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More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Friday, March 19 2004 @ 11:40 PM EST

There is a ZDNet headline today,"SCO targets federal supercomputer users," that at first might get you hyperventilating, but when you read the fine print, it's not quite what it seems. It's nothing new on SCO's part, just confirmation that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center got their threatening letters.

If you're like me, your first reaction is, Now what? What are they planning? Is this a new front? As it turns out, that's more what they would probably like us to feel. As usual, there is a lot of FUD in the air, plus some factual issues that need clarification. While SCO likes to sound terrifying, here's why I think this story shouldn't terrify anybody.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

"The SCO Group, the company that's hoping to profit from its assertion that Linux violates its Unix intellectual property, has threatened legal action against two federal supercomputer users, letters released Thursday show.

"SCO sent letters raising the prospect of legal action for using Linux to two Department of Energy facilities, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)."

This is followed by some paragraphs from the letter threatening to turn over their names to their legal counsel if they don't sign with SCO. Sounds like it just happened, right? But if you read further down, it says the letters were sent in December. It's the same letter everybody, including Lehman Brothers, got, which mentioned ABI files:

"The letter to the Livermore lab was one of many that SCO sent in December."

The ABI Files

Some more fine print: the letters that were sent say the offensive files are the ABI files:

"The letter argues that dozens of files in Linux use application binary interfaces, taken from Unix, in violation of U.S. copyright law."

And although the article says that the letters were "no idle threat" since SCO has indeed sued AutoZone and Daimler Chrysler, the fact is that neither was sued over the ABI files, despite receiving the same threatening letters. As the article points out correctly, SCO has some problems pursuing copyright infringement lawsuits while simultaneously litigating with Novell over who actually owns the copyrights in the first place.

Here is how SCO describes its lawsuit against AutoZone in their most recent 10Q:

  "On or about March 2, 2004, we brought suit against AutoZone, Inc. for its alleged violations of our UNIX copyrights through its use of Linux.  Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that AutoZone violated our UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from our proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of our copyrights.  The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada requests injunctive relief against AutoZone’s further use or copying of any part of our copyrighted materials and also requests damages as a result of AutoZone’s infringement in an amount to be proven at trial."

There is no mention of ABI files, to the extent anyone can make out what they mean. If they are referring again to using shared libraries, a former employee who did the switch to Linux has stated publicly it was done without using shared libraries.

And here is their description of their claim against Daimler Chrysler:

"On or about March 3, 2004, we brought suit against DaimlerChrysler Corporation for its alleged violations of its UNIX software agreement with us.  Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that DaimlerChrysler breached its UNIX software agreement with us by failing to certify its compliance with the UNIX software agreement as required by us by January 31, 2004.  The lawsuit, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court in the State of Michigan, requests the court to issue orders declaring that DaimlerChrysler has violated the certification requirements of its UNIX software agreement, permanently enjoin DaimlerChrysler from further violations of the UNIX software agreement, issue a mandatory injunction requiring DaimlerChrysler to remedy the effects of its past violations of the UNIX software agreement and award us damages in amount to be determined at trial together with costs, attorneys’ fees and any such other or different relief that the Court may deem to be equitable and just."

As you can see, this has nothing to do with ABI files or copyright infringement either. It's all about a license and whether they should have sent back audit info or not. If Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center are in any danger, these two cases don't show it.

  Here's some information on ABI files and why I don't believe they can be successfully used for SCO's purposes anyway:

This doesn't even go into the simple truth, pointed out by Linus, that the header files don't contain any code anyway:

"As you can see, it's basically something like five files, it's just that several of them are replicated for every single architecture out there. And the thing is, those files don't even contain any code. They contain things like the error number lists--and, yes, we made the error numbers match with traditional Unix on purpose, since, for example, Linux/alpha wanted to be binary-compatible with OSF/1. Ask any programmer what this is, and he'll tell you it's just a C header file that gives symbolic names to static error numbers."
And then there is another issue, as pointed out by Eben Moglen, that SCO released the code under the GPL themselves and that it is available under the same license from Novell:

"Many of the large, sophisticated enterprises who are the targets of SCO’s efforts responded to their claims last summer by taking copies of the Linux program, under GPL, from SCO’s own FTP server, where the code remained publicly available. They therefore have an auditable license from SCO to use, copy, modify and redistribute the code about which SCO continues to threaten legal action. For such enterprises, which now can also get a copy of the same program, under the same license, from Novell, any action by SCO to bring a copyright infringement claim would be particularly foolish."

The Novell Role

In addition, Novell has reminded SCO in its correspondence of rights they believe they have under the Technology License Agreement, so even if Novell didn't have copyright ownership, it claims the right to authorize its customers to use UNIX code. Novell bases its position on its interpretation of the 1995 Asset Purchase Agreement, the Technology License Agreement, and Amendment 1 and Amendment 2, to the APA.

Novell sent SCO a letter reminding SCO of the Technology License Agreement, which it says gave Novell a license to not only use the "licensed technology" itself but also to "authorize its customers to use, reproduce and modify" it and to sublicense and distribute same "in source and binary form":

"Section II.A.(1) of the TLA provides Novell with 'a non-exclusive, non-terminable, worldwide, fee-free license to . . . use, reproduce and modify, and authorize its customers to use, reproduce and modify, Licensed Technology (including related documentation) in their respective internal business operations' (emphasis added).

"Section II.A.(2) provides Novell with 'a non-exclusive, non-terminable, worldwide, fee-free license to . . . sublicense and distribute, and authorize its customers to sublicense and distribute, such Licensed Technology and modifications thereof, in source and binary form' (emphasis added).

"The license in Section II.A.(1) has no restrictive provisions.

"Section II.A.(2) contains apparent restrictions on the scope of the licensed rights, but they apply only to sublicensing and/or distribution by Novell and not to Novell's authorization of its customers to sublicense or distribute."
So you can judge for yourself, here are the cited clauses from the TLA:

"II. NOVELL'S RETAINED LICENSES

"A. Effective upon the Closing Date and in connection with the transfer of the Assets by NOVELL to SCO pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement, NOVELL hereby retains, with the consent of SCO and, shall have a non-exclusive, non-terminable, world-wide, fee-free license to

"(1) use, reproduce and modify, and authorize its customers to use, reproduce and modify, Licensed Technology (including related documentation) in their respective internal business operations; and

"(2)subject to paragraphs B and C of this Section II, to sublicense and distribute, and authorize its customers to sublicense and distribute, such Licensed Technology and modifications thereof, in source and binary form; provided, however, that (i) such technology and modifications may be sublicensed and/or distributed by NOVELL solely as part of a bundled or integrated offering ("Composite Offering"); (ii) such Composite Offering shall not be directly competitive with core application server offerings of SCO, and (iii) the Licensed Technology shall not constitute a primary portion of the value of such Composite Offering. SCO understands and acknowledges that such restrictions on sublicensing and/or distribution shall not affect any rights specifically retained by NOVELL under the Asset Purchase Agreement, including but not limited to rights under Transitional Contracts."

Attorney Mark Koehn

The article mentions an attorney, Mark Koehn, who found out about the letters by doing a FOIA request. Here is some info about Mr. Koehn from Findlaw, who turns out to be another lawyer/IT guy. Before this case, I had no idea there were so many such:

"Prior to earning his law degree, Mr. Koehn was a senior consultant with the predecessor to Accenture, where he supervised design and installation of information systems including the pilot for the Securities & Exchange Commission's EDGAR system. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Mr. Koehn currently serves on the Multimedia and Interactive Technologies Committee of the American Bar Association, Section on Science and Technology."

He was also one of the speakers at the recent OSBC2004 Open Source Business Conference. He's with Shaw Pittman LLP and the article indicates he represents some recipients of the SCO letters:

"Mark Koehn, an intellectual-property attorney at Shaw-Pittman, received the letters from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Koehn's firm represents some companies that have received letters from SCO, he said."

Here is a paragraph from their About Us page:

"We've made an unrivaled commitment to the creative use of technology in the practice of law. This focus stems not just from our deep involvement with the technology sector, but also from our conviction that constant, real-time sharing of our expertise will make us more valuable counselors."

Their litigation page says that they are a 50-lawyer firm that practices in the following areas: technology and intellectual property matters; commercial disputes; insurance coverage; energy and environmental claims; antitrust; health law; employment disputes; defamation; international trade; white collar criminal issues; and trust and estate matters. You can read a presentation Mr. Koehn gave on "Recent Developments in Intellectual Property Litigation" from 2001 by clicking on a "Publications/Presentations" link on this page. It contains this sobering material:

"By developing strategies for acquiring, protecting, and licensing intellectual property, savvy media convergence players are leveraging their digital assets and managing risk. Obtaining patent protection for software, which enjoys only modest protection under the copyright law, is only one of many new strategies. For instance, by adding technological measure for controlling access to and copying of copyrighted works, including databases, content owners may deter would-be infringers and seek larger recoveries from those who do infringe.

"Media convergence players who ignore the rapid evolution in intellectual property law will miss opportunities to expand revenue streams and invite crippling disasters."

Well. I guess it's clear where he stands. It raises the question, why release these letters today? Presumably, since he now must defend clients from claims of infringement, he will have to look at matters from the flip side. You will find the Endnotes of the paper useful, because he very clearly explains contributory infringement and what constitutes fair use. [1] You will no doubt recall that when David Boies was asked by Dan Farber about Red Hat in July of 2003, "Boies said that under the copyright law SCO could sue Red Hat, or others, for infringement and contributory infringement."

Then there is the further question of whether header files can be copyrighted. The "artistic expression" of code is what's copyrightable, not "structure and methods," last I looked. That's if the header files are even code.

Victims are not without resources, making the saber rattling look more silly than scary. If anyone were to cave in and sign up for a SCO license in the face of all this evidence, the natural question would have to be, why? Speaking for myself, I believe I'd rather my tax dollars go to buy one of those DoD toilet seats for $640 each than pay $699 for a SCO license. At least with the toilet seat, you get something for your money, something you actually need. We will have another article in our series of articles on the ABI files next week, by the way, with even more evidence that the ABI files are not useful to SCO.

The University of California Angle

Finally, I've heard from two sources now that The University of California (and that means the Board of Regents) manages NERSC and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the UC system, the national labs are treated as equivalents of the campuses and their employees are UC employees. Therefore, SCO appears to have blundered in sending them these letters. The BSDi/UC/USL settlement presumably allows UC to continue to use and internally distribute all of those ABI files, even if no one else on the planet could. Did no one on the legal team, after being paid those millions, bother to go through the list of names of entities to send letters to? It seems the adage is not true after all. You don't always get what you pay for. And speaking for paying for things, by sending these letters to DoE entities, SCO is asking the taxpayers to pay for their "IP compliance" license.

Lawrence Livermore's Vendor, LinuxNetworX, is a Canopy Company

One final, weird detail. Lawrence Livermore National Lab chose Linux NetworX to design, integrate and deliver its GNU/Linux supercomputer in 2002:

"Multiple programs at LLNL will use the Linux NetworX Evolocity(TM) clustered supercomputer to support the Laboratory's national security mission. When delivered, the Intel-based cluster is expected to be one of the five fastest supercomputers in the world."

This is from the press release at the time, in 2002. You may recall that in February, LinuxNetworX was chosen by the DoD to build "a new, high-performance 2,132-CPU Linux cluster supercomputer for the U.S. Department of Defense as part of an IT modernization program", and is also "scheduled to deliver five other cluster systems to other Defense Department agencies later this year under the modernization program."

LinuxNetworX is a Canopy Group company. Until recently, Darcy Mott sat on the board of both Canopy and LinuxNetworX. You can see that on this archived page of LinuxNetworX bios of the executives. The date of that page is June of 2003. In September, someone posted that same page showing Mr. Mott on LinuxNetworX's board. Today if you go to the current page, his name has disappeared. He has also been on the Board of Directors of SCO since 2002. Unless my math is off, would that not place him on the board of Canopy, LinuxWorx and SCO simultaneously while SCO was planning its legal strategies and also conceivably while LinuxWorX was applying for the DoD contract?

LinuxNetworX received $2 million in investment funding from the Canopy Group in 2000. It was listed as a Canopy Group company on Canopy Group's website until its recent site redesign.

So, a lot of tax dollars are going to this Canopy Group company for providing GNU/Linux GPL code to the DoD, while another Canopy Group company says Stick 'Em Up for more tax dollars to the DoE for using the very same Linux code that another Canopy Group company is selling them. What kind of a hustle is this? Here's why LinuxNetworX said they chose Linux:

"About the Linux Operating System

"Linux is a computer operating system that is distributed freely on the Internet. As an open source project, Linux allows developers to share information, code and suggestions to continuously maintain and improve the system. Linux Networx selected the operating system for its stability, reliability and rapid development."

Here's a quotation from the Computer World story that indicates the scale of the February deal and why Linux NetworX was chosen:

"'Linux Networx has proven [that] cluster technology is reliable, robust and mature enough to be selected in even in the most demanding environment,' Thomas Kendall, lead systems engineer at the Army Research Lab said in a statement. 'This system will be a key component of the [lab] and the entire DOD Modernization Program.'"

SCO very much relies on folks not noticing the fine print. That's what Groklaw is for, though, to point out the fine print. Journalists lack the time to check all the fine points, even good ones. Sad, but true, so as a public service, Groklaw is happy to provide helpful and clarifying details, which we hope will help both journalists and victims receiving the SCO threatening letters.


[1] "In analyzing the affirmative defense of 'fair use', the Copyright Act specifies four factors that must be considered: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commerical nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the coppyrighted work. 17 U.S.C.S. Section 107. Other relevant factors may also be considered, since fair use is an equitable rule of reason to be applied in light of the overall purposes of the Copyright Act.. . .

"A contributory infringer is one who, with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another. Courts do not require actual knowledge; rather, a defendant incurs contributory copyright liability if he has reason to know of the third party's direct infringement."


  


More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim | 209 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Mistakes and Corrrections Here Please
Authored by: PJ on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:01 AM EST
Please record my mistakes for posterity here please, so I can find them
quickly. Thank you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Additions to the List Here Please
Authored by: PJ on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:02 AM EST
If you think of more to add to the list, please put them in this thread.
Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Authored by: Waterman on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:19 AM EST
"If you fail to respond to our efforts to pursue a licensing arrangement, WE WILL TURN YOUR NAME OVER TO OUR OUTSIDE COUNSEL FOR CONSIDERATION OF LEGAL ACTION," Pettit said. Same as in the Lehman Brothers letter and the other 1499 letters they sent out.

Government response. If you sue, we will turn it over to our Air Force. We could wish anyways.

It could get interesting as this does involve National Security.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Indeed, who did release the letters?
Authored by: LvilleDebugger on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:21 AM EST
Livermore? The other lab? SCO? Was this a rhetorical question?

---
My Signature: Add value to your Groklaw comments, and get 'em read! Change the
default subject heading!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Yet more SCO Hypocrisy
Authored by: jfabermit on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:23 AM EST
As if we needed more proof of SCO's utter public hypocrisy, this takes the cake.
Let's imagine for the moment that National labs need to pay SCO's ridiculous
$699 per node. Roughly, since this is approximately the cost of the underlying
hardware, the price per node doubles, and your neighborhood supercomputer center
is forced to build a cluster half the size.

I use NCSA, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana, IL,
to do astrophysics computations. If I get only half the time there that I am
currently allotted....well, that stinks for me, but the nation as a whole wil be
pretty much ok. Mind you, I consider science to be a good thing, and
restricting our ability to do it a true waste of resources, but I realize that
most people will not lose too much sleep over this.

If the people who study cures for cancer at places like the Ohio supercomputing
center have their research computing time cut in half, we are starting to get to
topics that millions of people will find troubling. Personally, I think
projects like this show why software commoditization is so powerful, since it
makes a potential tool for helping humanity into a helpful AND affordable tool.

If the people who use Linux clusters on National Security projects only get half
the computers they could have otherwise, and thus half the computational time,
then US national security would likely suffer. Agencies like the NSA, Los Alamos
and other national labs, et al., may do research that is considered
controversial by some, but I would love to see Darl and co. argue that it is
better if we do less of it.

"Darl McBride comes out against nuclear fusion research"?
"SCO takes strong stance against secret Homeland Security research into
ecnryption/decryption techniques"?!?!?

Yes, in order to stop North Korea from building cheap Linux clusters, we must
also stop Livermore National Lab. Only by cutting off our own nose can we
successfully spite our face.


[ Reply to This | # ]

More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:24 AM EST
PJ, you asked who released the letters. (I gather you weren't asking rhetorically?)

The article implies that they were released by Mark Koehn, "an intellectual-property attorney at Shaw-Pittman". Koehn "received the letters from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Koehn's firm represents some companies that have received letters from SCO, he said."

Anyone heard of him (or the firm) before?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Pro Bono work? - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:46 AM EST
Shared Libraries?
Authored by: mlinehan on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:25 AM EST
Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that AutoZone violated our UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from our proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of our copyrights

I don't see this as refering to shared libraries. When I read this, I get the impression that SCOG is arguing that Linux is an ilegal clone of Unix V in the generic sense.

I think that they want to argue that even if they can't show direct code copying, Linux is functionally and structually similar enough to Unix V to qualify as a copyright violation.

Of course this is fantasy, but in the parallel universe that SCOG comes from...

[ Reply to This | # ]

More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Authored by: blacklight on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:52 AM EST
The SCO Group may wish it had not sent these letters to the Department of
Energy. If these letters become an agenda item at a cabinet level meeting, I can
expect the Secretary of Energy to rant about the the SEC, the FTC and the DOJ
idly sitting on their hands while Federal agencies are being threatened. If this
were to happen, the SCO Group will have unleashed upon itself the investigative
and regulatory powers of the US government. When the canary hops out of its cage
and challenges the cat to a winners-take-all fight to the death, the only
question about the outcome is whether the cat will eat up the canary in one bite
or two bites.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is it just me or???
Authored by: bcomber on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 01:31 AM EST
Has SCO finally lost it. Or should I say them? Their marbles that is. This seems
to be the most idiotic thing they have done to date. Having not won anything,
anywhere, and when tested, especially overseas, they have lost. Well,
technically not lost, but told to shut up.

They want to discuss this at their house? Hi, can we come to your house and try
to convince you to buy something we don't own? Brooklyn Bridge perhaps, or the
Grand Canyon? No we are in Utah, so we have the Great Salt Lake up for sale.

This is the replacement lawsuit threat because the suits against Autozone and
Daimler didn't pump up the stock. It keeps falling.

Mike

[ Reply to This | # ]

False claims act?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:03 AM EST
The story "Novell Has Until March 26 to Answer Motion to Remand" has
several postings mentioning the False Claims Act. Is this applicable in this
situation?
I vaguely remember something called a "Writ of Mandamus (sp?)" that
forces the government to do its duty. Could the government be forced to lay a
charge under the False Claims Act?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is the AutoZone complaint about?
Authored by: mikeca on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:20 AM EST
PJ writes:
There is no mention of ABI files, to the extent anyone can make out what they mean. If they are referring again to using shared libraries, a former employee who did the switch to Linux has stated publicly it was done without using shared libraries.
The AutoZone complaint says:
19. The Copyrighted Materials include protected expression of code, structure, sequence and/or organization in many categories of UNIX System V functionality, including but not limited to the following: System V static shared libraries; System V dynamic shared libraries; System V inter-process communication mechanisms including semaphores, message queues, and shared memory; enhanced reliable signal processing; System V file system switch interface; virtual file system capabilities; process scheduling classes, including real time support; asynchronous input/output; file system quotas; support for Lightweight Processes (kernel threads); user level threads; and loadable kernel modules.
I agree this does not use the word “ABI”, but I think this is just very broad, vague language that will turn out to mean the ABI file claim, although it could also cover many other things, if they can find anything else to claim.

When they actually have to specify what they are claiming in detail, I expect it will be the ABI files, and the famous 80 lines of malloc code from SGI that they showed last August. I suspect SCO did not want to say ABI files in the complaint, because the ABI files claim has been so thoroughly discredited. By using this vague language, they are trying to hide the weakness of their claims.

I have also seen posts here that said that AutoZone was an oldSCO OpenServer (Xenix) customer. This would mean that they never had any UnixWare (System V) shared libraries to link with on Linux. The complaint is all about System V Copyright infringement, and does not mention the OpenServer CopyRights. If it is true that AutoZone was a OpenSever customers, then this complaint has nothing to do with illegal use of shared libraries.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Wave
Authored by: tintak on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:30 AM EST
It seems to me that this round of FUD was initiated not by SCOG, although they
provided the ammunition, but by Mark Koehn. He has a vested interest, due to
his firms line of business, in stirring the pot, and keeping it on the boil.

Given the number of individuals with a similar background to Mark's that have
surfaced in the media recently I think we should prepare ourselves for an
extended campaign.

Vultures spring to mind.

---
'it is literally impossible' for SCO to itself provide
direct proof' Mark J. Heise 02/06/04

[ Reply to This | # ]

political decisions ?
Authored by: borneo on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:34 AM EST
We are all at groklaw keeping an eye on the lips of the judges.
When the news came in groklaw that Linus network x, a canopy compagny, was to
sell some linux Cluster to the army, i asked if they were to charge some certain
license fees we know all about.
If the DoD was to agree on this specific, it would be a political decision. A
clear choice to make a favor to Scog who is not in any way in the state of
getting any relief in the courts.
Question: Is such a political move out of foresight?

[ Reply to This | # ]

EFF action against SCO & DRM hardware hitting the channels
Authored by: Clifton Hyatt on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 04:08 AM EST

It was nice to see EFF put a letter about SCO in their action center (easy way to broadcast a boilerplate to all of your Reps with a single log-in)

EFF's SCO action item

...and it would apear that DRM hardware ("Trusted Computing") is continuing its creep into the channels
/. Article:Trusted Computing Rollout Hits the Desktop

"I submitted the article.

I've a programmer and I've been reading the techincal specifications on the system. I'm pretty much an expert on it. I will keep this post as non-technical as I can.

Trusted Computing pertty much does two things. Number one, it keeps some keys hidden inside a special chip. These keys are sort of a cross between a unique seirial number to identify your computer and a password to lock files. The nasty part is that it secures the computer AGAINST the owner. It locks your data such that YOU can't get at it, except in the approved manner. Number two, it allows other people to "look" inside your computer to see EXACTLY what programs are running - it snitches on the owner."

Alsee's post: story submitter to slashdot



...and here are a series of links on "Trusted Computing" A.K.A. TCPA, DRM, Palladium, "Treacherous Computing".

`Trusted Computing' Frequently Asked Questions
The TCPA; What’s wrong; What’s right and what to do about it.
The Digital Imprimatur (long & detailed)
FSF's assesment
IBM's 2 cents
EFF's DRM section

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - Our old friend Tigran Aivazan
Authored by: blacklight on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 04:27 AM EST
From the Linux Documentation project (http://www.tldp.org/guides.html )

[Title:] Linux Kernel 2.4 Internals
author: Tigran Aivazian, <tigran@veritas.com>
last update: August 2002
available formats: 1. HTML (read online)
2. HTML (tarred and gzipped package, 80k)
3. PDF (256k)
4. other : plain text, PostScript, PluckerDB, and SGML
(Linuxdoc) source.

This is an additional piece of evidence that might jeopardize any claim that the
SCO Group had no idea that its IP had been improperly included into the Linux
kernel. TA was a Caldera employee, if I remember correctly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't Scare the Animals
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 05:32 AM EST
When the wild animal has dug its own trap, filled it with pointy sticks and
covered it with branches, it does not make sense to scare it away. Stay silent
and there is a much better chance of the animal falling in.

We should not reveal on Groklaw why it is not wise for SCO to sue government
departments. Then they might just do it!

IANAL

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Darl's face on Mars
Authored by: belzecue on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 06:13 AM EST
A little more for the behaviorists to chew on while we wait for the other shoe to fall in any of the court cases:

What does Darl McBride have in common with Richard Hoagland, one of the world's most prolific practioners of 'bad astronomy'? Bad astronomy debunker Phil Plait had this to say when challenged to a radio debate about Hoagland's crazy Mars theories:

"I have found that when debating a pseudoscientist or conspiracy theorist, they ignore huge gaping holes in their logic, and instead focus on small, niggling pieces that the debunker may not be familiar with. this way, they can distract the listener from the real problems in their theory, and make it sound like they win. I have seen this with the Moon Hoax, with Planet X, with creationists, and you-name-it."

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OT: Sharing is like communism
Authored by: swengr on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 07:05 AM EST
Satire warning: Please enable brain, and disable knee jerking, until you "get it". Thank you!

Software -- computer programming -- is no different than other fields. It's been said, that a failure to protect intellectual property, in all it's many forms, against theft and misuse, will irreparably harm the economy, costing hundreds of billions in lost profits, and hundreds of thousands of lost jobs.

This apocalyptic prediction suggests that an unseemly outcome of the many legal battles being waged today (DeCSS, RIAA, SCO, EU software patents, etc) will inevitably lead to the downfall of civilized society. Some claim that the very term "IP" muddles or misrepresents the issue. Balderdash! It doesn't matter whether we call it copyright, or patent, or trade secret, or something else... in an essential and fundamental way, it's all the same: an idea has value. If you can't benefit from having an idea, why then have ideas at all?

Do you have any idea how many millions of dollars it cost to bring you the movie Lord of the Rings? Well, junior, let me clue you in: they spent all that money just to make a profit! It wasn't done for some selfless "love" of the story, or just for fun. All those actors got paid, and let me tell you, those special effects were expensive!

Why would an author write a story, if he couldn't sell the story to a publisher, and thereby make a living? Why would a publisher buy the authors story and spend the money to print and distribute the book, unless he could profit thereby? What allows this to happen, other than copyright law?

Why would an inventor invent, without the inducement of profit afforded by the patent system? Would Ron Popeil have invented the P ocket Fisherman if he couldn't have patented the idea, and made a business out if his invention?

The claim that the creators of copyright law had only monetary benefit in mind is arguable. But, what other benefit will lead painters to create million-dollar works of art, writers to create best-selling novels, inventors to create infomercial empires? What else would induce entrepreneurs to risk their savings to start new companies? What else will induce investment in R&D by corporations, or by the government?

Well???

Do you suppose college professors and their grad students would do original research projects, if they were forced to publish their research findings for everyone else to read?

Can you imagine if NASA were to openly post the pictures of Mars on the web? It cost billions of dollars to send the rovers tens of millions of miles to another planet. How could such an effort be funded, if NASA were forced to just give away the result for free?

Imagine if a lawyer could study the stratagems of old legal cases, and just steal them to use in another case, without paying the necessary fee to the original case lawyer?

Imagine if you could just "borrow" a book from a friend, and read it, without buying your own copy? How would publishers stay in business? And yet some people (communists!) want to "freely" share software; it would be like having a building where you could just go "borrow" any book you wanted for free! Why even print books, if you can't sell them?

What would have happened if Arthur Laurents, Jerome Robbins, and Leonard Bernstein had been able to just steal William Shakespeare's work without negotiating a license from, and paying his heirs?

Why would musicians bother to write music, if you could just go to some website and download it, without the musician getting so much as a "thank you"? Let alone, money to pay for the hours they invested in their creation!

Intellectual property must be protected!!!

-----
(Inspired by a comment I recently read, about how science is "going to adopt" the Open Source principle of sharing. Well, duh! That's what science has been doing for the last couple centuries. Especially note the "lawyer" bit... I'd love to have a discussion with an IP lawyer about this. *grin* )

---
Gratis is nice, Libre is an inalienable right.

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DC -- "past" violations?
Authored by: Steve Martin on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 07:06 AM EST

I just noticed something a bit funny about the DC complaint:

"The lawsuit, filed in Oakland County Circuit Court in the State of Michigan, requests the court to issue orders declaring that DaimlerChrysler has violated the certification requirements of its UNIX software agreement, permanently enjoin DaimlerChrysler from further violations of the UNIX software agreement, issue a mandatory injunction requiring DaimlerChrysler to remedy the effects of its past violations of the UNIX software agreement and award us damages in amount to be determined at trial together with costs, attorneys’ fees and any such other or different relief that the Court may deem to be equitable and just."
Supposedly the claim is about DC not responding to the January letter. What "past violations" is TSG talking about here? Is this another fishing trip?

---
"When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports Night"

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More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 07:23 AM EST
Hmmm, lets see, so now SCO takes on LLNL, the (technical) keeper of the US
nuclear stock pile ?

They could turn Utah into a desert in minutes !

Oh, wait ...

[ Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant ]

Toon Moene (GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

Add :-)'s according to taste

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SCO Saber Rattling and other misc noise
Authored by: phrostie on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 08:06 AM EST
seems this might be an example of future TSG efforts to keep SCOX up. they sent
out 1500 letters. every few weeks leak the name of yet another recepient to the
press. the press will jump up and down saying "Look!, SCO Group, Caldera,
who ever they are, are doing something!" SCOX goes up for a little while.
meanwhile nothing was ever done in reality.

point being, expect to have more names leaked to the press.

---
=====
phrostie
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of DOS
and danced the skies on Linux silvered wings.
http://www.freelists.org/webpage/snafuu

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Canopy hiding 'portfolio companies'
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 08:10 AM EST
Funny to compare Canopy's website from about a year ago and today. All those Canopy 'portfolio companies' are in hiding today. Doesn't seem to be a bonus point anymore when you're connected with Canopy. And funny to read Darl McBride's quote on that old Canopy website which says:
"Canopy adds value to our operations
without getting in the way".
BTW: What about SCO suing LinuxNetworX for violating their valuable SCO 'IP'? Reminds me of a serpent digesting itself.

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Why did this make the news - PJ skipped that part
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 09:04 AM EST
Seems to me this made the news because of Mark Koehn's request of the
government's copies of SCO's letter.
While i have been following Groklaw pretty much from the beginning ( albeit not
always closely) I don't recall the name Mark Koehn and why he would be
requesting these letters of companies that my have received them. It says in the
article he is representing several companies that have received the leter. Do we
know what he is doing ( sounds like he is not on the SCO side :) ).

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More SCO Saber Rattling and their Crumbling ABI Claim
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 11:40 AM EST
Given:

"...So, a lot of tax dollars are going to this Canopy Group company for providing GNU/Linux GPL code to the DoD, while another Canopy Group company says Stick 'Em Up for more tax dollars to the DoE for using the very same Linux code that another Canopy Group company is selling them. What kind of a hustle is this?"

If one assumes that all this is being orchestrated by Boies et al, at what point does SCO have some case for sueing said Boies et al for general misfeasance, malfeasance, and/or incompetence?

Is *anyone* within Boies et al really paying attention to what they're doing?

t_t_b

---

Mad cow? You'd be mad, too, if someone was trying to eat you.

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Does SCO have a point here:
Authored by: Night Flyer on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 11:47 AM EST
I searched for previous postings on this point but couldn't find any in this
discussion thread:

Under "II. NOVELL'S RETAINED LICENSES"

A.2 ..."(ii) such Composite Offering shall not be directly competitive
with core application server offerings of SCO,"

My impression is that Linux is directly competitive with the core application
server offerings of SCO.

Doesn't buying SuSE and offering its own flavour of Linux mean that Novell is in
violation of the agreement?

What argument should Novell use about this in court?

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Has The SCO Group the right to sue?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:26 PM EST
Until now most of us think that The SCO Group has the right to sue over SysV copyrights. (This has not yet be proven in court though :-).)

We have seen the contract between AT&T and Novell.
We have seen the contract between Novell and the Santa Cruz Operation.
We have seen part of the contract between the Santa Cruz Operation and Caldera. That contract is already discussed a Groklaw in Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between Caldera and Santa Cruz Operation 2000.

In the initial agreement the OpenServer products were excluded. In the third amendment the OpenServer products are added and defined as:

"OpenServer Products" means all software, development tools, compilers, libraries, driver kits, utilities, and the operating system software and other products in whole or in part based on or developed from or for the AT&T Unix System V version 3.2 kernel and any succssor to that kernel, including the kernel, the code base, the application program interfaces, the application binary interfaces, derivative works thereof, and those products offered under the names or marks "Appliance Server", SCO Admin, SCO OpenServer Enterprise System, SCO OpenServer Host System, SCO OpenServer Internet FastStart System, or SCO OpenServer Desktop System, SCO Virtual Disk Manager, SCO Doctor, SCO ARCserve/Open, SCO Merge, SCO OpenServer SMP(TM) Licenses, SCO PPP from Morning Star, SCO Internet Security Package, SCO Internet to NetWare Gateway, and Interscan VirusWall, and all successors, upgrades, enhancements, releases, new versions, and updates to any of the above that have been developed or acquired by the Contributing Companies as of the Effective Time.

So no SysV copyrights are included.

Also from the press release available in the same article:
Under the terms of the new agreement, the SCO OpenServer product line will be included as part of the proposed SCO Server Software Division acquisition, giving Caldera complete ownership of SCO's operating system products.

What it states is that by only acquiring "the SCO OpenServer product line" Caldera acquired "complete ownership of SCO's operating system products". So the conclusion can only be that Santa Cruz Operation didn't have any SysV copyrights.

H@ns

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Trees vs. Forest
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 12:44 PM EST
I think we're concentrating on the trees. This whole thing is about delaying
Linux for Microsoft. It didn't start out that way; it started as a move to get
IBM to buy off SCO. Now it's about slowing Linux down. As lots of Groklawers
have pointed out, it's in SCO's (and MS') interest to drag this out. In that
light, look for SCO to submit their "millions of lines of code" at the
next date in the IBM trial. It will literally be millions of lines, making it a
huge burden for IBM and the court to deal with it.

Let's see if we can come up with a counter to that, to cut the delay SCO and MS
so desperately want.

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Reminds me of a movie.
Authored by: Retep Vosnul on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 02:24 PM EST
I was watching this movie for the second time yesterday.
It was German Dutch Belgium production.
The story is about two cancer patience that want to see the ocean and go out to
see it before they die.
Now ofcourse this gets all complicated and they start doing things that they
would never do in normal life.

This reminded me of sco but instead doing funny and mostly harmless things SCO
is on a rampage there a goner and they know it. They know bussiness ehtics. they
just dont care.
Please put this beast out of its misery.

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Crazy, but serious, question
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 02:41 PM EST
Could SCO try playing a very different card?

What if they changed claims, ie not that their employees or IBM put material
directly into Linux, but rather, that IBM or others (perhaps even properly) put
code into Linux BASED ON MATERIAL FROM THE OPEN GROUP (such as the Posix
interfaces)? This could explain freaky ABI claims (not enough in my book, but
maybe in some CEOs sun-baked skull).

SCO might then claim that the Posix group submissions were either inadvertent or
unauthorized, and the path to Linux might not be material, just the fact that
the code got in?

This would be bizarre, and I have no idea if it's possible (or defensible
legally), but it might give them a mechanism to delay for a few more years, pull
in Open Group, IEEE, or other innocent victims, etc., etc., etc.?

Anybody care to speculate?

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Co-incidence?
Authored by: sa on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:05 PM EST
Canopy group were an investor in an on-line parts store called wrenchhead.com

wrenchhead.com was/(is still?) a competitor of .....AutoZone!

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Does the DOE own (most of) Unix
Authored by: codswallop on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 03:42 PM EST
I posted a long piece above anonymously fairly deep in a thread. I won't repeat
the whole mess, but there's reason to believe that the Berkeley copyrights and
maybe other DOE and NSF financed copyrights have reverted to the government.
This isn't the same as if the government had written the code itself, where
there would be no copyright.

I'm not sure the DOE likes your claiming copyright to their code, and as to
trying to charge them for using it...

I can't even guess what consequences this might have. In any case the DOE
certainly have at least a license to all the government financed code.

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$755,000 Bonus for Darl??
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 20 2004 @ 05:08 PM EST
According to InfoWorld:
Hold the Fries: According to docs filed with the SEC, SCO Group supersized CEO Darl McBride’s salary from $80,000 to $230,000 last year, with a McBonus of $755,000. That may be fast-food wages compared to, say, Carly Fiorina’s $10 million, but it’s not bad for a guy running what Linux God Linus Torvalds has called "the most despised company in technology."

I thought Darl would only get a bonus when SCO made 4 profitable quarters in a row. Did I miss something? Or did they change the interpretation: profitable year ==> 4 profitable quarters in a row.

H@ns

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Conspiracy, conspiracy . . .
Authored by: Brian M on Sunday, March 21 2004 @ 05:46 PM EST
PJ,
This comment, "So, a lot of tax dollars are going to this Canopy Group
company for providing GNU/Linux GPL code to the DoD, while another Canopy Group
company says Stick 'Em Up for more tax dollars to the DoE for using the very
same Linux code that another Canopy Group company is selling them. What kind of
a hustle is this?" makes you sound like a conspiracy theorist. Doesn't
Canopy maintain that they do NOT control the actions of the companies they
invest in? Is it not true that they are a minority investor in these companies?
Then why does it seem unreasonable for 2 companies with funding from a 3rd
source act in ways that are not always mutually beneficial?

Besides, if you want to pursue your idea that MS is behind the lawsuit (another
conspiracy theory in itself), and also think that Canopy is behind it, then you
really need to find a link between MS and Canopy (and stop worrying about direct
links between MS and new SCO).

You're doing good work here, but your recent tendancy to find conspiracies
behind every tree will detract from the value of what Groklaw stands for.

Brian

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