idle exercise because IBM knows darn well what Unix code it put in Linux."

It may be true that they are saying this, but there is nothing about our legal system to suggest that such a statement is anything but arm-waving silliness. Imagine a prosecutor saying, "We need bring no evidence, for the defendant knows full well what he did." That wouldn't fly in a badly-written TV show, let alone a real courtroom.

Yet this and similar statements by SCO are continually being reported in the media as if they have some merit. Can it really be the case that the reporters themselves do not understand basic things about how our legal system works? If Blake Stowell next claims that linux was written by space aliens and smuggled to Earth by IBM, will that also be reported as if it were seriously in dispute?