decoration decoration

When you want to know more...
For layout only
Site Map
About Groklaw
Legal Research
ApplevSamsung p.2
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Gordon v MS
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
MS Litigations
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
OOXML Appeals
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v Novell
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

To read comments to this article, go here
James Bond on a Mission to Sell and a Note About the Levenez v. SCO Unix History
Tuesday, August 19 2003 @ 02:18 AM EDT

I do wonder sometimes what will become of my synapses after I spend so many months trying to figure out the way McBride and his band of merry men think. Translating SCOSpeak can't be neuronally healthy.

But while I still am in command of my senses, I couldn't help but notice something curious in the news coverage of SCOForum today. Could SCO's Chris Sontag be telling fibs? Heavens to Betsy, surely that can't be it. Maybe he's so new, he doesn't know his company's history? Or maybe James has to tell a few fibs when he's on a "Misson: Trained to Sell", the theme of SCO Forum.

Here's part of what Sontag said today:

Turning to derivative works that have found their way into Linux, Sontag said these include NUMA (non uniform memory access), Read Copyright Update (RCU), Journal File System and schedulers. "A number of entities have violated their contracts and contributed inappropriate code to Linux. That's how Linux has advanced so quickly and found its way into the enterprise so soon," Sontag said.

"We have an improbable Linux development process. The current 2.5 kernel contains features and functionality that took years and years to be developed in Unix. With Linux we've seen it develop from a baby to a race car driver in three or four years," he said.

I believe we can assume that when he said "Read Copyright Update", it was a Freudian slip, their business strategy du jour -- those rascals just never stop thinking business, so it's bound to spill over into their speech -- and what he meant to say was Read Copy Update. Or possibly another mainstream journalist has had his brain snatched and turned into cabbage, and now the poor thing just writes whatever SCO speaks, without questioning it. But, hey, what does precision matter on such a vital mission?

Let's take a trip back in time, to a simpler, gentler Caldera just about a year ago. Computerwire ran a story on June 13, 2002, and if you compare what was said today with what they wrote, your brain might explode trying to make them match up. Both stories can't be true, because they seem to be mutually exclusive. For those of you with a sub to Computerwire, here's where you can get it the whole article, "Caldera Backs Away From 64-Bit Open Unix". For the rest, here are relevant snips:

Caldera International Inc has maintained its commitment to the Unix operating systems it acquired from Santa Cruz Operation Inc, despite admitting that it currently has no plans to port Open Unix to Intel Corp's 64-bit Itanium processor.

With development of the company's Linux distribution more or less handed over to SuSE Linux AG and the UnitedLinux project, Caldera's research and development dollars are now focused on its Open Unix and OpenServer Unix flavors and the Volution management products, but while both Unix variants continue to be developed by the company, neither are likely to be available for 64-bit processors.

As the legacy Unix variant, OpenServer was never likely to be ported to Itanium, but sizable investment has gone in to projects to develop a 64-bit version of Open Unix, both with IBM on the Monterey project and through SCO's Gemini project that created UnixWare 7, the predecessor to the current Open Unix 8. Feedback from Intel and customers, however, has led Caldera to the conclusion that there is enough life in the 32-bit market.

"The feedback from Intel and our customers is that 64-bit addressing today just isn't a priority, and the 32-bit processors are just getting better and better," said Caldera's VP EMEA, Chris Flynn. "32-bit is good enough for most people's processing requirements." That appears to suggest that Open Unix and OpenServer's lifespan will last only as long as 32-bit processors continue to sell, but Flynn maintained that the operating systems will remain available as long as customers want them.

"There's plenty of mileage in 32-bit Unix," he said. "Until our customers tell us that they don't want Unix and they don't want 32-bit Intel any more, which I don't see happening, then nothing's going to change. 32-bit is just great for customers over the next few years, but we do have choices, and we could move forward with our 64-bit projects."

One of those choices will be 64-bit Linux, which is being developed through the IA-64 Linux Project, and will be available from Caldera. Flynn believes that by the time users are looking to purchase 64-bit servers and operating systems in volume, Linux will have gained the robustness and scalability it requires to compete with Unix in the enterprise market.

Another option Caldera has on the shelf is IBM's AIX 5L, which was developed from the Monterey project between IBM and SCO. In 2001, Caldera offered a preview of the AIX 5L operating system for Itanium to developers, and it remains a possibility that Caldera will offer IBM's Unix for 64-bit users should there be the demand.

If you look at this chart, you'll see that System V is later called OpenUnix, in case you like visuals. I worry my brain is starting to look like that chart, or worse, from trying to parse out all the SCOstories. Now, I'm not a programmer, so it's certainly possible my brain is just missing something -- heaven only knows I laughed myself silly today reading all about the anti-GPL strategy our worthy opponents have concocted -- but I simply can't harmonize what was said today with this article from June of 2002. Then again, I'm not Trained to Sell, and so far, my brain hasn't been turned into cabbage, so maybe that explains how come I notice disparities and think they matter.

Update: Speaking of disparities, here's SCO's version of that chart, thanks to Wayback and Darl McBride who posted it on, prior to the world discovering the disparities and SCO removing the chart from its website. Oridinally, SCO had hosted the darlmcbride materials as a subdirectory of, as you can see by the robots.txt page on Wayback, and then they were moved to his own site, apparently around January 22, 2005. The materials hosted on are blocked; the materials on his own site,, are not.

Had Groklaw not pointed out the disparities, and verifying them with Eric Levenez himself, who authored the original chart, perhaps SCO's version of it might have ended up used in court as an exhibit to "prove" SCO's story. Note the cunning credit line at the bottom of SCO's chart, which they added after it was pointed out that the copyright information was not on SCO's chart:

Original UNIX history chart created by Eric Levenez. Copyright 1996-2003, Eric Levenez. January 2, 2003. Used with permission.
That gives you no clue that SCO had altered the chart, does it? So I doubt they would have clued in the jury either. If you are curious, here's a change SCO made, showing a solid green line as if Linux was a direct offshoot of Minix, which it was not. SCO added the part about dotted lines meaning influence, or what they titled "SCO Linux Heritage", solid meaning "SCO Linux Pedigree" by which they seemed to mean source code. There is, however, no Minix code in Linux. Linus used Minix to write Linux, sort of like you might use Microsoft Word to write a letter, and there'd be no Word code in your letter. It would only be the prop used to get your letter done.

Levenez's chart, in contrast, says this about solid lines:

Note 1 : an arrow indicates an inheritance like a compatibility, it is not only a matter of source code.

  View Printable Version

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )