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To read comments to this article, go here
SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:12 AM EDT

I expect you will find this hard to believe, but SCO is *still* distributing ELF from its website, and yes, it's still under the GPL.

The other day, I told you that SCO was distributing binutils, which includes ELF, in its Skunkworks package. Following that article's publication, SCO removed that binutils from the FTP site we pointed to. Now, a couple of readers inform us that binutils is still available in their gnutools package for OpenServer 5, which is freely available to the public, with no legal notice that it's only for prior customers. Not only that, but it's binutils-2.14, which is the version I believe SCO listed.

Don't click unless you intend to immediately have it download, but it's at ftp:// ftp.sco.com/pub/openserver5/opensrc/source/gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2. It's an FTP site, so it will begin to download automatically, if you click on the link. No warning. No password, no legal notice.

Don't everybody go there, please. They'll call a press conference and pretend they were DOS'd or something ridiculous. That url is for proof, not so you all download. The proof is already accomplished.

As you'll recall from the prior article on this, SCO has claimed the following in the SCO v. IBM litigation:

1. SCO, as the copyright owner of source code and/or documentation upon which the following files and lines of code were copied or derived, has never contributed or authorized these lines of code or the documentation related thereto, for use in Linux as specified under part 0, or any other provision, of the GPL.

2. SCO, as the copyright owner of source code and/or documentation upon which the following files and lines of code were copied or derived, has never granted a license to any party that knowingly authorized use of these files or lines of code outside a UNIX-based distribution.

Well, that's not so, obviously. In fact, SCO can't seem to *stop* distributing it under the GPL. The way I understand the GPL works is this: by redistributing these files from SCO's own FTP server, SCO is itself distributing the files under the GPL. It's either that or it is guilty of copyright violation, and for years, judging from the timestamps. I wonder how many violating downloads there were. What is the penalty under copyright law for each violation again? Pick your poison, SCO.

Anyway, it's obvious to me that what they told the court about never authorizing or distributing binutils under the GPL is just not at all true. The copyright on gnutools, by the way, belongs to the Free Software Foundation, which gives SCO no right to redistribute the package under any license but the GPL. I guess if the FSF wants to sue SCO to collect all that money, if SCO pretends in court that this distribution wasn't under the GPL, they should be able to.

Is it plausible SCO doesn't know that gnutools includes binutils, which includes ELF? First, SCO has a duty to check that it isn't violating anybody's precious most holy intellectual property, n'est-ce pas? Then SCO sold Linux for a living for years, both as Caldera and as SCO, so it certainly ought to know, not to mention that it was SCO that put gnutools up on the FTP server. The COPYING file, dated January of 1999, informs us that the package is licensed under the GPL. SCO had a duty to check that. People in glass houses and all that.

I have to ask myself this: if SCOfolk thought this case was ever going to make it to trial, would they be this careless? Or maybe it's true: you can't fix stupid.


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