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Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 09:25 PM EDT

Dennis Ritchie was mentioned in the AdTI press release about Ken Brown's forthcoming book, "Samizdat", the book attacking Linus for not "inventing" Linux. As you will recall, the press release said the author's book was based on "extensive interviews" with Richard Stallman, Dennis Ritchie and Andrew Tanenbaum:

"In one of the few extensive studies on the source of open source code, Kenneth Brown, president of AdTI, traces the free software movement over three decades -- from its romantic but questionable beginnings, through its evolution to a commercial effort that draws on unpaid contributions from thousands of programmers. Brown's account is based on extensive interviews with more than two dozen leading technologists including Richard Stallman, Dennis Ritchie, and Andrew Tanenbaum."

Today, Dr. Ritchie told me that was overstating it, at least with respect to himself:

"I think that the teaser for it, mentioning extensive interviews with me among others, is overblown in my case. Brown sent an initial (email) probe asking for an interview, in response to which we invited AdTI to send some sample questions (which I answered). This happened just before Brown's visit to Tanenbaum. The only other interaction was a brief phone call from a staffer who asked only about a couple of fact things: how many lines of code in some early kernel, what date was it released."

So in his case, the "extensive interviews" consisted of one email. Here it is in its entirety, with his prologue to me, published with his permission. You will see Brown repeatedly trying to elicit negative responses from Ritchie, who replies at one point: "the specifications for Unix were always quite open". Mr. Brown, therefore, put out a press release saying something very different from what he was told by Dennis Ritchie, from my reading. Our thanks to Dr. Ritchie for putting this information on the public record.

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

Brown sent an initial (email) probe asking for an interview, in response to which we invited AdTI to send some sample questions (which I answered). This happened just before Brown's visit to Tanenbaum. The only other interaction was a brief phone call from a staffer who asked only about a couple of fact things: how many lines of code in some early kernel, what date was it released.

The main communication was this, from me to Brown:

====

1) Tell me what the environment was like after ATT/Western Electric decided that they didn't want the Lyon's book around. How did you react to the Lyon's Book and its subsequent recall?

We in the research group reacted with great pleasure to Lions's book; it was very well done. Indeed the early Unix Support Group (that became USL etc.) were pleased as well, and in fact invited Lions for a couple of stays with them to help annotate more documentation. Lions also visited us later in the research group and did some annotation on early Plan 9.

What was decided from the licensing point of view (after 6th edition) was that teaching whole classes from the source might be worrisome, and I think he was asked not to continue doing this. The original book was never officially published except within UNSW for his course; however it was reprinted by AT&T for internal purposes and it was also was made available to AT&T/WEco Unix licensees. Lions was disappointed that things changed so that he couldn't teach courses from a newer edition, but I don't recall any animus.

As you may know, the 6th edition source and Lions's commentary about it was formally reprinted and published by Peer-to-Peer, which seems to have morphed into Annabooks, in 1997. Of course this was after much water had passed under the bridge, in particular after the earlier SCO had bought the rights from Novell, so it was SCO who approved this publication.

2) People say that the earliest version of Linux 1.0 had a very similar resemblance, line for line to Unix? What did you recall?

I have no idea whether this is true, since I've never looked, but I doubt it.

3) Have you ever discussed the Minix/Linux migration or any other topic with Professor Tannenbaum in Finland? What are your thoughts about his decision to create Minix based on Unix, regardless of the efforts by ATT to restrict its use?

Since you've visited him, you know that Andrew Tanenbaum was and is at VU in Amsterdam. About the similarity and "restriction": the specifications for Unix were always quite open. Tanenbaum, in Minix, wanted to use the specification but with his own outlook for didactic, research and release purposes. I don't think AT&T ever bothered him. He (like Lions) spent time with us more than once during the writing of his later books.

4) There is something missing in the legal history of Unix to Minix to Linux to me. Help me understand a few things:

1) ATT was obviously angry that Unix code was going everywhere at once. Did they look at Linux? Did they look at Minix? Why didn't they feel either products were copyright violations?

I don't think that they were seriously looked at, and I don't think that AT&T was angry. Both Minix earlier and Linux a bit later took pains to avoid copyright issues and use documented and, by that time, probably internationally standardized interfaces. In the case of Minix especially, the accent was also clearly in the research/academic area as opposed to commercial.

By the time they came along there was plenty of material like the SVID, Sys V Interface Definition, Maurice Bach's book and so on. AT&T and USL generally encouraged such public efforts. I can't recall the dates, but, for example, the company contributed to the IEEE POSIX standards effort.

2) In your opinion, why did ATT lose its case against Berkeley?

This is the one case where USL did get angry enough to go to court. You will have to read the court's decision about it to see why USL lost (or at least didn't get what they wanted). In the event, the crucial decision by the court was to deny an immediate injunction against BSDi and UCB. Probably you've seen it, but the decision is at http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/bsdi/930303.ruling.txt and it's probably best to let it speak for itself.

3) In my opinion, you wrote Unix (UNICS) from scratch. In my opinion, Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch. What is you opinion? How much did he write? I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon's Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux. I hate to ask such a bare-knuckle question, but I really feel that this part of history is very gray.

Say what you feel is ok to say.

We did indeed write Unix from scratch (though with intellectual influence from aspects of Multics and other systems). I don't know what Torvalds started with or what he had read. It seems plausible from his writings that he was distancing himself more from Minix than Unix as such. See, for example, http://people.fluidsignal.com/~luferbu/misc/Linus_vs_Tanenbaum.html

4) Could I get a copy of the original version of Unix that was released? My team is comparing Linux 1.0, Minix 1.0 and your first versions. If you can help with this, let me know.

We have only parts of the earliest releases. www.tuhs.org has a good collection of what is available, including a version of the kernel from ca. 1973, and also partially complete renditions of 5th through 7th editions. The earliest available material (from 1973) is at http://minnie.tuhs.org/UnixTree/Nsys/sys/nsys/

Dennis


  


Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat | 300 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here Please
Authored by: NastyGuns on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:41 PM EDT
So PJ can find them easily.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:43 PM EDT


Fascinating.



---
Wayne

telnet hatter.twgs.org

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Listings Here.
Authored by: NastyGuns on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:46 PM EDT
So PJ can find them easily. Here's one for those tin hat wearers out there.... http://www.didtheyreadit.com/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: BigFire on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:52 PM EDT
Is this the first case in the history of publication whereby every single source
of interview came out and contridict EVERY aspect of the book prior to its
publication?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nice to see...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:58 PM EDT
...such quick and precise rebuttals to the FUD this round.

the coalescence continues to grow and resist the ever more futile and
transparent FUD. thanks MS et al for finally solidifying and clarifying what
need to be for Open Source to take the next step into general and accepted use,
both at home and in business :) the definition of what software is and should
be will change regardless of your worst efforts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Nice to see... - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:33 PM EDT
    • Nice to see... - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:23 AM EDT
Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:05 PM EDT
It would be nice to have a single webpage, with a fixed URL, that has a full and
authoratative deconstruction of AdTI's nonsense. Some pages getting into this
are currently in the top 10 Google results for "ADTI", which is good,
but it would be best if the 2nd google hit on ADTI catalogued their, well,
lies.

Are there any really good pages of this sort currently?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: blacklight on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:17 PM EDT
PJ, followed up with KB's interviewees - or should we say, victims. The result
is the deconstruction of both KB's research and his research methodology, as
told by the primary sources. As the groklaw community had surmised earlier: KB
spoke with everyone and listened to no one. Had KB conducted what he calls his
"research" within an academic setting, the furor he would have
generated would have compelled him to resign: I should know what I speak of, as
a former PhD level student in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. I am
satisfied at this point that the groklaw community has utterly refuted and
discredited KB.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The most satisfying part is showing off Brown's ignorance
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:20 PM EDT
McBride, Thomas, and Brown are ignorant of software and the software
community. They have no useful understanding of how software is made
or integrated. Given all the facts, they cannot make heads or tails of UNIX.

So, why are they bothering us? What is their purpose? What will it take to
get them out of here?

If is looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it must
be made by Micro$oft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:26 PM EDT

``I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon's Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux. I hate to ask such a bare-knuckle question, but I really feel that this part of history is very gray.''

Pardon me, Mr. Brown, but your point of view is showing.

So Brown feels that ``this part of history is very grey''. Rather unlike his motive in producing his piece of tripe.

Oh, and just who was this Finnish programmer? No doubt he spoke to you, Mr. Brown, on the promise of anonimity. (How convenient.)


[ Reply to This | # ]

Another appropriate Babylon-5 quote
Authored by: Oloryn on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:34 PM EDT

By the time the book gets out, it appears that we'll have the majority of the interviews Ken claims to have based his report on, and we'll easily be able to compare what he says with what his sources actually said. At that point, I have a suspicion that we'll find this B5 quote rather apropro:

"I'm in awe, Lennier. The way you can take a straightforward, logical proposition and turn it inside-out so that in the end it says .. what you want it to say instead of what it actually means. Does this come naturally or did you .. attend some special martial arts class for the philosophically inclined?"--Marcus, Babylon 5

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ken Brown's team
Authored by: bonzai on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:00 AM EDT
>> My team is comparing Linux 1.0, Minix 1.0 and your first versions.

So Alexey Toptygin (c.f. Man AdTI Hired to Compare Minix/Linux Found No Copied Code) is now official member of Ken Brown's team?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lions and Lyons and Liars oh my
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 01:04 AM EDT
Did that idiot brown really mispell his number one suspects name, Lyons, Ritchie
calls him Lions and seems to know him too.

eleete

[ Reply to This | # ]

How to totally nullify Samizdat fud
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 01:09 AM EDT
In my opinion what we needed to do now to completely
nullify the samizdat fud is to make new interviews with all
the open source people involved in browns book, interviews
about open source and unix history with facts correct this
time and publish this as an article on the web. It would be
easy to point this article to reporters writing about
browns book. It would also create controversy about the
issues talked about in the book, and the press loves
controversy :)

Mikael

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did I miss something?
Authored by: senectus on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 02:00 AM EDT
I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon's Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux.
Who is this "Finnish Programmer" that he is referring too? I'd love to hear what this guy has to say, and even more so if he was missquoted!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Henry Ford
Authored by: mrcreosote on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 02:01 AM EDT
Just letting everyone know, I am putting the final touches to my paper which
will expose the fact that Henry Ford did not actually invent his 'Model T' as he
claimed. It is clear from the evidence he had access to car designs of earlier
builders, including Benz. There is no way he could have thought up the idea of
having a chassis, body, engine and 4 wheels on his own. He must have stolen the
ideas from others.

---
----------
mrcreosote

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO allowed publication...
Authored by: xyzzy on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 02:51 AM EDT
This is the most interesting comment. I wonder how true this is and any proof.

"...the 6th edition source and Lions's commentary..., so it was SCO who
approved this publication."

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: SCO to aquire BayStar
Authored by: one_penguin on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 03:44 AM EDT
Crack me up. That's a spin on words. SCO to aquire BayStar

[ Reply to This | # ]

"People say"
Authored by: paul_cooke on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 04:31 AM EDT
"2) People say that the earliest version of Linux 1.0 had a very similar resemblance, line for line to Unix? What did you recall?

I have no idea whether this is true, since I've never looked, but I doubt it."

Who are these people Ken??? You can't just use the phrase "People say", you have to detail them and give the sources so that others reading your "book" can verify your conclusion as well...

---
Use Linux - Computer power for the people: Down with cybercrud...

[ Reply to This | # ]

You see where this is heading don't you
Authored by: garbage on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 04:58 AM EDT
I think the phrase sums it up "death by a thousand cut's".

The Monopoly$oft plan is to constantly sap the energy of FOSS by a continuous
barrage of FUD from all directions whilst engaging shills to praise their
rubbish.

It worked against competitors in the past...

Here's a prime bit of shilling for ya:
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/01/1086058840938.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did Ken Brown pickup "Samizdat" from Lion's book site?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 05:40 AM EDT
I probably missed it posted elsewhere, but I wonder if Ken Brown picked up
"Samizdat" from this quote:

Lions Book n. ---- "Source Code and Commentary on UNIX Level 6",by
John Lions...for years the only detailed kernel documentation available to
anyone outside Bell Labs. Because Western Electric wished to maintain trade
secret status on the kernel, the Lions book was never formally published...In
spite of this, it soon spread by *samizdat* to a good many of the early UNIX
hackers.

--- New Hackers Dictionary 2/e, by Eric S. Raymond, MIT Press 1993

at: http://www.peer-to-peer.com/catalog/opsrc/lions.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 05:43 AM EDT
A couple of things for the subpoena:

"People say that the earliest version of Linux 1.0 had a very similar
resemblance, line for line to Unix?"

What people, exactly? You know, their names and stuff. Because if you, you
know, just *making that shit up*, then you sir, are creating libel.

"I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code
(the Lyon's Book) and Minix code."

Which Finnish programmer, exactly? You know, his or her name and stuff.

Note that "and stuff" is a legal term which means, approximately,
"you lying libellous toerag".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting Reviews of "Samizdat..."
Authored by: Steve Martin on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 07:15 AM EDT

Just on a lark, I went to AtDI.net and clicked on "buy this book". There is a link to the book seller, following that led to a "Read Reviews" link. I note with interest that there are several reviews there, and not a one of them is positive wrt the pending spew^Wpublication. (There is, interestingly, a positive mention of Groklaw and its de-FUDding of the book.) I can't help but be amused when all the reviews on the book seller's site regarding a pending book make a prospective purchaser not want to buy the book.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie admires Linux's growth and vigor.
Authored by: IMANAL on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 07:55 AM EDT
"I very much admire Linux's growth and vigor. Occasionally, people ask me much the same question, but posed in a way that seems to expect an answer that shows jealousy or irritation about Linux vs. Unix as delivered and branded by traditional companies. Not at all; I think of both as the continuation of ideas that were started by Ken and me and many others, many years ago."

From an interview with Dennis M. Ritchie by Manuel Benet here

[ Reply to This | # ]

A little pamphlet?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 08:32 AM EDT
What about a little pamphlet (or e-pamphlet) from the Open Source community to
accompany the Brown "expose" in bookstores near you? Or maybe just
Amazon. This could include a synopsis of his research methodology (conclusions
for sale - try and twist some words to fit the conclusion) and then
reproductions of the refutations of all the experts he "extensively
interviewed".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Cause and effect
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:08 AM EDT
In the 'think tank' business and the 'analyst' business, credibility is
everything. If no one believes you then you have no business. Since this is
the first time most of the world has heard of the AdTI, they have no bank of
good will upon which they can draw. My WAG is that when this is over, we will
hear from them no more.

Example: The people in my department now find Yankee and Gartner statistics
unconvincing. Using those numbers to bolster a sales pitch won't impress us.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Write another book...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:27 AM EDT
This time, write about how Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer stole Microsoft Windows
from Apple and Xerox and perhaps why Paul Allen left Microsoft. Because of Steve
Ballmer's direction and Bill Gates' brown nosing?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Important?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:37 AM EDT
I don't understand why this subject is important. In first place if Linus didn't
wrote Linux from scratch he has used public information from many sources, this
is called investigation. Second, The Un*x idea is general, even tries to do
other way got similar consecuences (GNU is the example of doing Un*x not like
un*x but correctly).

I don't have dubts Linus worked his own way and did a great work and trying now
to clober his work is only to get publibity.

Regards.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ask Bill Gates...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:47 AM EDT
As I already told PJ, maybe we could get Ken Brown to ask Bill Gates whether Linus could really write the first Linux release on his own. Sure, Bill Gates didn't do it alone, but his work on the BASIC interpreter that started the MS empire is probably a comparable effort to Linux 0.01. He had crude development tools and, back in the 70's, there was much less documentation commonly available on how computers and operating systems worked. Again, I'd ask the man himself.

While looking for more accurate information than simply my recollections about Gates' history, I came across this interesting snippet:

The boys would not just look for bugs, but they would also study the operating system from discarded code they found in the trash.
Funny, isn't it? (No, Mr. Brown, it's not ironic)

RC

[ Reply to This | # ]

Watch Ken Work His Out-Of-Context Magic
Authored by: raynfala on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:47 AM EDT
You just watch. Ken Brown will take this portion of the interview:

3) In my opinion, you wrote Unix (UNICS) from scratch. In my opinion, Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch. What is you opinion? How much did he write? I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon's Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux. I hate to ask such a bare-knuckle question, but I really feel that this part of history is very gray.

Say what you feel is ok to say.

We did indeed write Unix from scratch (though with intellectual influence from aspects of Multics and other systems). I don't know what Torvalds started with or what he had read. It seems plausible from his writings that he was distancing himself more from Minix than Unix as such.

And he'll summarize it as:

"I talked to Dr. Dennis Ritchie, the Grandfather of UNIX, about the possibility that 'Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch', to which Dr. Ritchie responded 'It seems plausible...'"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Peter Simpson on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 09:54 AM EDT
The entire episode certainly shows the integrity and character of the people
involved in open source software. If I didn't already think of Tanenbaum,
Ritchie, Linus and the rest as people worthy of admiration, I certainly would
after this episode.

Nobody develops in a vacuum. We all learn from and build on the work of others.
Developers acknowledge this, and, when possible, prove it by releasing their
code for others to learn from. It's as much a matter of pride as generosity.


Brown's miserable efforts crumble when exposed to the light of day. As they
should, because they are an amateurish effort to discredit an honorable man.
Other honorable men have stepped forward to defend him, thereby displaying the
quality of their character and discrediting Brown as only they could.

Nice to see the good guys win.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Quick Rebuttals: Is It Necessarily Good?
Authored by: raynfala on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 10:12 AM EDT
While I am pleased to see the various victims of Ken Brown's disingenuity come back with very precise -- and often witty -- rebuttals to the flaming sack of dog droppings that constitute the Samizdat excerpts, I can't help but wonder if we -- as in the collective Open Source movement "we" -- are doing the right thing by responding to the excerpts.

Based on the testimony from several reviewers of the early excerpts, we can conclude that Ken Brown is in the process of writing a vile piece of work. More than that, it looks like he's prepared to surf the razor's edge between innuendo and slander. That being said, is it really in the Open Source movement's best interest to provide any feedback to him at all before the work actually goes to press? AdTI themselves revealed that "Samizdat" is undergoing changes, once the critics started sounding off. It sounds as if they were using the feedback to shore up the weak points in the text. This will make the final work all that much harder to refute, and it will decrease the probability that Ken Brown crosses the line from innuendo to slander. Crossing the line, IMHO, would be a good thing: the presence of actionable items would splash a big ol' scarlet letter across the Samizdat report.

Why bother taking swings at the practice pitches Ken Brown is throwing out? It will only allow him to improve his pitch, and make it that much harder for us to "hit it out of the park" when it is published.

Why jab at the exposed bits with pins and needles? Wait until the thing is out in the open, and then flatten it with a single, decisive blow from a sledgehammer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: ChubbyTiger on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Hey, play nice. Us members of the right-wing conspiracy are firmly on the side
of Linux in this case. Ie, we favor less gov't intervention, no silly lawsuits,
unrestrained inovation. Linux (the commercial distros) are a perfect example of
capitalism working the way it's supposed to, as is AutoZone and Daimler
switching to Linux.

If you don't confuse insincere Republicans with the Right, I'll try not to
forget that Bill Gates votes Democrat. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm going to open a think-tank!
Authored by: jre on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 11:28 AM EDT
"the Lyon's book ..."
"... a very similar resemblance ..."
"Professor Tannenbaum [sic] in Finland [sic]"
"Why didn't they feel either products were copyright violations?"
"What is you opinion?"
"Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux."
This think-tank deal has to be the best ever! You don't have to do any research, you fly to Amsterdam on a whim, and you don't even have to be able to spell or write a coherent English sentence!

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - Times disclaimer deconsructed
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 11:53 AM EDT
Here is an article, Who's afraid of Time Inc.'s legal disclaimer? It is an interesting legal analysis of a disclaimer on an e-mail message. This should amuse all you grokwonks out there.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Keep it up
Authored by: ExcludedMiddle on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:21 PM EDT
While some people consider it a distraction to keep picking apart this story,
and to debunk it even before it comes out, I consider it worthwhile. To me,
that's how open source works. You don't do it all at once. You put something
together, and you add, subtract, and modify it until it becomes useful to the
most amount of people, and in a production environment. There is now a very nice
record, across weeks, that show each claim that they made and each press
statement are deceptions, or at best, obfuscations. There have been discussions
about it, where people added more counter facts and arguments that a few single
people would have missed. And the best benefit has been that these
counter-arguments are gaining press, so that Dennis Ritchie, the gentleman who
did the code comparison, and even some random guy on the plane that sat next to
KB are speaking up.

ADTI and KB are probably not used to this kind of scrutiny. I can see them
frantically rewriting each time a new article comes out. These constant articles
probably really fluster them, because they don't have a fixed target. I hope
they keep pushing back their release based on these.

Astroturfing usually works because most people are uneducated about a particular
specialty. For example, if they wrote an astroturf book on some phone company
rate issue, most citizens don't care enough, and don't have enough knowledge
about the topic to raise issues with it. What they can't be used to is the FLOSS
communities, which care a LOT about these topics, are very knowledgable,
outspoken, and also are willing to spend the time and research to debunk these
things.

No, I'm glad that we're spending the time debunking it, because they'd be less
likely to waste our time and theirs for the next attack. What bothers me is that
I can't figure out why ADTI and MS would try to do this. It makes no sense
strategically. If I were to put myself in their shoes, I would have scrapped it
once the Minix comparison came up empty. I have a feeling that a high Minix to
Linux code similarity is what he was going to use to lend credence to these
other flimsy claims. Now he has almost nothing to rest upon, and he's making
ADTI look incredibly foolish. Most FLOSS folks are now happily looking further
into ADTIs past, and their financials, and finding all kinds of interesting
things. MS is somewhat more protected, because it is a separate organization,
but still, they both lost face over this.

The largest irony of this situation is that this "negative publicity"
has again had the opposite effect: The roots of Linux are looking almost
spotless now in the press rather than being tarnished.

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OT: What is SCO's theory on Novell waivers
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:21 PM EDT
SCO seems to think it can disregard any Novell waiver as regards IBM.

I'm curious if anybody has an explanation of SCO's theory of why they think that they can do this.

Here is what SCO says on their site:

http://www.thescogroup.com/scosource/linuxlicensefaq .html

Does Novell have the right to act on behalf of SCO and dismiss any claims against SVRx licensees? No. Novell has attempted to interpret a single clause in the Purchase Agreement as freedom to do anything it wants in regards to the assets and copyrights it sold to SCO in 1995. Section 4.16 (b) contains language that gives Novell certain limited rights to protect its royalty stream in regards to the then existing UNIX SVRX licenses. Further clarification to this is found in Amendment No. 2 Section B (5) which states, “This Amendment does not give Novell the right to increase any SVRX license’s rights to SVRX source code, nor does it give Novell the right to grant new SVRX source code licenses. In addition, Novell may not prevent SCO from exercising its rights with respect to SVRX source code in accordance with the Agreement.” Novell’s recent actions to waive SCO’s rights to enforce its license agreements are in clear violation of the Agreement and will be dealt with accordingly through the courts.

Let's investigate the clauses that SCO cites

SCO:

Novell has attempted to interpret a single clause in the Purchase Agreement as freedom to do anything it wants in regards to the assets and copyrights it sold to SCO in 1995. Section 4.16 (b) contains language that gives Novell certain limited rights to protect its royalty stream in regards to the then existing UNIX SVRX licenses.

What does 4.16 (b) say?

Here is the whole of 4.16, with the relevant bits IMHO in bold. It does seem to suggest that Novell can do anything it wants in this matter, for any reason at all.

As far as I can tell it seems to suggest can waive anything related to SVRx licenses at all, for any reason at all.

4.16 SVRX Licenses.

(a) Following the Closing, Buyer shall administer the collection of all royalties, fees and other amounts due under all SVRX Licenses (as listed in detail under item VI of Schedule 1.1(a) hereof and referred to herein as "SVRX Royalties"). Within 45 days of the end of each fiscal quarter of Buyer, Buyer shall deliver to Seller or Seller's assignee 100% of any SVRX Royalties collected in the immediately preceding quarter. Buyer shall diligently seek to collect all such royalties, funds and other amounts when due (and shall investigate and perform appropriate auditing and enforcement under such licenses at Buyer's cost including auditing two (2) SVRX licensees identified by Seller during each quarter in which SVRX Royalties are collected). In consideration of such activities described in the preceding sentence, Seller shall pay to Buyer within 5 days of receipt of SVRX Royalties from Buyer as set forth in the preceding sentence, an administrative fee equal to 5% of such SVRX Royalties.

(b) Buyer shall not, and shall not have the authority to, amend, modify or waive any right under or assign any SVRX License without the prior written consent of Seller. In addition, at Seller's sole discretion and direction, Buyer shall amend, supplement, modify or waive any rights under, or shall assign any rights to, any SVRX License to the extent so directed in any manner or respect by Seller. In the event that Buyer shall fail to take any such action concerning the SVRX Licenses as required herein, Seller shall be authorized, and hereby is granted, the rights to take any action on Buyer's own behalf. Buyer shall not, and shall have no right to, enter into future licenses or amendments of the SVRX Licenses, except as may be incidentally involved through its rights to sell and license the Assets or the Merged Product (as such term is defined in the proposed Operating Agreement, attached hereto as Exhibit 5.1(c)) or future versions thereof of the Merged Product.

(c) Seller further covenants that immediately following the Closing Date neither it, nor any of its officers, directors or employees shall (i) take any material action designed to promote the sale of SVRX products or (ii) provide material compensation to any employee designed and intended to incentivize such employee to promote the sale of SVRX products, except for actions incidental to unrelated business activities of Seller.
Next we get to SCO's other argument:
SCO:

Further clarification to this is found in Amendment No. 2 Section B (5) which states, “This Amendment does not give Novell the right to increase any SVRX license’s rights to SVRX source code, nor does it give Novell the right to grant new SVRX source code licenses. In addition, Novell may not prevent SCO from exercising its rights with respect to SVRX source code in accordance with the Agreement.”

Well I looked that up, and it seems wholly unrelated (it seems to relate ONLY to royalty buy-outs, and seems to acknowledge 4.16(b) can still apply):

B. Except as provided in Section C below, and notwithstanding the provisions of Article 4.16, Sections (b) and (c) of the Agreement, any potential transaction with an SVRX licensee which concerns a buy-out of any such licensee's royalty obligations shall be managed as follows:

...

5. This Amendment does not give Novell the right to increase any SVRX licensee's rights to SVRX source code, nor does it give Novell the right to grant new SVRX source code licenses. In addition, Novell may not prevent SCO from exercising its rights with respect to SVRX source code in accordance with the Agreement.

Now the IBM issue is not about royalty buy-outs, so 4.16(b) must surely apply.

So what is SCO's argument? Does anybody know why they think that they can disregard 4.16(b). I suspect from their FAQ that their argument is that 4.16(b) only applies to royalty-bearing licenses (and IBM is paid up), but I see no language anywhere to support this argument.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:43 PM EDT
What strikes me is the way Brown seems to feel that AT&T was always an
operating system company. In 1973 AT&T was *the* phone company, a
government-sanctioned monopoly operating with government-imposed restrictions
that prevented them from entering other markets, like computers for instance.
It was only with their breakup in the 80s that AT&T was allowed to enter
other markets and UNIX became a potential source of revenue. Up to that point
UNIX was licensed primarily for research & education purposes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: New filings in IBM - other new filings in AZ and DC
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 12:46 PM EDT
Anybody seen any of the new filings in Daimler or AutoZone or Red Hat? I
understand that there are some in all 3 of these cases

Here are new filings in IBM:

163-1 Filed: 05/28/04
Entered: 06/01/04 Memo filed memo - -/-/- - - tsh 1500071
Docket Text: Memorandum RE: Discovery filed by SCO Grp

164-1 Filed: 05/28/04
Entered: 06/01/04 Ex parte motion
for leave to file e p m/-/lv f - tsh 1500083
Docket Text: Ex parte motion by SCO Grp for leave to file overlength reply memo
in support of pla's Motion to Amend the Scheduling Order

165-1 Filed: 05/28/04
Entered: 06/01/04 Certificate of service certif svc -/-/- - - tsh 1500085
Docket Text: Certificate of service by SCO Grp re: Pla's Response to Dft's
Fourth Set of Interrogatories

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie didn't write UNIX
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 01:17 PM EDT
First of all, Brown says he believes Dennis Ritchie wrote UNIX. You have to already discount everything else he might say because it is Ken Thompson who wrote UNIX not Ritchie. Of course Ritchie had a significant contribution by creating the C language.

Ritchie Bio
Thompson Bio
Creation of UNIX

Void Main

[ Reply to This | # ]

just in case - earliest unix on the net
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 01:18 PM EDT
As Dennis mentioned, the link for the earliest unix available on the net can be
found here:

http://minnie.tuhs.org/UnixTree/Nsys/sys/nsys/

Should make for interesting reading, and I figured people would probably be
interested.

These files are dated August 31, 1973

Can anyone find an earlier instance of Unix on the net?

[ Reply to This | # ]

most recent version of non copyrightable Unix
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 02:03 PM EDT
To my understanding early Unix wasn't copyrighted and for all intents and
purposes should be pretty much in the public domain. What I am wondering if I am
correct in thinking this, is what parts relating to the basic structure of Unix
could not have been copywritten? I assume that SCO wants to try and apply the
look and feel test. I just wonder if the tenth circuit court of appeals uses a
broader test if we can elimanate the look and feel issue altogether. I use
HP-UX(R) at school and I use Linux at home. Using them to me seems very similar
in a lot of ways. They both have the same directory structure, they both have
the same commands, the shell is pretty much the same (bash is even now the
default shell on our HP_UX(R) system of course bash is open source). My point is
that if I were a member of a jury or a judge that wasn't technically inclined I
might tend to agree with SCO if I was determinig copyright issues based soley on
comparing the look and feel of a UNIX system is with a Linux system. Perhaps we
can work on that (I believe for this very reason that the grokline project is
very importaint).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: kedens on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 02:08 PM EDT
To my understanding early Unix wasn't copyrighted and for all intents and
purposes should be pretty much in the public domain. What I am wondering if I
am
correct in thinking this, is what parts relating to the basic structure of Unix
could not have been copywritten? I assume that SCO wants to try and apply the
look and feel test. I just wonder if the tenth circuit court of appeals uses a
broader test if we can elimanate the look and feel issue altogether. I use
HP-UX(R) at school and I use Linux at home. Using them to me seems very similar
in a lot of ways. They both have the same directory structure, they both have
the same commands, the shell is pretty much the same (bash is even now the
default shell on our HP_UX(R) system of course bash is open source). My point
is
that if I were a member of a jury or a judge that wasn't technically inclined I
might tend to agree with SCO if I was determinig copyright issues based soley
on
comparing the look and feel of a UNIX system with a Linux system. Perhaps we
can work on that (I believe for this very reason that the grokline project is
very importaint).
PS*** Sorry for reposting this, but I wanted everyone to be able to read it and
I didn't realize that I wasn't logged in.

[ Reply to This | # ]

let's look through this code
Authored by: kedens on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 04:08 PM EDT
at http://www.tuhs.org/Archive/PDP-11/Distributions/research/Dennis_v3/
you can download a copy of the code that Caldera/SCO made available under an
opensource licence which you can view here at
ftp://ftp.tribug.org/pub/tuhs/Caldera-license.pdf

[ Reply to This | # ]

How many Ken B's does it take to change a lightbulb ?
Authored by: IrisScan on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 06:39 PM EDT
There I was painting my shed when a thought struck me . How many Ken Brown's
does it take to change a lightbulb ? Answer : Who knows ?! Who cares ?! But it
must be "more than one" because it's clearly impossible for him to
change a lightbulb all by himself . Hmmm , must go and conduct some interviews
... are they any lightbulb experts out there ?

IrisScan : better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick !

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Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 03 2004 @ 12:42 AM EDT
This is a little thing compared to all KB's misstatements that he must have known were bald-faced lies, but he states:
In my opinion, you wrote Unix (UNICS) from scratch. In my opinion, Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch.
Those are not opinions. Opinions are judgements upon matters that have no factual answers. One does not have an "opinion" on whether Washington, D.C. is the capital; one either has the correct knowledge that it is or the mistaken belief that it isn't. In factual matters where the facts may be seen by a reasonable person to support more than one conclusion, it is possible to have an opinion on which is the more likely conclusion: for instance, looking at Ken Brown's pattern of blatant misrepresentations, it is possible to have an opinion on whether it legally constitutes libel.

But Ken Brown is abusing the word "opinion" to let him make assertions that he has no factual basis for. This is probably because "opinion" is itself a loaded word; everyone is aware that "everyone has a right to their own opinion". Fewer people would support "everyone has a right to make unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing against other people as long as they call it an 'opinion'."

Paradoxical as it may sound, it is a matter of opinion whether it is possible to do as Linus did and create Linux from scratch in a matter of months. But it is not a matter of opinion to say "It is clearly not possible to do as Linus claims he did and therefore he clearly committed some act of code misappropriation." That is a claim; that is a belief; that is an assertion; with the way Brown has been repeating it steadily, both before he had any evidence at all and after the evidence came in and soundly contradicted him, it may be a delusion. But it is not an "opinion" and he should not be allowed to duck responsibility for his defamatory claims by pretending they are his "opinions".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ken B should have interviewed Ken Thompson
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 03 2004 @ 01:14 AM EDT
After all we are talking about first versions of Linux then why not first
version of Unix. In an Interview in 1999 one year before retirement Ken Thompson
had this to say. Pay attention KB! Lots of interesting history. Link
http://www.computer.org/computer/thompson.htm
Someone should try another interview of KT for current views on Linux. Well now
that KT wrote the first Unix in ONE MONTH
(http://www.robotwisdom.com/linux/nonnix.html)what took Linus so long? :)
On second thought KB I wouldn't mess with a guy who likes to fly Russian Migs.

As always the devil is in the details

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Dennis Ritchie's Interview for Samizdat
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, June 05 2004 @ 12:42 AM EDT
The irony in all this is that here is a quack of an author who is not looking for answers so much as he is corroboration of a theory that Microsft has paid him to put forth. And the issue behind this bogus theory of Microsoft's centers around intellectual property ownership. Yet Microsoft is renown for stealing intellectual property --- the dirty deals screwing Citrix for Terminal Services, Sybase for SQL Server, and Sendo for cell phone technology. So here we have little more than the corporate version of a professional thief crying fowl over a college student taking code from an open source teaching operating system to create Linux. Please. If Microsoft is so concerned about intellectualy property, they could start by paying back all the people they stole from. It's interesting also to note that in the days that Microsoft was a small company, they touted "the free exchange of ideas" as their mantra. Now it's clutching, protecting, defending to the death all precious intellectual property. My how things have changed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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