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Oldies but Goodies
Monday, July 14 2003 @ 01:34 AM EDT

I mentioned last week that SCO/Caldera had at one point released its older UNIX code, what they called "Ancient UNIX". My policy on this blog is to try to say nothing you couldn't prove in a court of law, so to speak, by providing links and references you can all check for yourselves.

You'd have to take my word for it about the release of "Ancient UNIX", though, if you only had the SCO web site to go on. Once again, important historical information that seems directly relevant to their lawsuit has disappeared.

If you start off on Dennis Ritchie's Interesting Links to Computing History, as I did, you will find a link to a press release from 2002 and a link to a license in 2000 regarding the "Ancient UNIX" licenses, but only one of the links still resolves properly, the one to the announcement of the release under the later, BSD, license in 2002. Here's the paragraph from Ritchie's page:

The current nominal proprietor of the source code for early research Unix systems (5th Edition through 32V) is named SCO. Today's SCO was previously called Caldera, Caldera having bought the rights from the earlier instance of SCO. This earlier SCO made them available for research and personal use. Until recently, Caldera did as well; now their offer has been withdrawn, presumably for reasons having to do with their suit against IBM. You can still see an earlier (2000) version of their license but its links don't work. There was also a subsequent, less restrictive, license; its announcement is shown here in PDF format.
The 2000 license page is just gone from the Caldera web site. Instead, you get a message: "No longer available." I then searched Google's cache for the page, but I got the same "No longer available" message. Next I tried Wayback. They do have archives listing the page, but they only go back as far as 2001. And Ritchie specifically mentioned 2000. Here's what the page looked like in 2002 and 2001.

Hmm. I decided to dig a bit deeper.

I next found Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' "Understanding the Microsoft-SCO Connection," and there was a link there to the UNIX Archive Sites page, where you can find a lot of materials.

All of this started me thinking how significant mirrors are, and how important to have available copies of vital historical documents, rather than relying on a corporation to keep negative information available. If SCO's motto is "Catch Me If You Can," Wayback doesn't have everything, and Google's policy is "The 'Cached' link will be missing for sites that have not been indexed, as well as for sites whose owners have requested we not cache their content", [emphasis added] what then?

With that in mind, here is the April 18, 2000 press release from Caldera's PR department, announcing "SCO Contributes to Open Source. . .", which I finally found on Tony Lawrence's "Recent SCO/Linux News" page, itself now historical in nature:

Press release:

From: SCO Information - info@sco.COM
Subject: SCO Contributes to Open Source...
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 15:15:52 GMT
SCO Contributes to the Open Source Community; Kicks Off Open Source Initiatives

Company to Release Key Technologies, Source Code, and Resources for Software Developers; "Ancient" UNIX Source Code Available for Free

LINUX BUSINESS EXPO, CHICAGO IL (April 18, 2000) - The newly formed Server Software Division of SCO today announced that it has ramped up its Open Source efforts with the release of key technologies, contributions, and initiatives to the Open Source Community.

SCO is contributing source code for two developer tools - 'cscope' and 'fur'. The code is released under the terms of the BSD License and will be maintained by SCO. The first technology, cscope, is available to download at Software developers can use cscope to help design and debug programs coded with the C programming language. The second technology, Fur, will be available to download in several weeks. Fur is a real time analysis program used to optimize application and system binaries for more effective run time execution. Dramatic results have been seen in high level applications and database systems using fur.

"SCO is a long-time believer in the innovative power and pace of the Open Systems and Open Source Communities," said John Palmer, vice president of Marketing for SCO's Server Software Division. "The Community has the desire and resources to rapidly utilize and improve quality developer tools, like the tools we are offering. It is our hope that the Community will see the usefulness of these tools and rapidly adopt them to improve Open Source and Linux-based applications."

"Linux is becoming an increasingly popular platform for ISPs and dotcomms," said Victor Krutul, manager of UNIX and Linux Programs at Intel. "Developers of Linux operating systems on the Intel platform will benefit from these contributions which will enable them to optimize existing applications suites and help create new applications."

SCO is releasing additional source code for reference use in an effort to improve industry standard Open Source tools and technologies. These technologies will be available to download in the next few weeks. Additionally, SCO has simplified its "Ancient" UNIX program and waived the $100 processing fee. Anyone will be able to log onto the SCO web site and download historically preserved UNIX code for educational and non-commercial use.

About Linux and SCO Open Source
Over the last year, SCO has expanded its strategic business opportunities in the Linux and Open Source markets. SCO has announced an alliance and investment in and a strategic business relationship with TurboLinux. Most recently, SCO announced that it has taken an equity position in Caldera Systems, Inc. Last year, SCO announced a comprehensive set of Linux and Open Source-related professional services.

As a corporate member of Linux International, SCO is a strong proponent of the Open Source movement, citing it as a driving force for innovation and business opportunities. SCO has contributed source code to the movement with c-scope and fur, and currently offers a free Open License Software Supplement (Skunkware) CD that includes many cutting-edge Open Source technologies.

See for more on SCO's Linux and Open Source activity.

Note to Editors: SCO will be in booth L3276 in the Linux Business Expo, which is co-located with Spring Comdex in Chicago.

About SCO
SCO (NASDAQ: SCOC) is a global leader in server-based software for networked business computing. The market-leading UNIX server software from SCO runs non-stop businesses worldwide. The SCO Tarantella family of software products provides instant web access to applications running on all leading servers, enabling businesses to access and manage information anywhere, anytime. SCO Professional Services help businesses plan, deploy and maintain UNIX, Linux and Tarantella environments. Visit SCO on the web at

SCO, The Santa Cruz Operation, the SCO logo, the Tarantella logo, Tarantella, and UnixWare are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. in the USA and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the US and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other brand or product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.

The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. and SCO Skunkware are not related to, affiliated with or licensed by the famous Lockheed Martin Skunk Works(r), the creator of the F-117 Stealth Fighter, SR-71, U-2, Venturestar(tm), Darkstar(tm), and other pioneering air and spacecraft.

Tom Fox-Sellers
Public Relations Specialist, Linux & Open Source
Tel: 831-427-7049
Press:"[emphasis added]

So, there you have it. They really did release Ancient UNIX source code. [Update: I now find this also on PR Newswire. Note that SCO praises itself for distributing Skunkware, which included GPL'd code and in fact code that SCO later tried to sue over, like errno.h and other header files.] I mention this because there was a long discussion on this thread, including Dennis Ritchie, where folks produced a private email from Caldera about this release but worried that a private email might not be enough to prove they really did release Ancient UNIX. Greg Lehey, who had a copy of the original license, not the later, BSD, one posted some of the terms of the original license here, which I reproduce:
2.1 (a) CALDERA INTERNATIONAL, INC. grants to LICENSEE a personal, nontransferable and nonexclusive right to use, in the AUTHORIZED COUNTRY, each SOURCE CODE PRODUCT identified in Section 3 of this AGREEMENT, solely for personal use (as restricted in Section 2.1(b)) and solely on or in conjunction with DESIGNATED CPUs, and/or Networks of CPUs, licensed by LICENSEE through this SPECIAL SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT for such SOURCE CODE PRODUCT. Such right to use includes the right to modify such SOURCE CODE PRODUCT and to prepare DERIVED BINARY PRODUCT based on such SOURCE CODE PRODUCT, provided that any such modification or DERIVED BINARY PRODUCT that contains any part of a SOURCE CODE PRODUCT subject to this AGREEMENT is treated hereunder the same as such SOURCE CODE PRODUCT. CALDERA INTERNATIONAL, INC. claims no ownership interest in any portion of such a modification or DERIVED BINARY PRODUCT that is not part of a SOURCE CODE PRODUCT.
[Emphasis added] That last is an interesting tidbit, don't you think? No ownership interest in derived code. There is such a disconnect between old SCO and now SCO. It's all very 1984. In any case, they later re-released under the BSD, which is even looser in its terms. So, gentlemen, here you are, a bit of the proof you were looking for, my small contribution to history.

Someone else on the thread posted this link, where you find the book "Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution", including this chapter, "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix -- From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable" by Marshall Kirk McKusick, who was involved in the BSDi lawsuit, which briefly covers the early history of UNIX, including the lawsuit, and I found this vital piece:

With the increasing cost of the AT&T source licenses, vendors that wanted to build standalone TCP/IP-based networking products for the PC market using the BSD code found the per-binary costs prohibitive. So, they requested that Berkeley break out the networking code and utilities and provide them under licensing terms that did not require an AT&T source license. The TCP/IP networking code clearly did not exist in 32/V and thus had been developed entirely by Berkeley and its contributors. The BSD originated networking code and supporting utilities were released in June 1989 as Networking Release 1, the first freely-redistributable code from Berkeley.

The licensing terms were liberal. A licensee could release the code modified or unmodified in source or binary form with no accounting or royalties to Berkeley. The only requirements were that the copyright notices in the source file be left intact and that products that incorporated the code indicate in their documentation that the product contained code from the University of California and its contributors. Although Berkeley charged a $1,000 fee to get a tape, anyone was free to get a copy from anyone who already had received it. Indeed, several large sites put it up for anonymous ftp shortly after it was released. Given that it was so easily available, the CSRG was pleased that several hundred organizations purchased copies, since their fees helped fund further development....

At the preliminary hearing [in the lawsuit] for the injunction, BSDI contended that they were simply using the sources being freely distributed by the University of California plus six additional files. They were willing to discuss the content of any of the six added files, but did not believe that they should be held responsible for the files being distributed by the University of California. The judge agreed with BSDI's argument and told USL that they would have to restate their complaint based solely on the six files or he would dismiss it. Recognizing that they would have a hard time making a case from just the six files, USL decided to refile the suit against both BSDI and the University of California. As before, USL requested an injunction on the shipping of Networking Release 2 from the University and on the BSDI products.

With the impending injunction hearing just a few short weeks away, preparation began in earnest. All the members of the CSRG were deposed as were nearly everyone employed at BSDI. Briefs, counter-briefs, and counter-counter-briefs flew back and forth between the lawyers. Keith Bostic and I personally had to write several hundred pages of material that found its way into various briefs.

In December 1992, Dickinson R. Debevoise, a United States District Judge in New Jersey, heard the arguments for the injunction. Although judges usually rule on injunction requests immediately, he decided to take it under advisement. On a Friday about six weeks later, he issued a forty-page opinion in which he denied the injunction and threw out all but two of the complaints. The remaining two complaints were narrowed to recent copyrights and the possibility of the loss of trade secrets. He also suggested that the matter should be heard in a state court system before being heard in the federal court system...a settlement was finally reached in January 1994. The result was that three files were removed from the 18,000 that made up Networking Release 2, and a number of minor changes were made to other files. In addition, the University agreed to add USL copyrights to about 70 files, although those files continued to be freely redistributed.

How SCO will get around this, I have no idea. What a great idea they had to collect all the memories of those who were part of this history, and to make it available to read freely online. If you wish to buy it in paper form, you can.

Why would SCO want to get rid of the older, *more strict* license information, when it would seem to help them? According the TUHS thread, the old license, which you can read here, said this:

The SOURCE CODE PRODUCTS to which SCO grants rights under this Agreement are restricted to the following UNIX Operating Systems, including SUCCESSOR OPERATING SYSTEMs, that operate on the 16-Bit PDP-11 CPU and early versions of the 32-Bit UNIX Operating System with specific exclusion of UNIX System V and successor operating systems:

16-Bit UNIX Editions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

32-bit 32V"

As was pointed out in the online conversation, "This implies that System III on the PDP11 is covered by this license, as SCO has the legal rights to System III and it is a SUCCESSOR OPERATING SYSTEM." The later BSD license (a pdf) had this clause, in contrast:
The source code for which Caldera International, Inc. grants rights are limited to the following UNIX Operating Systems that operate on the 16-Bit PDP-11 CPU and early versions of the 32-Bit UNIX Operating System, with specific exclusion of UNIX System III and UNIX System V and successor operating systems:
32-bit 32V UNIX

16 bit UNIX Versions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7"

This license specifically excludes System III, whereas the earlier one doesn't. Presumably then, derivative code from System III is free as a bird, or at least not owned by SCO. The early license had plenty of trade secret chains.

Another discovery of note, Warren Toomey on this page mentions that despite the earlier, more restrictive license, you could access System III source code directly, with no click-through license, on Caldera's web site, at, not that he recommended it. That was in March of 2003. It's been removed now in any case. I am listing it here only so as to make the history complete and because you never know who might read this and find it useful. It's evidence that SCO was careless in this case when it came to protecting their "trade secret" on System III. That's how you lose them. Toomey here says that he had emailed SCO about it "many months ago" (this was written in March of this year) "but they haven't fixed it yet."

If SCO is trying to erase uncomfortable history, they will find it a losing battle. There are too many people who care and too many still alive who helped write UNIX and remember everything. A lot of them have a lot of material handy on old boxen down in the basement and in paper files in the attic, as well as in their memories. Anything anyone wants to donate, just let me know, no matter how seemingly insignificant. I'll gladly post whatever is relevant to this lawsuit. Every little detail is helpful.

It seems important to clearly demonstrate as complete a chain of ownership as is now possible, rather than relying on the lawsuit to bring out all the information. For one thing, as happened in the BSDi case, it isn't unusual in a settlement for both sides to agree that all the documents associated with the case be sealed. Should there in the future ever be another such anti-Linux legal attack, and I fully expect that to happen, it'd be a fine thing to have all the history available. It might even make it less likely that future such attacks will occur. It's my impression that if SCO had understood the GPL from the get-go, they might have followed a very different strategy. Certainly, it appears it'd be hard if not impossible to successfully sue over any System III code now.

If, by any chance anyone out there has a copy of the early license from AT&T for UNIX in the early days, for example, I'd surely like to see it. What interests me the most is, who got copyrights? Do any of the original contributors retain any rights? If they think not, what makes them assume that? Was there a written transfer of such rights? How did it work? I read somewhere that AT&T would accept contributions but the deal was that you gave up all credit. But was that in writing? Anybody have any details to flesh out this picture or can point me in the right direction? Obviously, it'd be great if any of the UNIX gray beards shared copyright rights with SCO in UNIX. I know it's a long shot, but I'm very curious.

In my own Quest for Knowledge, I came across this "history" of UNIX. The author writes as if he were researching an ancient cult. I laughed, which I think must mean I have the basics sorted out now in the UNIX history spaghetti. Anyway, sometimes I need a break from all the serious digging.


Oldies but Goodies | 6 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 14 2003 @ 11:54 AM EDT
Rather OT, but I can't seem to find anything recent about Ransom Love. Not
listed on, search on SCO's site turns up only
pre-McBride history, same with Google. I am sure his take on this case would be
fascinating. If he could talk...
Greg T Hill

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 14 2003 @ 08:38 PM EDT
Here's the most recent I have seen:

http://www.practical "Ransom Love speaks about UnitedLinux, SCO & Where He's Going Now" -- 10/1/2002 by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

You could contact Mr. Vaughan-Nichols. He might know something more recent.

If you do, let me know what you find out. I'm working on something else right now, but down the road, it'd be interesting indeed to contact him.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, July 14 2003 @ 10:00 PM EDT
Thanks for the link. Very rosy "It's all good, I'm excited to be moving on..."
I sent Vaugn-Nichols an email suggesting a follow-up interview. We'll see... style="height: 2px; width: 20%; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: auto;">Greg T

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, July 15 2003 @ 12:11 PM EDT
Regarding the above, it ain't gonna happen. Response was off the record so I
won't post it but was what one would suspect.
Greg T Hill

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, July 16 2003 @ 05:07 PM EDT
I'm glad you followed through. No comment is also a comment. Besides, our goal
here is to leave no stone unturned.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oldies but Goodies
Authored by: pcunix on Saturday, December 13 2003 @ 07:49 AM EST
You said

"With that in mind, here is the April 18, 2000 press release from
Caldera's pr department, announcing "SCO Contributes to Open Source. .
.", which I finally found on Tom Lawrence's "Recent SCO/Linux
News" page, itself now historical in nature (it used to be a how-to

I'm Tony Lawrence, owner of that site. I'm not Tom :-)

Nor is my site "now historical in nature" - it still is an active
"how-to" site for Unix, Linux and Mac OS X. Of course I have
archives, but there is new content every single day! We have published over 424
new articles in the past 6 months.. 18 in the first two weeks of this month
alone - hardly a "historical site" :-)

If "Research is, however, what paras do", you didn't do it very
well here..

[ Reply to This | # ]

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