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Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out - Want to See?
Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 03:45 AM EST

Would you like to see some places where Caldera has copyright notices in Linux on code it contributed under the GPL, and you're frustrated because some of us have Caldera CDs and you don't? Just go to Google code search and search for
license:gpl ""
You'll be buried in GPL'd Caldera code, 5,000 hits.

Say, what have we here? Near the top of the list we find binutils-2.16.1/include/elf/common.h and the text includes a mention of the numbers being assigned from registry@caldera.

Ooh, what have we next? I spy a contribution to's binutils-2.16.1, under the GPL too. My, my.

Turn to page 2, and we find a contribution to UnixWare by Ron Record to samba-2.2.12/packaging/Caldera/UnixWare/pkg/postinstall. Hmm. Funny those SCO employees didn't tell the world about all this GPL code, isn't it?

Oh and UnixCW was copyrighted by Simon Baldwin at Caldera in 2001. GPL.

So where were these folks when SCO was making the public claim that it never contributed any code under the GPL?

Lookee here: On page 3, on a server in Utah, no less, it shows a copyright by Alan Cox on SMP, and it reads, "Supported by Caldera" Now they want to sue IBM over SMP.

On page 4, you find a Caldera employee contributing to KDE, which isn't the kernel, but it sure is GPL code, so they had to know. It wasn't inadvertent. Because it couldn't be.

And then at the bottom of that page, you'll see a package named trunk/Projects/qemu-0.11.0-rc/linux-user/elfload.c and the notice reads in part, "See documentation of ELF object file format in:

By the way, if you are curious about ELF, what it is, and how it works, this paper, Linux Distributions and Applications Analysis During Linux Standard Base Development [PDF] by Denis Silakov, is very clear, I think. And it's not the kernel, but here's Caldera's homepage in 2002, advertising that it had released AIM under the GPL. Someone might need to show all this to SCO's experts.

I could go on and on, but I'll let you have the fun of doing your own GPL digging. Unless you are SCO, of course. It probably isn't that much fun for SCOfolk. The GPL is the pebble in SCO's shoe. Or more accurately, it's SCO's Achilles Heel.


Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out - Want to See? | 153 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 03:48 AM EST
Please put a one line summary of the error and the correction in the title line
error->correction or s/error/correction/

[ Reply to This | # ]

New Picks Thread
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 03:50 AM EST
Remember to indicate which New Pick article you are commenting on in the Title
and use HTML to make the links clickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic threads
Authored by: bugstomper on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 03:51 AM EST
Remember to stay off topic and make the links clickable

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: sk43 on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 05:12 AM EST
The reference to "" in binutils does not refer to
a GPLed contribution by Caldera but rather the fact that the ELF specification
allows for extensions that are specific to a particular operating system or
hardware architecture. Each architecture is assigned a specific number, and the
purpose of the registry is to make sure that these numbers are unique.

So where can you find the current list of assigned numbers? They are maintained
as part of the "The System V Application Binary Interface (or ABI)",
which you can find here:

The ABI is a living document. There are snapshots from April 1998 to as
recently as October, 2009. There is even a newer "Latest (in
progress)" snapshot that someone is still working on. The following link
gives the latest list of all the codes:

Now look towards the bottom of the page. There is this
operating system code:


What is the copyright notice on this page?

"© 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. All rights
reserved. © 2002 Caldera International. All rights reserved. © 2003-2009 The SCO
Group. All rights reserved."

Yes, folks. Linux is an official part of the ELF binary specification.
Courtesy of The SCO Group.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out - Want to See?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 05:36 AM EST
Aha! So PJ is e_machine type 91, not a human after all.


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • 99 - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 09:37 AM EST
Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out - Want to See?
Authored by: AMackenzie on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 06:04 AM EST
Hmmm. Even by the figures given by the proponents of this disconnection scheme,
£500,000,000 administration costs per year will increase music/film sales by
£1,700,000,000 over ten years. So the admin costs are three times the projected
benefits to the copyright holders.

How about this for an idea: you collect the £500,000,000 each year from all with
a broadband connection in exchange for an explicit license to download anything
from anywhere? This type of thing has worked well for decades for television
and radio licenses.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"I spy a contribution to minix3......"
Authored by: tiger99 on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 06:14 AM EST
Poor old Ken "not the sharpest knife in the drawer" Brown of AdTI will be spinning round in circles trying to comprehend that one!


[ Reply to This | # ]

binutils, COFF and ELF
Authored by: Chris Lingard on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 06:15 AM EST

First the obvious, binutils is a FSF package, it uses the GPL licence. Any contributions must be public, and are reviewed by the team of maintainers. Anyone can make a suggestion, or offer a patch; but the code must be GPL.

Caldera were just one of the many users of FSF packages. Most, if not all their packages released on Linux distributions were GPL, but their collection of these belonged to them. You can copyright a collection without ownership of the constituents.

When Caldera claim copyright it is to their particular collection or distribution, their name, their art work; but not to the contents. Caldera can own the "Caldera Network Desktop" but not own the constituents.

The compiler on that distribution is gcc, the FSF compiler collection, When you compile gcc you can have lots of options to choose host, build and target machine, cpu type and others. When porting gcc onto another machine range you can choose if gcc should emit ELF or COFF. The output of a compiler, called object code, must be to standards; otherwise it would not link with libraries. Often gcc is ported but the propriety linker is still used. With c++ the situation is more complicated with overloaded operators. There are functions with duplicated names; that must be linked to the one with the same prototype. This selection is sometimes referred to as mangling/demangling.

In the 1970s compilers were written at Universities, it was part of the course, and there was much study of compilers and parsers in general. Hence the name yacc for a utility, (yet another compiler compiler)

gcc was ported to avoid licence fees. The licence of propriety compilers was expensive, and if you had multiple machines, you had to buy a licence for each; it made good sense to port gcc and its associated debugger gdb/ddd and use these for development of systems. By the 1990s gcc was often a better compiler than the propriety one.

ELF superseded COFF, because of improvements in specification, and the need for more functionality. Both DEC and IBM stayed with COFF, but extended it. But Linux took full advantage of it. You can buy books on COFF and ELF; you could not write a compiler without knowing what output format to use. For Caldera/SCO to claim either is ridiculous, they were a minor bit player in the evolution of the computer industry. Whilst they distributed their Linux distribution, they had a few technical people; but these were inherited from the original SCO, (became Tarantella) the technical folk being based in Santa Cruz, California and not Utah.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"The GPL is the pebble in SCO's shoe"
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 06:27 AM EST
I am reminded of what someone was told by his father, "Keep a pebble in
your pocket."

What he meant was, when you see your opponent buried up to his neck in pebbles,
then is the time to throw your pebble on the heap.

I find this attitude abhorrent, but in this case I will make an exception - SCO
started to throw stones first!

Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • More Like? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 10:25 AM EST
It's not about the GPL. It's about doing the legal dance
Authored by: rsmith on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 08:37 AM EST

Even though trial and magistrate judges eventually wisen up to the SCOG's antics and the technical issues at hand, it (unsurprisingly) takes years.

Laywers know how to play the legal system, so that is what they do. It is exactly what the SCOG's team has been doing for the largest part ot the past decade. (I can hardly believe I'm wrting this!)

And with the trustee being an ex judge, he'll play the game as well. And since the bankruptcy court doesn't even seem to care very much about the rules, I think the SCOG will run out of money before it will run out of play.

Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Have you tried ""?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 11:58 AM EST
Looks like a couple thousand more hits.

I'll bet there's a whole bunch of box labels we could look at, up here in the
attic of the internet. Why, there's even 11 items in the one labeled


[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft contributed too...
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 01:38 PM EST
Using similar Google restrictions, it is apparent that Microsoft have contributed several instances of GPL code (and before the recent GPL'd kernel patch) too, e.g.

/************************************************ ****/
/* Windows NT (32 bit) dtime() routine */
/* Provided by: Piers Haken, */
#ifdef WIN32

double p[];
double q;

q = p[2];

p[2] = (double)GetTickCount() * 1.0e-03;
p[1] = p[2] - q;

return 0;

I am not sure how old this flops.c is, but the youngest copyright is from 2000 as found at .



[ Reply to This | # ]

Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out - Want to See?
Authored by: Yossarian on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 06:29 PM EST
*IF* the court will accept SCO's position then everybody who
has ever contributed anything to Linux will be able to pull
an SCO and sue for a couple of billions.

IMO such a decision by the court was (is?) the real goal of
whoever financed SCO's attack on Linux. Just think how much
raw material for the FUD factory such a decision can supply.

Good thing that IBM & Novell *fight* it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 07:11 PM EST
Y'no, I just remembered seeing references to ELF, from back around when the 1.0
version of the kernel was being issued, seems to me like it HAS to have been
somewhere around '93 or so. I wish I could remember what the name of the
distributor of this was; it contained several different distributions, including
Yggdrasil and Slackware, among several others, and had a drawing of what I think
was supposed to be an alien. I'll attempt to figure out what it was, and the
relevant date.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • ELF - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 08:02 PM EST
    • ELF - Authored by: Steve Martin on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 08:19 PM EST
      • ELF - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 08:45 PM EST
    • ELF - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 01:04 PM EST
    • About InfoMagic, et al. - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 30 2009 @ 03:02 PM EST
try it with
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 07:16 PM EST
Even more interesting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Caldera GPLd Its Brains Out? Sorry PJ - what brains?
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Tuesday, December 29 2009 @ 08:20 PM EST

Companies don't have brains.

Now the employees on the other had are supposed to, though you'd be hard put to
prove that there were any intelligent life forms working in management at
Caldera after Ransom Love left.


[ Reply to This | # ]

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