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Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) and the GPL
Monday, April 06 2009 @ 09:14 PM EDT

I've been thinking about something. And I can't figure out the answer. Remember when SCO's Erik Hughes was deposed [PDF; text] in the SCO v. IBM litigation, he said that at first the LKP did have kernel code in it, but later it was taken out? So then why, when SCO announced it was stopping distribution of Linux in May of 2003, would it have needed to stop distributing the LKP also? Presumably by then, according to what they've told us, there was no Linux kernel code in the LKP. So why did SCO stop distributing? I know one can never rule out the Keystone Kops syndrome, but I keep trying to puzzle out their thinking.

And then I have another question: if there ever was kernel code in the LKP, was kernel source distributed as required by the GPL license? The reason I keep thinking about it is this: if they failed to distribute the source, did they lose their GPL license? Under GPLv2, if you breach the terms, termination is automatic and can't be restored except by permission of the authors of the copyrighted code.

Now *there's* a picture my mind doesn't mind dwelling on.

SCO did stop distributing the LKP when it stopped distributing Linux, or more accurately *said* it did. Specifically, one of the items SCO said it wouldn't continue to distribute because of the IBM litigation was UnixWare 7.1.4 with the LKP:

What is LKP?

Because of the SCO vrs IBM case the LKP disk is not being shipped with UnixWare 7.1.4. You can use the CD from UnixWare 7.1.3 to install on UnixWare 7.1.4 until the SCO/IBM case is resolved.

One of the main features of UnixWare 7 is the LKP, which stands for Linux Kernel Personality. It maps common Linux Kernel functions to the UnixWare kernel allowing us to run both Unix and Linux software on the same box, seemlessly and effortlessly :-)

I don't know why they thought it was OK to endorse using the LKP from the earlier CD, or how that would fix things since it actually highlighted SCO had earlier distributed the LKP, but there you are. SCO is SCO. They never did understand the GPL, as far as I could make out. You can see that in the "Legal Notice" (that no longer seems to be where it was at, where SCO said it would continue to make Linux rpms available to existing customers:
NOTICE: SCO has suspended new sales and distribution of SCO Linux until the intellectual property issues surrounding Linux are resolved. SCO will, however, continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers consistent with existing contractual obligations. SCO offers at no extra charge to its existing Linux customers a SCO UNIX IP license for their use of prior SCO or Caldera distributions of Linux in binary format. The license also covers binary use of support updates distributed to them by SCO. This SCO license balances SCO's need to enforce its intellectual property rights against the practical needs of existing customers in the marketplace.

"The Linux rpms available on SCO's ftp site are offered for download to existing customers of SCO Linux, Caldera OpenLinux or SCO UnixWare with LKP, in order to honor SCO's support obligations to such customers."

Can you find anything in that first notice that there was a password needed? I won't call them morons, but if you read the messages about the notice, others surely did. My point is just to establish that UnixWare with LKP was put on the list of items that would no longer be distributed except to prior customers. So you could still download it, but you were on your honor not to do so unless you were a customer. Why SCO thought distributing to prior customers new code, updates, bypassed the GPL is another mystery. But again, my question is: why? If there was no Linux in the LKP, why would SCO feel it needed to withdraw it from public distribution? What exactly was in there? What was it for?


Because we are working to complete our historical record, I'd like now to include some information about the LKP, because certain materials seem to have gone to SCO Heaven and are either hard to find or impossible now. So, for historians, some materials about the LKP seem in order.

First, what exactly was Caldera/SCO's Linux Kernel Personality for? That page has links to answer that and other questions. You might want to start with the Introduction. Or with the table of contents. Here's how they said it worked:

How the LKP works

The LKP provides a Linux kernel interface to UnixWare 7. The LKP is not an emulator; rather, Linux kernel functions are mapped into equivalent UnixWare 7 kernel functions. The LKP runtime environment, from an application point-of-view, is the same as as a Caldera OpenLinux runtime environment -- Linux applications do not "know" that they are running on a UnixWare 7 kernel. The LKP includes standard Linux libraries, runtime components and user commands.

The main differences between native Linux and the LKP are in the kernel and data structures themselves, which are based on UnixWare 7 for the LKP.

So that's what the story was. They specifically state that there was no Linux kernel, just the interface, called the Device Kernel Interface (lxdevfs). The copyright is October of 2002, though, and by then there may have been some litigation is some executives' starry eyes. In any case, it doesn't say when it changed, or that it did. Hughes told us that part, under oath.

But did you know the LKP was one important reason Caldera did the deal with Santa Cruz? Why did Caldera want it? The idea was to "acquire features better suited for high-end use" for Linux, as Caldera put it at the time, and bring Linux into the mainstream, to increase the enterprise customer base for Linux by providing the apps a Unix kernel, as well as to provide more applications for UnixWare, by making applications written for Linux usable on UnixWare, whose customers were having issues with a comparative lack of applications.

I realize, of course, that SCO later sued IBM for allegedly doing precisely the same thing, bringing Linux into the mainstream, but this is SCO. It doesn't have to make sense.

But it was indeed why Caldera wanted to do the deal back in 2000 according to Santa Cruz's Dave McCrab:

Linux will acquire features better suited for high-end use as a result of Caldera Systems' pending acquisition of technology assets from Santa Cruz Operation....

One reason for the acquisition was that SCO was embarked on a Linux strategy of its own, McCrab said. The company was working on a software project called Linux Kernel Personality, or LKP, that would allow SCO's UnixWare software to run all Linux programs. The software is a key part of the combined company's plan to have Linux programs run on comparatively low-end systems with Caldera Systems' Linux operating system and higher-end multiprocessor systems with SCO's UnixWare operating system.

Using both the UnixWare kernel and the Linux kernel is a strategy SCO had embarked on, McCrab said, but the company realized it would be easier to use an established product such as SCO's OpenLinux than to create a version of Linux all its own.

Interesting, no? So one point of the merger, as Stephen Shankland's title put it, was: "SCO-Caldera deal brings high-end features to Linux".

Another point was enunciated by Ransom Love in August of 2000. He said it was to bring new customers to Linux:

The acquisition of Santa Cruz Operations' Unix software and services will help Caldera address weaknesses that have kept Linux from mainstream use, Caldera chief executive Ransom Love said today.

The acquisition, announced two weeks ago, gives Caldera the ability to provide global sales, support and customization services; an operating system that will work on heavy-duty servers; and strong partnerships with software companies, Love said in a keynote address today at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo.

Darl McBride didn't get that memo, I guess. He's always asking what Caldera got for its money. Well, that's part of what they were wanting to get. And one more goal, shown in a presentation at SCOForum 2000:

So the purpose of the deal, and the LKP, was so UnixWare could be a commercial Linux platform? So one hand would wash the other, or at least that was the plan. UnixWare would get the Linux apps and Linux would get the high end enterprise customers. Here are some details on how it worked:

Woah. "We implement the Linux ABI", eh?

Back in 2003, we noticed another of SCO's Powerpoint presentations, then on SCO Benelux's website, and some comments asked about filesystems. Here's a slide from that presentation about that to add to our collection on Groklaw:

Well. JFS. In 2000.

Santa Cruz had the LKP, so rather than build another, Caldera decided to just buy it. That ties in with the Caldera Developer Network, which was a "combined Unix/Linux Development Platform" Caldera then set up.

If any of you were members of that Caldera Developers Network, perhaps you can tell us if you had to sign an NDA.

I'm kidding. There couldn't have been one, since it is literally impossible to write secret GPL code for the Linux kernel, and Caldera knew it, since it understood the GPL was the license on the kernel and access to the source is an essential part of the license. And yet, Caldera created a combined developer network. How would you come up with NDA language for that? I can't imagine. So who spilled the trade secrets, would you say?

What does all this have to do with the LKP? Because at the time, Caldera was all about uniting Unix with Linux for the enterprise, and the LKP was supposed to enable that. Here's a snip from a 2001 Caldera press release announcing the LKP, in Open UNIX 8:

Caldera Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CALD) and The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. (SCO) (Nasdaq: SCOC) today announced the forthcoming release of Open UNIX 8. By incorporating the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) technology into the next release of the UnixWare(R) 7 kernel, Open UNIX 8 will enable Linux applications to be deployed on top of the powerful and highly scalable UNIX kernel....

The LKP technology in Open UNIX 8 will include the same GNU tools and libraries built into Caldera OpenLinux(TM), which were developed with close adherence to the specifications of the proposed Linux Standards Base (LSB). Open UNIX 8 will track this developing standard, assuring the highest degree of application compatibility.

One purpose of including the press release again now is to show that UnixWare and Open UNIX 8 were the same thing, except that Open UNIX 8 had the LKP.

We had earlier noticed ELF in the LKP, but what else was in there? The press release said "the same GNU tools and libraries built into Caldera OpenLinux". So, what GNU tools and libraries were built into Caldera OpenLinux? Here is a press release on OpenLinux:

Caldera's OpenLinux Workstation Enters Open Beta; Includes the New Linux 2.4 kernel, Targets Commercial, Corporate and Open Source Developers

OREM, Utah--March 19, 2001--Caldera(R) Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CALD) Monday announced that OpenLinux(TM) Workstation 3.1 has entered open beta and will be available for download from Caldera's Web site at this Thursday, March 22.

OpenLinux Workstation is the develop-on platform for Caldera and targets commercial, corporate and Open Source developers seeking the ability to deploy on Caldera high-performance, unified Linux/UnixWare(R) enterprise platforms. OpenLinux Workstation will be the successor to the award-winning OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4.

OpenLinux Workstation is built on the new Linux(R) 2.4 kernel and features a complete self-hosting environment, KDE(TM) 2.1, glibc 2.2.1 and Xfree86(TM) 4.0.2. The beta contains an expansive set of Open Source development tools including: gcc 2.95.2, g++ 2.95.2, Perl 5.6.0, OpenSSL 0.9.6 and Sun(R) Java(TM) 2 SDK, Standard Edition, version 1.3. Commercial development tools will ship with the final version....

OpenLinux Workstation is developed to function as an integrated client for all Caldera server offerings -- both OpenLinux and UnixWare-based -- and includes the Caldera(R) Volution(TM) management agent. In addition, it consists of the base components Caldera's Professional Services will use to deliver specialized Linux-based client platforms for OEMs, Internet devices and thin clients.

The 2.4 kernel is exactly what the SCO litigation was supposedly about. We're talking the GPL here, though, so I can't help but ask another natural question. Did SCO carefully provide the source for all the Linux code it distributed, including with Open UNIX 8 (and later Unixware with the LKP)?

I have another question: how could Caldera, now SCO, not know what was in the 2.4 Linux kernel until 2003, if they were working with it this intimately in 2001? That's on top of the issue of SCO distributing the 2.4 kernel. How do you sue over it after you distributed it as GPL code?

Here's one more press release about Open UNIX 8 and the LKP that explains the purpose:

Open UNIX 8 will maintain compatibility and continuity with the UnixWare 7 operating system while providing a complete Linux environment. In addition, the product will incorporate support for the execution of unmodified Linux Intel(R) Architecture binaries, giving users, resellers and ISVs the best of both UNIX and Linux technologies. The result is transparent execution of Open UNIX 8 (or UnixWare 7) applications and most Linux applications, which will run without modification or recompilation.

"Open UNIX 8 is the first step in implementing the vision of the pending new company," said Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems. "It combines the heritage of UNIX with the momentum of Linux, and will be our premiere product for data intensive applications like database, email and supply chain management. The incorporation of the Linux application engine into the UnixWare kernel essentially redefines the direction of the product, and motivates a new brand identity -- Open UNIX."

"If you need to run a Linux application in a data center environment, Open UNIX 8 will fill the bill with the highest standard of reliability and scalability," said Dave McCrabb, president of the SCO Server Software Division. "We are 'unifying UNIX with Linux for Business' and this product is a major proof point."...

Open UNIX 8 will be demonstrated at Caldera's booth at CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, March 22-28, Hall 3 Stand C45. An Early Availability Program is in place to supply selected partners with LKP technology previews based on UnixWare 7.1.1 systems. In April, Caldera and the SCO Server Software Division will begin distributing Open UNIX 8.0 beta versions to a broad list of partners.

So that puts the distribution timestamp, so to speak, on the map.


Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) and the GPL | 138 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) and the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 09:39 PM EDT
Well, I was waiting for the canonical threads, but since they have not appeared,
here goes, a correction:

2nd paragraph after heading "The LKP:"

Last sentence reads "Here's how they said worked:"
Seems like it should read: "Here's how they said _it_ worked:"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Darl's questions
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 09:56 PM EDT
Actually, I don't remember Darl asking about what Caldera got for their money...
it was always what SCO got for their money.

Caldera was those other evil guys that contributed to Linux behind SCO's back.
SCO, of course, is, and was for 30 years a Unix company just trying to protect
their bazillion dollar investment in NUMA and JFS. ;)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) and the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 10:05 PM EDT
The sooner the judges in the various SCO cases manage to wrap their minds around
these technical issues, the sooner they'll see SCO has absolutely no case to
speak of.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: mupi on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 10:58 PM EDT
Please list the nature of the correction in the Title. We all know the drill

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] Off Topic
Authored by: mupi on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:00 PM EDT
On topic comments will be summarily removed. Maybe :)

Please keep your off-topic comments here....

Don't forget HTML Mode for clickies...

[ Reply to This | # ]

[NP] Newspicks
Authored by: mupi on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:04 PM EDT
Please discuss newspick items of interest here.

Please note the title of the newspick in the title of of the comment, and don't
forget HTML mode for clickies!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Guess who also said look at the LPK...?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:08 PM EDT
An employee who worked for Caldera whose initials are:

C. H.

Anyone know who this was, and as a bonus question did you find the quote where
he was hinting that folks look into LPK, or was it a guess on his part?

[ Reply to This | # ]

More to LKP than the "K"
Authored by: Ed L. on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:28 PM EDT
The LKP technology in Open UNIX 8 will include the same GNU tools and libraries built into Caldera OpenLinux(TM), which were developed with close adherence to the specifications of the proposed Linux Standards Base (LSB).
I see no contradiction between Mr. Hugh's testimony about removing any extraneous Linux kernel bits from the UnixWare/Open UNIX kernel, and SCO's decision to sort of stop distributing LKP. It seems to me rewriting any necessary Linux kernel code necessary to map Linux syscalls into UNIX should have been pretty quick and straightforward. Certainly in comparison to rewriting some of the GNU tools, and the libraries needed to run most programs. Do we know which ones these were?

I realize the IBM lawsuit was about the kernel, and that many GNU libraries are LGPL or have runtime exceptions, so their continued distribution should not have been a problem. Unless perhaps if the president of your company was maybe writing nastygrams to the U.S. Congress to the effect the GPL was unconstitutional or something. In which case your company president and legal counsel might have a problem with it.


The dream of vengeance is the darkest of dark, sad dreams. -
Stephen R. Donaldson

[ Reply to This | # ]

Secret code for the linux kernel
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:35 PM EDT
But Caldera *DID* write secret code for the Linux kernel. Long before the Santa
Cruz purchase, they produced a product (sorry I've forgotten the name) which
allowed Linux to interoperate with Novell file servers. If you bought their
flavor of Linux, it came with a kernel module which allowed Linux to talk to
Netware servers. Less than a year later there was a GNU alternative to their
offering (which I'm sure they weren't very happy about).


[ Reply to This | # ]

This isn't even the most obvious waiver ...
Authored by: webster on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:43 PM EDT

... of their claims. But it is another with a possible GPL violation to boot.

It is obvious that Novell exercised its contractual rights and waived their claims for them.

It is obvious that Caldera and SCO distributed Linux under the GPL.

Here it looks like they distributed all the code in question in the IBM litigation with LKP with the GPL which renders everything with it distributable.

This stuff is not too late if there is a trial. It also fits in with IBM motions arguing that SCO waived its claims by distributing Linux. With such an obvious claim such as that, it is easy to bypass the LKP argument which is equally strong as a waiver but not as simple.

It is another vivid proof of SCO's lies. They can't pretend not to know about this code and the substance of the GPL that goes with it. It shows that their claims were knowingly frivolous. Due diligence did not fit their scheme. This is so blatant that the liability insurance companies may well decline to cover SCO execs and attorneys. With a Monopoly backstop they thought they didn't have to worry about such niceties.

They used these falsities to create true FUD. This was always their intent. This site doesn't let SCO or anyone else forget. So what do they want to be? Liars or Ignorant?


Tyrants live their delusions. Beware. Deal with the PIPE Fairy and you will sell your soul.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What Is It That SCO Stopped Distributing?
Authored by: sk43 on Monday, April 06 2009 @ 11:44 PM EDT
[Note: the following is based on my reading UnixWare documentation on SCO's website. I do not have any UnixWare media and cannot corroborate any of what follows.]

UnixWare 7.1.4 is SCO's most current version of UnixWare. When originally released, the media consisted of 4 CDs.

The installation instructions can be found here . The instructions for installing the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) are halfway down the page:

Installing the Linux Kernel Personality

The Base OS CD #1 contains the kernel and includes files that are necessary to support the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP). These files are installed automatically as part of the installation process.

The Updates CD #2 contains the lxcompat package set that contains the LKP software as well as lkpdoc, the online LKP documentation. The lxcompat set is selected for installation by default, but can be de-selected and installed later. Similarly, you can install the lxcompat set from CD #2, and then defer the installation of the Linux RPMs from CD #4.

Thus, the LKP consists of several components spread across 3 CDs.
  • First, there is UnixWare itself [Base CD #1 - I presume that "kernel" refers to the UnixWare kernel.]
  • Next, there is the "LKP Software" on CD #2 that sits on top of UnixWare. This is probably most, if not all, of the 40,000 lines of code in the Forum 2000 slide. If one is worried about GPL violations, this is the place to look.
  • Finally, there is CD #4, which [can't find the link right now] is a modified version of the Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1 Server installation CD. This is the CD that contains a copy of the Linux kernel source code tree and all the binary RPMS as are found in a typical Linux distribution.

In simplified terms, LKP stuff on CD #2 lives on the UnixWare side, while stuff on CD #4 lives on the Linux side.

So what did SCO stop distributing? The answer can be found h ere - Late News:

LKP: Linux RPM CD Removed from Media Kit The Linux RPM CD #4 has been removed from the UnixWare 7.1.4 Media Kit. The Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) should not be selected from UnixWare 7.1.4 Updates CD #2 during either a fresh or upgrade installation of UnixWare 7.1.4.

If LKP is selected, the base LKP packages will be installed from CD #2, but the installation of RPMs from the Linux RPM CD #4 must be deferred (by pressing F8 at the prompt to insert the Linux RPM CD).

What SCO removed was CD #4 - the modified version of OpenLinux Server 3.1.1. What SCO did NOT remove was the "LKP Software" itself - the ~40,000 lines of code on CD #2 that lives on the UnixWare side.

SCO has recut the UnixWare CDs since then, so it is possible that the "LKP Software" is no longer available.

The comment about using the CD from UnixWare 7.1.3 on UnixWare 7.1.4 is simply a reference to the modified OpenLinux Server CD #4.

Hope that helps.

[ Reply to This | # ]

why did SCO stop distributing?
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 12:35 AM EDT
From backlink where Erik Hughes deposition was discussed:

Q. To your knowledge, do any of the other products -- or do any of the products listed on Page 16, in addition to Linux Technology Preview, include the 2.4 kernel?

A: There was a release of SCO UnixWare release 7.1.2 that included the Linux kernel personality and SCO Linux-release 7.1.3 included the Linux kernel personality. At first when it first shipped it did include the Linux kernel packages which were subsequently removed.

Q: Which kernel packages did they include?

A: The Linux kernel packages. I -- I don't know which specific ones.

That sounds like confusion. If it was just headers...

As has been discussed here previously backlink, IIRC the consensus was the re-distributing header files was considered acceptable even if the source (the header file) was released under GPL.

So, that probably was not as issue.

Perhaps, though, they thought they had tainted Unixware 7 with GPL code.

Somewhere, in the Unixware 7 kernel, code was modified to support LKP. Even if it only referenced Linux kernel header files (likely), they may have thought they tainted the Unixware kernel with GPL code.


You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Viral Licensing or Foot-Gun Technology?
Authored by: sproggit on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 01:50 AM EDT
In response to PJ's original question, I can think of two possible reasons,
though I'd be happy for others to challenge or build upon this...

Firstly, from a viral licensing perspective. At least some of SCOs arguments at
some point in these cases revolved around intellectual property such as ABI's, [
Application Binary Interfaces ], plus of course a whole side discourse on event
and error handling and the selection of various low-order integers [ small
numbers ] to represent different error conditions. I wonder if there is a small
chance that SCO realised that they had *thought* that they had released the LKP
under the GPL (source code questions notwithstanding) and had in effect created
a legal bridgehead that effectively wiped out this entire line of legal argument
on their part. Maybe they were hoping that even if PJ spotted the fact that they
had withdrawn the LKP that neither she nor the rest of the FOSS community would
realise that they had defeated their own arguments in some way???

In the alternative, perhaps the LKP offered something slightly different - an
exit strategy. Let me illustrate this with an example:

A good few years ago, back when Novell owned the File/Print server sector and
Microsoft were wannabes with early released of NT, Novell - under pressure from
customers, it has to be said - released detailed documentation for all the APIs
to their server code base. The one company that made the most use of this new
documentation was... Microsoft. MS wrote an "import" utility for
Windows NT 4.0 that would basically let a Sysadmin 'point' an NT4.0 Domain
Controller at a Novell Server and it would implement a process that transferred
across all users, groups, permissions, everything, in an automated process.
Effectively, the Windows box could be programmed to suck dry a Novell box with
the click of a mouse. [ Side comment: you can just picture how the MS guys must
have chortled with glee when they released this feature...]

Some of the SCO characters who are participating in this farce are ex Novell,
Darl McBride included, and it's possible that they have memories of this.

Do you suppose that in some way [ excuse my lack of specific technical knowledge
about the LKP feature set ] that the LKP could in some way be used to form a
bridgehead that made it much easier to allow developers of SCO Unix applications
to port their software to Linux? It seems to me that it creates a
dual-personality OS that could be ideal for a development shop to test out new
code that they are porting from the native SCO Unix to Linux?

[ Another side thought - did anyone spot that Debian have just done something
almost similar by offering the BSD kernel alongside their Linux kernel in their
latest release? Only core architectures so far, but quite a technical
achievement ].

As a third and final reason, do we remember back in the days of SCO declaring
the GPL to be illegal and un-constitutional? IBM pointed out that SCO had
distributed Linux under the GPL - even briefly - and since it contained
thousands of lines of IBM copyright code that had been released under the GPL
and no other license, SCO had to choose: either the GPL was legal and SCO had
distributed the IBM code legally, or it was not legal and IBM would sue SCO for
widespread copyright infringement - with every single file and line of
infringement meticulously documented for the court's benefit??? Maybe, as a
third option, some SCO lawyer remembered the bruises that they took with that
one and instructed the tech guys that if they wanted to have a prayer of a
chance of winning the case that they had to remove any Linux code, anything that
looked like Linux code, anything that had been sitting on a server alongside
Linux code, anything that had ever heard of Linux code, anything that could
spell "Linux"... you get my drift... Maybe this was nothing more than
an attempt to avoid any possible use of the foot-gun?

After all, noone around here is ever going to excuse SCO of putting forward
logical or rational legal arguments, are we?

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO's what?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 01:51 AM EDT

I keep trying to puzzle out their thinking.

SCO's lawyers think. But do the SCO executives who instruct them?

Personally, I think it's a waste of effort trying to figure out what, or even whether, SCO's directors think. It's a bit like wondering what motivates muggers and swindlers. Get the facts, get the evidence, beat them in court, and get them off the streets; that's all we need to do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP)
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 03:59 AM EDT
Now if I had the ambition to be the last Unix vendor left standing,
and at the same time satisfy my customers who insisted on
running these hippy linux apps, then I'd probably cobble up
something like the LKP. Why let my customers do that?
You know how much application developers cost...

And Caldera seemed to be going down that path, with enough
signs that they realised that the contact would eventually drag
their precious Unix into GPL land. Or as much of it as could be
dragged there.

The bit I still don't get is, if this was company policy,
how come Darl got hired? He was the one that let the dogs out.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Minor (or major) nit-pick
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 06:37 AM EDT
"The Linux rpms available on SCO's ftp site are offered for download to existing customers of SCO Linux, Caldera OpenLinux or SCO UnixWare with LKP, in order to honor SCO's support obligations to such customers."


My point is just to establish that UnixWare with LKP was put on the list of items that would no longer be distributed except to prior customers.
The notice said the Linux rpm's were available for ftp download, not that SCO UnixWare with LKP was available for download. It says that the Linux rpm's are available for download only if you are an existing customer of one of those products listed, one of which was SCO UnixWare with LKP. Nowhere does it say that you can download SCO UnixWare with LKP itself.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What constitutes "failure to distribute"?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 09:29 AM EDT
"And then I have another question: if there ever was kernel code in the
LKP, was kernel source distributed as required by the GPL license? The reason I
keep thinking about it is this: if they failed to distribute the source, did
they lose their GPL license? Under GPLv2, if you breach the terms, termination
is automatic and can't be restored except by permission of the authors of the
copyrighted code."

This makes me wonder if anyone ever requested the source and was refused. If
not, SCO would seem to be in the clear on this one. The GPLv2 allows
distribution of binaries alone if the source is available on request, and (IIRC)
the distributor is required to keep the source available for three years. So it
seems SCO could say "Why yes, of course we would have provided the source,
but no one ever asked!".

I don't think it is quite so "automatic" because there has to be a
determination that the terms were in fact breached, and there are all sorts of
vagaries that might be used to weasel around this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO's code contamination theory
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 10:09 AM EDT
Also if you apply SCO's own code contamination theory
"if it touches SysV it is SysV"
to GPL code, then
"if it touches GPL then it is GPL".

SCO is vulnerable to having its arguments used against itself here. No surprise
for the gang that could not assemble a valid lawsuit.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What were they thinking?
Authored by: Yossarian on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 12:05 PM EDT
>The reason I keep thinking about it is this: if they failed
>to distribute the source, did they lose their GPL license?

PJ, your thinking is just fine, the interesting question is,
IMO, what were SCO thinking?

I have two theories:
1) Ignorance. GPL is one way street. You get the rights
to use GPL code in return for certain obligations. No way
to "undo" those obligations. They did not understand the
GPL contract.

2) Arrogance. The war will be over by Christmas; just bully
those long-hair developers with legal notices and they will
just stand in line to sign over their rights to SCO, so SCO
will leave them alone. There is no need to get prepared
for a long war because the opponent is such a coward.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No more enablers
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 03:08 PM EDT
As you say:
> Caldera was all about uniting Unix with Linux for the enterprise, and the
LKP was supposed to enable that.

I think the reason they stopped distributing the LKP was simply because they
didn't want any Linux stuff running on the sacred Unix platform.

[ Reply to This | # ]

You're not a programmer, and it shows...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 04:25 PM EDT
You've built a house of cards on shifting sand. LKP is all user-level and has
absolutely nothing related to the kernel other than providing a user-level
translation from POSIX/SVID function to kernel system call.

If any LKP code was not developed from scratch, it would have been based on
glibc code, not linux kernel code. That said, it's a trivial bit of work to
develop an LKP independent of GLIBC and it would be treated just like any other
user-level application running on linux - i.e. just becuase it uses the LINUX
user-kernel API, doesn't make it part of the linux kernel. In no way did it
ever incorporate any LINUX kernel code into Unixware.

The LKP was basically a 'translation' project. Translate a POSIX system call
signature into the appropriate kernel function (i.e. just what glibc/libc does).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hit the nail on the head? - Questions About the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) and the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 04:39 PM EDT
"...Keystone Kops syndrome,..."

That would be my first guess. They didn't really know what they were doing.
When you mix lawyers with millions of lines of code, who knows what will blow

"SCO is SCO. They never did understand the GPL..."

Are we talking Santa Cruz Operations, which was a Unix product? Or are we
talking Caldera, which was a Linux distributor? Or are we talking SCO Group
which was a get rich quick scheme?

"I have another question: how could Caldera, now SCO, not know what was in
the 2.4 Linux kernel until 2003, if they were working with it this intimately in

Again, are we talking about Caldera, the Linux distributor, or the SCO Group,
the get rich quick scheme?

After all these years, I can't help but get the feeling that Caldera and the SCO
Group are only marginally related.

Wasn't there one point where Caldera people pointed out internally that Linux
was not in Unix, which advice management ignored?

After the fat lady sings the final note, maybe you might be able to uncover some
Caldera people, who were there when the fabric with the alternate universe was
rent, who will be willing to tell us what really was going on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Simon Baldwin, Senior Engineer, Caldera Inc. said...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 07 2009 @ 06:27 PM EDT
Open UNIX can run Linux applications and binaries without recompilation, and
without marking the binaries in any way
All it takes is around 40,000 lines of code to build:
A kernel module for handling system calls
Three totally new Open UNIX filesystems
A new system daemon
And the infrastructure necessary to install all of
these, and the whole of Linux, onto Open UNIX"

I guess "the whole of Linux" would put them in the clear. No?

[ Reply to This | # ]

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