"The most substantial intellectual property in UNIX comes from SCO," said Chris Sontag, Senior Vice President for Operating Systems and SCOsource, The SCO Group. "While Linux is an Open Source product, it shares philosophy, architecture and APIs with UNIX. Starting today, SCO's libraries will be available to third-party application developers, OS vendors, hardware providers, services vendors, and end-users. SCO will help customers legitimately combine Linux and UNIX technology to run thousands of UNIX applications. SCOsource plans to create other new licensing programs to make our rich inventory of UNIX System technology available to the market."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-01-22
"I wish we could just say we know everything, but we're dealing with such a large problem with many areas and complexities that we can't say 'this is it' and be done -- I wish we could," he said. "I can empathize with the concerns of [the Linux community], but we don't know all the answers to what may or may not be of issue," as SCO assess its intellectual property.
[...] "We want to see Linux succeed and grow," he said. "But we also have a significant amount of intellectual property in Unix, and in a number of cases we've seen so far, there's been some inappropriate use of our Unix technology."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-02-11
"Many have commented that the GPL is very ambiguous and not very specific, leaving many things up in the air that could be potentially interpreted in many different ways, and I would agree with those characterizations," Sontag said.
This vagueness, he said, "can be problematic in cases when companies want to make contributions of certain things and maintain their intellectual property on other things and hold some things in reserve. The GPL in some cases can be problematic as to how you go about sorting that out."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-02-11
"Our focus right now is on IBM," he said Friday morning before the conference call. "We have a very strong case and we're very confidently moving forward. We're fully committed to taking this all the way."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-03-07
"When they (IBM) started utilizing the same engineers that worked on the Unix System V source code and the ultimate derivative of it in the form of AIX, they have effectively been applying our methods and concepts, even if there isn't a single explicit line of code" that shows up in Linux.
Some have perpetual licenses, others do not. They are perpetual as long as they honor the terms of their contract. When they break their contract, they are no longer perpetual. Some companies have been very honorable in their strict adherence to the terms of our contract. Others, as our complaint against IBM alleges, have not.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-04-28
We are using objective third parties to do comparisons of our UNIX System V source code and Red Hat as an example. We are coming across many instances where our proprietary software has simply been copied and pasted or changed in order to hide the origin of our System V code in Red Hat. This is the kind of thing that we will need to address with many Linux distribution companies at some point.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-04-28
What he meant was that if SCO prevails in their lawsuit with IBM, companies like Red Hat and SuSE may need to revisit their distributions and remove any UNIX system code from their distributions and compensate SCO in some way for the software code that they benefited from by using our UNIX code.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-04-28
"Legal liability may rest with the end users. It is not carried by the distributor or by anyone else involved in selling that Linux distribution into these commercial accounts. It resides with the end users, which is unheard of. They need to know they have exposure in this issue," Sontag said.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-15
"SCO is taking this important step because there are intellectual property issues with Linux.
"When SCO's own UNIX software code is being illegally copied into Linux, we believe we have an obligation to educate commercial users of the potential liability that could rest with them for using such software to run their business. We feel so strongly about this issue that we are suspending sales and distribution of SCO Linux until these issues are resolved."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-15
"We certainly have suspended our activities with UnitedLinux," SCO's Sontag said. SuSE's argument that its UnitedLinux contract protects it from SCO legal action is baseless, he added.
"We think it is appropriate that we warn commercial companies that there are intellectual property issues with Linux," Chris Sontag, head of the effort to derive more revenue from SCO's intellectual property, said in an interview. "We sent it to the Fortune 500 and effectively the global 2000. It ended up being about 1,500 top international companies."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-15
"We've identified a large number of contributions from various sources which are very disconcerting to us, and additional areas of code with no attribution to any contributor or maintainer at all," Sontag said. "This is in the kernel, and also in extended areas of Linux."
Sontag said IBM employees were among those who copied code. In reading Big Blue's Web site describing Linux contributions, one can "find a lot of areas they mention code contributions they have made from AIX into Linux," Sontag said. AIX is IBM's version of Unix.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-15
Sontag specifically claimed that there is "significant copyrighted and trade secret code within Linux".
When asked for examples of infringement, Sontag said, "It's all over the place" but did not characterize any one subsystem as containing more infringing code than others. Infringement is present not only in distributions and vendor kernels, but in the official kernel available from kernel.org. Code has been "munged around solely for the purpose of hiding the authorship or origin of the code", he said.
"I can't at this point lay out all the evidence", Sontag said [....]
I have reviewed the agreements we have with SuSE. I would not characterise them in any form whatsoever as providing SuSE with any rights to our Unix intellectual property. They are dead wrong on that issue.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-16
Q: What you are saying then is: if there is Unix code put into Linux by IBM, and SuSE is using Linux, they would therefore be liable by default?
Q: Would that also be true of Red Hat?
The same issue in terms of inappropriate intellectual property in Linux being distributed by any commercial distribution would provide them with the same issue. So Red Hat, SuSE or any other commercial distribution would have equal liability.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-16
They really did not make much of a response. So we are moving forward now and we expect to speedily get into the discovery process and be able to start coming forward in a court setting with the evidence related to the evidence in our lawsuit.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-16
We announced with our first-quarter earnings that our financial situation had dramatically improved. I will leave it at that, but we expect very shortly to be announcing our second quarter and it is my understanding that it should be very favourable.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-16
"There are many companies in the IT industry who acknowledge and respect the intellectual property of software. With this announcement, Microsoft is clearly showing the importance of maintaining compatibility with Unix and Microsoft's software solutions through their software licensing. This important step will better help their customers implement Unix and Windows solutions," he said.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-19
the company had identified "significant source code copying issues within Linux, some of which we believe comes from IBM but many others of which come from third parties. All of these are very troubling to us," Sontag said.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-19
Q: You're claiming that Linux has been polluted with Unix code that you own, but you have not produced any evidence of that. Will you?
We will actually be providing some of the evidence next month to various industry analysts, respected press people and other industry leaders so that they don't have to take our word for it or wait until we show some of that evidence in court. We will actually be showing the code, and the basis for why we have made the allegations that we have. We are very confident about our case. Because we are dealing with confidential source code that we have never released without confidentiality agreements, we will have to put in place nondisclosures [agreements] simply to protect the source. But people will be able to give their opinion as to what they think.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-05-29
"Is it appropriate for someone to take your work that you do for Salon and put it in another publication without attribution and with someone else's name on it? The obvious answer is no. What if someone takes your research and the effort you put into your work and then munges it around -- changes the paragraphs and the words around so it doesn't look like it's the same work, although it's effectively your work? Is that appropriate? Still the answer is no."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-03
"What we're talking about is showing Unix System V code, and we have strict confidentiality with that and it has to be maintained," he says. "But we do realize and understand that people want to see that we have proof, and we are going to be making that proof available as soon as we can. We'll probably make it available to some people" -- for instance, financial analysts or reporters -- "under NDA so they can make their own evaluations."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-03
"This amendment simply confirms SCO's long-stated position that it owns all copyrights associated with the Unix and UnixWare businesses.
"SCO is the owner of the Unix operating system, as well as all of the Unix contracts, claims and copyrights necessary to conduct that business.
"Because others have called into question SCO's ownership of the Unix and UnixWare copyrights, we are satisfied that we have now proven without a doubt that SCO owns those copyrights."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-06
Messman's letter, he said, turned those requests [for Amendment No. 2 of Asset Purchase Agreement] into SCO "repeatedly" asking "Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected."
"The GPL requires the intentional act of the legal copyright holder to affirmatively and knowingly donate the source code to the GPL," Sontag said. "You can't inadvertently GPL your code."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-11
"Do we have potential issues with Red Hat, SuSE and other commercial Linux distributors--yes, we might," Sontag said, adding that chances for negotiating with such companies appear to be slim.
Sontag said SCO has found numerous other violations since filing the IBM suit. "We keep finding more stuff every day," he said. "There's (allegedly infringing) code in all the Linux distributions."
"But what about BSD?" I asked. Sontag responded that there "could be issues with the [BSD] settlement agreement," adding that Berkeley may not have lived up to all of its commitments under the settlement.
"So you want royalties from FreeBSD as well?" I asked. Sontag responded that "there may or may not be issues. We believe that UNIX System V provided the basic building blocks for all subsequent computer operating systems, and that they all tend to be derived from UNIX System V (and therefore are claimed as SCO's intellectual property)."
"So is anybody clean? What about Apple and Microsoft?" I wondered. "Sun is clean," he said?but he gave no answer in regards to Apple and Microsoft.
"GPL has the same derivative rights concept [as UNIX]," according to Sontag: "Once contributed, code cannot be removed." But Sontag says that the UNIX code which was GPL'ed by AT&T licensees was GPL'ed illegally, without the permission of the copyright holder?allegedly SCO.
Sontag explained that the GPL makes it quite clear that only the copyright holder can contribute code. So if the contributor did not actually own the code then it was never actually GPL'ed.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-16
"This termination not only applies to new business by IBM, but also existing copies of AIX that are installed at all customer sites. All of it has to be destroyed," Sontag said.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-16
"We gave IBM notice that they're in violation of the contract that they had," Sontag told Reuters.
After sifting through e-mails from the Linux developers' mailing list, Sontag says SCO has examples of programmers from AT&T licensees offering to write UNIX code into Linux, and can identify where those UNIX fragments turned up in the codebase.
[...] Sontag explained that Linux has "no gatekeeper mechanisms to check the code getting into Linux." Furthermore, it is SCO's position that Linux used to be a "hobbyist" OS, and the "vast majority" of Linux developers had "good intentions." But now that Linux is entering the commercial arena, SCO wants to collect on its royalties.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-16
When I asked Sontag to confirm if he told me that "Linux endusers are innocent bystanders," he responded "no," that he was speaking in terms of AIX, not Linux. He added that Linux users know they are getting an OS totally without IP warranties of any kind. AIX users are innocent bystanders, but SCO had to exert pressure on IBM.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-16
"We have a recognition of the fact that it's not the end users that have caused this problem, it's IBM's actions that have caused this problem. Our preference would be for corrective action on the part of IBM," SCO's Sontag said. "If we need to, we will enforce all our rights, even with IBM's end users."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-17
"What he's doing is baseless because the important point is that the Unix System V source code has never been provided to any entity without a full source code agreement with full confidentiality, and very strict provisions."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-06-19
"Since the year 2001 commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated Unix software owned by SCO," said Chris Sontag, SCO senior vice president.
"While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully paid-for way."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-07-21
"Since the year 2001 commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated UNIX software owned by SCO," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager, SCOsource intellectual property division, The SCO Group. "While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-07-21
"Since the year 2001, commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated Unix software owned by SCO," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, the company's intellectual property unit. "While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-07-21
Further lawsuits against other Linux distributors are "a possibility," Sontag said in March, but he added that SCO "believes the majority of our licensees are appropriately upholding their licenses."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-07-21
"IBM shared derivative works with the Linux community," says Chris Sontag, senior VP and general manager of SCO Group's SCOsource division. "That's been very damaging to SCO. It was not IBM's code to contribute."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-07-31
"We believe it is necessary for Linux customers to properly license SCO's IP," Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, said. "The license insures that customers can continue their use of binary deployments of Linux without violating SCO's intellectual property rights."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-05
"This Fortune 500 company recognises the importance of paying for SCO's IP that is found in Linux and can now run Linux in their environment under a legitimate licence from SCO," said Chris Sontag, SCOsource general manager and senior vice president.
"I can understand one or two lines being in common," said Sontag, who is charged with maintaining the company's intellectual property rights surrounding Unix. "But when you're talking about this level of variables being the same?the comment sections all being the same, it's problematic."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-18
"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.
[...] Sontag said Linux customers have several choices: stop running Linux or scale back to version 2.2; find another platform that has the appropriate licenses and usage rights; or pay SCO a licensing fee to run Linux in binary form with the appropriate IP from SCO.
"We have rocket scientists who have applied their spectral recognition and pattern analysis to software, which has yielded amazing results. We have found needles in the Mount Everest-sized haystack," Sontag said.
[...] 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.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-18
"Given the nature of this case and that there may be a significant period of time before it's resolved and that people were clamoring to see it, we decided to show a few pieces of evidence," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president of the SCOsource unit, which is charged with protecting SCO's Unix-related intellectual property.
As of the end of the day on Monday, more than 150 people had seen the code presentation, which the company said includes a small portion of the infringing code it has found so far. Sontag said the company has uncovered more than a million lines of copied code in Linux, with the help of pattern recognition experts.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-19
"The vast majority of the code [in violation] is the derivative work from IBM, so that's a great place to start," Sontag stated. "We're talking about more than one million lines of code that can be remedied."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-20
``Their assertions are incorrect. The source code is absolutely owned by SCO,'' said Chris Sontag, general manager of the company's software licensing arm. ``In fact, SCO knows exactly which version of System V the code came from.''-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-20
"He's [Bruce Perens] wrong, he doesn't have examples of the evidence. We do. He is trying to put a happy face on a problematic situation for the Linux community," Sontag said. "Try as they might to come up with arguments to bolster their position, the facts and everything we know are extremely strong in SCO's favor."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-26
"It was an example of our ability to find moderately changed or obfuscated code, it was not an example we are using in court," Sontag said. "If they want to go off and make a big defense on that, they are welcome to it."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-26
"The Linux GPL itself asserts that the valid legal copyright holder has to place a notice at the beginning of their copyrighted work, the source code, identifying the code and the GPL. It requires an overt action. SCO has not contributed its code, and as soon as we became aware of the copyright violation we suspended our distribution," Sontag said.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-08-26
"For one thing [replacing the offending code] doesn't solve the past problems," he said.
Red Hat and SuSe are also "significantly underestimating the size of the problem", said Sontag. "The amount of Unix code in Linux could be greater than 25%."
Beyond the 80 or so lines of code that we show under nondisclosure to interested parties, we have identified some examples of more than a million lines of code that have gone into Linux in the form of programs and files such as NUMA (non-uniform memory access), RCU (read, copy, update), and the JFS (the Journal File System from AIX). I haven't seen anyone in the Linux community racing to remove these million lines of code from Linux yet. And even if this code were to be removed, should not SCO receive some kind of compensation from those commercial users whose businesses benefited from using it? It's much more than an issue of cleaning.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-10-08
Q: The code you displayed at the SCO Forum was later scoffed at by Linux advocates and experts as code covered by a BSD license that allows sharing of that code. Were those the best examples of the code in question you have?
This was one example of misappropriated code that went into Linux. I would characterize it as the tip of the iceberg. Was it our very best example? I think we are saving our very best examples for the courtroom, where we will ultimately have to try our case.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-10-08
SCO has really been left with no other choice but to request that commercial customers of Linux compensate SCO for our intellectual property with a license fee. The hardware vendors don't take responsibility for infringements in Linux because, technically, they aren't distributors. The distributors pass the hot potato to business end users by shielding themselves with the GPL by saying, 'This product has no warranty and no indemnification.' So now if Linux has problems, including misappropriated intellectual property going into Linux, the end users are left holding this hot potato.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-10-08
There have been no discussions with IBM worth noting. It's difficult to suggest what it would take to accept a settlement because of so many factors involved with the violations that took place. We'll have to cross that bridge if/when we get there.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-10-08
Yes, in that there is no rock-solid mechanism in place for checking in code and assuring users that this code is clean and doesn't infringe on others' intellectual property. Until that mechanism is in place, there will more than likely be problems with others' IP going into Linux.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-10-08
"I view this as an attempt to bully and intimidate analysts--to try to cow them into silence," says Christopher Sontag, executive vice president at SCO, in Lindon, Utah. [on IBM subpoenas to analyst firms and a SCO investor]-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-11
Sontag says SCO has provided 1 million pages of documents to IBM and that IBM in return has provided only 100,000 pages to SCO. "The foot-dragging is on the part of IBM," he says.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-11
If I were a commercial end user independent of anything else, given the nature of the GPL I would avoid modifying the code, I would avoid doing anything that could be considered a distribution of my application. If I'm Merrill Lynch and have a trading application proprietary to Merrill Lynch and deploy it across all my trading desks, if that deployment occurred where the Linux OS and app are distributed togetherm there are arguments that Merrill would have to provide their proprietary trading application in source form to everyone. That's a problem. I'm sure all of Merrill's competitors would love to get that but it's hard for a company to be financially viable when all of the basises are shared.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-18
Q: Have you identified exactly what code is at issue here?.
We've identified a lot of different things. Early on when we filed against IBM, people wanted us to show the code, even though we're fighting a legal case and that's where it's appropriately vetted, we decided to take at least one example and show that. We had to do so under NDA, because if you're comparing our System V code, it is not released without confidentiality agreements. If you sign an NDA -- a number of journalists, analysts and customers have seen the example we showed -- a substantial amount was a cut and paste job, a few lines changed, but substantial body. You don't have to be a programmer at all to see copying had occurred. It wasn't just ten lines of code, that example was over 80 to 100 lines of code. Later some of the Linux people said that code shouldn't have been there, Bruce Perens said it was development problem and 'we've taken it out.' My analogy is [that's] like a bank robber with posse in pursuit swinging back by the bank and throwing the money back in... .
In that one example, copyrighted code had been misappropriated and there's substantial benefit out there that has still not been rectified. There are other literal copyright infringements that we have not publicly provided, we'll save those for court. But there are over one million lines of code that we have identified that are derivative works by IBM and Sequent that have been contributed into Linux that we have identified and there's been no effort by Linux leaders to start acting and rectify that situation.
It's kind of hollow words that we are not showing code, because we have shown examples and if we keep showing it, they'll just take that out and say 'no harm no foul.' That doesn't solve the problem.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-18
We haven't identified any specific IP issues with Samba and that's why we continue to work with it. But if there were issues in the future we'd make appropriate decisions then. We've put some open source components into our products and likely will continue to do so in the future. That's not the issue, the issue is the GPL and its pushing IP liability issues unfortunately to the end user when they were likely not the ones causing the problems and those who've inappropriately taken our IP and contributed it predominantly Linux in violation of our contracts, in violation of our copyrights.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-18
You don't have to be a programmer at all to see copying had occurred. It wasn't just ten lines of code, that example was over 80 to 100 lines of code. Later some of the Linux people said that code shouldn't have been there, Bruce Perens said it was development problem and 'we've taken it out.' My analogy is [that's] like a bank robber with posse in pursuit swinging back by the bank and throwing the money back in... .
[...] It's kind of hollow words that we are not showing code, because we have shown examples and if we keep showing it, they'll just take that out and say 'no harm no foul.' That doesn't solve the problem.-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-18
SCO's Sontag emphasized those suits, which could begin within 90 days, will target only "the larger commercial users of Linux. We have already said that for noncommercial use of Linux we will not be taking any action."-- Chris Sontag, 2003-11-19
Chris Sontag, general manager for the company's SCOsource division, denied the timing of the suits was linked to the earnings report.
"Everything we've been doing legally has been slow and methodical, giving ample time for people to respond [and] be educated on the issues," he said. "We're not rushing, this is just the time frame we have been working all along."-- Chris Sontag, 2004-03-04