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Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Friday, January 30 2004 @ 11:53 PM EST

This article is the result of a group research project, compiled and primarily written by Frank Sorenson with Pamela Jones. The special footnoted article explaining some of the terms for nonprogrammers was written by Nick Richards. The research group was primarily composed of Frank Sorenson, Dr. Stupid, Harlan Wilkerson, Rand McNatt, Roland Buresund, and Pamela Jones, all of whom contributed both research and writing, with input from some Linux kernel contributors. Everyone worked on editing, including an invited group of Groklaw regulars. However, Frank carried the load more than anyone else, so his name is on the finished article.

We are now publishing the article and welcome Groklaw readers' further contributions, corrections, improvements, and comments. This is an ongoing project. This article is the first in a series where we'll discuss the System V UNIX ABI, or Application Binary Interface. We approached the research as, What if Linus Torvalds had not already claimed paternity of most of the header files? Then what?

The article will first explain what the ABI is and what it does, then discuss whether the code was released under the GPL and if so whether management at SCO knew and approved, and finally show how the Linux files that pertain to this do not appear to be infringing files that SCO can claim.

For those who are not programmers, such as myself, there is a footnoted section to explain in greater detail and in plain English what ABIs and APIs and shared libraries are and how they work. If you read it first, it will clarify the terminology for you and you will be able to follow the thread in the article more easily. At least, it helped me tremendously.

I think you will see from this article alone that if SCO is planning to sue anyone over the ABI files, unless there are facts we haven't unearthed, they seem to be leaning on a rickety bamboo reed.



**************************************************************

GROKLAW TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ABI FILES
~by Frank Sorenson et al

Back in January 2003, word leaked out that SCO was planning to charge Linux users for "System V Intellectual Property" in Linux. SCO created a new business division called SCOSource to come up with new ways to make money from this "intellectual property". The original SCOSource Presentation (PowerPoint version) talks of licensing SCO's shared UNIX Libraries from OpenServer and UnixWare for use in Linux.

A Little Background: What Are ABI Files?1

As background information, shared libraries are files containing information to be loaded when an application is run. They usually implement common routines, and their inclusion simplifies programming, reduces file size, and standardizes interfaces. A simple example of this would be the "copy file" and "move file" commands: both commands check file permissions and manipulate the file system. When applications have a great deal of functionality in common, this functionality is often placed into shared libraries.

Shared libraries are architecture, operating-system, and version specific. Executables for different systems follow various standard formats, such as a.out, ELF, and COFF. To load an application, the system must do several things: the system interprets the format of the executable (or binary), loads any shared libraries referenced, and begins executing the code found in the binary.

If the executable is in a different format from those the system supports, or if the library files are for the wrong architecture or operating system version, the binary normally will not run. In 1991, Intel announced the availability of the iBCS-2 (Intel Binary Compatibility Specification), a specification designed by Intel, SCO, and Unix System Laboratories (USL) to enable binary compatibility and migration capabilities between systems. SCO's Tim Ruckle said this to encourage support:

'The goal of 'shrink wrap' software for the open systems marketplace will not be possible without the commitment of the entire industry to achieve full binary compatibility. This requires more than just the ability for binaries to run on a given kernel--it must address system installation scripts, I/O control instructions to devices, and the availability of standard system commands.

"For the benefit of the entire user base, as well as the industry as a whole, SCO encourages all UNIX System vendors for Intel processors to join SCO, USL, Intel, ISC and OSF in supporting the iBCS-2 standard for x86 applications.

"Tim Ruckle"

Say that you are building yourself a house. In order to make this construction project something that you can reasonably do within your lifetime, you choose to use pre-made construction materials, such as windows, doors, lumber, bricks, and plumbing supplies that you can get at the local Home Depot. By doing this, you don't need to cut down your own trees, fire bricks, or make glass. Someone else has gone to the trouble of building these components, and you can just build on what they've done.

This can save a lot of time and energy when building your house, but it does require that you conform to certain standards, such as 16-inch centers on studs, 3-foot-wide doors, specific diameters on the plumbing and electrical pipes, and vanities 18- or 24-inches deep. If you don't conform to these building standards, ductwork will not fit between the floor joists, and your pre-built and pre-hung doors will have gaps around them, may stick, or will require you to shave a couple of inches off them. If you don't follow the standards, either something isn't going to work, or you'll have to build it from scratch.

By conforming to these standards, you can just buy a window and install it. You can find 2-inch drain pipes that fit the 2-inch pipe coming out of the drain in your sink. You don't have to custom build a door to fit whatever space you left. You can just choose where to put doors, windows, sinks, and other things in your house, purchase the components, and build it.

It's somewhat comparable in programming. Someone has built some useful functions already, but to use them, you need to know and use the interface provided so as to put these building blocks into the right places. The components of the programs all behave the same, because they're the same library functions.

How ABIs Are Used

SCO UnixWare or OpenServer executables have a different binary format from Linux, and reference different versions of different shared library files, and therefore will not normally run under Linux. However, with iBCS-2 it is possible to execute a UnixWare or OpenServer program on a Linux machine. First the Linux machine must understand how to interpret the foreign executable file. This functionality of executing foreign binaries in the Linux 2.4 kernel is provided by an addon called "linux-abi." On that linked page, you will find a list of SCO software that can be run with linux-abi, as well as this information:

"The Linux abi is a patch to the linux kernel that allows a linux system to run foreign binaries. This was developed and written by Christoph Hellwig and Joerg Ahrens as a follow on to the iBCS/iBCS2 project written for the older 2.2.x kernel by Mike Jagdis."
More on Christoph Hellwig later, but most of you remember his name from earlier Groklaw articles as a Caldera employee who contributed code to the Linux kernel.

When a SCO binary requires a given shared library, the correct version of this library must be present in the appropriate location on the system. Copying SCO's shared libraries from a UnixWare or OpenServer system to the Linux system makes it possible to run a SCO Unix application. One example of this (from the SCOSource Presentation) is a Red Hat Documentation page where the author explains how to run WordPerfect 6.0 for SCO under Linux. The instructions include this caution:

"SCO Shared Libraries

"DO NOT VIOLATE SCO's COPYRIGHTS! You should get a copy of SCO's shared libraries and install them in /shlib."

SCO's Shifting Claims on ABIs

When SCO's allegations against Linux first surfaced, there was concern over the ABI code, but Blake Stowell reassured everyone in a MozillaQuest interview that the linux-abi add-on was "clean", although the libraries themselves were SCO's IP:

Blake Stowell: No, none of the code in the Linux ABI modules contains SCO IP. This code is under the GPL and it re-implements publicly documented interfaces. We do not have an issue with the Linux ABI modules. The IP that we are licensing is all in the shared libraries - these libraries are needed by many OpenServer applications *in addition* to the Linux ABI.

In SCO's amended complaint (SCO's version), they brought up the linux-abi add-on and their libraries again:

47. Linux offers a "SCO emulation module," originally called "iBCS" and now known as "linux-abi" which enables applications which were originally developed to run on SCO OpenServer to be run on Linux. ... SCO does not give permission for copying of the Shared Libraries for use outside OpenServer without payment of separate licensing fees.

A significant expansion of SCO's claims occurred in a December 2003 letter to Unix Licensees. The SCO Group claimed ownership of not just the libraries, but over the ABI code itself:

"Certain copyrighted application binary interfaces ('ABI Code') have been copied verbatim from the UNIX System V code base and contributed to Linux for distribution under the General Public License ('GPL') without proper authorization and without copyright attribution. While some application programming interfaces ('API Code') have been made available over the years through POSIX and other open standards, the UNIX System V ABI Code has only been made available under copyright restriction."

History of the Publicly Documented Standards

Stowell was correct when he said that the Linux ABI modules implement publicly documented interfaces. In September 1993, over 75 companies, including Novell and SCO, agreed to adopt a single set of 1170 API calls. This standard was known as Spec 1170, and is now called the Single UNIX Specification, or SuS for short. In January of 1994, that Byte article linked to described the purpose of the standard adopted by SCO and the 75 other companies:

"Novell has transferred the Unix trademark to the international X/Open standards organization. The transfer, which was announced last October, when combined with other standards efforts, may yet result in multiple implementations of Unix that conform to a single specification. . . .

"The idea behind the common API is to let developers write to a single set of memory, file- system, and other kernel-level calls so that they need to do only a source-level recompilation to support another Unix platform. With multiple compatible implementations of Unix, vendors will then compete on the basis of price, quality, service, and reliability, or as X/Open's president and CEO Geoff Morris said, 'a single specification, a single brand, and as much innovation as the industry can deliver.' . . .

"Novell will not give up its right to license Unix System V source code to other vendors, but once the test suites are available, Unix vendors will no longer be required to use Unix code developed at USL/Novell."

The System V ABI information has been known for decades, and the specifications are even now available from SCO's web site. The specifications are spelled out in several parts, a generic part (gABI) and a processor specific part (psABI), which together form the specification:

"The System V ABI is composed of two basic parts: A generic part of the specification describes those parts of the interface that remain constant across all hardware implementations of System V, and a processor-specific part of the specification describes the parts of the specification that are specific to a particular processor architecture. Together, the generic ABI (or gABI) and the processor specific supplement (or psABI) provide a complete interface specification for compiled application programs on systems that share a common hardware architecture.. . .

"What is presented here is two chapters of the System V gABI: Chapter 4, Object Files and Chapter 5, Program Loading and Dynamic Linking. These two System V gABI chapters form the definition of the ELF (Executable and Linking Format) file format. Some complete, but older System V gABIs as well as some psABIs are available on the developer specifications page. Besides on System V implementations, ELF is very commonly used as the object file, shared library, and execution file format. Separating these two chapters of the System V gABI also makes it easier for these implementations to reference an ELF specification.

"The contents of these chapters is being actively maintained (in part) through an industry committee chaired by Intel. This group's efforts are greatly reduced from when they first were extending ELF to support 64-bit architectures, but there is still some active development."

Not all of the information contained within the ABI even belongs to SCO, as they well know and acknowledge in both the gABI [pdf] and the Intel386™ Architecture Processor Supplement[pdf]:

"We acknowledge the contributions of the 88OPEN Consortium Ltd., portions of whose System V ABI Implementation Guide for the M88000 Processor and the System V ABI M88000 Processor Networking Supplement have been incorporated in this section of the ABI with permission."

The entire Intel® Itanium® Processor-specific Application Binary Interface (ABI) carries an 2001 Intel copyright, calls the System V ABI the "prime reference document," and says that the ABI was developed as the result of "consensus among operating system vendors...[including] Intel, Sun Microsystems, SCO, IBM, SGI, Cygnus Solutions, VA Linux Systems, HP, and Compaq."

SCO's web site touts the benefits of ABI Conformance, and encourages system and application developers to "seriously consider the benefits of building [their] products in conformance with the binary compatibility specification".

In the SCOSource Presentation, The SCO Group admitted that "Because ibcs2 [the Intel Binary Compatibility Standard] is an open specification, the Linux community was able to freely copy this and rename it Linux ABI or Linux Application Binary Interface." These interfaces are also documented in a number of other places, including IEEE Std 1003.1.

Did SCO Release the ABI Code Under the GPL?

The evidence indicates they not only did, they still are.

Let's follow the evidence trail. By SCO's own admission, the Linux ABI modules do not infringe on SCO IP, since they implement public standards. So how could any code implementing those standards infringe? You can read them but not use them? Moreover, though they claim they never made their own "ABI code" available outside of OpenServer, does the evidence support that claim?

In SCO's December 2003 letter, they named a number of Linux files, including errno.h, ctype.h, and signal.h, that they said they believe contain their copyrighted source code implementing the ABI. In the SCOSource FAQ, SCO claims "SCO has obviously never placed a notice indicating that our UNIX source code can be distributed under the terms of the GPL license." Is this a true statement? Has SCO ever released these particular files (or the information contained therein) under the GPL, or have they just been used without their knowledge and permission?

These Linux files can be found inside libc packages from the various versions of OpenLinux that SCO/Caldera produced, and many of the packages may still be found on their FTP site to this day. Here are just a few examples:

There can be no question that the LGPL files were present on the OpenLinux CDs that Caldera was producing and distributing. The SCO Group would have us believe that they were not aware of what they were distributing, but were only passing along packages created by someone else. Did Caldera know that the errno.h and other files existed inside those packages on their CDs and were they put there intentionally by Caldera? SCO says obviously not, but the evidence speaks loudly otherwise. At this point, we encounter Christoph Hellwig once again.

As we have already seen, according to the Linux A.B.I. homepage, Christoph Hellwig, working for Caldera, developed and wrote the linux-abi patches to allow the Linux kernel to run UnixWare and other foreign binaries. The entries in the ChangeLog show Christoph Hellwig as the principal maintainer of the patches, and the patch releases were announced by him as well (for example, 2.4.14 kernel and 2.4.15 kernel). Here are two one brief snips from the changelog to show you what we mean:

"2002-01-03 Christoph Hellwig (hch@caldera.de)
"linux-abi-2.4.17.0
  • rework/cleanup lcall7 syscall handling
  • make sure x.out sections aren't loaded into illegal areas
  • fix SVR4 mmap() to always assume post-SunOS4 behaviour


"2001-11-24 Christoph Hellwig (hch@caldera.de)
linux-abi-2.4.15.0
  • simplify wyse socket handling, use native syscalls directly where possibles else use normal calling conventions
  • fix compilation for non-i386 machines (Olaf Hering)
  • fix alignment checks in binfmt_xout (based on patch by Joerg Ahrens)
  • rewrite abi_brk: fix (theoretical) races, check for page alignment
  • don't try to take a non-existant lock in xnx_nap, cleanup xnx_nap.
  • fix value reported by sysi86(SI86MEM)."

This work by Caldera provided the linux-abi package add-ons for Linux, enabling programs compiled for UnixWare (and other systems) to run on a Linux system. However, as we have explained earlier, having the linux-abi package alone is not enough to run a UnixWare program. The program would need to make use of libraries compatible with the right SCO system.

To run binaries from older versions of SCO's operating systems, it is possible to use shared libraries from the Coherent Operating System. Created by Mark Williams Company, in Northbrook, Illinois, Coherent was a multi-tasking, multi-user operating system similar to System V Unix, but it did not require either an AT&T or SCO license. Coherent had implemented their Unix so closely to SCO UNIX (in fact, more closely than Linux has ever been) that they could run SCO binaries directly, as they explain in the introduction to the Coherent FAQ:

"Coherent is a multi-tasking, multi-user operating system for IBM PC's and compatibles. Versions will run on most systems with a 286, 386, or 486 CPU. Coherent appears to be very similar to Version 7 Unix, or for those of you that have not had the pleasure, close to System 5 Unix. Coherent includes uucp (Coherent to Coherent Copy) :) and many more functions you would expect with Unix. Coherent is small and simple, easy to maintain, and does not require extensive CPU resources to operate well. It has serial networking, V4.2 has X Window support. It does not require an AT&T license for Unix. It is as advertised, a quick, elegant Unix-like multi-tasking, multi-user Operating System, with good documentation. The newest version is very much like SCO Unix, and version 4.2 will actually run out of the box applications."

Coherent's system and libraries were implemented by following the Intel386 Architecture BCS Supplement, and were therefore Intel BCS-compliant. AT&T examined Coherent's code and found that while it had been written by someone with in-depth knowledge of Unix, nothing could be found that was copied or wasn't reproducible by using the manual. Coherent and other non-UNIX operating systems have used these System V ABI's for years with AT&T's knowledge. Neither AT&T, Novell, nor SCO ever had any problems with this, but then why would they, since iBCS was the defacto open standard?

If you wanted the official UnixWare shared libraries, one way to get them was to purchase UnixWare and to copy the libraries onto the Linux machine. However in the SCOSource Presentation, SCO claims that the SCO Unix shared libraries have never been licensed outside of the SCO products. The SCO Group's amended complaint also asserts that SCO did not give permission for copying of the shared libraries for use outside of SCO's products, and the SCOSource Q&A claimed "the UNIX shared libraries, owned by SCO, are not Linux products. They are not open source software and they are not covered by the GPL."

While this may be true for other UNIX shared libraries, SCO did in fact provide some Unix shared libraries, as products for Linux, under the GPL. The evidence shows that SCO packaged and provided a set of Unix shared libraries, with a System V ABI, as a GPLed product, to Linux users.

The library set released implemented the basic functions needed for simple (non-graphical) programs. Rather than require customers who only wanted to run these programs to purchase an expensive UnixWare license, SCO released an add-on with these basic libraries. This add-on was released by Caldera under the GPL and was packaged by then-Caldera employee Tim Riker. Want some proof? The source code (including the Unix shared libraries) is still available from SCO. Here are just a few examples:

How do we know that these packages were, in fact, created and distributed by SCO/Caldera and that they were not packaged by someone else and just passed along unwittingly by SCO/Caldera? The process of verifying the file signatures will prove that the packages were actually provided by someone at SCO/Caldera with the authority to sign, something only a trusted representative would have authority to do.

By checking the file signatures, we can see that these packages have been signed by SCO/Caldera's Key. The keys can be found here and here. To verify the rpms, download and import the keys, then download the packages and check the package signature like this:

$ rpm --import PGP-KEY-*`
$ rpm -qp --checksig iBCS-*`

The license for the package can be verified as GPL with this:

$ rpm -qip iBCS-*

While these GPL'd source files contain 'lite' versions of SCO's shared libraries, which are significant in their own right, a closer look reveals the presence of source code files of great importance. Among the files contained in these packages are:

ctype.h
ctype.c
ipc.h
errno.h
signal.h
stat.h

In other words, SCO's GPL'd packages contain many of the very same files that constitute the ABI code SCO recently identified as allegedly infringing. A close look at these files shows that none contain any copyright notice whatsoever and that they implement the majority of the ABI code in dispute. The errno.h file, for example, lists all of the error codes from System V, with the same numbering that System V uses. The same is true for the signal.h and the ioctl numbering.

Unpacking the source code RPM file reveals some 'patch files' - modifications made to the basic source by the packager. This shows that Caldera actively tested and tweaked the source code, even if some of it was gathered from other sources. Moreover, at least one of these patch files was specific to Caldera's own version of Linux.

This indicates that representatives of SCO/Caldera were the ones who collected, developed, tested, and maintained the source code to implement the ABI functionality, then placed the GPL notice on it, packaged it, and provided it to the entire Linux community. Given that SCO themselves did so much of the work to provide this functionality, and placed the GPL notice on it themselves, judging from these files, it seems hard to avoid concluding that SCO explicitly released the System V ABI under the GPL and that they did so knowingly and because they wanted to. Distributing code under the GPL under those circumstances is like losing your virginity. Even if you regret it later, there is no turning back to the way things were and no way to undo the consequences. SCO's claims are a little like falsely claiming rape after willingly consenting to sexual relations. Worse, from their standpoint. The evidence of the GPL distribution is there for the world to see, so it's not a He Said, She Said situation where you might have at least a 50% chance of being believed.

Moreover, as this ABI code was released under the GPL with no copyright management information, it is difficult to understand how SCO could now view it as infringing their copyrights. SCO worked side-by-side with IBM, Linux distributors, and others in defining and publishing the specifications and actively developed and distributed the material that they now wish to claim is infringing.

Did Management Know?

While we have shown that at least some employees at SCO were actively developing and releasing GPL code and libraries to support the linux-abi project, the question could be asked whether Hellwig or Riker were working on their own, without authorization. Let's see.

Not only was SCO involved with the linux-abi work, but SCO employees were involved in additional low-level coding activities. Both (old) SCO and Caldera were also heavily involved with the Linux Standards Base (LSB), which had - and still has - this as their mission statement:

"To develop and promote a set of standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distributions and enable software applications to run on any compliant system. In addition, the LSB will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port and write products for Linux."

The LSB was formed in 1998, with Caldera supporting it from day one. Notice the purpose and the top signatories to the proposal for formation of the LSB:

"The Linux(R) Operating System's rapid adoption by millions of computer users everywhere is direct recognition of the quality of the software and success of the freely distributable software development model. In order to ensure that large software application programs, from binary-only tools sold by the largest software companies, to freely distributable desktop environments built cooperatively over the net, run smoothly on as many Linux-based computers as possible - the Linux Standard Base (LSB) Project is an attempt to define the common core of components that can be expected to be found in any "Linux" system. . . .

"Participation in the base standard will assure the distributions of compatibility with each other for the set of applications that depend only on the files and libraries in the reference platform. As time passes, the standard will expand to include most of the files and libraries upon which a commercial application might depend.

"The Linux Standard Base System will be 100% compliant with the Open Source Definition. This assures all distributions that they can derive from it without concern over licensing problems for themselves or their users. Development will be carried out in the public, with anonymous access to the CVS archive and the developer mailing lists. The core group will be a mix of high-quality developers from the Linux community and the staff of commercial distributions, with an organization similar to the tremendously successful Linux kernel development team. Attention will be paid to standards such as POSIX and the FHS (the successor to the Linux Filesystem Standard). However, the project goes far beyond the utility of these standards, because rather than produce only paper documents, it will provide a complete implementation of the standard, ready to be integrated into Linux distributions or used as a reference platform for application developers. . . .

"The Linux Standard Base System will implement some of the goals of the 86open project, which proposes to establish an interoperability standard for all Unix-like operating systems.

"We, the undersigned, endorse this proposal, and ask that other distributions and ISVs also join us to help further define this proposal and then to help implement it:
Linus Torvalds, Creator of Linux
Jon A. Hall, Executive Director, Linux International
Bruce Perens, Director Linux International, proposed Project Leader
Ransom H. Love, Director Linux International, General Manager, OpenLinux Division, Caldera, Inc. . . ."
[emphasis added]

In May 2000, both (old) SCO and Caldera became charter members of the Free Standards Group to "accelerate the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the application, development and promotion of standards for open source development." Obviously, this was a company decision, not something a rogue employee arranged.

Both (old) SCO and Caldera participated in LSB Conference Calls, including at least one in which the header files in question were discussed, and Caldera presented about the LSB at SCOForum 2001. The participation was constant, beginning with the very first conference in 1999, which Caldera's Ralf Flaxa attended, to one on July 19, 2000 with SCO's Dave Prosser participating, and included this April 23, 2002 conference, where both Flaxa and SCO's Doug Beattie were participants, to the LSB Workgroup meeting on June 26, 2002, where Flaxa is listed as the LSB Implementation Lead in charge of the LSB Sample Implementation project. On January 17, 2001, Beattie and Prosser and Caldera's John Terpstra participated in the LSB telephone conference and on the agenda that day, you find these tasks:

  • OVER DUE: Ralph to upload to SourceForge the updated sample implementation (aka: LTP).
  • ACTION ITEM: Ralph Flaxa will present the sample implementation status at the workgroup meeting in NY.

Dave Prosser, a senior engineer for (old) SCO, then Caldera, worked for AT&T back when Unix was younger. When the C programming language was being standardized, Dave Prosser served as chief editor for the ANSI C standard. He stayed on as Unix was passed through Unix System Laboratories and Novell.

Since the gABI was a changing standard, Prosser maintained it and kept it up to date. Updates (such as this one where Linux gets e_machine numbers for the PDP-10 and PDP-11) were sent to Prosser at registry@sco.com (later, registry@caldera.com). Prosser coordinated the approvals for the release of the updated gABI specifications at sco.com.

Not only did Dave Prosser contribute ABI information to the LSB, but he also contributed other "valuable" SCO IP on the LSB email lists. Here, he is seen sharing UnixWare source code as an example of how tmpfile.c was programmed. As you see, he shared source code without mention of confidentiality or other restriction on use or adoption.

Doug Beattie, another senior SCO engineer, was involved with the Free Standards Group beginning in the fall of 2000, and was actively working with the LSB to disseminate information and keep everyone updated. Beattie indicated that he was cooperating to make sure that the LSB and ABI could work together, as can be seen in this post to the LSB working group, where he is listed as having the title Linux Test Architect for SCO:

"As before, these are just starting points and there is much work to be done in various areas to make these workable for the LSB."

In August 2000, Flaxa presented Caldera's Linux Technology Preview to the LSB, and it subsequently became the LSB sample implementation. Here's the revealing exchange of email between Flaxa and IBM's George Kraft, just after the Caldera acquisition of UnixWare from SCO, regarding the LSB sample implementation. A little piece of history. First Flaxa lets it be known that it's about ready, it's under the GPL, and it includes the 2.4 Linux kernel, and most LSB ABIs, with the rest to be added. He wonders if he should release now or wait:

"It has been extremely busy times for me the last weeks, and with the Linux Technology Preview product (announced last week) and us aquiring big parts of SCO (announcement went out today) you may now understand why.

"The Linux Technology Preview (ISO images are available for free download from our FTP site) contains all the stuff, that we have been working on, so it's a much more up-to-date snapshot of our stuff than I had at the LSB meeting. It contains the beta of glibc-2.2, the current linux-2.4.0-test kernel, ncurses-5.0 and so on and all packages fixed to compile and work with that. It also contains the FHS patches and RPM macros to support the new locations of /usr/share/man/LOCALE and so on.

"It's someting like a preview of the next generation development platform. (we stricly tell everybody not to use this in production use of course!)

"But before you misunderstand it - no this is not the sample implementation nor the stuff that I wanted to deliver to the LSB. This is a snapshot of the core of the next Caldera products, so much more than would be in the sample implementation and packaged just like a distritbution, [sic] with a graphical installer and all the bells and whistles we will not have in a LSB sample implementation.

"And some LSB ABI that are speced out (like the sysvinit proposal from Ted) are not yet in that snapshot because we ran out of time.

"So bottom-line: It contains all we have, which is many things the LSB requires, but it doesn't contain other things yet that the LSB requires and it contains way to much for a sample implementation.

"So basically I have now (still) the things to do, that I wanted to do right after the last LSB meeting, which are:
  • "Stripping down what we have to just the things that are in the LSB spec
  • Enabling LSB patches and compile options here and there, where they are dormant and not yet enabled
  • Adding the missing ABIs from LSB, that are speced out and that we don't have implemented yet.

"I can now reassign big parts of my engineering team back to LSB, at least the 4 people that had been working on it before. This can happen starting tomorrow.

"I want to make everything available to SourceForge now. The question is how. I don't want that people misinterpret what I currently have to be the sample implementation or say "this is all Caldera proprietary stuff" and ignore it. It's all free and GPL, but that doesn't matter, because it's not LSB sample implementation, it's a preview of a Caldera product and might lead people in the wrong direction (or argueing).

"The problem is, the Linux Technology preview is what we have, now we have to recompile it with LSB patches being turned on and enabled and then strip it down to only what is in the LSB spec. This will not be done in a day, but I think it can be done in 1 week (some things will break) and after another week of fixing it might be quite usable again.

"I am asking for your advise how to best proceed from here. Shall I make available what I have as soon as possible? How can I make clear what the LSB sample implemetation is and that the Linux Technology Preview is something that will be mutating to that over the next few days and weeks. . . ."

Kraft answers:

"Let's run with it. Can you get the LSB sample implementation web page to point to ftp://ftp.caldera.com/pub/LTP/ or copy the images to the LSB's download area on SourceForge?

"Also, can you writeup a brief overview for the web site of what is interesting to the LSB (basically the fullfilment of the LSB requirements):
  • linux-2.4.0-test kernel (LDPS is 2.2.x where x >= 14)
  • glibc-2.2 (LDPS is 2.1.x (2
  • ncurses-5.0 (LDPS is ncurses 4 or 5)
  • XFree86 4.0 (LDPS is XFree86 3.3.x (x >= 6))
  • FHS patches
  • RPM macros to support the new locations of /usr/share/man/LOCALE

"[BTW ftp://ftp.caldera.com/pub/LTP/ says glibc-2.2 and http://www.calderasystems.com/preview/ says glibc 2.1.91]

"and what is not necessarily within the scope fo [sic] the LSB:
  • C/C++ Linux development tools; gcc-2.95.2
  • Java development tools for Linux (including Sun 1.3 JDK and Hotspot)
  • KDE 2.0

"Is there enough source and tools within the ISO images to reproduce itself? Can you writeup how someone else can take what you have and rebuild it to duplicate your results.

"Can you enter the sample implementation todos in the task manager? https://sourceforge.net/pm/?group_id=1107

  • Stripping down what we have to just the things that are in the LSB spec
  • Enabling LSB patches and compile options here and there, where they are dormant and not yet enabled
  • Adding the missing ABIs from LSB, that are speced out and that we don't have implemented yet.

    "Thanks!"

Flaxa then replies that he can and will do the tasks requested. The LTP is still available on Caldera's FPT site here.

Caldera must have been proud of their LSB work, because in March 2001, Caldera jumped the gun by announcing Project 42, their beta version of OpenLinux, as having an LSB 1.0 implementation, even before the standard was finalized and a certification program in place. The next day, an updated press release replaced the first, and (appropriately) made no mention of LSB compliance.

It would have been difficult to achieve point-by-point compliance with the LSB while completely missing the concept that the LSB implemented both the general and platform-unique ABI specifications. In order to achieve compliance, someone would have been knee-deep in the code and couldn't have ignored the ABI specification staring them in the face. If there was anything protectable about the code, that was the time to say so.

Both (old) SCO and Caldera made many public statements about their support for Linux and the LSB. David McCrabb, who was president of (old) SCO's server software division, then president and chief operating officer of Caldera, gave a presentation before the Hong Kong Computer Society on the "Future of Linux," and listed five critical success factors in the adoption of Linux, including the LSB. While he fell short of giving his full support for the Linux development process and the GPL, it cannot be argued that he didn't know about the LSB or what it was.

Since the fundamentals of the Linux ABI have not changed between then and now, if Linux is now infringing on SCO's rights, it was back then as well. Yet Doug Michels, (old) SCO CEO, who felt that Linux could provide free research and development, and who had been trying to put a Linux personality on UnixWare, essentially going in the other direction from ABIs, so as to run Linux programs in UnixWare, presented a "Lifetime Achievement Award" to Linus Torvalds at UniForum '97. Here's an account of what he said:

"Linus received the UniForum "Lifetime Achievement Award" presented by Doug Michels, co-founder of SCO. Doug said that many people expected him to turn down the opportunity to present the award, or to say little when he did. He said that these people had him all wrong, that this was a special opportunity. Doug said he has been amazed at the success that Linux has had. Linux has rekindled the spirit and energy that first got him excited about Unix 20 years ago. The work of Linus and the greater Linux community has brought back a source base for real experimentation and innovation, something the computer industry badly needs again. Doug is proud of the selfless and true commitment that Linus and the Linux community have towards improvement of computing. Linus has brought the fun back in an otherwise static industry. He said that he thinks Linux is just what the world needs now."

Ransom Love, Manager of the OpenLinux Division at Caldera, then CEO of Caldera Systems made public statements in support of the LSB, and when Caldera purchased SCO's divisions, he became CEO of the new company.

Here's a fascinating segment from an article on Love and his GPL plans for Unix:

"According to Ransom Love, Caldera Systems' CEO and soon to be CEO of the combined SCO divisions and Caldera Systems, 'Caldera has a proven track record of releasing the most important stuff to the open community. We haven't decided on which license to use yet. For standards, GPL makes a lot of sense and every product we'll ship with source code.' Some code, however, can't be open sourced because other companies own it.

"Caldera sources indicate the code that can be open sourced may be released under several different open-source licenses, including BSD, to the open-source developer community. Love promises more information at Forum2000, SCO's renamed annual partner/reseller get-together on Aug. 20 to 23 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. There he will present the broad outlines of Caldera's open-source plans.

"While some Linux purists would argue that there's no need to borrow from Unix. Others point out that such UnixWare features as ACL-based security, scalable SMP, logical volume management for storage, high-availability clustering and the VERITAS File System (VxFS) for fast file system recovery would be welcome additions to Linux.

"Of course, nothing happens in Linux without its founder's, Linus Torvalds, blessings. Fortunately for Caldera's plans, while he's waiting for the details, Torvalds generally approves of the idea of bringing over the best of Unix to Linux. Contacted by e-mail, Torvalds comments, 'I think the most likely scenario would be complementing each other especially in "non-core" technologies. It can actually go both ways, at least if the eventual license ends up being GPL -- UnixWare may end up picking up drivers, etc., from Linux (and stuff that was formerly an add-on, like the lxrun Linux binary emulation stuff).'

"While he thinks that, 'It's fairly unlikely that Linux/UnixWare would ever meld, but the same sort of thing that has been happening with other Unix components (like IBM's journaling file system getting ported over to Linux, etc.) is probably more likely to happen with UnixWare components.'"

So, IBM's porting of JFS was known back then, without a word of complaint from Caldera's Love, who was, according to this article, trying to do the same kind of thing with Unix code, the only blockage being that some of the code didn't belong to Caldera.

Love made numerous statements (such as here and here) regarding the merging of Unix with Linux, whenever possible, which was his stated goal:

"In conjunction with the announcement of the transaction, Love said, 'This acquisition is an industry-changing event that puts Caldera front and center as the answer to the enterprise question. Caldera will further broaden and validate both the Linux and UNIX industries and communities by providing open access to its unified Linux and UNIX technologies and by offering support, training, and professional services to customers worldwide. Caldera is fully committed to supporting and servicing the SCO OpenServer and UnixWare communities.'"

In January 2002, Caldera/SCO released older versions of the Unix source code under a BSD-style license. Some of these versions, such as 32V, contain the ABI files in question, and in fact, have no copyright notices in the files. Even if the Linux versions of these files had come from these older versions of Unix, which Linus says they didn't, no 'copyright management' information would have been removed in the copying.

This isn't even a case where the old management was aware and participating but the new management (McBride) didn't know what was happening. Darl McBride knew about the LSB work, and publicly touted SCO's involvement. When OpenLinux 3.1.1 achieved LSB Certification in September 2002, he said:

"This is an important milestone for SCO. SCO is very dedicated to the development and promotion of standards. We see standards adherence as central to the growth and progression of the Linux industry, and are committed to again being LSB certified when we release SCO Linux, powered by UnitedLinux, this fall."

We have seen that both SCO and Caldera were involved in writing the LSB standard, and they made contributions of gABI information. Executives and programmers were actively involved. Does that not indicate that they approved of and intended to facilitate the use of the ABI files in the specification? The Free Standards Group specifications are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.1, and require that copyrights be assigned to the Free Standards Group before being included in the specifications.

Why does the LSB matter? Because the LSB specifications contain the errno.h and signal.h files. How, then, can The SCO Group claim them now as their proprietary property and threaten to sue end users for using them? Caldera, when they were working with the LSB, helped to define what the mapping of error numbers to names was to be Linux. So an analogy for that would be someone sending in an article submission to the local newspaper and then suing the newspaper for copyright infringement when the article was published. Another way to look at it would be if a company suggested everyone use a certain symbol any time referring to a concept. Every other company agrees to follow the suggestion, and for many years everyone uses the symbol when discussing that particular concept. Then the original suggester claims that now that everyone is using the symbol, everyone needs to pay them because they never gave anyone the right to freely use the symbol. A separate question is what you can and can't copyright, but we'll leave that for a later article.

If someone tells you that SCO didn't participate or was unaware that the System V ABI was being made available to Linux, or that Linux programmers "stole" it without authorization, what do you think? And if SCO goes forward, as they say they will, and sues an end user for "copyright infringement" of "their" ABI files, will they prevail? If you were on the jury, after reviewing this history, how would you vote?

To Be Continued


1 APIs and ABIs -- What are they and what does it all mean?
~By Nick Richards

API stands for Application Programming Interface and ABI stands for Application Binary Interface. Let's break this down.

What is an interface?

An interface is just a means or mechanism that allows two parties to connect or communicate with each other. When you flip on a light switch, you are using that particular interface (the light switch) to connect with the wiring of your home. The switch allows an abstraction of what is actually going on in your walls.

Another example is the way you communicate with a computer. How do you connect to a computer? You give it a command. How do you accomplish that? You have to use the mouse to click on a program, and then use the keyboard to type some parameters. Your desktop setup, the way the screen is painted, the way the mouse interacts with icons, the way the keyboard allows input, all of that is an interface, commonly called a graphical user interface, or GUI, since there are icons and the like. If you are using the Linux command line, your user interface leaves out the graphics part and the interface is primarily the keyboard alone.

So an interface allows one party or entity to connect or communicate with another party or entity.

The same thing happens behind the scenes with your computer. Programs have to connect and communicate with each other, and the way they do that is by means of interfaces.

Shared Libraries

When a programmer finds him or herself constantly having to reinvent the wheel by writing the same code over and over, it gets annoying. Not only is this time-consuming, but it can increase the number of times you make an error. So what programmers came up with long ago is the idea of putting commonly called functions or procedures into shared libraries. A library file contains source code just like a regular program, but this source code is generalized for use by multiple programs. For example, if you create an absurdly simple function that returns the sum of two integers, you can put that Add function in a shared library and reuse it across multiple programs or applications. All you have to do is tell the compiler to link that library into the project. That allows you to then just write Add (3, 4) in your code instead of also defining just what it is you mean by "Add." That definition has already been laid out in that shared library.

That's programming: when you tell the compiler what to do by writing near-English commands, you are creating a program. What the compiler does is take that human-readable programming code and turn it into computer-readable programming code. This is commonly called creating a binary file. Computers actually work with binary code, so programs have to be translated into that format before the computer can actually know what to do with your commands. Compilers are the translators of the computer world. More than that, they are the gatherers and translators, because at compile time they look through your code and find all the references to outside libraries and then go find those libraries. It doesn't matter if your instructions are found inside your main program or inside one of the libraries you referenced in your program. Wherever its location, that "Add" function will be found by the compiler and then translated into binary for the computer.

API vs ABI

We can define the difference between an API and an ABI like this:

An Application Programming Interface (API) is something that communicates with the programmer as code is written. It contains the near-English code that a human can read. A typical API will list all the functions the programmer can use, along with all the types of data the functions can be used to manipulate.

It is an interface, so it connects the program with information that program needs to compile properly. This connection occurs at compile time.

An Application Binary Interface (ABI), in contrast, is something that speaks to the computer. It contains binary information that a computer can read that talks about how the binary file is structured, how the program should be linked and loaded, and so on. It is also an interface, so it connects the program on that computer system with information that program needs to actually run properly. This connection occurs at run time.

It is possible for two computer systems to have the same APIs but have the associated ABIs be different. Compilers are programs that are specific to operating systems and computer chip sets. You can have the same source code on two different machines, but if you compile the source code on one machine with compiler A and on the other machine with compiler B, the ABIs could be different.

Header Files in Shared Libraries

So with all that in mind, what do we know about files claimed by SCO such as errno.h? That file is a header file, which is a type of library file spoken of earlier. Header files contain commonly defined variables that get used in many programs. Again, there's no point in reinventing the wheel every time you want to use one of these common variables, so you tell the compiler to gather in that header file instead at compile time.

Header Files Define Interfaces

The errno.h header file defines an interface, a way for the programmer to communicate with the end user by means of error messages. It is not, however, an implementation. Since this header file will be used by multiple programs, it is generalized, and that's why it's an interface but not an implementation. The light switch is how you turn on the light, the interface. When you actually flip the switch, you implement the interface. You have gone from the general to the specific and the light goes on. So too with errno.h. It is generalized in that it contains the error messages and the accompanying error abbreviations, but not the actual error numbers. Each system can define their own error numbers (1, 2, 17, 238, whatever) to those error abbreviations (E2BIG, EACCES, whatever). When you give it the actual error numbers, you are creating a specific implementation of that error interface.

Standard Interfaces

Everyone agrees to use these particular error abbreviations and messages. It's a standard. All you have to do in your particular implementation is to assign numbers to each abbreviation. When your function returns an error number, the system can look up the number, find the associated error abbreviation, and print out the corresponding error message.

Keep in mind that the abbreviations, such as E2BIG, are defined as integer (int) types. That means the computer sees E2BIG and thinks of it as a number, not a string of letters. Which number? The one you assign to it. Let's say you define E2BIG as being equivalent to the integer 23. Now when you have a function return the error E2BIG, the computer at compile time sees that as returning 23. That's what it compiles into. Then at run time, when that error occurs, a 23 gets returned from the function, the 23 gets looked up in the errno.h and the appropriate error message is displayed.

Had you defined E2BIG as being 218 instead, that would be fine, the same process would occur. The error abbreviations and messages are standards; the numbers assigned to the abbreviations are not and are part of the actual implementation.

The source code that makes up errno.h and the error numbers you assign as part of your implementation of errno.h in your particular program are part of the API. It's part of that near-English listing of words and numbers that humans can read. Once it gets complied to binary code, it forms part of the ABI that tells the computer how to actually run the program on your system.


  


Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al | 406 comments | Create New Account
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Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: sef on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 01:50 AM EST
bravo!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Excellent article
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 01:53 AM EST
I just wanted to congratulate you all on an excellent and enjoyable article.

I am also glad to be talking about something else other than the virus thing :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:03 AM EST
Spectacular work. I confess to only getting through 2/3 of it, but it's a real
belt-and-suspenders operation. Frank Sorenson has documented several ways that
the ABI threat can be obliterated.

In particular, the digitally signed, GPL'd, copyright-notice-less copies of
most of the header files in question seem absolutely ironclad.

The task remaining is to make sure that all people who have received the SCO ABI
threats have access to this article, so that they can make an informed
decision.

Way to go, everybody! Frank and Pamela, you continue to amaze.

Thad

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:13 AM EST
A+++
I realy wanted to go to sleep, over an hour ago, but couldn't stop reading - excellent work! nice also to explain ABI/API ...
thank you very much!!
diver

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Spenser on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:15 AM EST
KUDOS

Congratulations to all who contributed to a masterful work. Look for it
to become part of a filing in the SCO v. IBM case and quite likely part
of the Novell case also. The truth shall prevail. Sometimes the legal
system seems to grind along maddeningly slowly. Look at it as the
noose tightening.

I am reminded of one of the favorite sayings thirty years ago of a
crusty first year contracts professor at Vanderbilt Law School:“You can
sue the pope for bastardy, but you probably won't win.”

[ Reply to This | # ]

Minor correction
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:42 AM EST
Great work!

Here is a minor correction:

you will find of list of SCO software

should be

you will find a list of SCO software

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anyone care to comment on this!
Authored by: iZm on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 02:56 AM EST

I just got out of my pit, to start a fresh new day and, I came across this.

---
Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: StringCheesian on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:06 AM EST
"So, IBM's porting of JFS was known back then, without a word of complaint from Caldera's Love, who was, according to this article, trying to do the same kind of thing with Unix code, the only blockage being that some of the code didn't belong to Caldera."

I don't understand why the IBM vs SCO case has to continue in light of this info. Can't IBM just present this and be done with it? Why wait till 2005?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:06 AM EST
A Job well done. Case dismissed. All shred of doubt
regarding SCUMX winning
this case or any other case has
been lifted. My predication is that they
(SCUMX) will
disappear as a company before this ever goes to trail.

You
have done IBM's, RedHat's, and any end user who might
be sued by SCUMX, work
for them. Please publish your
address so that the above may know where to send
their
cheques. LOL

I also feel something interesting is developing here.

Just as GNU/Linux has revolutionized software writing by
pooling together the
masses in writing quality and freely
available software, so too has Groklaw
pioneered a model
for offering legal resources for the masses by the masses.

Kudos goes to the pioneer PJ.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:08 AM EST
What an excellent piece of work! Congratulations Frank, PJ et all. IANAL but
my impression is clearly that the current management of SCO is attempting to
run the company with no knowledge of what business the company is in! Total
incompetence or downright fraud! To paraphrase an old cliche, "Those who
fail to study history are doomed to eat it!". Thanks guys!!! :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Amicus Brief?
Authored by: RedBarchetta on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:10 AM EST
Me != lawyer

I have come across the words "Amicus Brief" several times in my readings. My understanding is that they are "testaments" from outside parties to a court case, supporting or quelling an argument.

Who can file them? Do they need to be requested by the court, or can one submit them to the court voluntarily?

I ask this because this article seems to be of the "Amicus Brief" caliber.

The level of clarity is astounding; you make a highly complex subject, easily readable. No insult to our intelligence, just good solid writing. A pat on the back to all the authors, especially PJ.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Amicus Brief? - Authored by: rsmith on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:32 AM EST
  • Amicus Brief? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:21 PM EST
Clear, well researched, easy to read, well done ( NT)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:31 AM EST
-

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: pl on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:32 AM EST
Great article! I'm missing a table at the end with the names of all the
infringed pieces of code, the findings and a link to the relevant part of the
article that gives you the background information. I know it's work, but it
would be *very* nice.

Peter

---
from "the old Europe"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:41 AM EST
I would de-emphasize the shared library aspect. While
SCOG's initial complaints centered on people making copies
of their shared libraries, the December 2003 claims do
not involve shared library issues at all. The header
files referenced constitute a very small part of the
System V ABI. They attempt to redefine ABI to mean each
header file (or indeed each #define in these header files).
It makes the claims sound much more impressive than they
actually are. Further, the #define's are for simple
numeric macro definitions. There's no actual creative code
in there, just factual numbers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

When will those RPM files disappear?
Authored by: rsmith on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:43 AM EST
I have this nagging suspicion that the linked RPM's will vanish from the SCO
ftp site before long, or that the ftp site will suffer another "DDOS
attack". :-)

I guess that some people have them around somewhere on CD.

Nevertheless it might be a good idea to mirror them, in case SCO
"forgets" they ever existed.

---
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Link correction needed
Authored by: miss_cleo_psy4u on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:52 AM EST
There are four links to versions of OpenLinux fairly early in the
article.

The href for "OpenLinux Workstation 3.1" to the ftp site location
contains two slashes in a row.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Very very nice
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 03:57 AM EST
Good work Frank and Pamela. Very very nice work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ladies and Gentlemen: Excelllent job, well done
Authored by: Scriptwriter on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:00 AM EST
Just let me add my voice to those who have already said this. I hope this
document will be useful if the case ever gets to trial, but even more so, I hope
this will be useful for those not closely following events who still might think
SCOX's case has any shred of merit, or for those who got one of SCOX's
extortion scheme letters and don't know what to do.

Excellent job. Well done. You folks r0x0r.

---
He who sells / What isn't his'n / Is headed for / Some time / In prison /
Burma-Shave

irc.fdfnet.net #groklaw

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fantastic Informational Story
Authored by: DBLR on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:07 AM EST
Frank Sorenson, PJ, and the rest of the group, you all made this a Great , no make that a Fantastic informational story that is easy to read and also help the adverage person like me to understand things a little better. Now once it is all finished you need to have it listed on as many web sites like NewsNow or Linux Universe as you can get to link to it. The more people who read this excellent report can then start to spread the news to the whole world or at least to whoever will listen.

Charles

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: RSC on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:19 AM EST
Well done all!

I can't imagine this article going down to well in the SCO offices. You have
blown away their entire claim. They will have to think of another angle if they
want to continue with the "end user" scheme.

Thanks very much for all your hard work. I can't wait for the next installment.
:)

RSC.


---
----
An Australian who IS interested.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:39 AM EST
Thats a lovely piece of work - I enjoyed reading the entire thing, even the
API/ABI tutorial and I'm a programmer :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO's frustration
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:48 AM EST
Did I just here fists on the table?

I think someone at SCO might be plenty mad at this.
They probably hoped that the truth would be to much work to uncover.

Their case, and current court plans are probably heading to the shredder. It's
just gotta be frustrating to have to continuously find new threats, each time
they have their claims disemboweled.

I wonder what they will come up next?

Hope that bookies don't start taking bets to how long it takes the next claims
to be shot full of holes.

I almost feel sorry for S C O...........
NAAAA...

Wolvenar

[ Reply to This | # ]

Absolutely beautiful!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:01 AM EST
One of the best pieces of investigative journalism I've read. Now why can't
the regular media do this kind of work, instead of copy pasting SCO's press
releases? PJ, write the book, there's a Pulitzer here somewhere. And for anyone
attending McBride's talk on Monday, perhaps someone should ask him about this
'infringing' code which happens to be still available on *their own* ftp site.
Har har!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:03 AM EST
Now I am cross eyed and have a headache. I wish I had as much passion and
energy for anything that you all put into this one article. Compared to you I
should be named Eor. ( If you have kids you may know who Eor is, from the pooh
cartoons. )

Mr. Ed

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:21 AM EST
Good article!
Error:

In

" Flaxa then replies that he can and will do the tasks requested. The LTP
is still available on Caldera's FPT site here."

It is FTP and FPT

Maybe it is me, but the aticle could be improved by making a better distinction
between the hellwigs Linux-ABI project and the linux-abi (header files).
Sometimes it was a little bit confusing what the text is about and what role it
plays is SCO's complaint.
Also an important thing would maybe to note how much linux-abi and SCO abi are
similar.

But it was a good job!

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy... - please remove it
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:37 AM EST
I'd suggest removing the rape analogy. It doesn't do anything for the
argument. I can't help but feel that it is getting remarkably close to a
Godwin's Law invocation.

Nothing in the world of copyright or IP comes close to rape - the analogy is
bogus. Please, come up with something better. (As long as it doesn't involve
genocide or Hitler...)

phil

[ Reply to This | # ]

Exceptional; Now the real point...
Authored by: martimus on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:40 AM EST
This is definitely the clearest deconstruction of the ABI threat to date.
The resolution of the issues brought out are probably replicable across
several of SCO's complaints.

With this thorough thrashing of SCO appearing to be so easy, it makes
you wonder "What are they really thinking?" I believe they never
intended
to go to court. They are doing everything possible to drag out their
pending judgement day. Initially, they hoped to scare IBM into buying
them out, and now they are stuck on the treadmill to get their stock
levitating so the insiders can liquidate their shares prior to the eventual
meltdown.

Based on the so obviously bogus nature of their claims, it should be
intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that they will be creamed
by IBM when (If!) they ever get to the April 2005 court date. This means
that the whole thing was ever and only about scamming first IBM and
when that didn't work, the rest of the investing public. Unfortunately for
IBM (up to now), for SCO's scam to have legs they actually had to move
forward with some sort of legal action. Now we are down to the ABI
argument; truly pathetic.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Referenced documents
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:00 AM EST
I was just wondering if you are maintaining local copies of all of the documents
and rpms and so on that you are referencing?

Presumably that evidence could disappear at any time.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: FAZ with another article on SCO
Authored by: jmaurer on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:11 AM EST
I had already reported on a badly researched article of the German mainstream newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). I had written them e-mail pointing to various resources, including Groklaw. Others probably did the same. Yesterday (Friday), there was another article in that newspaper, this time about a quarter of a newspaper page, that is much more precise. Here are some excerpts (the translation is mine):

SCO is the new object of hatred in the technology business
The target for the Internet worm "Mydoom" is for once not Microsoft / by Roland Lindner

It was like taking a break for breath for Microsoft. Usually, industry giants such as the world's largest software company are stylized to enemies by the public, due to their dominant market position. These days, a minute software company from the American federal state of Utah has become target number one.

Huge improvements here: They get SCO's place of business right and they represent some of the opposition SCO faces.

[Skipped some reasonable "Mydoom" description.]

... As little as one and a half years ago, SCO was in a crisis that endangered their existence, which did not cause turmoil in public. ...

McBride made a risky bet, which improved [SCO's] business and most predominantly increased the stock price of SCO, but inflicted the anger of the trade upon him. He declared war on the license-fee-free Linux operating system. ...

That's pretty clear language, I'd say.

[Skipped explanation of Linux, IDC market research reports +50% increase in Linux server sales while the market remained mostly stagnant. $3bn lawsuit against IBM, history of Unix.]

... However, Novell claims still to possess certain copyrights to Unix. Thus, it is not a given whether SCO even possesses the comprehensive rights that are claimed in the [IBM] lawsuit. Even if that is the case, the company still has to put forward the difficult proof that those have been infringed by IBM. ...
That sounds a lot more sceptical that the previous article on the subject, I'd say, putting emphasis on the difficulty of proof.

[Novell suit, thousands of letters to Linux users, announcement of intent to sue, indemnification fund supported by IBM and Intel, countersuit by IBM, suit by Red Hat.]

... In November, SCO closed an unusual contract with the law firm of its attorney David Boies. Boies ... got one million dollars in cash and 400000 SCO shares. This contract has pulled down the quarterly earnings report, because expenses of nearly 9 million dollars have been accounted [for the Boies payment]. ... loss of 1.6 million dollars ... Their revenue increased ... from 15.5 to 24.3 million dollars. ... For the major part, this revenue increase is due to ... Microsoft. Together with server specialist Sun Microsystems ..., Microsoft has given more than 10 million dollars for software licenses from SCO, a move many industry experts cannot make sense of. Because of that, there is speculation that Microsoft's software purchase is a hidden subsidy for the legal action of SCO against Linux.
That's to the core of the issue: Looking through their press conference FUD to the real figures in the quarterly earnings report, and even including rumors about the Microsoft license payment.

[SCO shares around 15.50 dollars since the IBM lawsuit, only small decrease since the "Mydoom" worm.]

Jens Maurer

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy need not be sexist
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:27 AM EST
please change

SCO's claims are a little like a woman falsely claiming rape after she
willingly consented to sexual relations

to

SCO's claims are a like someone falsely claiming rape after willingly consented
to sexual relations

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCOG (Caldera/The SCO Group) vs. SCO (Santa Cruz Operation)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:54 AM EST
Do you think that it is important to make a distintion between the SCO Group and
the Santa Cruz Operation companies?

For example quotes:
"SCO encourages all UNIX System vendors for Intel processors to join SCO,
USL, Intel, ISC"

"In September 1993, over 75 companies, including Novell and SCO"

refer to SCO (oldSCO) and not the SCOG.

In general people can tell if it is the SCOG vs. SCO based on the date but it is
not always clear.

Perhaps, use oldSCO for the Santa Cruz Operation might be better, since the SCO
Group is now commonly referred as SCO (among other names).

Also, when people see a distintion between them, they may also think on things
like what Novell actual sold to oldSCO, and then what they actually sold to
Caldera. If you really owned UNIX, you would not sell it for $50M...



[ Reply to This | # ]

Is there a typo in the RPM names?
Authored by: Jude on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:16 AM EST
I was downloading the cited RPM's so I could look at them, and also becuase
they might disappear:

iBCS-2.1-12.src.rpm
iBCS-2.1-10.src.rpm
iBCS-2.1-2.src.rpm
iBCS-2.1-12.src.rpm

While doing this, I noticed that there's a duplicate in the list: The first
and last entries are the same.

Was one of these supposed to be a different name?

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy...
Authored by: daWabbit on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:38 AM EST
I could (and willingly would) have gone a long time without hearing that rather
sick and definitely tired old rape analogy.

Jack

---
"There ain't no reason I should work this hard when I can live off the
chickens in my neighbor's yard" -Bruno Wolfe

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ - Groklaw Takes...Printer Friendly?
Authored by: lnx4me on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:46 AM EST
Fanatastic job, I wish I had your energy!

Question: After editing re feedback, etc., can a "printer friendly"
version can be posted/linked? This is "a keeper".

I for one am "monitor challenged" when it comes to reading and
retaining more than a page; I find I process the printed word much more
efficiently, unless, of course, it is a legal document in which case my eyes
still glaze-over no matter how many times I try.

Or, email me and let me know the best way I might do it --- can't quarantee a
quick turnaround but I'll give it a go. If nothing else vacuum it into OO
(promise not to use Word) and post as a pdf?

Thanks again!

Bob

[ Reply to This | # ]

Good stuff - most impressive - but
Authored by: Night Flyer on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:38 AM EST
Wow. I just learned more about programs (programming) than they taught me in
school. It also cleared up a some misconceptions and questions I had. I will
be reading it a couple more times to be sure I understand it properly.

My point: If this were presented to a jury trial, not all jurists would follow
it. If someone (SCO-lawyers?) were to be spreading (FUD type?) objections,
interjections and distractions relating to points of order and alternate views
on points of law, all the jurists might lose the thread, and become confused.

If I were a lawyer, I would probably need a shorter version.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: leguirerj on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:44 AM EST
Wasn't Ransom Love quoted as telling Darl Mcbride that he should not try to
take on the whole Linux community? Didn't Darl reply with some flip remark
about not wanting to sit around some campfire with a bunch of hippies singing
kumbiya(spelling is probably wrong)?

This article just proves that Mr. Love was right!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does SCO own the ABI, or only its specification?
Authored by: ldiamand on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:50 AM EST
There's a posting on the Yahoo message board from a week ago that suggests that
SCO may think they own the copyright on the UNIX ABI because it says so in
Amendment E to the Novell/SCO UNIX sale:

http://messages.yahoo.com/bbs?action=m&board=1600684464&tid=cald&mid
=85624&sid=1600684464

And attachment E itself:

http://www.sco.com/novell/attachmente.pdf

This amendment E is the one that SCO dramatically produced to trump Novell's
claims that they owned all the interesting copyrights in UNIX (IIRC).

However, if you read the amendment then it turns out that all they have the
copyright for is a document that specifies the ABI, not the ABI itself. Look at
the first items on the list:

"SYSTEM V BINARY COMPATIBILITY SPECIFICATION"

"UNIX($) SYSTEM V BINARY INTERFACE 32000 Processor Supplement"

"SYSTEM V APPLICATION BINARY INTERFACE Intel386(TM) Processor
Supplement"

So - they have some specifications of these interfaces, that they own the
copyright on. But *not* any actual code.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What has this got to do about rape?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:50 AM EST
This case is important, but that analogy was unnecessary and offensive to some,
most importantly not even a logical comparison. Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: mac586 on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:03 AM EST
Thank You, Thank You, and Thank You again!!

When the ABI claims were announced by SCO, I jumped right into Google and NewsGroups and started compiling much of the same information. Finding the data was easy, the problem was the amount of information versus time (and I was a bit shy on expertise too!). Way too much data, and far too little time to compile the information for Groklaw. Thanks to everyone involved in the article for contributing so much of their time and intellect to create yet another "Groklaw Hall of Fame" commentary.

  • I was glad to see the LSB data so clearly tied to the ABI claims, it clearly refutes anything and everything SCO can possibly present publically or privately about unintentional releases of code.

  • The presentation of the GPL licenses and the Caldera/SCO encrypted signatures was "illuminating" to say the least. To state that your investigation of the facts is thorough, or complete is clearly an understatement.

I think a few minor edits are required, but I strongly encourage PJ to give this article as much attention as the original Letter to SCO. I'm sure it will be widely available now that Groklaw is so well known, but to have it showcased would be beneficial to everyone who received one of those special letters from Darl and company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: GPL Non-compliance
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:06 AM EST
Whilst playing with various cool hardware here in the UK I came across a company
who with one hand states they openly support the GPL and base their software on
various GPL'd tools - but with the other hand steadfastly refuse to release
their source code.

The time has now come to out them ( as was done with the Kiss Technologies DVD
player and the MPlayer project ).
The company is NetGem ( a French company ) - the URL is http://www.netgem.com

They definately use a Linux kernel ( nmap test performed / MontaVista HardHat
Linux ). They do NOT provide source with their product. They state that you can
request the code from NetGem - unfortunately all such requests have been so far
ignored.

I do hope that all appropriate pressure can be applied to them to do their duty
under the terms of the license.
Thank you for your attention.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Harvard Law
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:13 AM EST
I received an email [which I unfortunately deleted] from one of the computer
list I am on indicating that Darl along with the rest of the SCO crowd is to
speak before Harvard Law on intellectual property.

From the e-mail this will most likely be a one sided presentation if it is
given.

Maybe an opposition presentation to Darl presentation can be arranged.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: mhoyes on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:22 AM EST
You know, while I was reading this article (excelent article by the way), I
started to think about precidents, since the legal community is so locked into
them. Anyway, some of the actions taken by SCOG struck a familiar chord in my
mind and brought back the fight over the GIF format and Unisys. As far as I
know, this has never actually been settled, but the actions of Unisys, from what
I remember, seem very similar to SCOGs. At one point, after saying they
wouldn't, they said anyone using the GIF file format would owe them $5000.

So, are there any lawyer types out here that could explain any of this, or are
the cases too disimilar? Or, can it be tied up in court for years to come,
leaving the users in a state of limbo with regards to their rights? Of course,
thinking about it, the GIF case is about patent infringement so maybe it is not
close, but on the surface, it does seem similar. It is also a good example of a
company, waiting for general acceptance of a standard, then coming back and
demanding money once it is entrenched. If they had come out with the
infringement first occured, it probably would have been changed to not
infringe.

Just some random thoughts. And remember, IANAL.

meh

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Annulment Analogy?...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:27 AM EST
SCO is like someone claiming after consumating,that the marriage is null because
they didn't understand what they were doing.

Can this happen in America?

This is less appropriate in that this is civil vs criminal law.

And New SCO _IS_ claiming rape of its code (to seize and carry off)as
emotionally charged as it is.

== In PRACTICE, I have rarely found LAW to be CIVIL. ==



[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:32 AM EST
Should we consider sending this research to the companies that SCO sent their
threatening letters to?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:46 AM EST
The light switch analogy can be carried further after your brilliant analysis of
SCO's claims: someone at SCO needs to turn the lights off and they all need to
go home, with their heads hung low.

This is absolutely great work, folks.

Thank you very much.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:46 AM EST
In SCO's shifting claims on the ABI, you should mention that SCO's IP FAQ (esp. item 21 and also numerous early quotes of Stowell/MacBride) say Linux 2.2 can be used without license fees. Of course the ABIs were included in Linux 2.2. By actually posting this official FAQ for months on their website telling people that using Linux 2.2 is safe, then they have to explain why official SCOSource documents were urging people to use the ABIs without paying license fees.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:57 AM EST
Does this mean that when SCO sent out the infringement letters that they
committed mail fraud by making false claims, maybe violated RICO racketeering
laws and maybe also violated the DMCA by claiming to own copyrights on something
they didn't?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Yep - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:52 AM EST
Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: TerryL on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:21 AM EST
Very well done to all who contributed to this magnificent piece of work the both
uncovers loads of evidence and explains it so that normal people can understand
what that evidence shows.

I would imagine (or hope) that legal and technical people are IBM (and maybe
RedHat and Novell) have been doing similar search for, and collating of evidence
but I would imagine they will find it of much more benefit to their case to
point at an independant source of the information. It will sound much better if
they can say, "this information is discoverable to members of the public,
as shown by this report", rather than "we have gathered this
information to produce this report". Well, I'd be more impressed anyway
(maybe I'm easily impressed).

The one thing that stands out as jarring and distracted my attention, (you know
what I'm going to say, other have said it too), as the rape analogy. It is too
emotionally charged - I'm sure I've seen elsewhere on her an analogy of
someone selling or leasing property and later saying they didn't, (my damn
memory gets worse), that may be better, less distracting.



---
All comment and ideas expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those
of any other idiot...

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy...Change Gender for Greater Effect
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:22 AM EST
SCO deserves an analogy which cuts deeper, possibly along the line of: "A
man visits a prostitute for activities of his chosing. The next day he visits a
lawyer, then files a rape charge..."

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: RHAT v SCO
Authored by: fjaffe on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:31 AM EST
While the wheels of justice grind slowly, there is a sign of life in the RHAT v. SCO action. I pulled the following from pacer.

1/29/04 29 ORDER effective immediately the court will not consider applications and requests submitted by letter or in a form other than a motion, absent express approval by the court; no telephone calls are to be made to chambers; emergency matters should be emailed to the court at the address provided with no attachments ( signed by Judge Sue L. Robinson ) copies to: cnsl. (rd)

I have no idea what this means, but I figured folks would be interested anyway.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Question
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 11:07 AM EST
Near the end of the article it says...

So with all that in mind, what do we know about files claimed by SCO such as errno.h? That file is a header file, which is a type of library file spoken of earlier. Header files contain commonly defined variables that get used in many programs. Again, there's no point in reinventing the wheel every time you want to use one of these common variables, so you tell the compiler to gather in that header file instead at compile time.

Didn't we hear elsewhere that SCO may be arguing that the variables such as those mentioned above are their own proprietary "implementation" of POSIX and that Linux has some of the identical variable values that no other POSIX compliant versions have? While Linus claims he chose those variables "from scratch" if other code ie. SGI made it's way into Linux the jury may be sympathetic to other things that are in Linux whether they are identical code or rather implemention variables instead.

I guess my question is what about these variable values, how many of them are identical with SCO products and are other POSIX compatible products using the same values? And can those values in any possible way be considered trade secret to SCO? Thanks in advance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did SCO Release the ABI Code Under the GPL? l
Authored by: tea4two on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 11:09 AM EST
Here is a disturbing article at LinuxWorld
by Maureen O'Gara.

http://www.linuxworld.com/story/43495.htm

[ Reply to This | # ]

Perjury or ???
Authored by: jdg on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 11:09 AM EST
It will be interesting (for IBM) to compare SCOG's responses to the
interrogatories that asked for all individuals that had access to the trade
secrets etc, etc. Have they omitted any (many?) of these connections. Can
someone with a better grasp of the legal particulars expand upon the trouble
SCOG may be in if these revelations are not included in SCOG's responses?

---
SCO is trying to appropriate the "commons"; don't let them

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Perjury or ??? - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 07:30 AM EST
...Rape Analogy...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 01:36 PM EST
The only /real/ problem with the rape analogy is that it is difficult to know
whether it was consensual or not - it becomes a he said/she said.

In this case it would be:

Consensual sex occurred, but party A claimed much later to have been raped.
Videotape evidence and early written and verbal accounts by party A show that
the act was in fact consensual.

[ Reply to This | # ]

But, but, it's Novell's code, not SCO's
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 04:25 PM EST
All this assumes SCO's copyrights are valid.

But a defendant in an SCO lawsuit should first point out to the court that
Novell has copyrights on the same code as SCO. After that, I shouldn't think it
would be necessary to reach any of the still excellent material presented
above.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Article copies available
Authored by: inode_buddha on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:02 PM EST
Whew, what a day! Somebody here asked for mirrors, so I put up printer-friendly copies of the article in html, Postscript, and PDF during the slashdotting. HTH

---
"Truly, if Te is strong in one, all one needs to do is sit on one's ass, and the corpse of one's enemy shall be carried past shortly." (seen on USENET)

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy...
Authored by: J.F. on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:08 PM EST
Here's a better analogy that won't be as offensive to some:

It's like dressing a bird - after having chopped the head off, stripped the
feathers, and gutted the bird, you can't change your mind and reinsert the guts,
reattach the feathers, and stick the head back on and have your bird back the
way it was.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCOG claims over ABI prove their ignorance of ABIs in general
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:25 PM EST
SCOG spokespeople have espoused numerous distorted legal theories
during their protracted IP war. Their ABI claims are based on their
technical ignorance. I applaud groklaw people for their sage rebuttal. I
wish Harvard or other legal bastions were as competent and pertinent.

SCOG has claimed that their proffered source (i.e., header) files are ABIs
or contain ABIs. As this groklaw article explains for the benefit of judges,
juries, and lawyers, any source file could implement either side of APIs
but never any ABIs. This article points out that many individual APIs are
organized together into any standard like POSIX or the ANSI C runtime
environment.

The inclusion of APIs like function calls, data structures, and pragmas
(i.e., advanced instructions to the compiler) does not include ABIs;
however, the programmer might be anticipating the impact of APIs in
source code files on the ABIs of the binary machine language files
produced by the compiler. In summary, APIs exist in human readable
source code files and ABIs exist in machine readable binary files created
by compilers.

This groklaw article exposes the Alice in Wonderland illogic of SCOG's
ABI claims and source code examples. Judges, juries, and lawyers might
form the opinion that SCOG spokespeople do not understand the subject
matter and are extemporizing (e.g., lying).

My strategic concern is that some judge or jury might decide to give
scoundrels intellectual property rights those parties never possessed.
Technical gibberish could cloud the absurdity of SCOG’s legal claims.

Groklaw produces the research once again!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:34 PM EST
Ralf Flaxa now works for SuSE/Novell btw.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting to note...
Authored by: p0ssum on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 05:46 PM EST
That a Google of "Daniel Wallace" "Insight Communications"
comes up with 0 hits. "Daniel Wallace" and physicist turns up a legal
mailing list were he is fairly roundly(however one Lawrence E. Rosen, some of
you will recognize the name, does respond with the following):

Daniel,

I don't think your analysis is correct. Promissory estoppel is a contract
doctrine that has nothing to do with a bare license like the GPL.

/Larry Rosen

So I think he is barking up the wrong tree as has been pointed out here several
times. This is a fellow who decribes himself as a retired physicist, nah, thanks
anyhow, I'll stick with CSM.

p

---
There are 10 types of people in this world, those that understand binary and
those that do not.

[ Reply to This | # ]

But what did Linus Torvald claim paternity of ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:03 PM EST
The research was approached as if Linus Torvalds had not already claimed
paternity of most of the header files.

But he did.
And he did it years before it was "contributed by SCO/Caldera".

Now what ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Origin of files in iBCS rpms
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:27 PM EST
Hmm,in iBCS-2.1-12.src.rpm we find that ctype.c, ctype.h, etc are in the
package libc_s-951222.tar.gz, which is itself a verabtim copy of
ftp://tsx-11.mit.edu/pub/linux/BETA/ibcs2/libc_s-951222.tar.gz. No evidence
that SCO/Caldera was involved in their creation. In fact, the bulk of the files
in the rpm are simply copied from tsx-11.

[ Reply to This | # ]

...Rape Analogy...
Authored by: lwoggardner on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:32 PM EST
I agree with other posters that this analogy is likely to detract from the
excellent content of the article.

The analogy is very appropriate. Unfortunately some people may genuinely be
offended, perhaps due to a close personal involvement, and others would simply
use it to intentionally attack the credibility of the article.

Perhaps the word "rape" could be changed to "sexual assault"
so as to produce a less emotive response.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If it upsets us it will upset others. The reference to rape should be removed.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:42 PM EST
It'll be the one thing that people will remember this document for.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Slashdotted!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 06:42 PM EST
Does slashdotting constitute a DDoS attack? It sure is effective!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: stuart2048 on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:30 PM EST
Not only did Dave Prosser contribute ABI information to the LSB, but he also contributed other "valuable" SCO IP on the LSB email lists. Here< /a>, he is seen sharing UnixWare source code as an example of how tmpfile.c was programmed. As you see, he shared source code without mention of confidentiality or other restriction on use or adoption.
I was curious about this "valuable" SCO IP on the LSB email list, so I checked out the above link. I'm very puzzled by Prosser's comment and the attached code:
The relevant part of the UnixWare tmpfile.c is
    if ((fd =
PrivoxyWindowOpen(tfname, O_CREAT | O_EXCL | O_RDWR, 0)) == 0)
        return
0;
    unlink(tfname);
    return fdopen(fd,
"w+");
If it weren't for the PrivoxyWindowOpen() function call, I would have quickly assumed that this code fragment was directly copied from UnixWare tmpfile.c, as seems to be suggested by Dave and the Groklaw paragraph.

But PrivoxyWindowOpen()? What on Earth is *that* doing in UnixWare tmpfile.c? PrivoxyWindowOpen() is a JavaScript function generated on the fly by the
Privoxy web proxy filtering daemon!

It could be that he did a text substitution, replacing whatever was in the original file by the symbol "PrivoxyWindowOpen" -- of all things. How odd. But as it is, something just doesn't add up.

What am I missing?

--Stuart

[ Reply to This | # ]

Re: Standard interfaces
Authored by: vonbrand on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 07:50 PM EST
There are some mistakes in the description in this section. When describing errno.h, it is not the case that the running program looks up the error code in that file. What happens is that you write E2BIG or whatever in your source, and the compiler includes that file during translation, placing the associated number (say 7) in its place. The program just works in terms of this number 7, the associated name is gone forever.

Now, this are error codes, that the kernel uses to convey what went wrong (interface, remember?). So you can't just go and substitute other numbers: Everything would break. Sure, you could go ahead and rebuild your whole system with another set of values, and it would work just the same. But it would mean rebuilding everything, even stuff you only get as binaries from vendors.

The names of the error codes (E2BIG, ...) and their meanings ("Argument list too long", ...) are part of the API, and defined by standards like POSIX and SuS. Both are to be seen in stereotyped lines like:

#define E2BIG 7 /* Argument list too long */
This is the only way the equivalences would be described by a C programmer. As part of standards the names and meanings are explicitly defined for free use by everyone.

The particular values associated to the names (7, ...) are part of the ABI. There are differences in the exact sets of values among Unix variants (and lookalikes, like Linux).

[ Reply to This | # ]

AT&T/DMR did NOT examine Coherent's code
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:03 PM EST
Not to take away from an excellent analysis, but one point is wrong or at least
misleading: DMR explicitly states that he never looked at Coherent's code,
source or object, but rather observed its behaviour looking for similar
behaviour in obscure corner cases that he knew from long experience.

His conclusions, that it was written by people extremely familiar with AT&T
Unix but he couldn't say it was copied, were based on this black-box testing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

THIS IS ALL WRONG!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:09 PM EST
The history starts with Darl, as we all know. Anything else is irrelevant and
should be wiped clean. OK?

Seriously, can anyone believe what a bunch of clowns these people are?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hey Pamela!
Authored by: Jude on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:14 PM EST
I forgot to tell you how nice it was to wake up Saturday morning and see another
piece of SCO's hide nailed to your barn door.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Alternative
Authored by: Christian on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:14 PM EST
Like a grocery store setting up a table of free samples and then having the
customer arrested for shoplifting as he leaves the store and the store
management claiming that they never offered free samples.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So we now have 4 complete defenses
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:19 PM EST
It seems that any of the following legal theories would constitute a complete defense against the claim that Linux's errno.h infringes SCO/Caldera's copyright:
  1. The assignment of error codes is too trivial to qualify for copyright protection.
  2. AT&T abandoned the copyright (AT&T v. BSDI)
  3. SCO/Caldera doesn't have the copyright (Novell does)
  4. Old SCO and Caldera both gave away the code under the GPL.
Additionally, we have the more intricate theory that the right to the numbers came through various standards bodies. (Mostly, I think they just assumed point #1, that the things they were standardizing were not themselves entitled to copyright protection.)

That's a lot of fences for SCO to jump its lawsuit over to get to the finish line.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rape, Open Source ... Coding...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:37 PM EST
Excellent article!

I am also struck by the quality of dicussion concerning
the use of the rape analogy. The topic is throughly
disected from about every point of view in an "Open
Discussion"(Open Source) by all who wish to contribute
their views. I believe that the results of this
discussion will be incorporated into the article.

So it is with coding, where some code snippet draws a lot
of attention from the coders on the project. The result
is that the snippet usually become the best possible code
for the situation.

Such is the power of Open Source!
GeyGeek

[ Reply to This | # ]

Small suggestion
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:44 PM EST

Spell check the document. For example, ``fuctions'' instead of ``functions''. There may be other typos.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mirrors? A Proposal
Authored by: snorpus on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 08:53 PM EST
I posted the following as a reply to an earlier comment by inode_buddha. S/he had taken the time to convert the ABI research into HTML, PS, and PDF formats, and post them to the web, in response to the fact that Groklaw was essentially unreachable for over 5 hours this afternoon.

The following is a proposal for how the "problem" of becoming the definitive authority on all things SCOG-related might be handled.

Regards

Dave

*****************************

Kudos to inode_buddha. Maybe we should consider formalizing this process to better deal with (I won't say avoid) future /.'ings. From looking at the time-stamps on the top-level comments, it appears that Groklaw was "slashdotted" for nearly 5.5 hours, from 11:09am EST to 4:24pm EST.

I have a website with fairly generous limits (700MB/day, 21GB/month), and I imagine some others on Groklaw do too. Most /.'ings are to get the original article, not the comments. Mathfox can comment on this, but my understanding is that Groklaw's "problem" when it gets /.'ed is that every page Groklaw returns is dynamically created, after one or more database queries. It's really the backend database that's getting overwhelmed, not the webserver or the hardware.

If we could divert some of the hits "away" from the database, and to static pages containing just the article text, the effects of publishing a popular article could be mitigated.

Here's my suggestion:

  • When a major story is about to break (e.g., Frank Sorenon's article about the Unix/Linux ABIs), PJ alerts a Translator Group to be ready to convert the article, if necessary, into standalone HTML, PostScript, and PDF formats, as inode_buddha has done.
  • Also alerted is a Mirror Group, webmasters who volunteer to post the article on their web sites in one or more of the formats provided.
  • Translators send HTML, PS, or PDF versions of the article to the Mirrors, who upload them to their web sites. Note that the mirrors will provide only the original article, so while the hits/sec may be high, the mirrors are providing static pages, without all the Groklaw web site overhead.
  • When the article is posted on Groklaw, it includes links to the various mirrors at the top. Groklaw will still get /.'ed for a while, until the mirrors get publicized. (If anyone can come up with a system whereby it's not necessary to go to Groklaw to get links to the mirrors, feel free to chime in.)
  • In most cases, I imagine that the furor will subside within 12 hours or less, at which time the mirrors can simply change their page to re-direct to the article on the Groklaw site, and get ready for the next article.
  • Assume the file is 50KBytes. If my site is hit once per second, it would take nearly 4 hours to hit my daily MB limit.

    ---
    73/88 de KQ3T

    [ Reply to This | # ]

Incorrect description of libraries' functionality and kernel/libraries distinction
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:11 PM EST

A simple example of this would be the "copy file" and "move file" commands: both commands check file permissions and manipulate the file system. When applications have a great deal of functionality in common, this functionality is often placed into shared libraries.

This mixes three things:

  1. "copying file" being performed by a system utility, not a library function. There is no such function because it's a ery rare operation to be performed by a program, and the variety of errors that it produces makes it impractical to implement it as a library function or a syscall. "Move file" _may_ refer to rename(), however when user uses "mv" or any file manager's "moving" functionality, it's an application, not library or kernel that determines if it should cause renaming of the file, or copy-then-delete. Typical system library functions are either wrappers for system calls (opening/closing the file, reading/writing, connecting sockets), standard data manipulation (formatted I/O, sorting, strings copying, converting numbers and dates from/to formatted strings) or functionality that implements some complex protocols or handles file formats to perform some commonly used functionality (hostname resolution, reading user lists, verification of passwords, etc.)
  2. All security-related functionality ("check file permissions and manipulate the file system") is implementd in the kernel, and its behavior is not possible to affect from userspace, where programs and libraries work by just choosing not to use a certain library. This means that many pieces of the functionality described are not in the libraries, and libraries merely provide a common interface to them. Both libraries and kernel use and understand the same set of errors, however the Linux system has only one kernel running at a time while application may use different libraries simultaneously. A SCO binary may use a SCO library while another program will use Linux glibc to do the same thing, and both end up talking to the kernel to actually perform the operation.
I think, it's an important distinction, and it makes clear what really depends on what.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Totatally OT: HELP!!!
Authored by: converted on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 09:51 PM EST
Anyone else use Konqueror? I think I accidently drank SCO's koolaid. I went to google to do a search on benthopelagic...and I noticed a funny thing. Their favicon (webmasters know what I mean...it's the little icon that shows up in the location bar of your browser) is a SCO ICON. Can anyone verify this? I might need to get my stomach pumped of that koolaid.

"I am not a demographic! I am a human being"

[ Reply to This | # ]

The $250M SCO bounty...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:12 PM EST
should be applied to anybody who can find SCO code in the linux kernel/OS. That
would be a better application of SCO's resources, otherwise it's beginning to
look pretty grim for SCO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Shared libraries
Authored by: emebit on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:14 PM EST

The description of shared libraries, is more fitting for libraries in general. It doesn't mentioned anything that is specific about shared libraries. It may not be an important distinction for this article, but to be pedantic here is an overview of the differences:

The code from a normal/non-shared/static library is included into the final binary executable file at build/link time. A shared/dynamic library has much of this linking deferred until the program is run. Then the needed parts of the shared library are dynamically loaded into, and linked into, the running program.

Shared libraries typically save disk space as well of memory compared to standard (non-shared) libraries. They also have a minor performance loss due to the dynamic linking that is needed at runtime. If a bug in found in a shared library, that library can be upgraded and all the programs that load that library at runtime will automatcally pick up the new version without having to be rebuilt themselves. For bugs in a non-shared library, all the programs linked against it need to be re-built in order to pick up the fix.

--
Jim

[ Reply to This | # ]

RPM packaging
Authored by: dan_d on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 10:42 PM EST
This indicates that representatives of SCO/Caldera were the ones who collected, developed, tested, and maintained the source code to implement the ABI functionality, then placed the GPL notice on it, packaged it, and provided it to the entire Linux community.

As I read it, it doesn't actually demonstrate that Caldera employees actually developed that code. It does appear that Christoph Hellwig and others were involved, but all the RPM signature really proves is:

  • Caldera knowingly distributed the code as an official part of their products
  • They did so under the GPL

Then again, that alone is enough to defeat the argument made in their December 2003 letter, so I guess I'm just nitpicking. On the other hand, this raises a very good question: does distributing code with a "GPL" label on the package constitute licensing under the GPL? The fact that the header files lack copyright notices does not necessarily mean they are in the public domain. Is the only reason they're safe to distribute under the GPL the fact that they're probably not copyrightable at all?

Excellent article overall

[ Reply to This | # ]

Contribution from Caldera is pretty marginal.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 31 2004 @ 11:17 PM EST
I'd say the real contribution from Caldera is pretty marginal. The first patch which enabled me to run the old SCO UNIX binaries again on kernel 2.4.23 was created by Frederic Wenzel. And i really doubt if he was on Caldera's payroll. See :

http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=13130&atid=313130

The rest and older patches for linu-abi on kernel 2.4.xx simply DO NOT WORK! Here's a small HOWTO to get SCO binaries running again on Linux kernel 2.4.2x :

LINUX-ABI (formerly iBCS2) on Linux kernel 2.4.2x


SCO Unix binaries can run on the following platforms:

1. SCO OpenServer 5.0.x This is the premier platform but rather outdated in itself for a number of non-supported hardware issues, which are on Linux basicly no problem at all.

2. Linux kernel 2.2.1x using iBCS2 version ibcs-2.1-981105 basicly redhat linux upto RedHat 6.2

3. Linux kernel 2.4.2x using linux-abi version 2.4.2x basicly redhat linux from RedHat 7.2 upto todays Linux distro's The following sofware combinations was tested to work 100% OK: Mandrake 9.2/i586 FiveStar, with kernel upgrade to linux-2.4.23.tar.bz2 according to this document :

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=85914&cid=7478841

next apply the linux-abi patch in the following way :

# tar xvjf linux-2.4.23.tar.bz2
# ln -s linux-2.4.23 l2423.orig
# ln -s linux-2.4.23 l2423.abi
# bzip2 -dc linux-abi-2.4.23.patch.bz2 | patch -p0 --dry-run

to see if all is fine, and then apply it for real :

# bzip2 -dc linux-abi-2.4.23.patch.bz2 | patch -p0

next build your linux 2.4.23 kernel as usual. For latest kernel version, do "finger @ftp.kernel.org". To learn how to install a kernel, visit

http://www.linuxnewbie.org/nhf/intel/compiling/index.html

and read Kernel-HOWTO at http://www.linuxdoc.org

inside /etc/modules.conf add this :

alias personality-1 abi-ibcs
alias personality-2 abi-ibcs
alias personality-3 abi-sco
alias personality-4 abi-wyse
alias personality-5 abi-ibcs
alias personality-7 abi-ibcs
alias personality-13 abi-solaris
alias personality-14 abi-uw7

inside /etc/rc.d/rc.local add this :

/sbin/modprobe binfmt_coff
/sbin/modprobe abi-util
/sbin/modprobe abi-sco


ad.1 for details on SCO OpenServer 5.0.x see e.g. :

http://williambader.com/museum/dell/xenixhistory.html

ad.2 iBCS2 for Linux kernel 2.2.1x can be found on :

download: ftp://tsx-11.mit.edu/pub/linux/BETA/ibcs2/

"Using iBCS2 Under Linux"
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 1994 by Eric Youngdale:
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article.php?sid=2809

ad.3 linux-abi for Linux kernel 2.4.2x as kernel patches can be found on :

linux-abi project :
http://linux-abi.sourceforge.net/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/linux-abi/

The Linux abi is a patch to the linux kernel that allows a linux system to run foreign binaries.This was developed and written by Christoph Hellwig and Joerg Ahrens as a follow on to the iBCS/iBCS2 project written for the older 2.2.x kernel by Mike Jagdis.

Currently supported binaries are:

SCO OpenServer
SCO OpenDesktop
SCO Unix 3.x
SCO Xenix 386
SCO Xenix 286 (with userspace x286 emul)
SCO UnixWare 7
Caldera OpenUnix 8
SUN Solaris 2
System V Release 3 (SVR3)
System V Release 4 (SVR4)
Wyse V/386
ISC Interactive Unix

ONLY THE INTEL i386 platform is currently supported

Patches for download are on :
http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=13130&atid=313130


(c) Robert M. Stockmann
Thu Jan 22 04:00:03 CET 2004
--
Robert M. Stockmann - RHCE
Network Engineer - UNIX/Linux Specialist
crashrecovery.org stock@stokkie.net

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
Authored by: jricher on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 12:53 AM EST
This is a superb piece of work. The only (nitpicking) detail in my opinion is
that there needs to be a clearer distinction between the ibcs2 #defines and the
normal kernel #defines.

These two sets perform the same basic function - which is mapping codes to their
respective kernel constants. What differs is under what _circumstances_ each is
used. The kernel headers are clearly the work of Linus Torvalds. The IBCS2
headers, however, may in fact be the work of other parties. Without seperating
the two, the whole argument turns into a giant muddle.

---
I Am Not a Lawyer! -- Frankly I'm Innocent!

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - SCO suing Linus Torvalds?
Authored by: pooky on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 12:53 AM EST
There was an off reference to SCO suing Linus Torvalds in an artcile published
here a few days ago:

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/01/29/1075340782350.html

I wrote a letter to their editor asking them to confirm this information and
just heard back from the article author. In case someone hasn't already stated
this officially, and there was any question, the statement in this article that
SCO is suing Linus Torvalds is incorrect.

-pooky

---
Veni, vidi, velcro.
"I came, I saw, I stuck around."

[ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 01:34 AM EST
    I think you got Privoxy'd or whatever.
    Good grief, you're right... I disabled privoxy and now see the open() function call.

    --Stuart

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT: 1 == 2 (a.k.a. LinuxWorld GPL crap)
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 01:37 AM EST
    Can it be proven mathematically that 1 equals 2? Yes. Here it goes:

    1. a^2 - a^2 = a^2 - a^2

    2. a(a - a)=(a + a)(a -a)

    divide the above with (a -a) and we get:

    3. a = a + a

    or

    4. a = 2a

    divide the above by a and we get:

    5. 1 = 2

    So, what's the go with that? It seem mathematically correct, no? Well, just
    after step 2, we divided by (a - a) or zero. Well, that's not allowed, so the
    whole thing after it doesn't work. How does that apply to the crap from the
    LinuxWorld article?

    The guy that is the author of it tried similar arguments on LinuxToday (gumout)
    and LWN (danw644 or something). He's apparently some kind of scientist, so we
    should trust him, right?

    Well, he made a few logical mistakes which make his argument nonsense:

    1. There is an exclusive right for an original author to "prepare a
    derivative work," but there is no exclusive right to distribute a
    derivative work.

    Oh really? The derivative work is a copyrighted work, so everything simply
    applies to it as it would to any other copyrighted work.

    2. The authorizing "pre-existing" author is attempting to condition
    the "contributing" author's exclusive rights on the authorizing
    "pre-existing" author's unilateral grant of rights. This is not
    possible by definition.

    Contributing author has no rights. He's modifying a copyrighted work with
    permission (as per GPL), but the copyright remains with the copyright holder.
    The author of "pre-existing" work does not impose anything on original
    works of the contributor. So, the "pre-existing" author is simply
    putting conditions on his own copyrighted work that's being modified with
    permission.

    This guy must have been asleep when they taught logic in his school. My proof
    that 1 equals 2 would probably be OK with him.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    A rather large problem , and a tiny edit
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:13 AM EST
    Tiny one first: somewhere in there, you wrote "fpt site" for "ftp site".

    The
    rather large problem is your first section, entitled "What is an ABI file?"
    That section goes on to talk about "shared libraries", and never discusses ABIs
    directly. This creates the very strong impression that the section and its
    title are the same thing, and that "ABI file" and "shared library" are the same
    thing -- which is a rather big problem, considering that SCO does seem to have
    significant rights in the (binary) library files.

    The solution may be as simple
    as changing the caption for that section, but something very definitely needs
    changing. My suggestion would be pulling in a small amount of the footnote into
    the section, and furthermore changing the first paragraph to start out saying
    something that clearly implies "this paragraph is not saying what an ABI file is
    yet" (e.g., "Before we talk about ABIs, we first need to talk about shared
    libraries") so that it doesn't appear to be restating and then answering the
    question posed by the section title.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:30 AM EST
    This article seems to be based on the assumption that SCO owns the copyrights to
    Unix SysV. Novell has been disputing that claim, and if they are correct,
    wouldn't that make this whole argument moot?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:37 AM EST
    This is slightly off-topic, so I apologise, but it makes interesting food for
    thought...
    Over a period of several years we have seen several "Halloween"
    documents. Maybe Linux users are under the impression that Microsoft may be
    "thinking" about trying to destroy Linux but its all some kind of
    future threat and nothing to worry about now. Wrong!
    Think about the various seemingly unconnected actions Microsoft has engaged in
    in the last year or so.

    1. Reached an agreement with Intervideo regarding DVD and multimedia etc.
    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/Press/2001/Oct01/10-22RippingPR.asp

    Supposed reason: To create multimedia products for WindowsXP
    Real reason: Intervideo has the only "legit" DVD player for Linux that
    I know of. You fill in the blanks.

    2. Purchased RAV, one of the most popular AntiVirus server apps for Linux.
    http://www.rav.ro/pages/shownews.php?i=154
    Supposed reason: "Microsoft's acquisition of GeCAD's technology will help
    secure customers by providing antivirus solutions for Microsoft® products and
    services"
    Real reason: To eliminate competition from Linux in the mail server arena, and
    later desktop arena when Windows users consider switching to the steadily
    improving Linux desktop and as a side benefit destroy Symantec, a potential
    threat in the Windows arena.

    3. Eliminated free downloadable Microsoft fonts.
    http://www.microsoft.com/opentype/fontpack/default.htm
    Supposed reason: None given
    Real reason: Crossover and other Linux apps are beginning to become very solid
    and can use these fonts to provide Linux users with a way to improve the look of
    fonts in Linux. Linux might start looking too attractive to Windows users for
    Microsoft's comfort. Mustn't have that!

    4. Internet Explorer will become unavailable for download.
    http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-1022119.html
    Supposed reason: Who knows, usual BS from Microsoft
    Real reason: Likely same as above plus attempting to "lockin" current
    customers and force them to upgrade when Windows new version hits the market. I
    found conflicting reports. Microsoft began back peddling right after this news
    hit.

    5. Microsoft annouces "Shared Source"
    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/default.mspx
    Supposed reason: "For commercial software providers like Microsoft, this
    middle ground is represented by programs like the Shared Source Initiative,
    through which source code is made broadly accessible without forfeiture of
    intellectual property protections that have served as the linchpin of commercial
    software innovation for decades."
    Real reason: Open Source is catching on in a strong way. Microsoft simply can't
    allow that to happen. "Shared Source" is meant to muddy the waters as
    to what Open Source really is. Microsoft would prefer that their version of Open
    Source become the default definition accepted by the general unknowing public
    before OSS gets a chance to be understood by a wider audience.

    6. BSD is gooood (unsaid-Linux is baaaaadd)
    Many articles and URLs are available all within the same time frame from about 2
    months back or so.
    Supposed reason: None really given for the sudden surge of BSD good articles.
    Real reason: Quite obviously the BSD license is more corporate friendly than the
    GPL. There is nothing wrong with BSD, its a great operating system. I believe
    these flood of articles originated from the Microsoft PR department and was an
    attempt to divert attention away from Linux, the stronger competitor of the two
    operating systems (Linux and BSD) and place the GPL in a negative light. As a
    side benefit for Microsoft they hoped to start some fueding between the BSD and
    Linux communitys.
    (factoid) The TCP/IP stack used in Windows came from one of the BSD variants,
    Bill LOVES the BSD license! (he can steal whatever he wants and not pay a dime.)


    7. Netscape and Mozilla
    One of the most visible facets of the US DOJ Antitrust trial was Microsoft's
    blatant attempt to kill Netscape. Under the guise of "innovation" and
    "benefit for the consumer" Microsoft duct taped, bailing wired, and
    bubble gummed Internet Explorer into Windows with the predictable results of
    decimating a vibrant member of the technology industry. Internet Explorer was
    not even originally from Microsoft, it came from another company called Spyglass
    Mosaic. Microsoft "licensed" the "Syglass Mosaic" browser
    and rebranded with the name Internet Explorer. Spyglass Mosaic later had to sue
    Microsoft and was able to be court awarded the huge sum of 8 million dollars.
    (another comapny sued Microsoft for using the name Internet Explorer as it
    already belonged to the small company, but thats another story) With Internet
    Explorer being "bundled" into Windows Netscapes demise was easily
    predictable. With declining sales Netscape corporation was sold to AOL/Time
    Warner and Sun with the browser technology going to AOL. As a parting shot
    Netscape open sourced the browser technology which resulted in the Mozilla
    browser we enjoy in Linux today. AOL and Microsoft have never been exactly
    friendly with eachother but AOL has continued to use Internet Explorer as the
    basis of their AOL client. AOL and Microsoft recently announced the ending of
    their hostilities.

    http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/msft/archives/000839.html

    With the ink barely dry on the above settlement AOL announced the dismissal of
    the Netscape staff.

    http://www.ecommercetimes.com/perl/story/31124.html

    Strangely enough there seems to be a pattern (being sarcastic in the extreme)
    with CEOs of companies who dare to stand up to Billy.

    http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/1568361
    http://www.computerweekly.com/Article1296.htm
    http://news.com.com/2100-1001-939881.html?tag=fd_top

    Case, Cowpland, and Love. All heads of firms who were major players against
    Microsoft. All involved in some way with Linux. Case with Mozilla, Cowpland
    through Corel Linux (now Xandros) and Love through Caldera Linux. All three
    companies have been "touched" in some way by Microsoft. If you aren't
    seeing a pattern here drop what you are doing and go in for an immediate eye
    checkup!

    Supposed reason: "the piracy issue and the promise of digital rights
    management for enabling broader content distribution. To get Microsoft's DRM,
    AOL Time Warner would have to use Windows Media 9 Series technologies."
    (blah blah blah)
    Real reason: Simple enough. AOL was helping to fund Mozilla. Mozilla has
    replaced Netscape as the major browser threat to Microsoft. Take away the
    funding for Mozilla and you in essence have "cut off their Air
    supply". Nothings changed, Microsoft is up to the same old Antitrust
    bullshit.

    8. Microsoft and its unspoken plans for OpenGL
    Microsoft has purchased some of the components used by OpenGL from SGI. (and
    others) OpenGL is used in Linux and is an alternative to the Microsoft owned
    DirectX 3d technology. Microsoft has made threatening noises about
    "possibles claims" and patents. So far nothing has happened but
    Microsoft possibly having control over a very important technology used in many
    Linux software applications makes me quite uncomfortable.
    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/developer/0,39020387,2118968,00.htm

    Supposed reason: none given
    Real reason: Obviously OpenGL IP is being held as an "ace in the hole"
    by Microsoft. Should Linux become too popular on the desktop and game developers
    begin to shift away from DirectX to the more open industry standard of OpenGL, I
    would expect Microsoft to start using is legal team to try and close OpenGL
    down. Watch for a flood of threatening letters sent to all developers of some of
    the nicer games for Linux (or cross platform) That will give you a clue as to
    when Billy thinks Linux has gotten too big for its britches.

    9. Microsoft to lockdown MSN Messenger network.
    According to the following article Microsoft has decided to "lockdown"
    the MSN Messenger network.
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/08/19/HNmsnlockdown_1.html
    Microsoft plans on locking out "users of third party software". To use
    the MSN Messenger network users will have to use Microsofts latest versions of
    MSN or Windows Messenger.
    Here is what the "Gaim" folks had to say about this:
    http://gaim.sourceforge.net/msn.php
    The hypocrisy of Microsoft is quite obvious. If you aren't aware of some of
    their past actions read the following:
    http://news.com.com/2100-1023-239677.html?legacy=cnet
    http://news.com.com/2100-1023-229533.html?legacy=cnet
    http://news.com.com/2100-1023-233183.html?legacy=cnet

    Supposed Reason: "Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall said. The upgrade is
    required because of "security issues" with the older versions of the
    Messenger clients, he said, declining to specify those issues."
    Real Reason: Microsoft has once again succeeded in bundling a product, MSN
    Messenger and Windows Messenger, to the detriment of its competitors. Now that
    it has monopolized yet another facet of the software industry it wants to close
    any loopholes left for compatible competitors using the guise of
    "security" as a way to stifle interoperability. In the past, before it
    had total control of this segemnt, it wanted AOL to open its AOL Instant
    Messenger to Microsoft users. Now that AOL has thrown in the towel with its
    "agreement" with Microsoft its back to the same old shit from
    Microsoft. Of course they will also try and block that pesky upstart Linux with
    this move.

    10. SCO
    (No need for a URL here, there are plenty out there)
    Supposed reason: IBM improperly used SCO's IP and gave it to Linux blah blah
    blah blah....
    Real reason: SCO is being used as a fall guy by Microsoft. Perhaps the key
    players at SCO are seeing dollar signs in this relationship. Whatever dollars
    these clowns are hoping to gain is small potatoes when compared to what
    Microsoft stands to lose if Linux continues its steady march forward. Be fully
    aware that this "lawsuit" by SCO is nothing more than a sideshow
    diversion. The real goal is to completely invalidate the legitimacy of the Open
    Source and GPL idea. The goal here is to get into a courtroom where hopefully at
    the very least Open Source and Linux will be stalled enough by the negative
    impact and media blitz from Microsoft friendly media outlets (like ZDNet) that
    Microsoft will have time to finish their various "lockin" manuvuers in
    the marketplace, in government (with the overly corporate friendly Bush
    administration) in Microsofts products, and in the hardware sector. (think XBox
    becomes the starting point for the MSPC)

    What might Microsoft be preparing to do in the future to derail Linux?

    1. Distribution
    Microsoft enjoys an almost complete lock on traditional software distribution
    channels. There are almost NO Linux products in stores with the exception of
    RedHat and it just announced it was discontinuing its retail box sales.
    Microsoft has its products in all of the major OEM reseller channels and Linux
    has almost none in those same channels. All major computer manufacturers default
    to Microsoft's product when they sell a preloaded PC. None of the major PC
    manufacturers really sell a Linux box. You hear about a few but they are few and
    far between. Yes, Linux is making some progress. Wal-Mart and the recent HP
    announcement give hope for a brighter future for Linux.
    About the only retail distribution channel Linux has at the moment is through
    the web. Linux is generally obtained 2 ways. One is through web based sales such
    as most of us used to purchase our original copy of Xandros. The other method,
    where the vast majority of Linux users get the copy of whatever distro they use
    is through free downloaded GPL versions in ISO form.
    Consider the possibility that Microsoft were to somehow be able to severly limit
    the consumers ability to download. Maybe it would come in the form of some sort
    of restrictions forced into effect on Internet bandwidth or downloads. Perhaps a
    law passed through the Microsoft chummy Bush administration. You can use your
    imagination and come up with other likely reasons for something like this. Maybe
    they will use some other angle to achieve the same end results. Would anyone
    disagree that without the web as a distribution channel Linux would be dead in
    the water. One of the reasons Linux has become so popular is because it can be
    downloaded for free from the net. Take away that "free" download, make
    it somehow costly, and we lose our only distribution channel.
    Don't think it can happen? Review the history of sat TV, that should convince
    you.

    2. CD Burners
    This one is so obvious a weak spot in Linux that Microsoft just has to have it
    at the top of their list of potential spots to strike. Every Linux cd burning
    application I can think of depends on the same set of underlying applications. I
    do not know of a single commercial cd burning software available for Linux.
    Linux users very much DEPEND on the existance of those Linux cd burning apps. If
    you stop a moment and think about the "Distribution" section above
    what would potential Linux users do without the ability to create copys of
    distributions from those downloaded ISO files in Linux. Sure we could turn to a
    Windows cd burning app but wouldn't that be exactly what Microsoft might want,
    users remaining dependent on Windows?
    How might Microsoft accomplish this? Well an obvious way would be to have it
    appear as part of the oncoming SCO mess. Lets say SCO pops up a claim that the
    software used in the various Linux cd burning apps somehow "infringes"
    upon SCO's IP. SCO begins to send threatening letters from their legal
    department to every website carrying any of the software. Since most of these
    sites are "little people" with minimal ability to afford a costly and
    time consuming lawsuit a large percentage will simply stop distributing the
    software. It doesn't have to be SCO here, you could substitute any company.
    Microsoft has the money to buy many small companies with the only goal to find a
    way to use that company to further slow Linux advancement in the marketplace.
    Don't think it can happen. Refer back to the RAV section and the Netscape
    section. It IS already happening.

    3. Open Office
    With the release of Open Office 1.1rc2 OO.org is becoming a real contender.
    Speed has improved dramatically, MS Office filters are much better and the
    program now is beginning to look like a pricey commercial offering but without
    the price. Microsoft won't let this go on too long without attempting to find a
    way to derail it. The most likely method would be in the style of the AOL
    settlement. Find a way to reach a settlement with Sun, Open Office's main
    funding source, and viola! The same scenario we saw happen with AOL/Netscape and
    Mozilla above will be repeated. That, in my opinion, is remote based on Scott
    McNealy avowed hatred of Microsoft but as we saw above, CEO's of companies who
    buck Billy Boy have a tendency to be out of jobs...eventually. Watch yer topknot
    Scott!

    4. Wine (and its variants)
    Wine represents a huge threat to Microsoft. Microsoft has already begun to try
    and "cut off the Air Supply" for Wine with the fonts removal (see
    above) and the threatened removal of Internet Explorer (again see above). What
    should really stand out to you is the extremes Microsoft is willing to go to in
    an attempt to block Linux from becoming more mainstream. The moves mentioned
    earlier not only impact Linux users, they impact Windows users and even more so
    than Linux users. It doesn't matter to Microsoft, to them the old saying,
    "the end justifies the means", is their corporate credo.
    Wine, Transgamings WineX and Codeweavers Wine and Plugins are huge threats to
    Microsoft. Even some Linux users overlook how large of a threat these products
    are to Microsoft by continuing to think of Wine as an emulation software. Wine
    Is Not an Emulator. Repeat that over until it sinks in to your thick skull if
    you count yourself as one of the dolts who does not understand that Wine is a
    way to run Windows applications NATIVELY in Linux. It is not an emulator!
    Microsoft gets this fact and you can be sure they are looking for an opportunity
    to attack Wine head on. Maybe they will go after WineX for its supposed theft of
    IP when they mimic DirectX in Linux. Maybe it will be through the use of EULA
    agrreements such as the recent FoxPro developer news and Codeweaver being able
    to run it. Whatever it is Microsoft will be looking for a way to quash Wine.

    5. The Xbox and Microsoft's "vision" for "The Road Ahead"
    How many in the reading audience really believe the Xbox is a game console?
    (hold up your mouse/pointer device) I see there may be a few of you. The Xbox is
    nothing more than Microsoft's marketing test case for the MS-PC. Only someone
    with as much money as Gates could float a scheme so complex as the Xbox. First,
    on the surface, the Xbox appears to be what Microsoft claims it is, a game
    console. If we take it at face value we see that their main competition in this
    arena would be Sony with the Playstation and Nintendo with the Gamecube etc. If
    we take the time to look at the basic specs for the Xbox we discover that it is
    really a PC is disguise. It may have a funny shaped case but its internals are
    more like a standard PC than a game console. The one glaring difference is its
    use of an encrypted boot process.

    http://xbox-linux.sourceforge.net/docs/msbios.html

    Why would Microsoft create a PC then disguise it as a game console and use an
    encrypted boot process?
    The answer is us folks. We x86 Linux users.
    For years Microsoft sat at the top of the food chain riding on the popularity of
    the x86 platform. They didn't create the x86 platform but Microsoft has
    benefited greatly from its open architecture. That openess has also spawned
    other operating systems. DrDos, BeOS, various BSDs and Linux all can attribute
    their popularity to the open x86 architecture.
    There is only one operating system that is more open than the architecture it
    rides on...thats Linux. Linux and the GPL are the greatest threats Microsoft has
    ever faced in its long sordid history. What do I think Gates plans on doing
    about it? I think he plans on using the Xbox as a starting point on a gradual
    path to evoving the open PC architecture into a tightly controlled closed
    architecture that wholly depends upon Microsoft software to work.
    Why then would Microsoft just not jump into this with both feet and immediately
    release some kind of Microsoft PC? Well the answer is that Microsoft does not
    yet have the OEM manufacturer infrastructure in place to do such a thing. Just
    as Microsoft has ridden the open PC architecture to success, so have many of the
    OEM computer manufacturers. Microsoft would not have gotten where it is today
    without hte support of companies like Dell, Compaq, HP, and others. Microsoft
    currently needs these companies to provide a way to sell Microsoft software and
    operating systems to customers. Microsoft does not build computers currently.
    You might ask "why doesn't Microsoft simply release their own computer
    right now'? The answer is they would piss off the OEMs so much that they might
    just start bucking Microsoft by releasing Linux on their products thereby
    derailing both a Microsoft computer and destroying Microsofts hold on the
    software/OS market. Bill plans on taking a shortcut folks.
    Some of you may have noticed the steady increase in Microsoft hardware showing
    up on computer retailers shelves. We now are seeing Microsoft wireless devices,
    network cards, DSL modems and other items along with the keyboards and mice that
    were Microsofts traditional hardware products. It seems that a line is gradually
    being crossed in a very quiet low key way by Microsoft. An under the radar shift
    from being a primarily software manufacturer to a software- hardware
    manufacturer is taking place at Microsoft.
    Now consider the following new item:

    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/developer/0,39020387,39116902,00.htm

    This is a chilling reminder of what Microsoft has planned for the now open
    architecture of the PC. Make the PC depend on Windows and Microsoft will
    "own" the hardware market without ever having to actually manufacture
    a "Microsoft Computer". This, very obviously, is intended to kill
    alternative operating systems on the PC and is meant to lock out competitors and
    lock in consumers and OEM manufacturers.


    I came across this very on target rant (below) from someone over at "Linux
    VooDoo". All credits to the author.

    Weird Perceptions of Justice
    Contributed by agentorange on: Saturday 09 August 2003 @ 14:19:37

    I was reading through some posts on the Net today and found some really strange
    gems. In a conversation about whether or not The SCO Group received funding from
    Microsoft, a poster said that:

    "S***, if Microsoft is behind this, they are really dumb because this is
    the best thing that could have possibly happened to Linux. The GPL is being
    tested, and the competition is a group of total morons. It's a slam dunk.
    Precedent sets law in the US too you know, it's a good thing the first challenge
    to the GPL was FRIVILOUS like this one is."

    Unfortunately, this is the second challenge to the GPL. The first was the
    NuSphere and MySQL dispute that was resolved peacefully by NuSphere contributing
    the Gemini Table type under the GPL.

    This latest challenge is well-heeled by the likes of Microsoft and Sun
    Microsystems, who no matter if they did not originally intend to fund this
    lawsuit, the stench is there and it reeks to high heaven. The fact that
    Microsoft insiders applauded the SCO Group effort is enough of an acceptance
    speech for orchestration. Sun Microsystems sought opportunity by seeking to
    proclaim their license as offering "Legal Linux".

    The only problem is that there is no "illegal Linux" and the
    furtherance of that ideation is a transgression against the community at large.
    Shame on those who seek to divide the community with these lies. It is time to
    realize that things are changing and you cannot talk out of two sides of your
    face and expect the community at large to forget.

    I will always look sideways when being near the Sun folks from now on. I keep
    expecting to see that SEP rear its ugly head (Somebody Else's Problem - sneaking
    up on me), and slip its knife into my back. Trust is something that is hard-won
    and should not be idly abused. The fact that Sun has the option to buy shares of
    SCOX stock truly bothers me, for that too, looks like collusion.

    Microsoft also has the right to fund this effort more by "buying API
    licenses" (read: send more money to fund the FUD effort) from the SCO
    Group. That is truly a convenient plausible deniability and one that should be
    investigated in discovery. The European Union should have access to the files
    for this case's discovery as well, for at least they might have the guts to
    actually do something against a monopoly. The DOJ has simply fell over and given
    up under General Ashcroft. We simply don't contribute enough to have a voice in
    our own governance.

    Further in the message I found this jewel:

    "I don't want MS broken up. I want to destroy them. I'm a coder, and I like
    the fact that MS doesn't have to compete - or thinks they don't.Capitalism does
    work when there is competition. MS can't bludgeon everybody into using their
    products anymore - I'm entirely happy with that. I don't care if MS wins, as
    long as MS wins fair and square."

    Unfortunately, this ignores the facts that Microsoft did not win fair and
    square. They don't believe in fair competition (never have, never will). They
    believe in destroying everyone else at any cost - even at the price of breaking
    the law. Of course, since they actually oversee their own compliance (what a
    crock that is), they will conveniently never violate their own antitrust
    settlement, now will they?

    when we (the people) tried to comment on the case by petition, those comments
    were thrown out on the street as being "non-sequitur" because they
    were an exercise of our right to petition for redress as guaranteed by the
    United States Constitution. That just does not mean anything when Justice has
    reached its conclsuion to settle before even considering any public comment.

    Calling their "victory" fair and square is a major misnomer. It isn't
    just their Windows Media Player, either. It is their business practices such as
    funding efforts like this, attacking everyone else, buying media outlets, buying
    campaigns and improper political influence. It is about having too much power
    concentrating into too few people in this country and how they plan to enrich
    themselves and create a massive underclass of servile idiots who they can fool
    into believing anything they want.

    You may think I am a crazy conspiracy theorist, but I am a realist. I can see
    that the forest is on fire and it won't put itself out. Only through a return to
    the values of fair governance can we ever hope to change the path from a
    destroyed economy, future without jobs, starvation and the destruction of the
    spirit of American working men and women.

    If you want to believe they lost (or expect me to) then you need to show
    evidence that this isn't the sham we are being given by the Microsoft Press
    corps. They want us to forget conveniently their involvement in anything they
    have done to harm the economy or competition. I just won't forget. It is not
    rational to expect that people will just simply forget the suffering they have
    been put through by the whores of mass media.

    This poster believes that Microsoft is in danger of collapse. I don't think so,
    nor do I care if they do or do not. I do care that they stop their unethical and
    monopolistic behavior and that is not happening because no one is stopping them.


    In fact, they now intend to force a 100% tie to Windows for Internet Explorer.
    They are directly going to violate the antitrust laws by tying - the very thing
    the lawsuit was about in the first place. They are also tying Microsoft SQL
    Server in an effort to destroy every other database company in existence. they
    are also after the antivirus companies (and harming Linux by destroying an
    successful Linux AV Vendor) with the purchase and cessation of RAV antivirus for
    Linux. They are out to destroy Adobe, by creating Office Docs, and they are
    after every piece of the computing market they can attack. They are also into
    the media - buying into Comcast, NBC, and probably satellite soon as well.

    I don't want a country where one monopoly has so much unmitigated power. This is
    a travesty of Justice and an insult to the American legal system. The fact that
    the so-called "our" representatives have basically let them, the RIAA,
    the MPAA and others act in such fascist fashion without any checks and balances
    is enough to make it clear that they hate our laws, they hate the people and
    they despise the Constitution.

    I would rather take my chances on my own than have a government that does
    nothing but bend and sway to the will of a monopoly. We are not being
    represented and it shows. We must make a change or we can kiss our %@!#$&
    and future goodbye. We won't have any future other than servitude. I won't vote
    for that - but you might. I happen to believe that intelligent Americans won't
    vote for that - but then money seems to corrupt people all too easily.

    This is my opinion. There are many out there that are like this one, but this
    one is mine. You are free to accept or reject it. I won't bash you for either
    choice, because I am giving an honest opinion. I have no need to make you accept
    my position, and don't need to tell you what to think. you are perfectly capable
    of figuring out for yourself, so do that already.

    This is also protected speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution of
    the United States of America. Now just how is that un-American, bubba?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT: www.sco.com shutters up?
    Authored by: geoff lane on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:47 AM EST

    It's 08:40 GMT and netcraft is reporting that www.sco.com fails to resolve.

    In addition, the report indicates that the site has changed platform once a day since Jan 27 (including NetBSD/OpenBSD on jan 30 - my birthday Hurrah!)

    I guess www.sco.com will be off the air till Monday at least.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OT: Suggestion
    Authored by: grouch on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 03:49 AM EST
    How about a sort of bibliography of links for each article? A numbered list of
    all embedded links within an article, as plain text. (Similar to, as suggested
    by Newsome on irc.fdfnet.net #groklaw, what 'lynx -dump' will output).

    These could be both clickable, for use online, and in plain text for use if the
    article is printed.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Off Thread - new bit of Stowell madness
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 04:54 AM EST
    Channlenews asia is reporting that access to SCO's website has been blocked by a number of ISPs fearing it might send out viruses. link

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: mscibing on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 06:22 AM EST
    An excellent article, I found it quite informative, Bravo!
    but,
    It is an interface, so it connects the program with information that program needs to compile properly. This connection occurs at compile time.
    I think you need to mention that the information being connected to is the ABI. Your explanation later of how the connection occurs is great.
    The source code that makes up errno.h and the error numbers you assign as part of your implementation of errno.h in your particular program are part of the API.
    Hmm. From previous discussion it seems to me that the error values being part of the API is something of a grey area (they're not part of the POSIX API, but it sounds like they're usually considered part of "the" unix API). I wouldn't mention this if it weren't for speculation that it was the values of the error codes that SCO was claiming for itself as part of the ABI.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    dfp not only person on registry@sco.com alias
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 10:46 AM EST
    FYI,

    dfp was not the only person on the registry@sco.com alias at the time, but he
    responded to nearly all of the traffic sent to the alias. Kurt Gollhart (kdg)
    wins a distant second place.

    BTW, nice article.

    - an insider

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    A Little Background: What Are ABI Files?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 11:38 AM EST
    The first section is entitled "A Little Background: What Are ABI
    Files?" I read through the first section and thought it was very clear.

    The second section is entitled "How ABIs Are Used". At that point I
    wanted to know what an ABI was. And I realized that the first section suposedly
    told me that. But at no point in the first section does it /explicitly/ tell me
    what an ABI is.

    I think an important sentence is missing from the end of first section.
    Something like this could probably be the last sentence in the first section:

    "An ABI (Application Binary Interface) is therefore a standard that both
    general-purpose software building blocks (shared libraries) and full-fledged
    applications can use to succesfully interoperate with each other at execution
    time."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 11:55 AM EST
    "When a SCO binary requires a given shared library, the correct version of this library must be present in the appropriate location on the system."

    How about:

    "When a SCO binary requires a given shared library, the correct version of this library must be present in the appropriate location on the system that has been properly enhanced with the linux-abi patch."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Correction wrt the LSB
    Authored by: anderson on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 01:49 PM EST
    The following statement

    Why does the LSB matter? Because the LSB specifications contain the errno.h and signal.h files

    Is incorrect (or at least misleading). The LSB does not contain a copy of any header files. The data definitions (which are formatted to look like headers file, following the conventions in the ABI documents) are generated from a database. The same database is also used to produce various other components of the LSB project, such as tests, and a set of functionally equivilent headers used for building LSB conforming applications. Nothing in the LSB has been directly copied from either GNU or SCOG code. It has instead been derived from the available source standards, and the actual values (in the case of constants found in headers) is determined by feedback from the test suites we use. This indepenant derivation has been a part of the LSB methodologies from the begining, and has been used to ensure we don't incorporate extra, uneeded material, or information that is not independant of any particular implementation.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Lotus vs. Borland relevance
    Authored by: sedrez on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:09 PM EST
    Does the Lotus vs. Borland case any relevance in this discution? AFAIK, the
    final decision was that you cannot copyright functional interfaces.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Shared Libraries Not Always Required
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 02:53 PM EST
    Shared libraries are not always required to run an application under the ABI.

    Case in point: Microsoft FoxPro for Unix 2.6 is a SCO Unix/Xenix application. It
    is statically linked, and operates under the Linux 2.4.X kernel (where X<=18)
    using the ABI modules but without any shared libraries. You can run it under
    RedHat 8 by issuing "modprobe binfmt_coff; modprobe abi-sco". This
    loads the code required for execution of binaries in COFF (Common Object Format
    File) as well as the ABI module chain for SCO-compatible binaries.

    In other words, there are legitimate uses for the ABI layer even without the
    shared libraries.

    (Nonetheless, I find it interesting that Caldera released special versions of
    the shared libraries under GPL -- I wan't aware of those. Could be useful!).

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The greatest tragedy
    Authored by: cricketjeff on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 06:12 PM EST
    I have no idea who created the saying but in my previous scientific life it was
    oft quoted.

    "Science's greatest tragedy:- a beautiful theory killed by an ugly
    fact"

    An equivalent could be "SCO's greatest tragedy:- An ugly con-trick spoiled
    by a beautiful web-site"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Hey Investor, do you want to buy a bridge?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 01 2004 @ 11:42 PM EST
    Thanks for your hard work and great analysis.

    There were several suggestions to think of another analogy besides the sex/rape
    analogy.

    How about: This situation is somewhat like a company donating the paint for the
    Brooklyn bridge, and then changing their mind and accusing the construction
    company of theft of their paint. They proceed to tell investors and bridge
    users that they have just discovered the theft, and because of the theft, they
    do in fact own the bridge and start trying to assess a toll. In addition, they
    discovered that they and 75 other companies created the idea of driving on the
    right side of the road, so they own that also. Anyone driving on the right side
    of the road must pay up.

    This analogy might work well for wall street, since the Brooklyn Bridge is in
    New York. Also, who hasn't heard the statement, "and if you believe that,
    I have a bridge to sell you."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AT&T signed over ABI-Specs to ANSI X3J11 C standards committee
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 02 2004 @ 07:26 AM EST
    Hello all, on December 22 2003 Michael Meissner posted the following comment on Groklaw:

    I was a member of the ANSI X3J11 C standards committee from its founding in 1983 until after the first ANSI and later ISO standards were released in 1989 and 1990 respecitively. As part of the process, AT&T through its official representive (Lawrence Rosler) specificially gave the rights to the C language and its library (including the ctype.h, signal.h, and errno.h header files) to the committe. I believe they did the same thing officially to the POSIX committee at the same time (which would cover ioctl.h and more of the errnos in errno.h, and more of the signals in signal.h). Unfortunately, I no longer retain paper documents from that period, but if it becomes important to establish a clear paper trail, I suspect Jim Brody (chair), Tom Plum (Vice char), and P. J. Plauger (secretary) probably do retain their copies.

    Unfortunately this information seems to have got lost in the noise. So, can somebody follow up on this lead?
    Regards
    J.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 02 2004 @ 11:59 AM EST
    You might include a reference to the problems Rambus ran into when using the
    JEDEC standards comittee to promote a patented technology as a standard. This
    was found by a trial jury to be a case of fraud but was reversed on appeal on a
    finding that the standards committee did not prohibit a patented standard and
    weather the patent in question was "related to" the standard
    (http://www.mwe.com/info/pubs/rambus.pdf). Notice the case was not about patent
    infringement but common fraud. The public statements by SCO and the GPL appear
    to satisfy the court's standards to allow a finding of fraud to stand. Although
    the court let Rambus off the hook, the FTC also considered their actions
    violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") Act, as
    amended (http://www.ftc.gov/os/2002/06/rambuscmp.htm). In particular, the FTC
    said: "Rambus's anticompetitive scheme involved participating in the work
    of an industry standard-setting organization, known as JEDEC, without making it
    known to JEDEC or to its members that Rambus was actively working to develop,
    and did in fact possess, a patent and several pending patent applications that
    involved specific technologies proposed for and ultimately adopted in the
    relevant standards. By concealing this information - in violation of JEDEC's own
    operating rules and procedures - and through other bad-faith, deceptive conduct,
    Rambus purposefully sought to and did convey to JEDEC the materially false and
    misleading impression that it possessed no relevant intellectual property
    rights." The FTC has not returned a finding in that case.

    It would appear that there is fraud in inducing reliance in the availability of
    a standard while stating that the standard can be adopted without obligations to
    the promoter. This would be an additional, and perhaps the strongest, problem
    with the conduct of SCO.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Groklaw Takes A Closer Look at the ABI Files, by Frank Sorenson et al
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 27 2004 @ 04:58 PM EST
    Excellent piece of work. One area for further investigation, however. I thought
    IBM's Journaling file system came from OS/2, not from unix, as described....

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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