[clug] Online protest against SCO

Martin Pool mbp at samba.org
Tue May 27 16:45:03 EST 2003

On 27 May 2003, Basil Chupin <blchupin at tpg.com.au> wrote:

> There is quite a bit of information being put forward in the SuSE mail 
> group called suse-linux-e (e for English). If you go to the SuSE site to 
> the mail groups and interrogate this 'group looking for a poster called 
> Fred A Miller you will get URLs for media articles on this topic. For 
> example, this one is quite interesting: 
> http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030522.html .

It's a decent summary but I think Cringely is losing his touch

   IBM has made a point not to do anything with the Linux source code.
   They've taken the role of a Linux reseller and nothing more. It
   would be very hard to make a case to treat IBM differently than
   CompUSA or BestBuy.  IBM has ported its software to support Linux.
   IBM has contributed some of its software to the open source
   community.  But you can't be held liable for the guts of Linux if
   you haven't touched the guts of Linux. [...]

What is "not to do anything with the Linux source code" supposed to
mean?  IBM must have dozens, if not hundreds of developers sending
patches, not least of which the people here in Canberra, and certainly
must be using it internally.  I can't think of things much closer to
the guts than the kernel features they've contributed.

Clearly IBM has had a large involvement with Linux.  Nobody is
disputing that.  The question is whether IBM added those features by
new invention or from their wholly-owned code, or by unauthorized
copying from SCO code.

Seeing as SCO UnixWare and OpenServer doesn't even *have* most of the
interesting features (like high-end SMP) that IBM has helped add to
Linux it seems fairly unlikely that it was copied, as ESR explains in

Until SCO point out specific files which are supposed to have been
appropriated the sensible thing is to ignore them like any other

I don't think there is any legitimate legal reason for SCO not to
provide details.  If they were really worried about people using their
proprietary information then surely the responsible thing is to ask
them to stop as soon as possible.

Accusations about this being a particular problem with open source
software are just bizarre.  If IBM programmers could hypothetically
have copied SCO code into Linux then they could equally easily have
copied it into proprietary software.  It would be even harder for SCO
to find, and end users would be in the same situation.


(speaking only for myself)

More information about the linux mailing list