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Answering SCO Bit by Bit - Caldera's GPL Fingerprints All Over the Place - Updated
Friday, December 18 2009 @ 06:46 PM EST

Remember when SCO said it never released any of its own code under the GPL? Methinks it spoke with forked tongue.

I have now had an opportunity to look at files in another Caldera Linux distribution, Caldera OpenLinux 2.3-16, and I see Caldera's GPL fingerprints all over the place, much as I discovered using emacs to open up source files in OpenLinux eServer 2.3 the other day. And Caldera did write code itself that it released under the GPL. It also tweaked GPL'd packages and distributed with its own branding under the GPL. And it can't seem to stop distributing binutils under the GPL, while claiming in the SCO v. IBM lawsuit that it never did so.

Here's something that Caldera wrote and released under the GPL, COAS, which stands for Caldera Open Administration System, and I found this when opening up coas-1.1.7.src.rpm in emacs, the GPL:

Caldera also took other GPL'd packages and patched and tweaked them and then released them with their own branding. You see that over and over, in SysVinit, for example, and grep and binutils and sharutils. The screenshots:







Caldera even distributed code to make sure everything worked with Red Hat:


They released under the LGPL also:


I think it's clear that Caldera knew what was in Linux, and it released under the GPL knowingly, including some things it is now trying to sue about.

The ftp address we published in 2006 where you could download binutils from SCO in was shut down. But you can still download binutils from SCO, as part of Skunkworks. You can download it automatically from here also:

[ Update: Actually you can't. A reader reports: still works, but binutils is not included in that iso, at least not today. has many links, but SCO is not distributing binutils from links there. has three links, but the SCO ones are dead. still works today, and contains elf32-i860.c mentioned in

So yes, SCO is today 2009-12-18 distributing under the GPL the same code that they seem to think IBM has no right to distribute.

Isn't it a good thing we have all these eyeballs? As fast as SCO removes the evidence, someone finds more. And how about these old CDs we never threw out? SCO can strip the Internet clean of all evidence. But the CDs? They can't do a blessed thing about them. - End Update.]

Here's what SCO claimed [PDF] in the SCO v. IBM litigation about ELF headers in binutils:

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, we'll see who owns what, but even if SCO owned the copyrights, is it true it never authorized these files to be used outside of UNIX? That it never authorized binutils for use in Linux under the GPL? Is it even half true? Or, to speak the lingua franca of late, is that claim meritorious?

On page 23 of this PowerPoint from SCOforum 2007 about open source tools SCO provided, you will see that SCO recommended installing "GNU binutils" with OpenServer 6. And on page 26, they listed all the places you could get Skunkware. On page 30, they suggested getting source code from the Linux source RPMs, so as to get the latest patches. And on page 37, it says that in 2001, SCO "submitted UW7 changes to FSF to standardize SVR5 triplet."

In case SCO doesn't have any techies left, here's a big hint for them. Binutils includes ELF, one of the things SCO's expert Dr. Thomas Cargill, claims is infringed. And here's where they were still distributing it, in 2006, and here and here. All distributed under the GPL. I wonder if, at trial, Novell will ask SCO's technical witnesses about this. Did Ron Record, Caldera/SCO's Skunkworks maintainer, ever warn them that they were distributing binutils under the GPL, and that ELF was in there? Did anybody? If not, I'm sure IBM will, when it gets its turn at bat.

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