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A Lyons' Tale: SCO's New Claim and a History Lesson for Them
Thursday, August 05 2004 @ 07:05 PM EDT

I'm sure you have all read about SCO's new claim in -- where else? -- Forbes.

I hope you don't reward them with clicks, but if you are determined, here is the address: http://www.forbes.com/business/2004/08/04/cz_dl_0804sco.html

Here's the meat of the charge:

  • that IBM "lacks proper licenses" for AIX since 2001 and that they have found internal IBM emails acknowledging such in their discovery.
  • SCO and IBM, the new story goes, got together in 1998 to do Project Monterey to create a Unix OS for 64-bit Intel, and SCO gave IBM the right to use System V Release 4, but "only on Intel-based microprocessors, and only if IBM stuck to the partnership."
  • IBM disobeyed and built a version of AIX, AIX 5L, which they released in 2001, after Project Monterey failed, that runs on PowerPC. "McBride says IBM ignored that restriction and used SVR4 to build a version of AIX--AIX 5L, released in 2001--that runs on IBM's proprietary PowerPC microprocessor."
  • Up until then, according to SCO, IBM used only System V Release 3.

On the basis of this great and sudden discovery they may file a new complaint or amend the current one. So they say. As usual with Forbes, some details are inaccurate, but I'll focus just on one thing for now, the new claim.

If I may take you with me back in time a bit. Let's take another look at an article that Groklaw published in July of 2003, when SCO was fresh and new and so was I, which will demonstrate that SCO knew perfectly well back in 2001, after Project Monterey died, that IBM had System V Release 4 code in AIX 5L, knew it worked on Power, and that they had no objection. In fact, it appears they donated it to AIX 5L. By the way, SVR4 had a good deal of 4.3BSD code in it. Wasn't SVR4 the first AT&T Unix version to contain substantial parts of 4.3BSD, which AT&T was using under license from Berkeley? Anybody want to bet that the SVR4 code turns out to be Berkeley code? In any case, as you will see, SCO had on its web site a page praising AIX 5L, and the text indicates to me that any SVR4 code in it was donated by SCO itself. Of course, newSCO, son of Caldera, wasn't there, so they don't remember that part maybe.

The article said I marked relevant text in bold, but since we are now looking for a new point, I haven't duplicated that, but you can see it on the original page, if you wish. Here, instead, I have marked crucial points in red. Here's most of the July 2003 article, "Gadzooks! Look What I Just Found", marked off between rows of stars:

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

"Talk about your laches and waiver, with a dollop of estoppel thrown in, not to mention a deepening plot.

"Here, ladies and gentlemen, are, first, relevant snips from a SCO web page dating back to just after Project Monterey days, the IBM-Santa Cruz-Sequent project IBM killed in 2000. The SCO page has a copyright of 2001 and it's talking about AIX-5L, which was the successor to AIX, Project Monterey, from what I can gather from the two documents I just found. The second document is a news article from 2000 announcing the death of Project Monterey. Put the two together and a lot of things get clearer. I have made the most significant parts bold text, including references to IA-64, NUMA, Linux, and incorporatiing SCO Unixware and System V into AIX:

'AIX 5L - The Next Generation of AIX

'The next generation of AIX--AIX 5L--takes AIX to the next level with advanced technology, a strong Linux affinity and added support for IBM's Power and Intel's future IA-64 processor-based platforms, making it the most open UNIX operating system in the industry. AIX 5L demonstrates the success of the Project Monterey initiative, incorporating technology from the world's leading software and hardware providers, giving customers the business flexibility and performance they need for e-business. . . .

'AIX technology will help contribute to the success of the future systems running AIX 5L on Power and IA-64. . . .

'IBM has worked with a number of companies to provide best of breed technology for AIX 5L. Industry contributions include key technologies from IBM DYNIX/ptx, multi-path I/O and NUMA, and from SCO UnixWare and UNIX System 5 standard technologies. Bull continues to contribute development expertise in areas such as scalability and workload management.

'All of these efforts are paying off. Soon customers will be able to take advantage of the added benefits of AIX 5L. AIX 5L In addition to CPU and memory, AIX 5L Version 5.0 will offer an improved Workload Manager (WLM) with the ability to manage disk I/O, a capability not offered in Sun Solaris. This will help enable IT managers to give priority to Web-serving applications and resources, while making unused capacity available for other Web-serving tasks. AIX 5L will also offer Java 2 Version 1.3 support with expected availability ahead of Solaris. TCP/IP enhancements, offering improved network performance and reliability, will also be included. Among the UNIX System 5 technologies to be incorporated in this release is the SVR4 printing subsystem providing industry-standard print administration and drivers.

'Customers Will Benefit from Linux Affinity

'IBM is working to provide strong Linux affinity with AIX 5L. This will enable faster and less costly deployment of multi-platform, integrated solutions across AIX and Linux platforms. Many applications developed on and for Linux can run on AIX 5L with a simple recompilation of the source code, allowing customers to combine Linux applications with the advanced scalability and availability features of AIX. This Linux affinity in AIX enhances the customer's ability to adapt to changes in their business and technology.

'Linux affinity on AIX includes Linux application source compatibility, compliance with emerging Linux standards, and a GNU/Linux build-time environment with tools and utilities that combine to facilitate the development and deployment of Linux applications on AIX 5L. Linux affininty also includes AIX/Linux interoperability verification and will benefit customers looking to use Linux for front-end Web serving and AIX 5L for transaction and data management.

'Software, Hardware Providers Working with AIX 5L Beta Code

'Software providers are building applications with the current beta release of AIX 5L for the future Intel IA-64 platform. Tool and middleware providers, including Cygnus Solutions, EPC, Geodesic, IBM, Merant, Parasoft and Roguewave, are working with preproduction systems to create tools and middleware to build applications. Other software providers are using these tools to build solutions that range from e-business and supply chain management to enterprise resource planning and business intelligence. Hardware providers, including Unisys and Bull, are working with AIX 5L beta code on IA-64 to ensure that the operating system runs properly on their systems. Bull recently announced it has successfully run AIX 5L on IA-64 on an eight-way Intel Itanium processor-based server, achieving an industry first.

'AIX 5L, the next generation of AIX, will continue to offer customers an industrial strength operating environment, with Linux affinity, providing choice and flexibility for customers' needs while leveraging current investments.'

"No wonder they took it down.... this document from SCO's own web site, says they were donating code to AIX 5L. This SCO page is currently available here. It used to be here. But SCO has removed the page. I found a link to it (now a dead link) in a comment someone posted back in August of 2000 on a ZDNet story (which is itself only available as Google cache) about IBM killing Project Monterey, dated August 28, 2000, so at least on that date, SCO had this page up.[UPDATE: We found it on Google groups. See footnote below for details.] Here are some snips from the ZDNet page:

'IBM is killing off Project Monterey, a joint venture with The Santa Cruz Operation, while giving birth to a new OS. AIX 5L, a future Unix OS able to run on both Intel IA-64 and IBM's own Power chip, will integrate Linux alongside some of the technologies from Monterey.

'"At the same time, though, we're also focusing Linux on a brand new market of people who might not know anything about AIX," said Scott Handy, IBM's director for Linux solutions marketing, during a technical session at this week's Solutions 2000 developers' conference in Las Vegas.

'IBM's multifaceted moves to Linux go a long way toward opening up the company's commercial code base. . . . Now, under the upcoming AIX 5L, IBM will integrate AIX with Linux to create a common operating environment with shared systems management, along with high-end technologies that were supposed to be included in Project Monterey.

'In 5L, IBM is building "strong affinity with Linux" combining Linux source-code compatibility, a Linux build-time, and an AIX enterprise environment for running Linux applications, said Miles Barel, IBM's program director for Unix marketing, also at the conference in Las Vegas.'

"So... after this August of 2000 story announcing IBM was killing Project Monterey and giving us the name of its AIX successor, 5L, SCO had on its web site a page extolling the virtues of AIX 5L and its openness, and its "Linux affinity", as late as 2001. So they knew. . . . And they knew IBM was doing this back when it happened, because they all did it together as Project Monterey, and then from this web page, it appears SCO approved of and supported Project Monterey's successor AIX 5L also. They even donated code from UnixWare and System V. I'm not a UNIX expert, so if anyone sees anything here that I'm not seeing, speak up. But if SCO donated code to AIX 5L and IBM put in some Linux code and Sequent donated some, how can anybody sue anybody in this picture, when the evidence indicates everyone involved was deliberately trying to create an 'open environment'? It even mentions the GPL."

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

As you can see, the second article from 2000 mentions the death of Project Monterey and that the next AIX would be AIX 5L. And then, *after* that, we find SCO displaying on its own web site a page mentioning AIX 5L in glowing terms, including telling about its own contributions to AIX 5L, not to Project Monterey, and also mentioning that AIX 5L worked on Power and that it included System V Release 4 code. It also demonstrates that whatever the emails might say, and of course we can't speak to that since SCO hasn't shown them to anybody in public, SCO can't really say that IBM was allowed to use System V Release 4 code only if they stayed in the Project Monterey deal. Well, this is SCO. They can say whatever they wish. But the assertion and this evidence conflict.

And now, in 2004, SCO is shocked, shocked to discover that System V Release 4 code was used in AIX 5L. Puh-lease.

And by the way, the links that used to work are now dead. You can still find the beginning of the second article on LinuxToday. What does that mean? It might mean somebody asked Wayback Archive to remove the page. I have written to them to inquire. I don't know if that is why it is no longer available, but if it is, then that would indicate that SCO not only knew about the AIX business back in 2001, they knew about it when the page was requested to be removed on whatever date that happened, if it did. We'll be writing more about this silly new claim eventually. Meanwhile, I believe this material might help SCO not to waste its money paying its lawyers to come up with more empty claims.

As for Forbes, I think Mr. Lyons needs to take a class in research. Also somebody hand him a hokum detector, will you? I'm tired of trying to straighten out his messes. Another difficulty he has is that he's not a tech guy. He's never tried GNU/Linux. Last winter, when he interviewed me for the first hatchet job, speaking of live and learn, I offered to send him Knoppix, but he declined, telling me that he wasn't interested in computers and he didn't think he needed to know technical things to write about them as a journalist. I believe time has disproven his theory.

Oh, I'm being told the stock just happened to leap for a while after the Forbes article on SCO. Again? Didn't that happen last time? I need to check into that. Of course, life is full of strange coincidences. . . like SCO giving this vaporware story only to Forbes. Or were they just the only one to print it hook, line and sinker?

[to be continued]

UPDATE: 1:40 AM

The Groklaw gang found some great additional material, so don't miss the comments today on this story. Here's one outstanding contribution by rand, a Caldera newsletter from May 15, 2001 announcing that it was SCO and Caldera who "jointly released a technology preview of AIX 5L":

"SCO and Caldera have jointly released a technology preview of AIX(R) 5L; a 64-bit UNIX operating system for Intel(R) Itanium(TM) Processors

"The commercial 64 bit UNIX operating system for Intel(r) Itanium processors has been released as a technology preview. AIX 5L is the result of Project Monterey, a cooperative effort between SCO and IBM, to develop the next generation UNIX operating system for Intel Itanium processors. AIX 5L enables ISVs and customers to address a range of environments from workgroup servers to the largest data center servers using a single source tree, simply by recompiling. With its Linux affinity, AIX 5L offers a flexible environment enabling Linux applications to run on AIX 5L. This includes everything from Web server applications to 24 X 7 mission-critical enterprise applications."

And here's an article dated April 23, 2001 in Internet Week:

"IBM also introduced AIX5L, its next Unix version, which runs Linux applications with a simple recompilation. The new OS includes management features, such as an addition to Work Load Manager to allow external applications to manage system behavior, allocating more systems resources to high-priority applications. The software also has built-in accounting tools to track resource usage, and cluster management tools. AIX5L runs on IBM's Unix systems based on the Power processor, including the new p620 and p660. The software will be available May 4, included at no additional cost with new servers, and priced at $325 per processor for upgrades.

"Caldera and SCO introduced a preview release of AIX 5L for Intel Itanium processors, the result of Project Monterey, a cooperative effort between IBM and SCO"

And inode_buddha found this proof that Scott Allen, SCO's then-Monterey product manager, knew very well what was going on and he "had no problem" with it. The article, dated September 12, 2000, lists the following as being put into AIX 5L by SCO: "[T]he new AIX is incorporating two UnixWare features -- the /proc file system and the System V printing system." The web page referenced above tells us: "Among the UNIX System 5 technologies to be incorporated in this release is the SVR4 printing subsystem providing industry-standard print administration and drivers." SCO's contribution seems be have been quite small, but whatever the quantity, the evidence is that it was a contribution, and to AIX 5L.


Footnote: Details from the article on ZDNet in 2000 by Jacqueline Emigh:

"Noted Barel: "'With AIX RL, Project Monterey effectively goes away.' IBM previously teamed with SCO on Project Monterey. Recently, however, Linux distributor Caldera announced its intentions to acquire SCOs Server Software and Professional Services divisions.

"Under a road map handed out this week during Solutions 2000, version 5.0 of AIX RL will provide a 64-bit kernel and device drivers; Java 2 version 1.3 in base; an enhanced JF32 file system; SVR4 technologies; and improvements to TCP/IP and the Workload Manager.

"Barel maintained that AIX RL will be the first OS to incorporate Java 2 version 1.3, ahead of Sun's own Solaris.

"Other sources at IBM said the enhancements to Workload Manager will include the ability to manage disk I/O.

"The next release of AIX RL, 5.1, will add the Linux operating environment (LOE); a multiserver Web-based system manager; NUMA system enabling and tuning; RS6K Power4 enabling with LPAR; and SecureWay LDAP 3.2 with Kerberos5, also under IBMs road map.

"Further down the line, AIX RL version 5.2 will include NUMA and SMP performance tuning; dynamic partitioning support; NUMA and SMP performance tuning; and systems management and RAS enhancements.

"IBM has targeted the fourth quarter of this year for release of the final version of AIX 5L version 5.0; spring of 2001 for AIX 5L version 5.1; and the first half of 2002 for version 5.2.The final version of 5.0 is slated to run in both Power and IA-64 environments. For the third quarter of this year, IBM is planning an early adopters release of 5.0 on Power, plus a developers release on IA-64, according to Barel."


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