[clug] sec: unclassified - Samba Team, on SCO and sweet irony

Mark Harrison m.harrison at anu.edu.au
Thu Aug 21 12:33:56 EST 2003

Not really illegal, I think.

If the GPL is invalid, then there is effectively no license attached to
Samba, so SCO could do what they like with it. If you violate someone
elses copyright, then that is kinda illegal. But if you just fail to
apply copyright properly to your own property, then you are just

When SCO downloaded Samba, that copy became their property and SCO would
like us to think that there are no restrictions at all on their use of
that property. Becuase SCO _choose_ to relicense Samba under the GPL
(they dont have to becuase there are no restrictions on what they can
do), they are simply making the same totally legal mistake that the
Samba team made. (assuming that SCO are right).

SCO seem to be making two points.
1) Anyone who writes software and releases it under the GPL is really
releasing it with no copyright protections at all. There is nothing
'illegal' about this - it just gives SCO the right to do whatever they
want with GPLed code.
2) In addition, they are sayng that their code was stolen and that is
where where the illegality comes in. If you use Linux post 2.2, then SCO
claim you are using stolen code. And that is illegal.

So, their whole challenge of the GPL seems to be totally beside the
point and more of a distraction tactic. But, if people are keen to
hassle the ACCC about SCO, then if you have released software under the
GPL then SCO might be misleading your licensees and that does not sound
legal. If the ACCC decided to listen, then anyone in Asutralia who had
released software under the GPL (Linux or not) would have legitimate
grounds to make a complaint to the ACCC about SCO.


On Thu, 2003-08-21 at 10:46, Kim Holburn wrote:
> It's interesting.  If, heaven forbid, SCO argues successfully that the GPL is invalid it will itself have been acting illegally using Samba!!!!
> Kim
> At 9:46 AM +1000 03/8/21, Ellis, LCDR Peter wrote:
> >For the few who may not slavishly read http://Slashdot.org ...
> >
> >
> >Posted by CmdrTaco <http://cmdrtaco.net/>  on Wednesday August 20, @11:42AM
> >from the sweet-sweet-irony dept.
> >An anonymous reader noted an article talking about the Samba Team's
> >Statement to SCO <http://linuxtoday.com/developer/2003082001326OSCYNT> .
> >While Darl McBride blasts the GPL, his company simultaneously announces the
> >use of Samba 3 in their OpenServer product. I'm not sure if it breaks my
> >heart or boils my blood to read this stuff. Probably a little of both.
> >
> >
> >:-)
> >
> >Peter

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