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SCO Attacks The Open Group
Tuesday, February 21 2006 @ 02:34 PM EST

Looks like I had it right. SCO has filed a redacted Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Leave to Take Certain Prospective Depositions [PDF] and in it SCO tells the court why it wants to depose Intel:
The discovery sought from Intel is directly related to resolution of the claims at issue in the instant case. The discovery seeks information about code and specifications copied from SCO's UnixWare by IBM and The Open Group for use in Linux....

Intel representatives participated significantly in this Open Group committee and therefore discovery from Intel is material and necessary to discover issues related to: (a) this disclosure of SCO's copyrighted materials; (b) its intended use in and for Linux; and (c) the bases, if any, upon which The Open Group and its committee members contend that a copy assignment exists from SCO for use of this interface in The Open Group's specifications.

So, looks like they are going after The Open Group. This speaks of true desperation. Obviously, they have nothing to charge IBM with except that it used open specifications in good faith, for which SCO would like 3 billion dollars in damages. These folks are truly incredible. Oh, and there is no apology for the mistakes in the subpoenas. Instead, SCO argues that they provided notice.

SCO's tall tale goes like this:

Seeking to make Linux a viable, commercial-ready UNIX-on-Intel alternative, IBM misappropriated UNIX technology from SCO and provided that technology to The Open Group for purposes of The Open Group's "Single UNIX Specification 2001" and The Open Group's efforts to work on "UNIX Developer Guide -- Programming Interface" (of "UDG-PI"). The Single UNIX Specification 2001 was the update on the collective name of the family of standards that an operating system must meet to qualify for the name "UNIX" (where The Open Group owns the trademark to that name). The UDG-PI are guidelines that software developers and system manufacturers needed to create UNIX interoperability with Intel-based processors, and were intended solely for use in support of Project Monterey, and were not intended for use in support of Linux. The Open Group participated with IBM to use SCO's protected source code and specifications to create an open standard for support of Linux-on-Intel processors, with the knowledge and intent that the Linux product would replace SCO's UnixWare product as the market leader in the UNIX-on-Intel market.

Revisionist history, methinks. SCO suffers from the fact that it seems not to have necessary papers from Santa Cruz, which is telling in itself.

Time to research, everyone. I always heard that Santa Cruz was a member of that same committee and that it turned everything over under the GPL. All that info should be in the records from that time period. You might want to read this article on ELF we did long ago as well.

SCO's argument appears to be that The Open Group made an open specification that was only allowed to be used for Project Monterey. Open but closed. Anyone grasp a conceptual problem with that argument? Of course, but that is the piece to research.

To orient anyone new, here's some info to orient you, from Sun's sunsite:

A single Unix spec

In August 1995, Intel rounded-up the major Unix vendors to get all of them to agree on a few specifications relating to 64-bit computing. After six months of work, the "Aspen Group," as the collective was known, announced it had "reached consensus on the goal of this initiative to seamlessly incorporate 64-bit applications in a single Unix specification."

According to a prepared statement, the 64-bit consensus will be added to SPEC 1170, which X/Open now calls the X/Open Single Unix Specification. The Aspen Group agreed to "LP64," a common data representation model, "a common set of extensions to the POSIX Threads interface, dynamic linking interfaces to support the emerging class of extensible self-configuring applications, and agreed to implement common POSIX APIs for software installation user group management."

The Unix vendors collaborating on the single Unix specification comprise of industry heavyweights, including Digital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Novell, NCR, Santa Cruz Operation, and SunSoft.

stats_for_all has already found this:

SCO claims on pg. 6 of Doc 628 that The Open Group's "UNIX developer Guide-Programming Interface" was "intended solely for use in support of Project Monterey, and were not intended for support of Linux. A May 1999 article on Project Monterey provides a slightly different interpretation. The guide had old SCO authorship and was intended as a open specification.
In a separate initiative, a group of industry leaders, including IBM, SCO, Sequent, Compaq, and Intel, has unveiled the UDG-PI. The document contains guidelines that software developers and system manufacturers can use for Unix operating systems running on the Intel microprocessor architecture. These guidelines should reduce development, maintenance, and test costs.

"The developer guide will enable the establishment of a shrink-wrap software business around Unix on IA-64," says Tilak Agerwala, IBM's director of Unix marketing and product management. "Anyone can be compliant to these APIs. That makes it a very powerful value-proposition for independent software vendors (ISVs)." ISVs will be more willing to spend development resources and efforts on Monterey knowing those efforts will result in software that can be sold across a wide market segment.

And Christopher McNabb found a usenet post about the UniForum that preserves the joint press relase from the announcement of the consortium:


Six Companies Agree On Software Technologies And Common Desktop
Reinforce Commitment To Open Systems

SAN FRANCISCO, UNIFORUM, March 17, 1993 -- Worldwide UNIX system leaders Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corp., The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc., Sun Microsystems, Inc., Univel and UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. today announced their intent to deliver a common open software environment across their UNIX system platforms. This announcement is in response to increased customer demand for consistent technologies across multiple platforms, greater technology choice, increased cost savings and quicker time to market.

HP, IBM, SCO, SunSoft, the software subsidiary of Sun Microsystems, Inc., Univel and USL have defined a specification for a common desktop environment that gives end users a consistent look and feel. They have defined a consistent set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for the desktop that will run across all of their systems, opening up a larger opportunity for software developers. The six companies have each decided to adopt common networking products, allowing for increased interoperability across heterogeneous computers. In addition, they have endorsed specifications, standards and technologies in the areas of graphics, multimedia and object technology, and have announced a working group in the area of systems administration. All of the new specifications, technologies and products will be designed to preserve compatibility with the companies' existing software application environments.

Today's announcement is a strong endorsement for the premise of open systems. Under open systems, unencumbered specifications are freely available, independent branding and certification processes exist, multiple implementations of a single product may be created and competition is enhanced. To this extent, the Open Software Foundation (OSF) has agreed to submit the Motif specification and associated support materials to X/Open for incorporation into a future release of X/Open's portability guide, including licensing of the trademark and the branding process. In addition, Novell/Univel have agreed to submit the specification for the NetWare UNIX client to X/Open.

Common Desktop Environment

The six companies have defined a specification for a common desktop environment that will provide end users with a consistent computing experience and software developers with a consistent set of programming interfaces for the HP, IBM, SCO, SunSoft, Univel and USL platforms. This advanced environment will enable users to transparently access data and applications from anywhere in the netork.

The companies plan to publish a preliminary specification for the environment by the end of June, 1993 and will periodically release updates to the industry. They have agreed to submit the specification to X/Open for incorporation into the X/Open portability guide. HP, IBM, Sun and USL will make available an implementation for the common desktop, based on X/Open specifications, in the first half of 1994 that will be openly licensable to the industry. SCO and Univel will strongly participate on the evolution of this common desktop environment. The six companies will host a Developers Conference in early October to give users and software developers details on products and direction.

The common desktop environment will incorporate aspects of HP's Visual User Environment (VUE), IBM's Common User Access model and Workplace Shell, OSF's Motif toolkit and Window Manager, SunSoft's OPEN LOOK and DeskSet productivity tools and USL's UNIX SVR4.2 desktop manager components and scalable systems technologies. Specific technologies to be used by the six companies include the X Window System, Version 11, the Motif toolkit and interface and SunSoft's ToolTalk interapplication communication product with an incorporated HP Encapsulator. As most of this environment exists today, the companies will integrate key technologies available in the open marketplace and innovate where appropriate to give users and software developers a consistent UNIX desktop environment. The common desktop environment was demonstrated here today running across five hardware and software platforms.

The companies' goal is to preserve compatibility of existing applications written to HP-UX, IBM AIX/6000, SCO Open Desktop, SunSoft Solaris, Univel UnixWare and USL UNIX SVR4.2 as they are evolved from their current desktops to the common desktop environment.


In furthering support for heterogeneous computing, HP, IBM, SCO, SunSoft, Univel and USL will sell, deliver and support OSF's DCE, SunSoft's ONC+ and Novell/Univel's NetWare UNIX client networking products. The companies will offer customers greater choice while providing them with a consistent level of support and integration. Users will gain increased interoperability across multiple platforms while continuing to protect their current investments.

Individual companies will announce pricing and availability for each of their products at a later date.


To enable consistent implementation of high-performance graphics software and promote wider availability of applications in the marketplace, the companies plan to support a core set of graphics facilities from the X Consortium. These are Xlib/X for basic 2D pixel graphics; Pexlib/PEX for 2D/3D geometry graphics; and XIElib/XIE for advanced imaging.


The six companies will submit a joint specification for the Interactive Multimedia Association's (IMA) request for technology. This will provide users with consistent access to multimedia tools in heterogeneous environments and enable developers to create next-generation applications using media as data.

Object Technology

HP, IBM, SCO, SunSoft, Univel and USL are working together to accelerate the development and delivery of object-based technology. They are supporting the efforts of the Object Management Group (OMG) that has developed the Common Object Request Broker (CORBA) standard for distributed object management solutions. The companies will comply with the CORBA specification in their future product implementations.

In addition, the companies will work with the OMG to establish common guidelines to simplify developer transition, specify core capabilities for object construction and development, and further the adoption of common testing and certification.

Systems Management

As more customers move to distributed heterogeneous computing environments, enterprise system management becomes a critical requirement. To this extent, the six companies will form a working group to facilitate the rationalization and rapid acceptance of industry specifications in the systems management arena. The companies will initially focus on the areas of user and group management; software installation and distribution management; software licensing management; storage management; print spooling and distributed file system management.


1993 IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corp. and AIX/6000 is a trademark of International Business Machines Corp. NetWare is a registered trademark of Novell, Inc. OSF, Motif and Open Software Foundation are trademarks of the Open Software Foundation in the U.S. Univel and UnixWare are trademarks of Univel. SCO and SCO Open Desktop are registered trademarks of The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Sun Microsystems, Inc. SunSoft, Solaris, ONC+ and ToolTalk are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. UNIX and OPEN LOOK are registered trademarks of UNIX System Laboratories in the U.S. and other countries. X/Open is a trademark of X/Open Company Ltd. in the United Kingdom and other countries. All other products or service names mentioned herein are trademarks of their respective owners.


Hewlett-Packard Company
Lynn Wehner
[phone redacted]

IBM, Corp.
Kathleen Ryan
[phone redacted]

The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.
Zee Zaballos
[phone redacted]

SunSoft, Inc.
Shernaz Daver
[phone redacted]

Melanie King
[phone redacted]

UNIX System Laboratories, Inc.
Larry Lytle
[phone redacted]

And Mike Houghton contributes this:

So how does this relate to oldSCO's participation in 86open?

Even ignoring the fact that oldSCO eventually dropped out of this and produced lxrun, membership of 86open was clearly demonstrative of intent to "create an open standard for support of Linux-on-Intel processors". Surely this shows a parallel effort, outside the Open Group, to do exactly what they allege IBM was doing. Of course, oldSCO wanted to do it to _increase_ their market share.

If you go to the page he cites, you find Evan Leibovitch, Chair of the 86open project writing this in 1999:

Unix-on-Intel players agree on a common binary (It's the Linux ELF format)

FINAL UPDATE: July 25, 1999

(reformatted Nov 2, 2005)

Dead effort or declaration of victory?
You decide.

On October 1997, a group informally calling itself the 86open project issued a communiqué, discussing the need for a standard binary executable for the various Unix and Unix derivatives which run on Intel 80X86 "PC"-architecture systems.

The group, which had met earlier that year at the headquarters of SCO, eventually included representatives or developers involved with the most popular such operating system suppliers:

* BeOS
* FreeBSD
* Linux
* NetBSD
* Sunsoft

The aim of this effort was to encourage software developers to port to the Unix-Intel platform by reducing the effort needed to support the diverse mix of operating systems of this kind currently available.

The original target was a binary format specification which would supportable by each OS, without emulation, in addition to (but not to replace) each OS's native format. The early discussions centered around Linus Torvalds' scheme involving a standardized programmers' function libraries, and agreement on numbering schemes for signals and other interfaces.

The group was making reasonable, if slow, progress into mid 1998. At that time, SCO was involved in the development of lxrun, software which ran Linux-format binaries under the two SCO operating systems (OpenServer and UnixWare).

The possibility that SCO could run Linux binaries made the need for 86open less important. Most of the BSD programs already have solid capabilities for running Linux binaries.

The lxrun package is now stable and runs well. It was officially announced by SCO at LinuxWorld in March 1999, and was later ported by Sun to allow Linux binaries to run under SolarisX86.

With these announcements, the need for a distinct common binary standardis gone. The operating system vendors, one way or another, have chosen a common binary format -- the Linux ELF format, which is now supported on the systems of all the developers which originally joined 86open.

It is therefore only logical that the 86open project declare itself dissolved. Our goal -- the development of a single binary that software vendors can trust will run on most Unix and Unix-derivatives on PC platforms -- has been realized. It didn't come about the original way we had planned, but we achieved what we set out to do.

Thanks to everyone for your participation and interest.

Evan Leibovitch
Chair, 86open project

Here's the lxrun home page. It takes you to the FAQ, which tells us who wrote lxrun:
Q0.7: Who wrote lxrun?

A: It was originally written by Michael Davidson, an engineer at SCO.

In 1997, Michael released the lxrun source code to Steven Ginzburg who is continuing its development as an open source project under the Mozilla public license. Contributors to lxrun have included hobbyists and engineers from all over the world. In addition, the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) and Sun Microsystems have both contributed engineering time and other resources to the project.

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