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To read comments to this article, go here
One GNU-Darwin Guy Thinks He Knows Which Code It Is
Monday, June 09 2003 @ 10:32 PM EDT



Robert J. Dohnert has written an article for OSNews. In it he says he figures the disputed code must be related to LVM and SMP:
Shocked that I figured out what code SCO was complaining about without looking at code. You are thinking, "This guy is crazy" or "He is fishing" But if you think about it the height of SCO's complaint is that Linux surpassed UnixWare in the Enterprise Sector. For an OS to survive in the Enterprise sector what does the OS need:

Strong SMP support -- How well it handles multiple processors
Strong LVM support -- How well it handles Logical Volumes
Support for devices users are realistically expected to use -- USB, Firewire, Audio, Video, Application Support
Cost

SMP and LVM was present in UnixWare before Linux had it. Although UnixWare did not handle SMP very well at all, LVM was okay but it is nothing like what Linux had before. That is all UnixWare had. Device support, as stated before, was superior in Linux long before it was even present in UnixWare and device support in Linux is better than what UnixWare ever had. Cost is an issue and Linux will always be cheaper than Unix, and retraining IT personnel from a Unix based system to Linux based systems is nil and takes very little time. Application support is a non-issue as well, it is much easier to port a custom Application from Unix to Linux than it would be to port a custom Application from Microsoft Windows to Linux. So in the end, LVM and SMP are the only two things that Unix had over Linux.

If he's right, I find this page of interest, because it says about SMP that the initial port was made possible thanks to Caldera. [Note that Alan Cox was editing the page, and he references his gift from Caldera of an Asus motherboard to work on SMP.]

Meanwhile, SCO's McBride sounds like he wants to sue Novell for claiming copyright rights. This guy is a riot. The not-funny part is what he is now saying about patents, according to the article:
On the question of patents, McBride said Novell's name isn't on the Unix patents, but rather AT&T Corp.'s, which is the company that first developed the operating system. The patents are enforced by the copyright holder, which in this case is SCO, McBride said.
And what does SCO say users of AIX should do when the Friday the 13th deadline comes? (Yup. Friday the 13th is the deadline for IBM. SCO really has absolutely no PR sense at all.: )
SCO did not comment on what it would expect AIX users to do if an agreement failed to be reached by Friday. But it warned of possible repercussions for Linux users.

"We maintain that Linux users should obtain opinions from their own counsel to guide their actions," said McBride.

"Analyst firm Gartner is advising AIX users to ask IBM if it will indemnify them against any potential legal action.

My take on this is, after reading the article, that SCO would like everybody to pony up for a license right now, and then after they lose the IBM action, you'll be contractually stuck anyway. Of course, IANAL. Get one, if this AIX stuff applies to you.

In a separate story in eweek, called Linux Goes Ka-Ching, which mostly deals with companies turning to Linux in droves, I found this thought on why MS might have signed the license with SCO, that it's in part about POS systems:

Indeed, Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., still claims many retailers as customers of its Windows XP Embedded operating system. Last month, for instance, it announced that electronics vendor Circuit City Stores Inc. will deploy POS systems using Microsoft software at 600 stores. In addition, some analysts said that Microsoft's move last month to license The SCO Group's Unix patents was motivated in part by the desire to persuade the installed base of SCO Unix users with POS systems to migrate to Windows instead of Linux.
And finally Linus on contribution cleanness:
"For copyright infringement, the best protection is the fact that the code is open. Think of it like stealing a car: as a potential car thief, would you do it in full daylight with a lot of people looking on, or would you prefer to do it when nobody is watching?"
The article says this is what SCO is claiming happened, that IBM boldly stole the code, but Linus finds that hard to believe, asking in effect what would the motive be?
"Sure, it could be done, but what would be the point? It's not like I pay these people on a 'per line written' basis."
One of the things that has come of this case is the need for Copyright and Patent protection from the Linux community. It is an issue that will have to be addressed and Linus should form a team that Copyrights and Patents are their sole responsibility. Also, developers document everything you do and submit. I know doing documentation stinks, heck I hate doing changelogs myself but it needs to be done. Make it hard for SCO or any other company to come up and say that you are infringing their patents or copyrights. That, of course, is already in place at FSF.

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