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SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
Sunday, January 03 2010 @ 11:59 PM EST

Since Chapter 11 Trustee Edward Cahn's lawyer, Bonnie Fatell, reportedly opined at the most recent bankruptcy hearing that SCO would never have given away its Unix intellectual property rights to UnitedLinux, I thought I would show you exactly what was in UnitedLinux -- some, if not all, of the very code they now claim IBM had no right to put into Linux and others can't use without infringing SCO's rights. But they put it in their very own SCO Linux Powered by UnitedLinux distribution themselves, and under the GPL.

There may be all kinds of arguments to be made about exceptions and hold backs in the UnitedLinux contracts as to ownership. But the knowing distribution under the GPL does affect SCO's rights, and it's not in dispute that they did it. If Ms. Fatell had an IP expert knowledgeable about the GPL to ask, here's what I believe he or she would tell her: that it doesn't matter about ownership. In fact, it's worse for SCO if it *does* prove someday that it owns every bit it contributed to UnitedLinux, because then it would mean that it knowingly and voluntarily donated it all under the GPL.

And you know what that means? I believe it means that SCO can't sue anybody for anything that is in SCO's very own UnitedLinux distribution. Here's why: You can't distribute your code under a license that allows recipients to copy, modify, and distribute and then sue them for doing those things.

Well, you can sue, as SCO has demonstrated, but you can't win in the end, as you will see someday. Warning to those on dialup, there will be a lot of graphics coming up.

I believe Ms. Fatell is struggling with understanding these things, because her orientation isn't the world of FOSS. In traditional intellectual property scenarios, companies in fact do fight hard to protect what they write in their software. And as you saw in the Apple v. Psystar litigation, ownership rights generally prevail. So that is how she may be thinking here, that no company in its right mind would give away IP rights. Here's the essence of what she said, from my notes from the hearing:

SUSE's claim is grounded on the unsupported allegation that in 2002 by signing contracts for UL, it gave away its IP rights to its proprietary UNIX operating system, its most valuable asset, that it gave it away to SUSE and every other user of Linux. It's SCO's position, under any fair interpretation SUSE's claims lack merit. There is no way it would have entered into those agreements to give away its entire business. Ridiculous to believe that in entering into those UL contracts, SCO intended to put itself out of business, which is effectively what SUSE's position is.
But consider what we know for sure SCO did do, distribute its code in UnitedLinux under the GPL. In the FOSS marketplace, they do that, and back then SCO was a Linux company. And what is simply true is that you can't operate in the FOSS space unless you do share under the GPL or some other Open Source license that indeed can affect your rights, especially with respect to suing people for copyright infringement. And both Santa Cruz and Caldera, now SCO Group, understood that, and complied with the terms, grudgingly but they at least pretended that it was a great thing. For example, here's a couple of screenshots for you from the goode olde dayes, when they each wanted to cooperate with the FOSS world. First, Caldera announces it was opensourcing LIZARD, code it wrote and thought gave it a leg up in the market:

And here's Santa Cruz offering some code and linking to Caldera for more:

And here's the release of Free OpenServer for educational and noncommercial use, speaking of sharing methods and concepts and knowledge:

And here's how Santa Cruz and Caldera felt they would benefit from joining forces:

So her premises are false. Sharing IP isn't as out-of-character as it might seem, if all you judge by is more recent SCO management. They did a U turn, for sure, and it's probably true that Darl McBride would never have shared any code if he could help it, but as I'm going to show you, in a Linux distribution, you have no choice. If you want to sell Linux, you have to share. In the FOSS world, which is a world that includes large and successful companies like Red Hat and Google and Amazon, just so you realize that sharing or using Linux doesn't put you out of business, but rather enables businesses, you share to progress faster. When Caldera found it couldn't beat Red Hat, they mobilized to form UnitedLinux, because when two or three or four or more smaller entities pool their IP and skills, they can accomplish things none of them alone can accomplish. So that was the goal.

Here's the old UnitedLinux website in February of 2003, just before SCO sued IBM. Here's the audio (MP3) of the press conference with the four CEOs of Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE and Turbolinux and major industry players on May, 30, 2002. Here's page two of their news page, featuring among other things a press release about IBM becoming a UnitedLinux technology partner, dated January 14, 2003. Let's read the entire press release, so you can see what it meant to be a partner in UnitedLinux, and also because such things tend to disappear:


For additional information:
Margot Rodger

UnitedLinux Signs IBM and AMD as First Technology Partners WAKEFIELD, Mass. - January 14, 2003 - IBM (NYSE:IBM) and AMD (NYSE:AMD) have joined UnitedLinux as Technology Partners, UnitedLinux announced today. UnitedLinux is the result of an industry initiative to streamline Linux development and certification around a global, uniform distribution of Linux targeted at the business user. The role of Technology Partner includes, among other benefits, participation in the UnitedLinux Technical Advisory Board and its committees, pre-release access to UnitedLinux deliverables, the right to propose enhancements for consideration by the UnitedLinux Technical Steering Committee, and joint marketing activities. IBM and AMD are the first companies to engage with UnitedLinux at the Technology Partner level.

"UnitedLinux welcomes IBM and AMD as our inaugural Technology Partners. In joining forces with Linux industry leaders, we are making great strides toward our goal of the widespread proliferation of Linux in the enterprise," said Paula Hunter, general manager of UnitedLinux. "UnitedLinux is proud to announce this major milestone, coming on the heels of our successful launch of UnitedLinux Version 1.0, and we look forward to the results of this world-class collaboration."

Founding companies of UnitedLinux are Linux industry leaders Conectiva S.A., The SCO Group (NASDAQ:SCOX), SuSE Linux AG, and Turbolinux, Inc. UnitedLinux Version 1.0, released in November, is the engine that powers products sold by the four companies, each with its own value-add features, services and pricing.

"Fostering Linux collaboration accelerates value to customers," said Karen Smith, vice president, Linux strategy, IBM. "Such collaboration with UnitedLinux has already yielded impressive solution offerings spanning IBM's complete eServer product line, enabled with key middleware, and supported worldwide through IBM Global Services."

"AMD and UnitedLinux share a common goal to provide scalable, reliable and affordable Linux-based solutions for the enterprise," said Rich Heye, vice president, platform engineering and infrastructure, Computation Products Group, AMD. "Companies choosing systems based on the upcoming AMD Opteron™ processors will have an x86-based option for capturing the advantages of 64-bit UnitedLinux products. Together, AMD and UnitedLinux plan to enable rapid and efficient ports of 32- and 64-bit Linux-based applications and systems."

Built on top of a solid and tested foundation, UnitedLinux 1.0 is an enterprise-class operating system with exceptional stability, scalability and reliability, and its high level of quality has been previously available only in expensive proprietary operating systems. UnitedLinux Version 1.0 incorporates a wide range of features that enhance its usefulness for enterprise environments. Details are contained in a UnitedLinux white paper at

Distributed virtually everywhere in the world and supported by leading global ISVs and IHVs, UnitedLinux Version 1.0 is initially available in English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, French and Hungarian. UnitedLinux Version 1.0 has local language and local time zone support for customers around the world, with access to a channel of more than 16,000 resellers and a global pre- and post-sales support team.

Products powered by UnitedLinux are being offered by the four founding companies. Details are available on request from Conectiva S. A. -; The SCO Group -; SuSE Linux AG -; Turbolinux, Inc. -

About UnitedLinux

UnitedLinux is a partnership of industry-leading Linux companies combining their intellectual property, geographic mind share, sales, support and marketing expertise to produce a uniform distribution of Linux designed for business. UnitedLinux applies the collaborative development model of open source to the business model to enable a one-stop shop for developers, partners and customers to install, support and maintain quality business solutions based on Linux anywhere in the world. UnitedLinux is actively recruiting membership for both industry software developers and those who provide Linux as an integral part of their business solutions. For more information, visit or call UnitedLinux at +1-781-876-8989.

### Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. Editors' Note: Hear additional announcements at the UnitedLinux press luncheon (12:30 PM) and news conference (1:15 PM) on January 22 at LinuxWorld, Room 1E18, Javits Center, New York. Call or email Margot Rodger, 781-876-6299,, to register.

I think it's clear that SCO knew IBM was involved and that the entire purpose of UnitedLinux was to create a distribution of Linux for the enterprise, with high end features, and that they shared IP. Did you notice the press release said one way to streamline things for businesses was to create the distribution by the partners pooling their IP? No matter what carve outs there might have been, surely we can assume that the contracts were written to ensure none of the partners sued any of the others after the pooling.

By the way you can still get the technical paper on UnitedLinux, thanks to Internet Archive, here [PDF] and a data sheet here [PDF] off of page one of the news page from February of 2003.

The technical paper, on page 4, explains why the partners would consider pooling intellectual property:

1 Introduction

1.1 What is UnitedLinux?

Industry leaders Conectiva, SCO Group, SuSE and Turbolinux have formed a consortium to develop the high quality operating system called UnitedLinux.

Under terms of agreement, the four companies will streamline development efforts around one common version of Linux. Designed to be an enterprise-grade and industry standard Linux operating system, UnitedLinux provides a stable and uniform platform for application development, certification and deployment.

Being developed to unify rather than to fragment Linux offerings, UnitedLinux helps Linux vendors, ISVs, IHVs and OEMs to support a single, high value Linux offering, instead of many different versions. This focuses more resources on the advancement of Linux, thus creating a much higher quality, more functional product than could be developed otherwise.

UnitedLinux defines a common base (“UL base”) to be used as a foundation for all Linux offerings of the participating Linux vendors. Sharing the core system simplifies certification for OEMs and ISVs, who can certify against one platform instead of multiple distributions.

Participants can rebrand UnitedLinux with their own “look & feel” and value-added extensions. Therefore, UnitedLinux must clearly define what constitutes the UL base, which parts are vendor-added extensions and how they interact with this foundation. UnitedLinux shall also provide a “sample look & feel”.

They pooled their resources for very much the same reason the GPL does -- so that each would contribute a piece and get back a lot more pieces from the others. It was the only way to compete with Red Hat, they thought. So that is why they did it.

Each could customize on top of the standardized features. And they did that. But it remained under the GPL. I happen to own a copy of the media for the UnitedLinux distribution 1.0 source, as do thousands of others -- there were over 15,000 downloads the first month it became available, and here is a screenshot from my trusty emacs showing the license:

See that part I highlighted for you? It says "SCO Linux Powered by UnitedLinux SCO GPL". So that was the license. For the geeks:
rpm -qpi kernel-source-2.4.19.SuSE-333.nosrc.rpm

Name : kernel-source
Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version : 2.4.19.SuSE
Vendor: UnitedLinux LLC
Release : 333
Build Date: Thu 17 Jul 2003 01:19:44 PM EDT
Install Date: (not installed)
Build Host:
Group : Development/Sources
Source RPM: (none)
Size : 40870822
License: GPL
Signature : DSA/SHA1, Thu 17 Jul 2003 01:24:31 PM EDT, Key ID a84edae89c800aca
Packager :
Summary : The Linux kernel (the core of the Linux operating system)
Description : Linux Kernel sources with many Improvements and Fixes.

Linus Torvalds
see /usr/src/linux/CREDITS for more details.

For nongeeks, that is showing what my Fedora distro found for me when I asked it for the info about that package. Not installed means that it's not installed on my computer, but the package is there for me to examine, after I moved it from the CD to my home area. And if you noted the date, 17 Jul 2003, that's because the beta was still available in October of 2003, when I got it. That is months and months after SCO sued IBM, in March of 2003.

The UnitedLinux's kernel, of course, was distributed knowingly and on purpose under the GPL. as you see. It was a GPL distribution. You can't distribute the kernel under any other license. And guess whose kernel SCO chose to use in that distribution? The common kernel for United Linux was the one done by.... SUSE:

That's the one SCO chose, and it included patches and improvements for the purposes of UnitedLinux:

As you see, they took a vanilla kernel, as it's called, the one that Linus offers, and added improvements to it for their particular purposes, and the license, you'll notice, remained the GPL, because that's how the GPL rolls. And may I point out it's the 2.4 kernel, the very one SCO then claimed and claims is infringing?

So what were some of the other features of UnitedLinux? On page 6 of the technical paper, there's a graphic that tells you. They shared the kernel, which SCO now is suing over, and they shared also the following:

Common hardware
database and
Common autoprobe

Common packages
libraries, kernel,
drivers and

Common config
File location,
Syntax and Semantics

On that same page, they list the platforms that UnitedLinux was designed to run on:
2.2 Supported platforms

UnitedLinux will initially be available for the following platforms: x86 32-bit, IA64, x86-64 and IBM z, i and pSeries.

You can see from the list that they were aiming at the enterprise, the high end, which is exactly what SCO is now suing about, and after listing all the standards that UL respected, here's what they deliberately put into UnitedLinux:
2.4 Enterprise features

UnitedLinux offers support for a number of standard and emerging hardware and soft- ware technologies, briefly summarized in the following list:

Automated installation....
Installation methods....
High Availability....
Journaling file systems
see Section 4.2
see Section 4.4.
The Next Generation POSIX Threads is a derivative of the GNU Pthreads and achieves near full POSIX compliance. It will add MxN threading capability and improve significantly on the POSIX compliance of pthreads on Linux. This will allow significant performance improvements for all applications that make use of the pthreads library, particularly on SMP machines. It will also enable Linux to provide threading services that are more in line with the capabilities of commercial UNIX operating systems, such as IBM AIX and SGI IRIX.

POSIX Asynchronous I/O
The asynchronous I/O (AIO) facility implements interfaces defined by the POSIX standard. With split-phase I/O, the initiating request (such as an aio_read) truly queues the I/O at the device as the first phase of the I/O request; a second phase of the I/O request, performed as part of the I/O completion, propagates results of the request. The results may include the contents of the I/O buffer on a read, the number of bytes read or written, and any error status. Raw I/O Raw I/O enhancements provide high-bandwidth, low-overhead SCSI disk I/O capabilities by transferring data directly to a buffer in the application address space, bypassing the kernel buffers and I/O queueing code for SCSI and FibreChannel devices....

Notice JFS, SMP and AIX listed? SCO is suing IBM over that now. And you noticed that it said to go to Section 4.2 to learn about Journaling File Systems, so let's do that:
4.2 Journaling File Systems...

4.2.3 JFS

The Journaled File System (JFS) is a full 64-bit file system. All of the appropriate file system structure fields are 64-bits in size. This allows JFS to support both large files and partitions. JFS was developed by IBM under the GPL license and is ported from its AIX systems.

JFS provides a log-based, byte-level file system that was developed for transaction-oriented, high performance systems. Scalable and robust, its advantage over non-journaled file systems is its quick restart capability. JFS can restore a file system to a consistent state in a matter of seconds or minutes.

While tailored primarily for the high throughput and reliability requirements of servers (from single processor systems to advanced multi-processor and clustered systems), JFS is also applicable to client configurations where performance and reliability are desired.

Table 4 lists JFS limits.

What? SCO didn't know it was in there? They put it there themselves, along with linux-abi:

See the credit to hch? That's our old friend Christoph Hellwig, who was paid by Caldera to do exactly that.

By the way, JFS wasn't ported from AIX, but rather came from OS/2 but the fact that SCO itself decided with three other partners to include it in UnitedLinux under the GPL ought to completely kill any claims by SCO for copyright infringement over ANYTHING that is in JFS, no matter where it came from. Repudiating the GPL by suing for copyright infringement of code you distributed under the GPL can lead to losing your GPL license, as SCO, oldSCO management, learned the hard way. By the way, guess what other file systems were included? BFS (UnixWare. boot file system) and SYSV (SCO/Xenix/Coherent). Also in there were UMSDOS (UNIX-like FS for DOS disk images) and Minix. And remember XFS? SCO wanted to sue SGI about it. Well, here you see they included it in their kernel for UnitedLinux:

Funny, no? It gets worse for SCO. The next section in the technical paper is a list of "essential core components" and what do we find there? More items SCO is suing about:

glibc >2.25
Standard Linux and UNIX shells: bash, csh, ksh
Remote shell tools: ssh, scp
Networking tools (ping, traceroute, nslookup)
IPv6 (basic tools like ifconfig/route and config location)
Firewalling tools (ipchains, iptables, masquerading)
Scripting languages: python, perl, PHP, TCL/TK, ruby
Java runtime
XFree86 >4.2 (libs and server)
X print service (
Free fonts for wide character support
Free input methods for wide character support
KDE 3.0 libraries
GNOME 2.0 libraries
High availability
I18n (pt_BR, es, XFree deadkeys patch)
Hardware monitoring tools (lmsensors, etc)
Remote boot (TFTP, PXE, etc)
UL also included make (GNU make), GNU automake and autoconf, and GNU binutils. It used GCC 3.1 as the default compiler but you had the option to install GCC 2.95 instead. "All dependent packages (like C++ libraries) are provided in two versions." Think about *that* for just a minute or two.

Here's glibc, showing Caldera's name:

Here are some Linux how tos SCO included in its UnitedLinux, written by Caldera, in case some of you persist in thinking they didn't know what was in there:

Here's ELF in glibc included in SCO's UnitedLinux:

Here's binutils:

The spec sheet on page 3 tells us that UL also came with a "Developer Environment":

UnitedLinux 1.0 provides a development environment for ISVs that includes the compilers, includes, libraries, sources, text editors, graphical user interface support and other tools to enable the building of applications for UnitedLinux.
Here's what the Developer Environment website looked like in 2004. SCO had been involved in developer support since at least October of 2002, as you can see by this page about SCO's UnitedLinux Developer Education Series launch, although SCO has removed the link, so we won't know that they did that, I suppose, but they did. And guess who they, that is UnitedLinux, asked to help them? IBM, of course, as you can see in this January 22, 2003 press release:
IBM is assisting UnitedLinux to provide a robust ongoing program for software developers by offering a Linux Software Evaluation Kit (SEK). The SEK, available at no charge through the UnitedLinux Developer's Zone, contains trial code, training and support to help developers get up and running with Linux and include evaluation copies of IBM's most popular software offerings: Eclipse-based WebSphere Studio tools, WebSphere Application Server and Web Services Toolkit, DB2® Database, Lotus Domino collaboration software, and Tivoli Management Software. The SEK offering is part of IBM's popular Speed Start Your Linux Apps program, which is available at developerWorks, IBM's resource for developers at:

For the certification program, the joint work of LPI and UnitedLinux will lead to two new UnitedLinux certifications during the first quarter of 2003: a UnitedLinux Certified Professional (ULCP) certification and a UnitedLinux Certified Expert (ULCE) certification.

"UnitedLinux has received tremendous positive feedback on the idea of a developers program, and we are looking forward to addressing the significant interest in this program from the development community," said Paula Hunter, general manager of UnitedLinux. "We're delighted with IBM's assistance and support with the UnitedLinux Developer's Zone. It's another example of collective accomplishments that demonstrate the value of teamwork at UnitedLinux, and, with the enthusiastic reception of the marketplace, validate our initial assessment of significant pent-up demand for enterprise-class Linux."

We mentioned that the UnitedLinux kernel was personalized. Some of those improvements were to make UnitedLinux usable by the large enterprises, which is why it included high-end functionality like JFS. But the license on JFS remained the GPL, and you can verify that in this screenshot:

Including things like that of course required some patches, as you can see in this screenshot of fixes to the kernel:

But it was SCO, as part of UnitedLinux, that was doing these things, not outsiders somehow sneaking in code.

For any Doubting Thomases, here are a few more screenshots, which add to the evidence that code SCO has been suing people like IBM about is code they themselves knowingly and voluntarily distributed under the GPL and LGPL licenses.

Here's SMP packages in SCO's UnitedLinux, under the GPL:

Here's SMP patches, from the k_smp package in SCO's United Linux:

Here's a mention of SystemV in glibc-2.2.5-179:

Here's NUMA and NUMAQ in SCO's United Linux:

Notice in line 2 that the kernel accepted the following changes because UnitedLinux asked them to:

Here's ELF and asm mentioned in glibc:

Here's KDEbase:

Some libraries in libc for backward compatibility:

In short, they ought to just sue themselves and leave the rest of us alone.

Update: For the purists:


rpm -qpi binutils-
Name : binutils
Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version :
Vendor: UnitedLinux LLC
Release : 50
Build Date: Wed 16 Oct 2002 06:28:14 AM EDT
Install Date: (not installed)
Build Host:
Group : Development/Languages/Other
Source RPM: (none)
Size : 9066758
License: LGPL Signature : DSA/SHA1, Wed 16 Oct 2002 06:31:30 AM EDT, Key ID a84edae89c800aca
Packager :
Summary : GNU binutils
Description : C compiler utilities: ar, as, gprof, ld, nm, objcopy, objdump, ranlib, size, strings, strip.

These utilities are needed whenever you want to compile a program or a kernel.

This version has been compiled by SuSE with the corresponding C library. It is not designed for cross-compiling to other architectures.

Authors: [long list]


rpm -qpi k_smp-2.4.19-113.src.rpm
Name : k_smp
Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version : 2.4.19
Vendor: UnitedLinux LLC
Release : 113
Build Date: Mon 21 Oct 2002 04:04:32 PM EDT
Install Date: (not installed)
Build Host:
Group : System/Kernel
Source RPM: (none)
Size : 193122
License: GPL
Signature : DSA/SHA1, Mon 21 Oct 2002 04:21:33 PM EDT, Key ID a84edae89c800aca
Packager :
Summary : Kernel with multiprocessor support
Description : CONFIG_SMP=y
SuSE series: images


rpm -qpi common-licenses-1.0-1sco.src.rpm
Name : common-licenses
Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version : 1.0
Vendor: SCO
Release : 1sco
Build Date: Wed 23 Oct 2002 02:10:27 PM EDT
Install Date: (not installed)
Build Host:
Group : System/Base
Source RPM: (none)
Size : 22556
License: GPL
Signature : DSA/SHA1, Wed 23 Oct 2002 03:00:00 PM EDT, Key ID 6e5b99b2c4970d31
Packager : Ronald Joe Record
Summary : Contains the various common licenses uses by the distribution
Description : Contains the various common licenses uses by the distribution. Instead of including the COPYING file in every package, just refer to this one.


rpm qpi gcc-3.2-45.src.rpm
RPM version 4.6.0
Copyright (C) 1998-2002 - Red Hat, Inc.
This program may be freely redistributed under the terms of the GNU GPL


rpm qpi glib2-2.0.6-47.src.rpm
RPM version 4.6.0
Copyright (C) 1998-2002 - Red Hat, Inc.
This program may be freely redistributed under the terms of the GNU GPL


rpm qpi jfsutils-1.0.24-1.src.rpm RPM version 4.6.0 Copyright (C) 1998-2002 - Red Hat, Inc. This program may be freely redistributed under the terms of the GNU GPL

Etc. As you can see, the emacs screenshots are very accurate.


SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL | 318 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Authored by: jimbudler on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 12:27 AM EST
Please include correction in title.


Jim Budler

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 12:27 AM EST
The server datestamp appears to be out by one day.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: jimbudler on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 12:28 AM EST
For things unrelated to this article, but of interest to Groklaw.


Jim Budler

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: jimbudler on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 12:33 AM EST
When commenting on a News Pick, please place News Pick headline in title.


Jim Budler

[ Reply to This | # ]

    RPMs in a hex editor isn't safe to interpret
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:19 AM EST

    Just wanted to point out (as I think has been pointed out before) pulling facts
    from an RPM in a hex editor isn't safe or reliable. In some of the cases, you
    are looking at change logs to prove that JFS code was distributed under GPL. It
    is entirely possible that SCO could have distributed source and binary version
    that removed the JFS code without updating the change log.

    Don't get me wrong. The smart bet is that they did distribute it and under the
    GPL the whole time. SCO's goose is cooked whether or not they or the trusty
    knows it yet. I'm only mentioning it because you've presented these kind of hex
    dumps as smoking guns. The contents of an RPM (or any binary file) needs to be
    interrupted much more carefully.

    The better move would be to extract the files and meta-data in the RPM and scan
    that. Anything you can extract from the RPM was undeniably distributed. The
    SPEC file for the RPM will give the license, plus individual source files will
    likely give their license. There will often times be a license file that will
    get put somewhere like /usr/share/doc as well.

    What you have found is probably exactly what it appears to be. But SCO's
    opponents should never go into court with just hex dumps of RPMs.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:24 AM EST
    Congratulations for a job done thoroughly and meticulously. I hope very much
    that this article will be read by the people who need to read it and digest it
    carefully, and that this detailed account will have the desired effect.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Other Key Points for Ms Fatell
    Authored by: sproggit on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:38 AM EST
    We know that Groklaw has established a detailed record of the SCO saga that is
    probably without equal. But one of the things that we haven't yet done is given
    Ms Fatell or the Trustee a really simple set of bulleted points that we think
    they might need to understand. PJ has made a wonderful start by helping them get
    an understanding of the GPL, but what other points would we want to raise? I
    came up with the following ideas, but what other *key* points can readers think

    1. Sale of Business Is Not The Same As Sale of Copyright
    There seems to be a lot of deliberate muddying of the water over what was sold
    to newSCO, by Novell. newSCO are trying to convince Ms Fatell that they
    purchased everything, lock, stock and barrel. However, we know from the
    testimony of Tor Braham that SCO simply could not afford the price that Novell
    wanted, so a different deal had to be constructed.

    Key evidence that the above is true can be found from:

    1. The testimony of Tor Braham.
    2. The fact that the deal was structured so that SCO had to pay Novell 95% of
    royalties from pre-existing unix clients. If SCO had bought *everything*, why
    would they have to forward 95% of their earnings to Novell?

    What other key points would we want Ms Fatell to review?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    There will be no money from Linux through litigation ...
    Authored by: nsomos on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:47 AM EST
    There is no way that SCOG could legitimately hope to collect ANYTHING
    from Linux users, because of the fact that SCOG themselves distributed.

    It was true before, it is true now, and it will be true in the end.
    As a result, this is a key realization for Cahn and SCOGs lawyers to make.
    They can come to this realization either sooner or later, but one way or
    another, they will come to this realization. It would greatly benefit
    the DIP and Cahn if they were to realize this sooner. They could then
    develop a real reorganization plan, where being profitable does NOT
    depend upon litigation. They could also figure out how best to delicately
    get themselves OUT of the litigation mess they are in.

    Since we know that they DO read Groklaw, there is no excuse for Cahn
    and SCOG to be too late in realizing they cannot ever hope to get money
    out of Linux through litigation.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I think you're right. Fatell just hasn't done her homework
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:50 AM EST

    Fatell: "There is no way it would have entered into those agreements ... Ridiculous to believe that in entering into those UL contracts ...

    The most charitable interpretation of Ms Fatell's comments is that she simply has not prepared for this case by doing her homework. Companies do, in fact, run successful businesses based on giving away their code under the GPL: Red Hat, and the former MySQL, come to mind. (MySQL no longer exists, having been bought out by Sun, but they grew a sizeable business and were bought out for a lot of money.)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I am sure the courts have better things to do.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 01:57 AM EST
    "In short, they ought to just sue themselves and leave the rest of us

    Would that be SCO vs SCO or SCO vs Caldera? Who would represent either party?
    There are a substantial number of attorneys that have a conflict of interest and
    an even larger number that see a no-win situation as well as a lack of financial

    Any speculations on how SCO could procede with this?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's Intent Before Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 03:03 AM EST
    > UnitedLinux is the result of an industry initiative to streamline
    > Linux development and certification around a global, uniform
    > distribution of Linux targeted at the business user.

    So I put on my tinfoil hat and imagine I don't want a "global
    uniform distribution of Linux targeted at the business user"
    It might be to my advantage to put a stooge on the UL board.
    It might suit my purposes, short term, to engage someone who
    got fired from his last position for "difference of opinion".
    How long was it after that PR that SCO put the boot in?
    And why do we keep hearing here about pipe fairies?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
    Authored by: The Cornishman on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 03:45 AM EST

    PJ wrote:

    surely we can assume that the [United Linux] contracts were written to ensure none of the partners sued any of the others after the pooling.

    I think we can do better than assume; we know that the contracts contained clause(s) binding the parties to arbitration to resolve disputes, presumably to avoid costly and prolonged litigation. Ah, the irony!

    (c) assigned to PJ

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The only thing which might not be covered
    Authored by: tz on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 03:47 AM EST
    There might have been some IP which SCO had license to but could not distribute
    under the GPL, and mixed that in with a distribution. Not unlike Ubuntu has
    some proprietary drivers, or perhaps more like what Mozilla had to do originally
    with their source, and more recently Sun to bring Java under the GPL - and I
    don't remember the status of solaris. Many had licensed components which had
    restrictions and had to be cleaned out.

    I would also note that the GPL requires the distribution of source, so what
    would happen if they distributed something, slapped "GPL" on it (and
    they were the copyright holder), but didn't include the source?

    I'm asking because I don't think SCO knew what it was doing, or at least didn't
    know much more than the trustee and his attorney does now.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The Real Damage SCO has Done
    Authored by: DaveJakeman on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 04:06 AM EST
    Very nice article. The keep-it-simple explanations are nice too, especially for
    the non-GPL-comprehending lawyers, but probably not lost on some geeky types

    If there's one thing that SCO-suing-the-world did for sure, it was to kill off
    UnitedLinux. I was directly involved in evaluating the UnitedLinux distro for
    use in a large international company, with a view to adopting it as the company
    standard. Then SCO's lawsuits arrived and scrubbed all that. I only hope SCO
    get what's coming to them in the SuSE arbitration. UnitedLinux could have been
    such a good thing. That's not to say that Red Hat isn't -- look where they are
    now -- but the UnitedLinux partners seriously lost out due to SCO's treasonous,
    wanton savagery.

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    UnitedLinux distribution under the GPL is mostly irrelevant
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 04:44 AM EST
    Whether or not SCO has contributed code under the GPL to UnitedLinux is not relevant to copyright infringement unless the defendant can show that he acquired a legitimate copy of UnitedLinux and took the debated code from that copy.

    Just because somebody distributed code under the GPL to somebody does not give anybody a license to redistribute, only the recipient/licensee.

    UnitedLinux may, however, be relevant for determining actual damages (rather than statutory).

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    If SCO had taken over Caldera, rather than Caldera taking SCO, difference?
    Authored by: thorpie on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 04:51 AM EST
    Just curious on whether there would have been a difference if SCO had taken over
    Caldera, rather than Caldera taking over SCO (and then renaming to The SCO
    I mean, Caldera bought a part of SCO, which had some rights to an operating
    system. The operating system was based on a business model that was obsolete.
    They bought the rights cheaply because everyone knew the business model would
    not survive. From what we can tell the value was in the business channels and
    existing enterprise customers. These customers would remain customers, whether
    continuing to use UNIX or converting to using a Linux that had better support
    than, and was a better product than, Red Hat.
    Now if it had been the other way around, and SCO had bought Caldera, it may have
    indicated that going forward Unix was to have some priority, that it was thought
    that Caldera was on the wane rather than SCO. And the then (pre 2001) SCO had
    not released any code under the GPL (had they?). So if a recently acquired
    subsidiary had previously released GPL'd code then they could argue that this
    had not tainted the whole enterprise, and they may have had a leg to stand on.
    The name change from Caldera International back to The SCO Group is still being
    used as an obfuscation to actual events, and even to people who know the history
    it adds confusion.

    The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime -
    Floyd, Pink

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    "intellectual property" - a propaganda term designed to confuse patent law with copyright
    Authored by: SilverWave on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 05:06 AM EST

    "intellectual property" - a propaganda term designed to confuse patent law with copyright and other unrelated laws and to muddy the different issues they raise.

    Did You Say “Intellectual Property”? It's a Seductive Mirage

    Some Confusing or Loaded Words and Phrases to Avoid (or Use with Care)

    RMS: The 4 Freedoms
    0 run the program for any purpose
    1 study the source code and change it
    2 make copies and distribute them
    3 publish modified versions

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What's SCOG Game?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 08:10 AM EST
    Are they going to try and prove that the entity which released code under the
    GPL never had the right to do so?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Who is UnitedLinux, Now and back then?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 02:16 PM EST
    The founding members of United Linux were SUSE, Turbolinux, Conectiva (now merged with MandrakeSoft to form Mandriva) and Caldera Systems (later renamed to The SCO Group).

    Two legal agreements were signed by the founding members at this time, the Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) and the Joint Development Contract (JDC); the JDC was also signed by UnitedLinux, LLC. These contracts provided, in part, that intellectual property related to UnitedLinux Software (with certain exceptions) would be assigned to UnitedLinux, LLC. Further, "each member shall have a broad, royalty-free license to all intellectual property rights in the UnitedLinux Software...

    While some have reported that UnitedLinux ended, in fact the group did not gain consensus to dissolve the partnership and the legal entity remains in effect.

    The SCO v. Novell complaint was amended on February 3, 2006 to add copyright infringement claims, relating to Novell's distribution of SuSE Linux. Novell responded on April 10 by filing a Request for Arbitration witht the ICC, and asking that SCO's claims be stayed in the district court. They argued in the Request that through the MTA and JDC, "the UnitedLinux members agreed that each member would have an irrevocable, perpetual, and worldwide license to use and unlimitedly exploit any intellectual property rights of the other members in the UnitedLinux Software, which would be transferred to the LLC for this very purpose." Novell's motion to stay was granted in part, for those of SCO's claims relating to SuSE.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
    Authored by: Yossarian on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 05:18 PM EST
    "It's SCO's position, under any fair interpretation SUSE's claims lack
    merit. There is no way it would have entered into those agreements to give away
    its entire business. Ridiculous to believe that in entering into those UL
    contracts, SCO intended to put itself out of business, which is effectively what
    SUSE's position is."

    I think that I can see where SCO goes with it. SCO wishes
    to place itself in the same status as financially weak
    people who took sub-prime mortgages. E.g.
    "Third, excessively complex deferred-cost contracts have
    adverse distributive consequences, disproportionally
    burdening financially weaker—often minority—borrowers."

    SCO's idea is to claim that GPL pressured a weak company
    into a corner of long term financial ruin. After establishing
    that, it will use the case law of the sub-prime mortgages
    that had their terms changed, because the contracts were
    so out of balance, to ask for the same.

    I don't think that a judge will buy that. A judge may even
    ask questions like "how much $$$$ did SCO have in the bank
    when it signed UL contract? Why did not SCO use some of it
    to hire good lawyers to explain SCO what it all meant?"
    Since the arbitration is done, in effect, by judges, SCO
    will be roasted there.

    *But* there is one hope. A jury may accept SCO's claim. If
    the jury find as a fact that the UL contract and GPL are
    "disproportionally burdening" poor and weak SCO, it may
    decide that they are "null and void". With such jury verdict
    SCO will have a shot in getting out of the contracts.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's lawyer is right
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 04 2010 @ 08:56 PM EST
    SCo _did_not_ "give away" their IP.

    DID NOT!!!!

    In fact, contibutors retain significant rights as a contributor of GPL code.

    It's funny how people can use words to "honestly" convey a meaning
    that is in fact not real.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    A Bit of SCO History
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 05 2010 @ 12:09 AM EST

    23 Aug 1999: Unix forum cheers Linux

    Linux fever is infecting even the staunchest Unix advocates, as evidenced this week at SCO Forum in Santa Cruz, California.

    While the partners involved in the Monterey Project -- the initiative between SCO, IBM, Intel, Sequent Computer and Compaq Computer to create a high-volume unified UNIX -- were upbeat on Monterey's prospects, they still had Linux on the brain.


    SCO, too, has jumped on the Linux bandwagon, in spite of its role as one of the Project Monterey ringleaders. This week SCO announced its own Linux and open source professional services offering.

    Many of the software vendors exhibiting at SCO Forum were demonstrating proudly Linux versions of their SCO offerings, and distributed demo CDs that ran on both platforms.

    October 26, 1999: SCO and TurboLinux Announce Worldwide Professional Services Initiative

    SCO and TurboLinux today announced a worldwide services initiative that will provide TurboLinux customers with Linux Professional Consulting Services from SCO.

    "SCO has more than 250 world-class engineers who offer comprehensive insight into the technology and deployment issues for the enterprise," said Cliff Miller, CEO of TurboLinux. "With SCO's comprehensive Linux professional service offerings and their deep knowledge of clustering, we believe our customers will benefit from SCO's expertise in deploying their TurboLinux enterprise solutions."

    "SCO has more than 20 years of experience with UNIX systems and Intel-based architectures and understands customer requirements for enterprise-computing," said Mike Orr, senior vice president of worldwide Marketing at SCO. "Our Global Services organization is strong and growing rapidly with the rise in UNIX and Linux implementations. TurboLinux's customers now will have the benefit of a global professional services organization to support their deployments."

    In August of this year SCO announced a comprehensive set of Linux and Open Source-related professional services. As a corporate sponsor of Linux International, SCO is a strong proponent of the Open Source movement and has contributed source code to the Open Source community including OpenSAR and lxrun. SCO UnixWare 7 operating system supports Linux applications as part of its development platform. See for more on SCO's Linux and Open Source activity.

    02 Mar 2000: Caldera IPO launch

    Hungry for another Linux IPO? Caldera Systems, one of the tastiest looking dishes on the Linux menu, will finally go public on Nasdaq on 13 March under the CALD symbol.


    Caldera plans to use its five million share IPO net proceeds of about $40.8m (£25.2m) to advance its technology, push forward partnerships, investigate buying other businesses with complementary technologies and expand the company. It is expected to push forward with offerings like its eServer operating system package, a Linux-based system designed specifically for e-commerce. Although Caldera only saw a year-over-year $15,000 (£9,300) increase in gross revenue for the quarter ending on 31 January 2000, sources close to the company claim that its e-commerce approach and strong reseller program are doing well.

    March 13, 2000: SCO and Caldera Systems Extend SCO Professional Services to Caldera Customers

    SCO and Caldera Systems, the Linux for eBusiness company, today announced an agreement to offer SCO Professional Services to Caldera customers, worldwide. The latest agreement expands the scope of the SCO Professional Services Division, who now offer specific professional services packages for three top Linux distributors.

    "We are delighted to be able to offer our Linux expertise and services to Caldera's growing base of customers," said David Taylor, vice president of the SCO Professional Services Division. "This agreement, together with our co-marketing agreement for Tarantella announced at LinuxWorld Expo, further strengthens the ties between our companies."

    "This is great news for Caldera customers," said John Thomas, vice president of Support Services at Caldera. "The addition of SCO Professional Services will supplement our in-house offerings to give our customers a comprehensive range of services. We are continuing to see larger companies interested in adding Caldera OpenLinux to their infrastructure and would like the comfort of using SCO Professional Services. Their reputation and experience will offer excellent service for our customers."

    SCO Professional Services Division Expands at Rapid Rate The addition of another leading Linux distributor to its range of partnerships and services marks the continued expansion of SCO's Professional Services Division.

    "As Linux begins to serve as a platform for business critical and mission critical computing, requirements for professional services for this platform increase," said Dan Kusnetzky, program director for IDC's operating environments and serverware research services. "SCO, having already built a worldwide service infrastructure for its UNIX products, is in a very strong position to support Linux."

    SCO, Linux, and the Open Source Movement As a corporate sponsor of Linux International, SCO is a strong proponent of the Open Source movement, citing it as a driving force for innovation and business opportunities.

    SCO has strategic alliances with, TurboLinux and Caldera and has taken equity positions in all three companies. During the last year SCO introduced new Linux and Open Source-related professional services. SCO is also a driving force in raising funds and awareness for the Linux Standard Base (LSB).

    18 Apr 2000: SCO Contributes to the Open Source Community; Kicks Off Open Source Initiatives

    The newly formed Server Software Division of SCO today announced that it has ramped up its Open Source efforts with the release of key technologies, contributions, and initiatives to the Open Source Community.


    "SCO is a long-time believer in the innovative power and pace of the Open Systems and Open Source Communities," said John Palmer, vice president of Marketing for SCO's Server Software Division. "The Community has the desire and resources to rapidly utilize and improve quality developer tools, like the tools we are offering. It is our hope that the Community will see the usefulness of these tools and rapidly adopt them to improve Open Source and Linux-based applications."


    Over the last year, SCO has expanded its strategic business opportunities in the Linux and Open Source markets. SCO has announced an alliance and investment in and a strategic business relationship with TurboLinux. Most recently, SCO announced that it has taken an equity position in Caldera Systems, Inc. Last year, SCO announced a comprehensive set of Linux and Open Source-related professional services.

    As a corporate member of Linux International, SCO is a strong proponent of the Open Source movement, citing it as a driving force for innovation and business opportunities.

    2000/05/10: SCO and Industry Leaders Establish Free Standards Group

    The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. (SCO) announced today it has become a charter member of the Free Standards Group, an assembly of industry-leading companies driving to establish the Linux Standard Base (LSB). SCO has been involved since late 1999 in an effort to standardize Linux.

    LSB is designed to help the Linux market reach a new level of maturity and give ISVs a single target port rather than multiple ports for multiple platforms. Currently, there are minor variations among Linux distributions that make it difficult for ISVs to support Linux. The ultimate goal of the LSB is to provide a single, standard reference that will allow vendors to reap the benefit of seeing greater ISV support for Linux.


    "LSB would also help SCO's Server Software Division by increasing Linux compatibility with SCO operating platforms. Finally, the SCO Professional Services Division would benefit by offering consulting services for LSB compliant Linux distributions. In the grand scheme of things, ISVs will reap huge benefits from a single Linux standard, which will increase the total number of applications available for LSB compliant Linux platforms. Overall, this will strengthen the power of both UNIX and Linux on Intel and increase the value of all platforms to the end user."

    Charter members of the Free Standards Group include IBM, LinuxCare, Sun, Red Hat, VALinux, Caldera Systems, TurboLinux, SuSE and others. Specifically, the LSB project consists of Linux developers, users and companies who have a vested interest in the overall success of the Linux market and share SCO's goal and vision of standards and interoperability.

    "With their history in the UNIX world, SCO brings their experience and understanding of standardization issues to the Linux Standard Base," said Daniel Quinlan, chairman of the Free Standards Group. "It's natural to see them interested in Linux application compatibility and we're glad to have a senior SCO engineer like Dave Prosser involved in the effort."

    August 2, 2000: Caldera Systems to Acquire SCO Server Software and Professional Services Divisions, Providing World's Largest Linux/UNIX Channel

    Caldera Systems, Inc., a "Linux for Business" leader and The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc., the world's leading provider of UNIX operating systems, today announced that Caldera Systems has entered into an agreement to acquire the SCO Server Software Division and the Professional Services Division.


    Caldera Systems, Inc. will form a new holding company, Caldera, Inc., to acquire assets from the SCO Server Software Division plus the SCO Professional Services Division, including a highly skilled workforce, products and channel resources. Caldera, Inc. will have exclusive distribution rights for the SCO OpenServer product line, and is fully committed to servicing and supporting the SCO OpenServer customer base.

    SCO will receive 28% of Caldera, Inc., which is estimated to be an aggregate of approximately 17.54 million shares of Caldera stock (including approximately 2 million shares reserved for employee options assumed by Caldera for options currently held by SCO employees joining Caldera), and $7 million in cash. In conjunction with the acquisition, The Canopy Group, Inc., a major stockholder of Caldera Systems, Inc., has agreed to loan $18 million to SCO. SCO will retain its Tarantella Division, and the SCO OpenServer revenue stream and intellectual properties. Revenues for SCO OpenServer were $11.1 million in Q3 of FY2000. Net proceeds to SCO after expenses will be approximately 55% of future SCO OpenServer revenues. The investment banking firms of Chase H&Q and Broadview respectively, assisted SCO and Caldera Systems, Inc., in evaluting this acquisition.


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

    May 7, 2001" Caldera Completes Acquisition Of Two SCO Divisions; Becomes Largest Linux Company In The World With Global Services/Support

    Caldera Systems Inc. Monday announced its completion of the acquisition of The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. Server Software and Professional Services divisions, UnixWare and OpenServer technologies.


    Caldera's "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business" strategy unifies:

    1. The existing UNIX business channel with Linux;
    2. The large, robust UNIX applications base with Linux;
    3. The largest existing UNIX customer base in the world with Linux.


    Caldera will focus on three main business lines to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized businesses, replicated sites, data centers and the departmental needs of the enterprise.

    • Development Products - OpenLinux Workstation 3.1, Development Tools, Professional Services, Standards Based
    • Deployment Products - Open UNIX, eServer, OpenServer, OpenLinux Server
    • Management Products - Caldera Volution, Volution Online

    Caldera's "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business" strategy is validated by their existing customers and partners including (a)Compaq, Sun, Computer Associates, IBM, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Novell, Sybase, Informix and HON Industries.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    SCO's IP Rights After Distributing UnitedLinux Under the GPL
    Authored by: wvhillbilly on Tuesday, January 05 2010 @ 01:08 AM EST
    My question is why wasn't all this brought out years ago? Seems to me this
    should be enough to blow SCO's extortion^h^h^h^h^h^h^h lawsuit racket all to
    little bitty pieces if it were ever brought out in court.

    Great job, PJ!

    Trusted computing:
    It's not about, "Can you trust your computer?"
    It's all about, "Can your computer trust you?"

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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