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MontaVista on Embedded Linux: Not to Worry
Friday, August 22 2003 @ 02:47 PM EDT

Embedded Linux specialist MontaVista Software is assuring embedded Linux customers in the strongest possible terms:

"MontaVista said IA-32 and IA-64 account for less than 20 percent of all embedded deployment and that a large portion of embedded Linux projects were deployed with and still run on embedded configurations of the 2.2 Linux kernel. Also, MontaVista said that for its part, it only includes architecture-specific, application-relevant code in MontaVista Linux for each architecture and board it supports.

"Additionally, the firm said, 'There is no real intersection among portions of kernel code that changed between 2.2 and 2.4 AND code that possibly contains SCO-contested code AND that are relevant to embedded (i.e., diskless, headless, small footprint, non-enterprise) applications.'

"Finally, it noted that high-end, embedded systems that do, in fact, employ enterprise-class features, like SMP and library emulation, account for less than 10 percent of all Linux deployments.

"'Consequently, the total possible scope of SCO's claims would cover less than 10 percent of all embedded Linux configurations,' MontaVista said. 'Based on our practices and those of our embedded industry peers, we believe that even an estimate of 1 percent would be optimistic on SCO's part. Why then, does SCO insist that ALL embedded Linux deployment is subject to their licensing demands. . . ."

"Meanwhile, MontaVista added that it protects its customers from technical and legal risks through warranties on all editions of MontaVista Linux and indemnification against claims involving the code it creates and delivers. Additionally, the firm argued that until SCO files another suit, only IBM bears any financial risk from the current legal battle: 'Open Source legal authority Lawrence Lessig points out that OEMs are effectively protected by IBM's position that neither trade secrets nor copyrighted material were disseminated into Linux. If the courts agree with IBM, no OEM would have to pay SCO; if the courts favor SCO, any award granted to SCO from IBM would settle SCO's claim -- they would not be able to charge twice (IBM and you) for the same IP,' the firm said.

"MontaVista maintains that SCO has shown little evidence of its claims.

"'MontaVista agrees with the majority of opinion in the Open Source and business communities that SCO is very unlikely to prevail in this lawsuit,' it said. 'To date, SCO has provided no real evidence to back up any of its claims, and has pointed to no specific programs that it feels were misappropriated.'"

From SCO's preferred alternate universe, they disagree. Unless you use only 2.2, they say you should "consider" a SCO license.

Today's Funniest Headline

Computerworld has today's funniest headline: "SCO Could Face Uphill Battle in Drawing New Customers". And from that story, here is my favorite quotation from all the interviewees as to whether they would consider any of SCO's new product line:

"Ronald Edge, manager of information systems for Indiana University's Intercollegiate Athletics Department in Bloomington, said the SCO lawsuit and legal battles have left him unwilling to review the company's latest wares. Besides, he said, SCO's dearth of Unix development and products over the past couple of years makes it difficult to trust the company's new road map.

"'Because of this lawsuit, I would never have anything to do with them as vendors,' he said. 'I feel a harsh, bitter Norwegian cold equivalent to hell toward SCO.'"

Why, me too! Are you paying attention, Microsoft? Here's another angle, from Tom Yager's Weblog, in which he points out that even if the president or CEO decides he'd like to consider SCO's products, there will likely be some geek maneuvers to route around that decision:

"Let's go from the boardroom to the cubicle. How does SCO think IT purchasing decisions are made? SCO has rendered itself radioactive to all involved in, or benefitting from, open source. Every major technology purchase has to be signed off by the company's technical staff, more so in lean times when every purchase is scrutinized.

"It's amazing how inventive geeks can be when they're determined to freeze a black hat vendor out of their shop. Their bosses will get well thought out, purely technical and objective analyses explaining why SCO, and those marching with it, are not a good fit for the project at hand."

4 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/23 11:28PM by Anonymous

An Open Letter to Microsoft: Don't Bother
Friday, August 22 2003 @ 11:58 AM EDT

Dee-Ann LeBlanc reports that Microsoft is saying they will fight Linux with "rational truth". I take it they wish to distance themselves from the SCO fiasco. Well, who wouldn't want that now? But, as she points out, MS funded them with millions, and we remember. And they still want to fight.

MS evidently still has not learned the bigger lesson from the SCO soap opera, which is that fighting GNU/Linux is a losing proposition. Here's why. People all over the world love the software. And they don't love you, Microsoft, so barring martial law and Bill Gates or his best friend as Emperor, you can't kill it or taint it or coopt it or buy it or give your own products away or sell them for less or any other trick that worked for you in the past. Stumped? Maybe you are thinking patents. Don't bother.

What you think is your biggest gun, and it is, is just another work-around issue to GNU/Linux coders. If you come up with one, they'll rip it out and write something else. Then you'll pull out another. Same solution. Speaking for myself, I'd even do without certain functionality if necessary. I'm not crazy about that .NET concept anyhow. As for Palladium and "trusted computing", well, thanks but no thanks. I prefer to control my own computer. You can forget your forced security updates too.

Meanwhile, while you are attacking Linux, your name is mud and more mud. Don't care? You will when the anger against you leads to an overhaul of the IP laws. I do predict that if this nonsense keeps up, because the anger ordinary mortals like me, who ordinarily don't get involved in anything, are feeling is so huge they are willing to do whatever is in their hands to ethically and legally do. That's the difference between us, that last part. You might try adding "ethical and legal" to "rational truth" and see how it works for you.

That isn't even going into the likelihood that an IBM will pull out some of its patents to protect Linux if you attack with your patent portfolio. You know, Bill, there isn't a company in the world that isn't violating somebody's IP. You know why? Because software code is math. Complicated math, but math just the same. There are only so many ways to say 1 + 1 = 2. I know you know this.

One of these sweet days, enough people will finallly understand this, and they will say to each other, "Patents aren't a good fit with software. Why did we let Microsoft and other large software companies land grab like this? The only result is a restriction on innovation by the rest of us." You know how much you believe in innovation, huh? That'll be a PR challenge you can't win. And that'll be the end of the patent hussle.

Law is based on what people think is fair and appropriate. In a democracy, at least, that is the idea. And when you get so many people so mad, it's trivial to predict the result to you if you attack the GNU/Linux community in your typical smarmy way.

One last thing: it's too late. You waited too long, just like you missed the internet and never caught up as a result. If you had attacked GNU/Linux a couple of years ago, you might have won. But it's too late now that Unilever, and IBM, and Merrill Lynch, and the city of Munich and the government of China have "gone Linux", not to mention that anti-trust spotlight shining on your every move. All you can do now is offer a better product, behave yourself so people won't hate you so much, actually innovate, and try to win fair and square. What a concept.

And Bill, one last thing. You know what else we're getting sick of? Corporations making money or trying to gain a competitive advantage from lawsuits. Consumers take a look and realize: what does this do for me as a consumer? Jack up prices to pay for the attorneys. That's it. These lawsuits you proprietary folk think of as normal business are a disgrace and show us all that companies that do this aren't thinking about their customers one bit. Here's one customer telling you: I won't buy from a company that acts this way, given free will. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

You know one of the many things that we love about GNU/Linux? They just keep coding and innovating and acting decently and they don't sue each other. I don't see Red Hat suing Mandrake. Does that mean problems never crop up? No. But they tend to get worked out without going to court, because the entire emphasis in the community is on getting the job done while retaining integrity as a company and as individuals. The worst that normally happens is a flame war. You're welcome to try that.

Oh, I forgot. You already do that, only you have to pay people to post on Slashdot, pretending they aren't employees, or at least that's the impression we get. Still not quite on the same page, are we? Well, work on it, or go out of business. Those are your choices. No. Really.

Speaking of rational truth, here's its evil stepsister, the claim by McBride that their code adds up to more than a million lines of code:

"Earlier statements by McBride indicate that SCO code didn't begin showing up in Linux until the 2.4 version. According to David Wheeler's analysis of the total lines of code in Linux, the kernel grew from 1,526,722 lines in version 2.2 to 2,437,470 lines of code by release 2.4.2.

"If McBride's latest unsubstantiated claim is to be believed, the Linux kernel developers didn't actually contribute any new lines of code to the 2.4 release. It all would have had to come from SCO."

54 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/23 09:12AM by Anonymous

SCO Still Distributing Linux From Its Web Site
Thursday, August 21 2003 @ 09:38 PM EDT

SCO Still Distributing Linux From Its Web Site

You know? I'm getting weary teaching SCO how the GPL works. They just don't pay attention. My grandmother quit teaching and became a librarian years ago for that exact reason. It's not fun teaching if the class isn't trying. But here goes, one more time. Class?

Two readers have informed me that you can download OpenLinux from SCO's site, that it includes the complete kernel source code, it's licensed under the GPL, and it's the 2.4 kernel. What's up, SCO?

Oh, and they have a "legal notice" that you can only download it if you are a customer. Here is the first message:

"For the record, SCO is still distributing the Linux kernel. URL:

I . . . verified that it contains a tar ball (linux-2.4.13.tar.bz2), identical to the one available from Instructions for those wanting to verify this themselves:

" also contains a legal notice saying that the files are available for download for existing SCO/Caldera customers only."

The legal notice reads like this:

NOTICE: SCO has suspended new sales and distribution of SCO Linux until the intellectual property issues surrounding Linux are resolved. SCO will, however, continue to support existing SCO Linux and Caldera OpenLinux customers consistent with existing contractual obligations. SCO offers at no extra charge to its existing Linux customers a SCO UNIX IP license for their use of prior SCO or Caldera distributions of Linux in binary format. The license also covers binary use of support updates distributed to them by SCO. This SCO license balances SCO's need to enforce its intellectual property rights against the practical needs of existing customers in the marketplace.

The Linux rpms available on SCO's ftp site are offered for download to existing customers of SCO Linux, Caldera OpenLinux or SCO UnixWare with LKP, in order to honor SCO's support obligations to such customers.

I'd say the legality of this "legal notice" has yet to be determined, but I have no doubt in my mind that the distribution itself is a copyright violation, if they are not distributing under the GPL, and a GPL violation if they are. In fact, I'd say it's thumbing its nose at the GPL. I'm not suggesting you download it unless you are a prior customer, just making a public record that they are allowing their customers, at a minimum, to do so.

If the GPL is invalid, what license are they using for this download? If you answer none, then SCO must be releasing it under copyright, in which case we need to ask them: Did you ask before taking someone else's work?

Call the IP police! Those Napster pirates have shown up in Utah!

There is no contract in the world that will justify violating someone else's legal rights, and because the authors with the copyright rights get to decide how they release their work, and they already chose the GPL or nothing, anyone offering their work without their permission is a pirate, using SCO's own terminology. And in this case, it fits.

Think it's not copyright infringement if you keep it inside the company or just your own customers? Here is a decision on just such a situation, Lowry's Reports, Inc. v. Legg Mason, Inc. It's a pdf. It's an interesting case, because Lowry's brought a RICO claim as well, as their web site explains:

Legg Mason is also charged in the suit with violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961-68 for their alleged use of U.S. mails and wire transmissions in its scheme to defraud Lowry's and Legg Mason's own clients who were led to believe that they were entitled to obtain copies of Lowry's reports, thus exposing those customers to copyright liability. Under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), Legg Mason is liable for actual and treble damages.

My second message informs me that the kernel size is identical to the 2.4.23 kernel and a collection of patches for that kernel. Here is the rest of the information:

Name: linux
Relocations: (not relocateable)
Version: 2.4.13
Vendor: Caldera International, Inc.
Release: 21S
Build Date: Sat 03 May 2003 15:17:07 BST
Install date: (not installed)
Build Host:
Group: System/Kernel
Source RPM: (none)
Size: 27986389
License: GPL
Packager: Ashish Kalra
Summary: Linux kernel sources and compiled kernel image.
Description: Linux kernel sources and compiled kernel images. B-
Distribution: OpenLinux3.1.1

Excusez-moi, but if the GPL is preempted by copyright, how can SCO allow multiple copies to be made? And did you notice the build date? Naughty SCO. You're going to have to stay after class and write a hundred times on the blackboard, "I will not violate the GPL or infringe anyone's copyright ever again."

90 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/23 01:21PM by Anonymous

All Your Code Are Belong to Us
Thursday, August 21 2003 @ 02:03 AM EDT

When I first heard that SCO's lawyers had "declared" the GPL "invalid", as one headline earnestly put it, I thought that SCO still just didn't get how the GPL works.

I was going to write a funny piece explaining it in Little Golden Book style so as to make sure they really grasped it. I figured I could solve McBride's anxiety about proprietary code ending up GPLd ("Everybody is scared to death that their own IP is going to get sucked into this GPL machine and get destroyed.") by simply pointing out that he doesn't have to distribute his code with GPL code in the first place. Presto. Worry solved.

Nobody is forced to use GPL code. If you leave GPL code alone and just don't distribute it yourself with your code aggregated with it, you never have to worry about your code ending up GPLd. Evidently, however, "everybody" wants to use GPL code, hence the worry. And their dilemma: How to "use" it, in the worst connotation of the word, and get away with it, without having to pay for it or give anything back.

And what to do about about SCO's already having distributed their code under the GPL and continuing to distribute GPL code after they filed the lawsuit, as IBM accuses them of doing? That, at least, is a rational worry on their part. Their attack on the GPL, then, is an attempt to wiggle out of that result by creating an escape hatch. That indicates that they finally read the GPL and now agree with us that unless they can get the GPL declared invalid, they have no wiggle room at all and are like a butterfly pinned to a display.

Here is what "lead attorney", note not David Boies, according to the article, but Mark Heise of Boies' law firm, said:

"'The GPL tries to define the rights of copyright holders with respect to copying, distribution and modification of copyrighted source code. These are activities covered by the [US] Copyright Act,' the lawyer firm said.

"'Article I of the [US] Constitution vests in congress the right to regulate copyrights. When congress enacted the Copyright Act, it defined certain exclusive rights that copyright holders can rely upon to protect their rights.'

"These rights include copying, authorising derivative works, modifying and distributing the copyrighted material, while an interest in copyrighted material cannot be transferred unless expressly authorised in writing, they said."

Translation: Woops, our code is GPLd. What to do? What to do? Attack one particular aspect of the GPL, namely whether you must GPL your code if you distribute it aggregated with GPL code. That's the part that sticks in their craw.

They are afraid their claim of not realizing their code was being distributed isn't going to fly. Now, they are in a tight spot, and getting that code back isn't what they really want anyway, so they now come up with this argument: copyyright law defines a copyright holder's rights to restrict copying. The GPL broadens the amount of copies recipients can make, so it overrules copyright's protection, so it can't be valid without a written waiver from the copyright holder, because you can't waive your copyrights without a written waiver, and they never signed the GPL, so therefore they can rely on their copyright limitations on copying instead of the GPL. It's as incomprehensible and hard to explain as the Trinity, unless you realize that they mean quite simply this: "We don't want our code that we distributed under the GPL to be GPL any more, because that would be the end of our lawsuit, and we don't want our UNIX code to end up GPLd." Then it all makes a kind of SCOSense.

In short, it's Hail Mary time. They would like to eat their cake and have it too. They want to be able to have accepted other people's code under the terms of the very license they now seek to invalidate, make money from the code for years, money which helped them have the funds to buy rights to certain UNIX software, presumably, and then turn around and not abide by the rest of the terms of the GPL license because, according to them now, the license conflicts with copyright law.

Maybe they can get Judge Kimball to recuse himself and get the case assigned to Judge Judy instead. She might buy this. Even with Judge Judy, though, they will face another issue: the GPL isn't a waiver of copyrights, despite what they are saying. Those rights are retained, not waived, and the license, which sits on top of copyright, merely relaxes some of the limitations of copyright law and says the copyright holder is willing to expand your rights.

They didn't accept the code under the terms of the GPL, you argue? Then they had no right to copy, authorize derivative works, modify, or distribute the aggregated code at all, according to the very copyright law which they rely on. But they did all those things. Linux is copyrighted, in addition to being under the GPL. Faced with two poisons, I gather they chose what seems the least damaging.

Evidently they have decided it's less dangerous to rely on copyright and get sued for violating all the coder's copyright rights, which is the position they are in if the GPL were to be declared invalid, rather than losing their code to the GPL and their case. Yes, that IBM counterclaim is what they are responding to, and their response is, to me, quite a validation of the strength of the GPL if their only escape is to rip it up. Here's what the GPL says happens if the GPL is invalid (that is, invalidated in toto, as opposed to one part only being invalidated):

"4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.

"5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it. . . .

"7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program. . . ."

If only one part is invalidated, this is what the GPL says, as section 7 continues:

"If any portion of this section is held invalid or unenforceable under any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to apply and the section as a whole is intended to apply in other circumstances."

You can't blame them for trying, I suppose, but it does indicate that they are beginning to grasp the full implications of the GPL and what it means for them that they have allowed continued downloads of the kernel and all the rest, even after the lawsuit. Yes, I heard their "explanation" that they only allowed updates, not the full kernel. But I have heard and seen too much to believe that story. So they are in a real pickle. Talk about all your code are belong to us. Not to mention "You are on the way to destruction." That's what must have had them staring at the ceiling at 2 AM. They are not alone in wanting to invalidate the GPL, of course.

But the deeper question is, why are they still using GPL applications, like Samba, if the GPL is invalid? They reportedly had a How-To on GNU tools at SCOForum. And why are they, even now, offering code under the GPL from their web site, and I don't mean the kernel? Reading that they are working on a new kernel gives us the necessary clue to what, I believe, has been the plan from the beginning: to destroy or at least taint the reputation of the Linux kernel, replace it with their own, and offer UNIX with GNU tools and applications on top as something "better" than GNU/Linux, Linux without the lawsuit. And then charge you fees until your eyeballs pop out. Here's what gives me that idea:

"The SCO Group, on a mission to monetize its Unix assets using legal and licensing maneuvers, told channel partners that it expects to revive its Unix business in 2004 with the help of licensing revenue and the significant launches of its OpenServer and UnixWare products.

"At SCO Forum 2003 in Las Vegas, SCO channel partners will see better upgrade and sell-in opportunities from the company's SCOx Web services platform, the planned delivery of major new version of OpenServer being developed under the name Project Legend, and a major upgrade of UnixWare in late 2004, said Erik Hughes, director of product management at SCO. The first components of SCOx were delivered this week at the Las Vegas conference.

"The 'Legend' edition of OpenServer, which is targeted at SMB customers, will be refitted with SCOx Web services support, an XML parser and SOAP toolkit, an OpenLDAP directory, better multithreading, open-source tools Tomcat, PHP and Mozilla, enhanced J2EE support and enhanced security with support for IPsec, VPN and PAN capabilities.

"SCO also plans to debut in 2004 or 2005 a 64-bit version of UnixWare for enterprise customers that incorporates all of the features of Legend as well a major new version of the Unix kernel itself, System V Release 6 (SVR6), the executives said.

"UnixWare 2004 -- SCO's latest stab at providing a 64-bit platform -- will also offer built-in SCOx Web services support with XML and SOAP support, as well as better support for enterprise databases and large file support, they said. . . .

"However, at last week's partner event, SCO product executives insisted that they will fight to keep SCO Unix alive in the marketplace by modernizing the code and broadening its base of value-added options on top of the Unix kernel."

Hmm. SOAP means Windows, does it not? Why, yes it does. The plot thickens. Now if they can just slow down the Linux juggernaut and keep it off 64-bit long enough to get that kernel written...

When this all began, Eben Moglen in May said that he had approached SCO's lawyers and personally promised that if they would identify the code, it would be immediately removed. The Free Software Foundation, not IBM, holds the copyright to the Linux distribution IBM created, Linux for S/360. IBM created the Linux distribution but released it under the GPL and signed the copyright over to the Free Software Foundation. If all SCO wanted was to protect their IP, that's irrational on their part, not to accept that kind offer from Moglen. But if the goal is to destroy or at least slow Linux down long enough to come up with a replacement for the enterprise customer, Brand X Linux, then every irrational act becomes rational in SCOThink.

When Bruce Perens posted on his web site a 2002 letter in which SCO, then known as Caldera International, put some older Unix code under an open-source license, it drew this response today from SCO's attorney, Michael Heise, and ask yourself as you read it, does this sound like the response of a man who truly and authentically believes the GPL is invalid? If so, why didn't he say that?:

"Michael Heise, a partner with Boies, Schiller & Flexner who's representing SCO, downplayed concerns that the contested code may be covered by an open-source license. In an interview with CNET at the SCO show, Heise said even if, hypothetically, some older Caldera code were open-source, it wouldn't make a difference to the case.

"'Let's say you have a hundred files, and you put one of your hundred files under the GPL ( GNU General Public License ). That doesn't mean you've lost the rights to your other 99 files,' Heise said. So I don't think it's going to have an impact.'"

Except to your entire case, that is. And your credibility. You'd better sit down, Mr. Heise. I need to explain something to you, and I don't want you to faint. You are basing your entire licensing program on an allegation of copyright infringement. Can you connect the dots from here?

116 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/22 10:50AM by Anonymous

Bill Claybrook Was Right on the Money
Thursday, August 21 2003 @ 01:47 AM EDT

Since we strolled down memory lane with the lovely and tireless Ms. Didio, I thought it'd be good to take a stroll with Bill Claybrook, the other Aberdeen Group analyst. He, unlike Ms. DiDio, was a UNIX programmer and a professor, and here's what he said when he saw the code, and how far off did he turn out to be?
"All of it could have been copied from BSD Unix," he said, referring to a version of Unix different from SCO's System V version. "I have no way of knowing all that -- not without seeing it on the computer," he said. "And what's weird about it is, it wasn't like they copied the whole function," Claybrook said, referring to the programmers who allegedly copied code. "If you pull pieces of code from one program to another, it means you have to integrate them into your code, and then test with everything else," he said. "It just doesn't make sense -- why not take the whole function?" . . .

"In Aberdeen's view, if SCO wins its lawsuit against IBM (or settles out of court), then this is not a knockout punch for Linux."
Next, ComputerWorld back in June quoted him as saying he had "no idea" if there was a problem with the code. How could he say that if the code and even the notes seem to be identical? Because he couldn't tell where the code had originated or who put what where first, he explained. Another thing bothered him:
...he asked SCO officials if they had any "direct evidence" that IBM copied any System V code into Linux and was first told there was no such evidence. Hours later, he said, SCO officials called him back and told him that they had "misspoken" and that they did have such evidence. "That's kind of strange," Claybrook said.
In case his boss didn't notice, the man knows what he's talking about.

Meanwhile, even the money guys are noticing. On MSN's Moneycentral today, I noticed that SCOX was rated a 3, out of a possible 10, with the following warning:
The SCO Group, Inc., a small-cap growth company in the technology sector, is expected to significantly underperform the market over the next six months with very high risk. . . .

The price-to-earnings multiple is higher than the average for all stocks in the StockScouter universe.

18 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/21 01:51PM by Anonymous

More Threats from SCO
Wednesday, August 20 2003 @ 04:38 AM EDT

SCO doesn't like it there are no lines forming to pay them for their license, so they say they will now start suing. Soon. Someday. It's in the works. They're making a list and checking it twice.

read more (309 words) 139 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/21 10:29PM by Anonymous

Where Was Ms. DiDio On This Day of Days?
Wednesday, August 20 2003 @ 04:04 AM EDT

I can't help myself.

We've all listened to her expound on this code for months now. Hardly a day went by without another quotation from the lovely and tireless Ms. DiDio on how credible SCO's code claims are and how seriously the community should be taking them. And today, not a peep.

Well, we can't have a DiDio-free day on the one occasion we all particularly want to hear from her the most. Since she does not oblige, and is perhaps wanting to hide behind the couch so no one ringing the bell will know she's home, perhaps a quick review. After all, she's a senior analyst, so her words have lasting value. In a perfect world, her boss reads Groklaw.

So here, on this supremely satisfying day, for your reading pleasure and for the edification of all, I will let her speak, in her own words:

  • Laura DiDio, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said she was shown two or three samples of the allegedly copied Linux code, and it appeared to her that the sections were a "copy and paste" match of the SCO Unix code that she was shown in comparison.

    DiDio and the other analysts were able to view the code only under a nondisclosure agreement, so she couldn't divulge intricate details of what she was shown. "The courts are going to ultimately have to prove this, but based on what I'm seeing ... I think there is a basis that SCO has a credible case," DiDio said. "This is not a nuisance case."

  • "One could argue that developers could write exact or very similar code, but the developers' comments in the code are basically your DNA, or fingerprints, for a particular piece of source code," said Laura DiDio, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group (Boston), who viewed the evidence.

  • "My impression is that [SCO's claim] is credible," says Laura DiDio, a Yankee Group analyst who was shown the evidence by SCO Group earlier this week. "It appears to be the same" code. But DiDio says the developing battle could hinge on legal fine points that are hard to sort out in the current atmosphere of claims, denials, and counterclaims.

    Apparently the most telling evidence is that parts of the SCO code and Linux code include identical annotations made by developers when they wrote the programs, says DiDio, who compares such notes to the signature or fingerprint of a developer's work. "The fact that these appear to be transposed from Unix System V into Linux I find to be very damaging." DiDio says she was shown several instances where the source code and developer's comments in one operating system were the same as in the other operating system.

  • Some lines of code in Linux are the same as those in Unix, which SCO controls, even down to the wording in explanatory comments made by the programmers, according to Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, who reviewed samples.

    While different versions of so-called executable code can be very similar, "comment lines are like fingerprints," said DiDio, who added that she believes SCO could make a credible case against IBM.

And my personal favorite, although off-topic:

Securing copyrights adds a measure of credence to SCO's claims, says Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio. "They are striking the right note of righteousness and responsibility."

And the first runner-up:

"SCO won't be stupid about the pricing. They won't gouge customers," said Laura DiDio, senior analyst, application infrastructure and software platforms, at the Yankee Group.

Enough. The hole she dug for herself is deep enough. I don't want to humiliate anyone. She is a fellow human, after all, and humans make mistakes. But her mistaken ideas, expressed with conviction, did damage to GNU/Linux, and she is probably better suited to talking about Windows, her previous area of ...I started to say expertise, but who knows? There is always a danger in listening to only one side of a story. When you are an analyst, I'd say it's professional suicide. At least it ought to be.

Now that the rug has been pulled out from under her, and her conclusions have gone splat, I'd like to see her say she was wrong. Ok, it's not a perfect world yet, so I won't hold my breath. She's really a metaphor anyway to make a serious point. There was plenty of information out there she and other analysts, and reporters too, for that matter, could have been considering, but didn't, that would have shown them they were barking up the wrong tree. Literally. And now, how do they look? Not you, Bill Claybrook. You were an honest man who knew enough about programming to ask the right questions and express the right doubts.

Finally, I think this Babelfish translation of the Heise article pretty much says it all, when it talks about McBride's message to the faithful at SCOForum:

"Matured technology is not to be had evenly to the zero tariff. 'free software -- that is not our thing." Into Unix were 20 years development: With this basis SCO wants to make also in the next 20 years money. It called developers and partners from the Unix surrounding field for support, because "otherwise the times of the good business will soon past be."

Here's hoping.

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Most Recent Post: 08/24 04:45PM by Anonymous

SCO's Math Is Off, Or Maybe It's Their Ethics
Tuesday, August 19 2003 @ 07:58 PM EDT

Dick Gringas, a programmer and Groklaw reader spent the time to figure out some of SCO's math. They are talking about millions of lines of code. Dick has figured out the numbers for SMP/RCU/NUMA code in Linux, and even if you put them all together in one heap, it doesn't add up to millions of lines of code.

read more (2538 words) 31 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/21 07:01AM by Anonymous

Today America, Tomorrow the World!
Tuesday, August 19 2003 @ 02:00 PM EDT

SCO plans an Anschluss of GNU/Linux in Europe, in addition to the US land grab. That is the conclusion I reach from reading today's press release:
The SCO Group Announces Appointment of Gregory Blepp

Tuesday August 19, 8:03 am ET

Former VP of International Business at SuSE Joins SCO As VP of SCOsource in Europe

LINDON, Utah, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX - News), the owner of the UNIX® operating system, today announced the appointment of Gregory Blepp as vice president of SCOsource. Blepp will report to Chris Sontag, the senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, the division of SCO tasked with protecting and licensing the company's UNIX intellectual property.

Blepp, a former VP of International Business at SuSE, brings to SCO a wealth of experience in marketing and business management from time at Network Associates and Computer Associates. Blepp's appointment is taking place at SCOForum in Las Vegas this week where he is being introduced to SCO partners and resellers.

"We're pleased to have Gregory Blepp join SCO to assist in our efforts around SCOsource in Europe," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president and GM, SCOsource. "We look forward to using Blepp's talents and expertise in assisting the company to properly license SCO's valuable UNIX intellectual property."

About The SCO Group

The SCO Group (Nasdaq: SCOX) helps millions of customers in more than 82 countries to grow their businesses with UNIX business solutions. Headquartered in Lindon, Utah, SCO has a worldwide network of more than 11,000 resellers and 4,000 developers. SCO Global Services provides reliable localized support and services to all partners and customers. For more information on SCO products and services visit

SCO and the associated SCO logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of The SCO Group, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other brand or product names are or may be trademarks of, and are used to identify products or services of, their respective owners.

I like the knighthood being bestowed at SCOSource, with its catchy theme, Mission: Trained to Sell. I am sure his mommy is very proud of him for this great career move. And it does seem just right for a marketer to be the number two guy at SCOSource. I don't think that's the fit we'd normally have thought of, so it just goes to show how creative those wacky guys are in Utah. Bet Blepp will love Utah. Why, shucks, I even like his name for his assignment. I don't think Dickens could have invented anything better, and there's no denying that our Alice in Wonderland metaphor is starting to feel a little too nice and too sweet for what is now going on, and a Dickensian shift seems in order. Bleak House comes to mind. So all in all, Blepp seems the right man for the job.

Here's hoping he's out of a job so fast that he never even shows up as a blip on the radar.

22 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/20 07:44AM by Anonymous

The Code - Updated
Tuesday, August 19 2003 @ 01:37 PM EDT

There is a comment on Yahoo! Finance from a poster whose identity is unknown to me. Normally, that would mean I wouldn't mention it on Groklaw, as I have scrupulously avoided anything I couldn't evaluate and verify. But this is something I'd be delinquent not to report, I think, now that it's on the internet anyway and public. So I will just say that I am putting it up with a request that those who can appropriately evaluate it do so. Here is the message in full:
SCO's "proof". A joke.
by: d1rkinator 08/19/03 09:10 am
Msg: 29448 of 29609

  The code SCO finds offending:
Its location in Linux:
And its heritage:
Ok, SCO: This was easy. Now, show us the other many examples.
This is definitely one of those days I wish I were a programmer. Feedback, those of you who are?

UPDATE: Lots of analysis of this available now by Bruce Perens, and LWN and Slashdot. Thank you, Groklaw readers. You are, once again, amazing. I knew you'd come through, but I'm amazed at the speed.

57 comments  View Printable Version
Most Recent Post: 08/20 09:24AM by Anonymous

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