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Some Pictures Worth a Thousand Words - Caldera OpenLinux Lite
Thursday, August 07 2008 @ 02:09 PM EDT

I have some screenshots from an old Caldera OpenLinux Lite CD that a member still had in his possession to show you. They disprove certain allegations SCO has made regarding Linux, I think, in the IBM litigation. For example, SCO claimed that it never released anything under the GPL. And it tried to allege that some headers and other features were their property and that Linux infringes them. I will show you differently.

Interestingly, the CD's Credits file mentions Ralph Yarro, among others. The copyright information states that they used Red Hat's Linux and then added some tweaks of their own to it, and they list files and applications that were not under the GPL, and none of the files in the screenshots are listed as excluded. All the rest, they say, were distributed under the GPL. The Announce file is particularly interesting, because it mentions ELF directly, and that speaks to whether SCO knew what they were distributing under the GPL. I asked Dr Stupid to look at the screenshots and tell me what it means to him, and here's what he told me:

Well, it's confirmatory evidence that Caldera shipped errno and STREAMS under the GPL, in particular that they took the conscious decision to include STREAMS (since Red Hat didn't.)

The ANNOUNCE file, where they specifically point out ELF support, is useful as it shows that inclusion of elf support was not accidental. And at the time, it was still just about possible to create a Linux system that only used a.out (i.e. to remove ELF support) although it would have been a lot of work if you were starting with a copy of Red Hat.

So, let me show you the screenshots now.

The person who sent the screenshots from OpenLinux Lite listed the contents, and I'll show you the screenshots interspersed with his description, which I've placed between the rows of stars:


I have attached a number of screen shots from Caldera OpenLinux Lite version 1.1 (1997). These files show the following:

A) Caldera-OL - This file shows the package, a flyer, and CD-ROM. I have had this since 1997 or 98 (or some time around then). It was mailed to me along with a copy of Caldera OpenDOS ver. 7.01. These disks have been in my possession since then. At the time I had never heard of Caldera (or Linux) and had not requested these disks. I assume that Caldera got my name from some other mailing list and sent these as an unsolicited promotion. I assume that many other people received the same disks (although no doubt most have thrown them out by now). The OpenDOS disk was marked "Not for Commercial Use" but the OpenLinux disk had no such marking.

B) Install-1 - This shows the install screen on boot-up.

C) Package-Selection - This shows the package selection in the installer. I selected "install all packages" (#5). The default selection is I think #3 or #4. The rest of the installation was as much as possible according to defaults. I didn't specifically request any source or header files. It looks like Caldera had a pretty good installer for that era, which is probably why they were as prominent as they were. It's not very impressive by today's standards of course.

D) First-Log-in - This shows the first log-in after installation. This shows the Caldera version, date, and copyright notice. The "col" username is a default which the Caldera installer creates. I assume it stands for "Caldera Open Linux".

E) errno-listing, linux-ls, linux-lib-list - The infamous "errno.h" file is actually two files. One is in the "asm" directory, and one is on the "linux" directory (there are also additional copies in the various microprocessor architecture sub-directories under "asm"). Most of the error codes are in the one in the "asm" directory, with the other file only containing a few more. There is also an "errno.c" file under the "lib" directory. You will see in each case that I used the "pwd" command to show the current directory, and the "ls" command to list the files. For the "linux" directory I only listed the files starting with "e", as there were too many files to display what I wanted to show otherwise.

F) errno-contents - This shows the beginning of the "errno.h" file from the "asm" directory.

G) errno-c - This shows the entire contents of the "errno.c" file from the "lib" directory. It simply declares an int called errno. Notice the copyright. The ".h" files don't appear to contain copyright notices.

H) elf-contents - This shows the beginning of the "elf.h" file from the "asm" directory.

I) linux-elf1, linux-elf2 - These show a couple of screens from the "elf.h" file from the "linux" directory. Notice the comment about using an interim value for EM_ALPHA while waiting for the comittee to come up with a final number.

J) smp-contents - Here's the beginning of the "smp.h" file.

K) streams-comment1 - This was in the networking header file. Note the comment about "I (RIB) want to rewrite sockets as streams". I didn't record who RIB was (the name is further up in the file), but I seem to recall that his e-mail had an ".edu" domain. I can look into this again if it is significant, but I believe it was already established that streams never went into the standard version of Linux.

L) ANNOUNCE - This is a text file from the ISO. Note they specifically mention elf support:

Caldera OpenLinux(TM) Lite 1.1

OpenLinux is a Caldera-maintained distribution of the Linux operating system. OpenLinux releases will continue to track advances in the various freely-distributable software communities.

Caldera OpenLinux products use a standard Linux kernel, but they also include several Caldera-specific features that are not part of other Linux systems. Depending on the specific OpenLinux product, these may include the Desktop interface, the menu-driven Installation program, the CRiSP-LiTE editor, or other commercial software components.

This product, OpenLinux Lite 1.1, includes the CRiSP-LiTE editor and a demonstration version of the Looking Glass Desktop interface that expires 90 days after installation. (The remainder of the graphical and operating systems continue to function un-interrupted.)

This release of Caldera OpenLinux uses the Linux 2.0.29 kernel. The latest information about OpenLinux, this product, and other forthcoming Caldera products can be found on Caldera's Web site at

Features of OpenLinux

If you are new to Caldera products or Linux, a list of some key features is provided below. If you are looking for a specific feature, protocol or system, check the appendices of the Getting Started Guide, the online documentation (start with the Caldera Info icon on the Desktop), or send email to with your question.

- Full 32-bit architecture, supporting both ELF and a.out binaries
- Multi-tasking, multi-user
- X Window System distributed graphical environment (X11R6)
- Powerful Desktop interface (90 day demonstration version)
- Graphical default text editor - CRiSP-LiTE (vi and emacs also included)
- Ability to act as a client to other UNIX, Windows NT, and Windows95 systems
- Ability to act as a server to other UNIX, Windows NT, and Windows95 systems
- Remote management via telnet, rlogin, or with SNMP protocol (included)
- Complete Internet Server Suite, including
World Wide Web (Web server software included)
Email (SMTP - qmail, sendmail, smail)
Usenet News (NNTP)
Terminal server (host dial-in connections from a modem pool)
and many others...
- Internet Client access via web browser software.

Technical Support

Caldera OpenLinux Lite does not include any support. You are, however, invited to search the support and Linux information archives on our Web site at Other OpenLinux products include email and telephone support. Contact Caldera or your Caldera reseller for details.

If you have any problems using Caldera OpenLinux Lite, please review the "Known Bug List" link after launching the Caldera Info icon on the desktop. We continue to work on improving the ease-of-use of Caldera products; your feedback is always welcome. You can send email to: [redacted]

M) LICENSE - This is a copy of the Caldera license from the ISO. Note that they list three specific packages which have restricted distribution. They say the rest "are distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License or similar licenses which permit free and unrestricted redistribution". You might want to have a look at the exact wording of the whole license though, as I might be reading too much into it.

OpenLinux Lite License

Nearly all of the components that make up the OpenLinux Lite product are distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License or similar licenses which permit free and unrestricted redistribution. However, several components of OpenLinux Lite are not governed by these licenses. The following components are distributed as part of the OpenLinux Lite product with the permission of the noted copyright holder, and with the noted licenses granted:

1.Looking Glass desktop metaphor - Copyright Visix Software, Inc., 90 day license for personal or commercial evaluation

2.LISA installation and administration utility - Copyright Caldera and Linux Support Team, license for personal and commercial use, without time restriction

3.CRiSP-LiTE(tm) text editor - Copyright Vital, Inc., license for personal and commercial use, without time restriction.

OpenLinux Lite is provided without technical support of any kind, though we invite you to browse the technical resources at our Web site: Caldera welcomes feedback on OpenLinux Lite. Please send comments by email to
The header and source files (".h" and ".c") files are packaged in RPM files. I can't open old RPM files on my PC with a current version of RPM (the older file formats are incompatible with newer RPM). I therefore installed the CD into a QEMU virtual machine and looked at the files there. The ANNOUNCE and LICENSE files I copied directly from the ISO (since they're not in an RPM).


How'd you enjoy the screenshots? Now, to finish up, let's look at the Caldera credits, where we find Ralph Yarro, Bryan Sparks, Ransom Love, Jim Freeman, Ron Holt, etc. all listed. So I think it's fair to say they knew:

============================= CALDERA CREDITS =================================

Caldera is:
Bryan Sparks
Ron Holt
Jim Freeman
Greg Page
Ransom Love
Nick Wells
Sarah Lee
Stan Covington
Tim Bird
Allan Smart
Doug Cooper
Debi Thompson
Lyle Ball
Dean Taylor
Kevin Gee
Jon Meyer
Ming Jiang

Additional thanks to:
Jeff Barr (Vertex)
Ralf Flaxa (LST)
Stefan Probst (LST)
Raymund Will (LST)
Ralph Yarro (ArtFX/NFT)
Marc Ewing (Red Hat)
Donnie Barnes (Red Hat)
Erik Troan (Red Hat)
All of our beta testers
Banjo the Sea-Monkey(R)

Members of the original Novell "Corsair" team:
Peter Bartok
Tim Bird
Ken Ebert
Jim Freeman
Rob Hicks
Ron Holt
Ransom Love
David Mortenson
Greg Page
Doug Smith
Bryan Sparks
Nick Wells
Steve Willis
Ralph Yarro

For a good list of major contributors to the Linux effort (and whose work is included in this product), consult /usr/src/linux/CREDITS on an installed system.

Caldera Network Desktop
Release 1.0

Caldera, Inc.
Orem, Utah, USA

The contents of this CDROM are Copyright (C) 1996 Red Hat Software, Caldera Inc and others. Please see the individual copyright notices in each source package for distribution terms. The distribution terms of the tools copyrighted by Red Hat Software are as noted in the file COPYING.

This release includes major components from Red Hat Linux 2.1 and the LST Installation.

Many packages on this CDROM are licensed commercial software and CANNOT be redistributed. In particular, the LST install, the NetWare client, Looking Glass desktop environment, Caldera font server/installer, Netscape browser, Accelerated-X, CRiSP-LiTE and BACKUP.UNET packages are under license and CANNOT be redistributed. They are licensed for use on a single machine only.

See for updated technical information and patches. See also /etc/README after installation.

"Network Desktop" is a trademark of Caldera, Inc. See the Getting Started Guide for a complete list of trademarks.

Isn't that interesting? They knew what they were distributing, don't you think?

Update: You can read the license agreement for OpenLinux 2.2 here.

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