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"PATCH: ELF registry now at Caldera" in 2002 & LKP and GNU Tools
Monday, July 28 2008 @ 04:55 AM EDT

Well, well. What have we here?

It's a June 5, 2002 message posted by Lars Brinkhoff with that very subject line: "PATCH: ELF registry now at Caldera" in the mail archive of the mailing list for the GNU binutils project. It's in answer to a message from Hans-Peter Nilsson, saying that he couldn't figure out how to "get in touch with ELF people".

Brinkhoff shares an email he received from Dave Prosser at Caldera, after he wrote to I believe it's more evidence that when Caldera distributed binutils in OpenLinux and in other products, it was not by mistake or without knowledge of what was in there. And they knew it was and is licensed under the GPL. Note that this is after the date, 1995, that SCO claimed was significant regarding ELF. Of course, Ralf Flaxa already told the Utah court in a Declaration filed in the SCO v. IBM case that Caldera knew what it was distributing in Linux, because he worked for Caldera then and he knew:

28. I understand that SCO claims that certain materials in Linux infringe SCO's alleged intellectual property, specifically: header files required by the Open Group's Single Unix Specification (SUS), header files relating to the Streams technology, and files and specifications relating to the Executable and Linking Format (ELF).

29. While employed at Caldera, I was aware that this material was present in Linux. I know so because of my familiarity with Linux and also because Caldera incorporated it into its Linux products.

30. Caldera distributed significant parts of its Linux products under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

But it's nice to see external confirmation, so it's not a matter of dueling witnesses. And as I'll show you, there's something new, to me anyway, about the LKP, the Linux Kernel Personality. I found a Caldera/Santa Cruz 2001 press release that says GNU tools were put in LKP and that then LKP was "incorporated" into the UnixWare 7 kernel used for Open UNIX 8. I confess a new interest in LKP.

Prosser handled the patch, and I believe this is his patch from June 6, 2002, referenced in his email to Brinkhoff. I would suggest this message on the list, changing the registry from Caldera back to SCO, would indicate it's not ancient history to them either.

When you read the Prosser email, you'll see that he references BFD, and you may wish to take notice of this page all about BFD supporting COFF. I think at a minimum we may safely conclude that SCO/Caldera knew what it was doing. And it did distribute binutils, as you can see, with the Open Source Toolkit:

The Open Source Tool Kit, or OSTK, is an updated, supported release of some open source tools for UnixWare 7, Releases 7.1.1 and 7.1.3 and Open UNIX 8, Release 8.0.

The Open Source Tool Kit is the logical follow-on to the release of open source programs through the Skunkware media and download web site. It contains a set of released open source compilers, object file tools, libraries and other files that can be used to develop, enhance and compile programs for use on The SCO Group, Inc. SVR5 UNIX operating systems.

It also distributed binutils in Caldera OpenLinux. And then there's lxrun. That's not even a complete list. Interestingly, when Caldera and SCO in 2001 jointly announced that LKP, the Linux Kernel Personality, would be included in Open Unix 8, they mentioned it included "the same GNU tools and libraries built into Caldera OpenLinux" in the press release:

Collaborative Product Deploys Linux(R) Applications
In Enterprise-Class Environment, Launch to Follow
Proposed Acquisition - Developers to Get Early Access

HANOVER, Germany, CeBIT, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Caldera Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CALD) and The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. (SCO) (Nasdaq: SCOC) today announced the forthcoming release of Open UNIX 8. By incorporating the Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) technology into the next release of the UnixWare(R) 7 kernel, Open UNIX 8 will enable Linux applications to be deployed on top of the powerful and highly scalable UNIX kernel. Caldera will become the owner of the UNIX kernel when the acquisition of the SCO Server Software Division is completed as estimated in the second calendar quarter of 2001.

Open UNIX 8 will maintain compatibility and continuity with the UnixWare 7 operating system while providing a complete Linux environment. In addition, the product will incorporate support for the execution of unmodified Linux Intel(R) Architecture binaries, giving users, resellers and ISVs the best of both UNIX and Linux technologies. The result is transparent execution of Open UNIX 8 (or UnixWare 7) applications and most Linux applications, which will run without modification or recompilation.

"Open UNIX 8 is the first step in implementing the vision of the pending new company," said Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems. "It combines the heritage of UNIX with the momentum of Linux, and will be our premiere product for data intensive applications like database, email and supply chain management. The incorporation of the Linux application engine into the UnixWare kernel essentially redefines the direction of the product, and motivates a new brand identity -- Open UNIX."

"If you need to run a Linux application in a data center environment, Open UNIX 8 will fill the bill with the highest standard of reliability and scalability," said Dave McCrabb, president of the SCO Server Software Division. "We are 'unifying UNIX with Linux for Business' and this product is a major proof point."

"One of the strengths of UNIX is its ability to provide enterprise-class, data intensive applications," said Bill Claybrook, research director for Linux and UNIX of Aberdeen Group. "Open UNIX 8 is positioned to play a significant role in bridging the gap to Linux implementation in a data center environment."

The LKP technology in Open UNIX 8 will include the same GNU tools and libraries built into Caldera OpenLinux(TM), which were developed with close adherence to the specifications of the proposed Linux Standards Base (LSB). Open UNIX 8 will track this developing standard, assuring the highest degree of application compatibility.

I didn't know GNU tools were in LKP which in turn was incorporated into the UnixWare kernel. Would that not mean, depending on what SCO means by incorporating, that LKP source and maybe the entire kernel source should be publicly available under the GPL? Of course, binutils is one of the GNU tools. I wonder if that detail has anything to do with SCO deep sixing LKP? One can't tastefully sue about ELF while distributing it oneself, although that is the smallest of the thoughts flooding my brain regarding the LKP.

Here, once again, is a complete list of everything that was in OpenLinux Workstation, by the way, which was still available in October of 2006.

Here's the Prosser email, within the Brinkhoff message:


Lars Brinkhoff - PATCH: ELF registry now at Caldera

This is the mail archive of the mailing list for the binutils project.

PATCH: ELF registry now at Caldera

  • From: Lars Brinkhoff
  • To: binutils at sources dot redhat dot com
  • Date: 05 Jun 2002 17:51:37 +0200
  • Subject: PATCH: ELF registry now at Caldera
  • Organization: nocrew
  • References:

Lars Brinkhoff  writes:

> Hans-Peter Nilsson  writes:
> > On 30 May 2002, Lars Brinkhoff wrote:
> > > Lars Brinkhoff  writes:
> > > > I haven't found any way to get in touch with ELF people.

> > > I believe I found it now:
> > When you're certain (as in "confirmed contact") we should change
> > all those places in the sources ;-) that mention
> I can take care of updating this.  I'll send a patch when I hear from
> the Caldera folks.

I believe this qualifies as confirmed contact?

  Date: Wed, 05 Jun 2002 10:05:09 -0400
  From: Dave Prosser 

  To: Lars Brinkhoff 
  Subject: Re: New ELF e_machine values
  Lars Brinkhoff wrote:
  > I would like to register two new EM_xxx values for the e_machine field
  > in the ELF header.  The architectures and suggested macro symbols are:
  >         DEC PDP-10          EM_PDP10
  >         DEC PDP-11          EM_PDP11
  Wow!  These take me back a few years....
  Anyway, unless you say otherwise, I've allocated a pair of "reserved"

  values for these two, just because...
  EM_PDP10   64 (decimal)   Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-10 (Lars Brinkoff,
  EM_PDP11   65 (decimal)   Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-11 (Lars Brinkoff,

Patch follows.  This is completely untested, but I believe it's
obvious enough.  I also took the opportunity to add the new EM_

2002-06-05  Lars Brinkhoff  

        * bfdint.texi: Change to

2002-06-05  Lars Brinkhoff  

        * common.h: Change to
        * common.h (EM_PDP10, EM_PDP11): Define.

Index: bfd/doc/bfdint.texi
RCS file: /cvs/src/src/bfd/doc/bfdint.texi,v
retrieving revision 1.11
diff -u -r1.11 bfdint.texi
--- bfd/doc/bfdint.texi	30 Oct 2001 15:20:03 -0000	1.11
+++ bfd/doc/bfdint.texi	5 Jun 2002 15:42:17 -0000
@@ -1545,9 +1545,9 @@
 Define @samp{ELF_MACHINE_CODE} to the magic number which should appear
 in the @samp{e_machine} field of the ELF header.  As of this writing,
-these magic numbers are assigned by SCO; if you want to get a magic
+these magic numbers are assigned by Caldera; if you want to get a magic
 number for a particular processor, try sending a note to
-@email{}.  In the BFD sources, the magic numbers are
+@email{}.  In the BFD sources, the magic numbers are
 found in @file{include/elf/common.h}; they have names beginning with
Index: include/elf/common.h
RCS file: /cvs/src/src/include/elf/common.h,v
retrieving revision 1.44
diff -u -r1.44 common.h
--- include/elf/common.h	28 May 2002 14:08:21 -0000	1.44
+++ include/elf/common.h	5 Jun 2002 15:42:17 -0000
@@ -92,7 +92,7 @@
 #define ET_HIPROC	0xFFFF	/* Processor-specific */
 /* Values for e_machine, which identifies the architecture.  These numbers
-   are officially assigned by  See below for a list of
+   are officially assigned by  See below for a list of
    ad-hoc numbers used during initial development.  */
 #define EM_NONE		0	/* No machine */
@@ -145,6 +145,8 @@
 #define EM_TINYJ       61	/* Advanced Logic Corp. TinyJ embedded processor */
 #define EM_X86_64      62       /* Advanced Micro Devices X86-64 processor */
+#define EM_PDP10       64	/* Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-10 */
+#define EM_PDP11       65	/* Digital Equipment Corp. PDP-11 */
 #define EM_FX66	       66	/* Siemens FX66 microcontroller */
 #define EM_ST9PLUS     67	/* STMicroelectronics ST9+ 8/16 bit microcontroller */
 #define EM_ST7	       68	/* STMicroelectronics ST7 8-bit microcontroller */
@@ -184,7 +186,7 @@
    will have a collision.  Instead, pick a random number.
    Normally, each entity or maintainer responsible for a machine with an
-   unofficial e_machine number should eventually ask for
+   unofficial e_machine number should eventually ask for
    an officially blessed number to be added to the list above.  */
 #define EM_PJ_OLD      99       /* picoJava */

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