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Free-OpenServer. What a Concept! - Updated
Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 04:33 PM EDT

In case SCO tries to resurrect any methods and concepts claims to OpenServer or UnixWare, let me remind the world that beginning in 1996, they gave that away themselves when they offered Unix enthusiasts free licenses to what they called Free-OpenServer. Here's the announcement as PDF, "SCO Provides FREE* UNIX System Licenses to Students, Educators and UNIX Enthusiasts around the World". Buh-bye methods and concepts claims. At a minimum. And guess what they threw in? A free software development kit:
The SCO OpenServer Development system is comprised of a set of state-of-the-art compilers, debuggers, application programming interfaces (APIs), and libraries needed to develop applications. The SCO OpenServer Development System can also be augmented by over 200 third-party development tools to create the most robust and efficient development environment.

No kidding? APIs and libraries so you could develop applications, eh? SCOsource is dealt yet another blow.

Well. Maybe a kick. I don't think it's still standing any more.

Free-OpenServer. What a concept! Here's what else I think it means: that even if SCO did win a reversal on appeal, and the appeals court decided SCO did get all the copyrights under the 1995 APA, it still can't go after anybody for methods and concepts in any code that dates back before 1996 (and maybe later), and I have long believed that was the real dream.

Here's a snip from the announcement:

In a move that empowers students, educators, and UNIX® system enthusiasts with free access to the world's most popular computing environment, SCO today announced plans to provide a free license to use its popular UNIX systems, including SCO OpenServer™ and SCO® UnixWare®, to anyone in the world who wants to use it for educational and non-commercial purposes. This bold move has far-reaching implications for the future of UNIX systems and marks the stunning public debut of SCO's stewardship of the UNIX system. It also represents the first time in 20 years that the owner of UNIX technology has provided the operating system free of charge to the public. The availability of free UNIX system licenses begins with SCO OpenServer, followed closely by a free SCO UnixWare license. Free SCO OpenServer will allow students and UNIX system enthusiasts access to a high-end, commercial-quality UNIX product previously out of range. Professionals who use a UNIX system at work will now have an affordable means to continue learning about UNIX systems at home. Additionally, Free SCO OpenServer provides the ability to operate a home BBS or Internet browser....

With Free SCO OpenServer users may obtain a license to use a fully functional, single user version of SCO OpenServer Desktop System, which includes SCO Doctor™ Lite and SCO® ARCserve®/Open Lite from Cheyenne®, and the SCO OpenServer Development System. The SCO OpenServer Desktop System is an advanced, single user operating system for business-critical computing that delivers RISC workstation capabilities and performance on cost-effective Intel® processor-based platforms. The Desktop System integrates a powerful 32-bit, multitasking, X/Open UNIX system compliant operating system with integrated networking, graphics, and internet facilities.

And here's why Santa Cruz's Alok Mohan said they did it:

Alok Mohan, SCO's president and CEO, said, "This is only the second time in UNIX's 25-year history that the owner of the technology has made this offer. The last time this happened, a $60-billion-dollar industry was born."

The UNIX system was in its infancy when AT&T gave it away for free to colleges and universities to help them with research and development projects. Soon, thousands of students were learning to program on UNIX systems. After graduation, they took that knowledge into the corporate world building a $60-billion-dollar industry. The legacy of AT&T's gift to universities includes the Internet, the World Wide Web, multiprocessing, and much more. Today, the UNIX system is the software engine that processes trillions of dollars' worth of business transactions around the world. Probably no other operating system has had such an impact on the way people do business.

"SCO believes it is time to return the favor," said Mohan, "and deliver the result of more than 20 years of technical innovation back to educators and students worldwide. With the explosive growth of the Internet and the breadth of development tools for UNIX system available today, one can only imagine what this new generation will do with this open operating system platform."

My stars! You mean SCO realized that AT&T gave away Unix on purpose so students would learn it in school and then develop using Unix when they entered the workplace? The PDF was originally found, according to the article in Linux Journal here, but don't bother trying to find it there now, I'd guess:

What you have in your hands is one of the free copies of SCO OpenServer, which SCO has been dishing out by the scores since its introduction at the SCO Forum conference in mid-August 1996. This software is neither crippled nor time-bombed, and it includes a full software development kit. Everyone who installs the free version must register with SCO, but such registration is free of charge, and is done on a web page. SCO says they're issuing free registrations at the rate of about a thousand per week, more than two-thirds of them going to people describing themselves as “technical home users”.

On a different web page heralding free OpenServer to the world (http://www.sco.com/Products/freeopen.html), SCO boasts, this “bold move has far-reaching implications for the future of Unix systems, and marks the stunning public debut of SCO's stewardship of the Unix system.”

And yet now those devils wanted to charge people under SCOsource for using APIs and libraries from OpenServer and UnixWare? Naughty, naughty boys. According to A. P. Lawrence, if you have a copy of Free-OpenServer, you have a license to develop:

If you have free OpenServer, you already have a license to install the development system; the Web page on which you license free OpenServer gave you several keys and codes, including one to license that....

On older SCO operating systems ... you will probably need the development system, as the header and library files you need are part of it and not part of the operating system itself. This problem has been alleviated in OpenServer Release 5, as the headers and libraries are now shipped as part of the base operating system and are available even if you have not purchased the development system.

Anyone have a copy of those licenses? I'd love to see them. Or a dog-eared copy of Free-OpenServer? Here's someone who got a copy, and someone offers a theory on why SCO released it this way. Here's a snip from an old SCO comp.unix.sco.programmer FAQ:

I have an OpenServer based system. I don't have a compiler. What are my options?

If you're using Free OpenServer and comply with the licensing requirements, install the Free OpenServer compiler from the same CD. You cannot install the Free OpenServer compiler on a commercially licensed OpenServer.

SCO's OpenServer Development system is available as a commercially supported product and includes two compilers, debuggers, and tools such as the custom distribution mastering toolkit. For more information, see http://www.sco.com/developer/products.htm. The SCO part number for SCO OpenServer Development System (media and license) is SA105-UX74-5.0.

OpenServer includes all the necessary libraries, headers, man pages, and the linker to allow the user of third party develoment systems. One such system is the GNU Development System that's available on the Skunkware CD or the newer version available on Robert Lipe's home page and mirrored on SCO's Web site. This kit includes make, the assemblers, the debuggers, and everything you need for a functional development environment. This kit is available at ftp://ftp.zenez.com/pub/zenez/gcc and has documentation at ftp://ftp.zenez.com/pub/zenez/gcc/sco_ds.html and a little FAQ of its own (that should ultimately be smooshed into this one) at ftp://ftp.zenez.com/pub/zenez/gcc/gds_faq.html .

And here's another interesting entry in the FAQ:

I tried to build GCC on OpenServer 5 and it burst into flames. It is time to start using newer version of gcc. Take a look at ftp://ftp2.caldera.com/pub/ This is left for historical purposes.

The first FSF release of GCC to include the necessary support to host or target OpenServer was 2.8.0. EGCS has supported OpenServer 5 since the epoch. Anything before this requires a patched version of GCC.

Robert Lipe did the port of the GNU tools that appears on the Skunkware '96 CD and on ftp://ftp2.caldera.com/pub/Skunk96 or the old site ftp://ftp.sco.com . It is not a simple matter of 'configure ; make install'. It's a complicated product to build and unless you're planning to slog around in compiler internals, you really want to use the available binary kits. It is time that you start using a newer gcc. Please see ftp://ftp2.caldera.com/pub/skunkware . This is also mirrored on ftp://ftp.sco.com/skunkware . It is required that you install the necessary libraries and headers as described in the documention for that package that is in the "sco_ds.html" file at those URLs.

The major contributors of the OpenServer code in GCC (Kean Johnston and Robert Lipe) are active members of the EGCS development team. EGCS is an enhanced GNU compiler system. EGCS contains complete support for OpenServer 5 in both COFF and ELF modes and has received much attention and testing. See http://gcc.gnu.org for more details.

GCC does include support for 3.2v4.2 and earlier SCO releases, though it requires the SCO development system be installed. EGCS also includes support for UnixWare 7 and for UDK.

I don't know. I'm thinking SCO might need to get creative again and come up with another new theory of infringement. These header files are just not working out so well as they hoped.

Update: Did they follow through with Free UnixWare? Indeed they did, as of January 1997, according to this BusinessWire press release, entitled, "Come 'n' Get It! Free UNIX Stampede Rolls On":

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 8, 1996--The mania continues around Free UNIX licenses as SCO (NASDAQ:SCOC) today announced the quantity of Free SCO OpenServer licenses are far ahead of expectations since the company's original announcement during SCO Forum96 in August.

The company also announced two new programs -- the availability of Free SCO UnixWare licenses in January 1997, and low-cost, source code licenses for the SCO UnixWare operating system exclusively for universities and other educational institutions.

In the seven weeks since SCO Forum96, SCO has processed over 8,000 Free SCO OpenServer licenses, surpassing original expectations. The demographics of licensees indicate a large number of students and technical home users are taking advantage of this offer. To gauge the responses from licensees, SCO included a comment box in the on-line licensing form that have been filled with gushing remarks, like, "This is the most fantastic thing 'any' UNIX vendor has ever offered!" and "At last, REAL UNIX becomes free!"

"We thought this over for quite some time and decided to just move forward, knowing that this bold move would have a positive impact in the industry," said Scott McGregor, SCO's senior vice president, Products. "To say we're pleased is an understatement. We wanted to get SCO OpenServer into the hands of students and home users who will experiment with it, develop on it, and bring a new level of interest to UNIX. Well, it's happening. Now we are solidifying our stewardship of UNIX by offering educational source code licenses and Free SCO UnixWare licenses. It's our belief that the thousands who acquire these licenses will benefit from better understanding the technology that laid the foundation for the Internet, Business Critical computing, and heterogeneous computing -- three of the most important computing models of today."...

Free SCO UnixWare and Low-Cost Educational Source Code Licenses

With the announcement of Free SCO OpenServer licenses at SCO Forum96 in August, SCO also promised free licenses of SCO's enterprise-class operating system, SCO UnixWare. The promise will be delivered in January of 1997 as SCO will make free licenses available from its Web site. Licenses are available for educational and non-commercial use to be used for evaluation purposes or to set up a Web server.

In addition to the Free UnixWare product, SCO also plans to offer educational institutions low-cost, source code licenses for the SCO UnixWare operating system. This will provide a unique opportunity for computer science faculty and students to explore and better understand the internal operation and architecture of UNIX technology. The source code is restricted to educational institutions and is limited to uses directly related to teaching and degree granting programs. Eligible educational institutions can license the source product directly from SCO for $5,000. For more information please contact the SCO University Seeding Program by sending an email to cates@sco.com.

And SCO presumably approved that title to the press release, "Come 'n' Get It! Free UNIX Stampede Rolls On". Here's a Google Books find, a book entitled "Practical UNIX", where the author got a Free Unixware 7 license, and he shows how he installed it. When it prompts for the license, which he shows, he writes: "Here, enter the free noncommercial license that you got from the SCO Web site. If you have lost it, go out to www.sco.com and get another license instantly." So they did follow through.

And here's the SCO PDF announcing Free-OpenServer, as text, marking the dashing of SCO's hopes for methods and concepts, methinks.

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

SCO Provides FREE* UNIX System Licenses to Students, Educators and UNIX Enthusiasts around the World

In a move that empowers students, educators, and UNIX® system enthusiasts with free access to the world's most popular computing environment, SCO today announced plans to provide a free license to use its popular UNIX systems, including SCO OpenServer and SCO® UnixWare®, to anyone in the world who wants to use it for educational and non-commercial purposes. This bold move has far-reaching implications for the future of UNIX systems and marks the stunning public debut of SCO's stewardship of the UNIX system. It also represents the first time in 20 years that the owner of UNIX technology has provided the operating system free of charge to the public.

The availability of free UNIX system licenses begins with SCO OpenServer, followed closely by a free SCO UnixWare license. Free SCO OpenServer will allow students and UNIX system enthusiasts access to a high-end, commercial-quality UNIX product previously out of range. Professionals who use a UNIX system at work will now have an affordable means to continue learning about UNIX systems at home. Additionally, Free SCO OpenServer provides the ability to operate a home BBS or Internet browser.

Free SCO OpenServer is licensed for educational and non-commercial use. You can use it for learning about UNIX systems, developing software that you do not sell, or to run a personal web site. You may not use Free SCO OpenServer in your business or to support profit-making activities.

Alok Mohan, SCO's president and CEO, said, "This is only the second time in UNIX's 25-year history that the owner of the technology has made this offer. The last time this happened, a $60-billion-dollar industry was born."

The UNIX system was in its infancy when AT&T gave it away for free to colleges and universities to help them with research and development projects. Soon, thousands of students were learning to program on UNIX systems. After graduation, they took that knowledge into the corporate world building a $60-billion-dollar industry. The legacy of AT&T's gift to universities includes the Internet, the World Wide Web, multiprocessing, and much more. Today, the UNIX system is the software engine that processes trillions of dollars' worth of business transactions around the world. Probably no other operating system has had such an impact on the way people do business.

"SCO believes it is time to return the favor," said Mohan, "and deliver the result of more than 20 years of technical innovation back to educators and students worldwide. With the explosive growth of the Internet and the breadth of development tools for UNIX system available today, one can only imagine what this new generation will do with this open operating system platform."


ISV's will benefit because the number of SCO installations is expected to grow dramatically. There will also be a substantial benefit for SCO's IHV's because of the increased demand for peripherals and drivers that run with SCO UNIX systems.

Students will have an affordable opportunity to get familiar with a robust, commercial quality operating system. Having a copy of SCO OpenServer at home will allow them to complete homework assignments without having to schedule lab time. Additionally, they can setup a personal web site and generally experiment with a UNIX system.

Instructors will be able to include Free SCO OpenServer as a means to boost enrollment and standardize homework assignments. The ability to offer a more focused curriculum will allow professors to make more progress with their student base each term and thereby ensure their success upon graduation.

With Free SCO OpenServer users may obtain a license to use a fully functional, single user version of SCO OpenServer Desktop System, which includes SCO Doctor™ Lite and SCO® ARCserve®/Open Lite from Cheyenne®, and the SCO OpenServer Development System. The SCO OpenServer Desktop System is an advanced, single user operating system for business-critical computing that delivers RISC workstation capabilities and performance on cost-effective Intel® processor-based platforms. The Desktop System integrates a powerful 32- bit, multitasking, X/Open UNIX system compliant operating system with integrated networking, graphics, and internet facilities.

The SCO OpenServer Development system is comprised of a set of state-of-the-art compilers, debuggers, application programming interfaces (APIs), and libraries needed to develop applications. The SCO OpenServer Development System can also be augmented by over 200 third-party development tools to create the most robust and efficient development environment.

SCO ARCserve/Open Lite from Cheyenne allows you to do simple, attended backup and intelligent restore for single devices. SCO Doctor Lite can be used for manual monitoring and performance tuning of a single server installation.

Free SCO OpenServer is ordered and licensed via the Internet. To order the media, or acquire a license to use, direct your Internet web browser to: http://www3.sco.com/Products/. You may place your order and receive a license in one transaction.

Free SCO OpenServer is licensed for educational and non-commercial use. The license is free of charge. The product media, if you need it, costs $19 (plus tax and shipping and handling). Prices may vary by geography.

If you require a commercial license, you may purchase SCO's full commercial product through authorized SCO suppliers. Please note that reinstallation will be required when you choose to upgrade from educational and non-commercial product.


To get your questions answered or learn more about the system, you may make use of a variety of no-charge online information services, including Usenet newsgroups, the SCOFORUM on Compuserve, software supplements available at http://www.sco.com and ftp://ftp.sco.com. Also available are SCO "proactive" support services for which you may purchase a support contract to cover SCO OpenServer from your SCO support service provider.

SCO will offer Free SCO UnixWare in the near future, under the same licensing terms.

"Gemini" is the code-name of an SCO engineering project that will deliver next generation UNIX systems from SCO. It is the consolidation of the SCO OpenServer and SCO UnixWare product lines with significant enhancements to meet the demands for today's new generation of distributed computing environments. The Gemini platform is the successor to the SCO OpenServer and SCO UnixWare environments, as well as other SVR3 and SVR4 environments. It is also the SCO platform which will provide the easiest path to the forthcoming 64-bit UNIX System being co-developed by SCO and HP for the Intel Merced processor. SCO will release an educational and non-commercial version of Gemini as well.

SCO, The Santa Cruz Operation, the SCO logo, SCO OpenServer, SCO Doctor, and UnixWare are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. in the USA and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited. Cheyenne and ARCserve are registered trademarks of Cheyenne Software, Inc. All other brand and product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of their respective owners. The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. reserves the right to change or modify any of the product or service specifications or features described herein without notice. This summary is for information only. SCO makes no express or implied representations or warranties in this summary. ©1996 The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

*You may obtain, free of charge, a license to use the SCO products contained on the Free SCO OpenServer CD-ROM under the terms and conditions specified in the software license agreement.


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