Linux Kernel licensing

so, you guys prepared to pay 198$ intellectual property rights becuase you are using someone elses kernal?

Hi Brian, here I use debian, totaly free of charge… Just download 4 floppy’s en the rest over the internet…



I was refereing to this (sorry for the confusio, I was not refereing to mysql):I awaken early as the sun plays brightly over my face through the open window. I like sleeping with the window open, this time of year — it lets the house breathe a little. And I like to see the breeze ruffle the curtains. If there’s a sweeter sight than white curtains dancing to birdsong against the clear blue sky of a summer morning, I’d like to know what it is. Of course, winters are pleasant too, here in Codeville. But that’s an observation for another day.

I start the coffee brewing and fetch today’s edition of the Errant Pointer from the front porch. Then I throw on some clothes, drag a razor across my chin, and let the smell of fresh-brewed coffee lead me back to the kitchen. I pull out my favorite mug — the one that says “it’s going to change our lives, you know” on the side — pour myself a big cup of java, and sit down to read the paper.

The front page of today’s Pointer is full of articles from LinuxWorld, the big open-source conference and exposition that’s going on in San Francisco.

It’s a funny thing about Linux. A couple years ago, any article about Linux would be full of news about start-up companies. You know, bands of idealistic free-software dreamers suddenly shocked into corporate shareholderhood in the wake of record-setting IPOs. But now all the Linux news comes from old-economy companies like Sun Microsystems, IBM, SCO, and Novell. It’s almost as if the open source revolution never happened.

SCO’s Linux wars
The first item is about the big fight between SCO Group and the Linux world. It’s a complicated story that reaches all the way back to AT&T Bell Labs and the creation of Unix in 1970. Unix kicked around AT&T (and UC Berkeley — but that’s another story) for a couple of decades, eventually finding a home at AT&T subsidiary Unix Systems Laboratories. (For the fascinating full version of this story, visit the Bell Labs History Web site.)

Novell purchased Unix Systems Laboratories and Unix in 1993. Then in 1995 Novell sold its Unix business to the Santa Cruz Operation, which had enjoyed years of success as a provider of commercial Unix systems.

Enter Caldera Systems, a Utah-based company started by Novell founder Ray Noorda. Caldera was a big deal in the nascent Linux market and used a chunk of its IPO money to purchase SCO’s Unix and professional services divisions. Caldera thus became a major player in both the Linux and the Unix markets. In 2002, Caldera changed its name to SCO Group.

Last March, SCO Group declared war on Linux. The first shot was fired at IBM in the form of a $1 billion lawsuit. SCO’s lawyers charged that IBM’s Linux distributions included copyrighted SCO Unix source code. A couple months later, the company sent threatening letters to large companies, warning that they could be subject to legal liability if they continued to use Linux. Leaders of the open-source movement wasted no time in condemning SCO Group’s actions.

SCO Group has demanded that IBM cease selling operating systems that are based in part on unlicensed Unix source code, and the company has asked the courts to enforce the demand by granting an injunction against IBM. SCO has declined to renew a source code licensing agreement with IBM that expired in June.

But according to Errant Pointer reports, SCO hasn’t managed to dampen IBM’s enthusiasm for Linux. In fact, IBM seems to be cranking up its Linux activities to higher levels (IBM revs up Linux business).

Meanwhile, Linux vendor Red Hat has filed a preemptive suit against SCO Group (Red Hat files suit against SCO). Red Hat has asked the courts to declare that its products are free of SCO Group encumbrance (press release). SCO has threatened a countersuit (press release).

SCO targets users
SCO Group’s position is that every Linux distribution based on the v. 2.4 and 2.5 kernels include SCO intellectual property. The inevitable result of this belief is that anyone who acquired Linux from anyone other than SCO must either pay a licensing fee to SCO or stop using Linux. Right?

SCO thinks so. That’s why the company has created the SCO Intellectual Property License. Under terms of this license, users who pay a fee ranging from $199 (the promotional price for a desktop system) to $4,999 (for an eight-CPU server) can safely use Linux in binary form. (This license does not include authorized access to source code.) This is many times the fee charged by Linux distro companies, but SCO Group thinks it’s reasonable. As the company states on its Web site:

SCO has invested hundreds of millions in the development of UNIX and is therefore entitled to a reasonable return on its investment. SCO believes that major portions of the 2.4 and later versions of the Linux kernel are unauthorized derivative works of SCO UNIX IP.
The implication here is that Linux users who fail to purchase SCO Unix licenses are in violation of intellectual-property law, and subject to lawsuits from SCO Group. Indeed, SCO has warned Linux shops that they may face such suits.

You might expect all of this to put the brakes on Linux adoption rates. But apparently not. Researchers at Evans Data have completed a study suggesting that more than 70 percent of IT professionals “do not believe that the SCO lawsuit will affect plans to deploy Linux-based technologies” (Study: Linux use undeterred by SCO suit).

Another man who isn’t worried is Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy. Responding to a question about SCO’s actions, McNealy told a reporter: “I’m thrilled to death SCO can’t revoke our Unix license. We can indemnify our users, and if anybody’s nervous about AIX or Linux, we’ve got Solaris on x86 and Solaris in the datacenter. We run like the wind. We’re open. There are no downsides” (McNealy: Sun safe from SCO damage).

More news from LinuxWorld
I down the dregs of a second cup of coffee and scan the rest of the headlines. Linux stories dominate the news section:

NewsFactor Network: Windows vs. Linux: TCO feud rages on

Linux Magazine: Waiting for the year of the Linux desktop

Linux Journal: Getting a Windows refund in California small claims court Bargain hunters moving to Linux

Wired: LinuxWorld opens hunting season

I’m about to flip to the sports page when I hear a beep beep from the street. My car pool’s here — time for work.

I fold up the paper. I’ll have to finish it later.

I’ve not seen anything on this for a couple of weeks (been too busy to read the trade papers!) but I got the impression that SCO were really going after the big boys (IBM, etc) who have sufficient money to make it worth an attack. A few weeks ago SCO appeared to be saying that the home Linux user didn’t have anything to worry about…but perhaps that’s changing as they get more bold?

The good news is that IBM now countersued SCO.,1367,59943,00.html

seems like linux was drifting around fine until the big boys showed up and peed in the pool.

The bizarre latest twist according to The Age - I guess we were all dreaming!

By Sam Varghese
August 29, 2003

The SCO Group said today it had never planned to sue any Linux companies, had no concrete plans to sue anyone and also no current plans to take a commercial Linux customer to court.

The company was responding to questions routed through its PR people in Sydney.

As the Canopy Group, which has a stake in SCO, also has interests in several other Linux companies, SCO was asked whether it planned to sue all these companies. The answer was “No. SCO has never planned to sue Linux companies.”

In June, SCO senior vice-president Chris Sontag was quoted as saying the company would either will file a new suit or amend its lawsuit against IBM to target other companies which SCO alleges are illegally appropriating its Unix source code.

Today SCO also said it had no current plans to take a commercial Linux customer to court.

Earlier this year the company issued a letter to commercial Linux users threatening them with legal action.

Among the companies in which Canopy is involved is Linux Networx, which has supplied a supercomputer to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; asked whether SCO would sue the laboratory, the company spokesperson said: “No. SCO has never made concrete plans to sue anyone.”

In a statement made on August 20, SCO chief executive officer Darl McBride said the company was identifying Linux users for possible litigation.

SCO Group Web Site Shutdown by Hackers

NEW YORK - SCO Group Inc., a software developer that is seeking royalties from users of the Linux (news - web sites) operating system, has been hit by a coordinated computer attack that has made its Web site inaccessible to many visitors for several days.

It’s the second time this year the Linden, Utah, company’s Web site has been the target of such an attack, in which hackers use multiple computers to overwhelm the site with traffic.

SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said the company has notified law enforcement authorities about the latest attack, which has temporarily knocked out the company’s Internet sites in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

“We are taking this very seriously,” Stowell said. The attack will not prevent the company from conducting its business, he added.

SCO, formerly known as Caldera International, was the target of a similar attack in May and said it suspected supporters of the free Linux operating system were to blame.

The latest attack was apparently organized by an “experienced Internet engineer” with ties to the open-source software community, according to an e-mail from Eric S. Raymond, a Linux advocate and president of the Open Source Initiative, a group that promotes free software to corporations.

Raymond, who said he doesn’t know the identity of the perpetrator, said the hacker has agreed to terminate the attack in response to an e-mail Raymond sent Saturday criticizing the attack and calling on the hacker to stop.

“I’m certainly not without sympathy for the person who did this,” Raymond wrote in an e-mail sent to reporters. “Nevertheless … we must never make this mistake again, whether against SCO or any other predator.”

SCO Group has roiled the Linux community since filing a lawsuit against International Business Machines Corp. in March claiming some of SCO’s Unix (news - web sites) software code has wrongly been copied into Linux. SCO also is seeking royalties from Linux users.

Another blow for SCO, according to an item on slashdot;

“SCO Germany has to pay a fine of 10,000 Euros (~10,800 US$) because they kept on saying that Linux contains stolen intellectual property of SCO. In May a German court had decided that SCO Germany must not continue making those claims.”

NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - SCO Group Inc. (nasdaq: SCOX - news - people) shot up as much as 38 percent on Wednesday, after a major Wall Street brokerage firm initiated coverage on the software company with a “buy” and gave a target price that almost triples its Tuesday closing price.

Apparently the dotcom days are back for Wall Street…

Thank god The SCO Group gave me a few more weeks to send them their $699 per processor fee for stealing their unix code. The check is in the mail! :wink:



IMHO SCO have gone about this the wrong way, but I think a lot of people are missing their main point.

If what SCO say is true then two large computer organisations have taken SCO copyright code, stripped out the copyright sections and passed the code off as code developed for the Linux project.

How would Brian feel if a competitor weather system came on the market which appeared to contain significant chunks of the code he’d taken years writing…especially if the chunks of code were some of the trickiest bits that took longest to get right?

As far as I know SCO haven’t gone public with the exact chunks of code they claim have been ripped off, but they’d have to have a suicidal death wish to not have some basis of complaint before trying to sue IBM (who probably have enough cash stashed away to counter-sue even the US government!)

I have to admit to being a little sceptical about how rapidly Linux took off an grew into a well-honed OS. A lot of other open source applications take forever to take off, yet Linux seems to have lead a charmed life with lots of code which seems mainly to have worked first time having being added very quickly. How can the Linux developers get it so right, when a lot of other open source projects founder along the way? Perhaps Linux has been helped along with large injections of code from other sources?

There are some differences however. SCO group did not write the original Unix code (as Brian did). They purchased it from Novell in 1995, whom purchased it from AT&T’s UNIX Systems Laboratory in 1993. Although this does not make it “right” if Linux does have copied Unix code it does make it ethically different. If Brian purchased some one else code, whom purchased it from someone else, and used it, I would not few as “wrong” it if

I just saw that Brian talked about most of what I said earlier in the thread… Stupid Me.

Chris :?

As far as I know SCO haven't gone public with the exact chunks of code they claim have been ripped off, but they'd have to have a suicidal death wish to not have some basis of complaint before trying to sue IBM (who probably have enough cash stashed away to counter-sue even the US government!)

SCO stock has traded as low as $ 0.78 (source Yahoo) during the past year so suicide would not have been much of a leap. In the meantime speculation has pushed it up towards $20 and management have been selling shares.

I don’t know how it is in the UK these days, but the US legal system is full of lawsuits filed with little or no basis in fact against very ethical organizations with valued reputations in the hope of them settling rather than submitting to a lot of public mudslinging. Quite often it works too, and in any case there is no “losing side pays” rule here.

By Joe Barr

Darl McBride, the man under whose leadership SCO has been transformed from a software firm into the high-tech equivalent of an ambulance-chasing law firm, has made a number of outrageous claims about Linux, open source development, and the GPL after filing suit against IBM in a contract dispute. But he has not been able (or willing) to substantiate any of them. If anything, he has gone out of his way to obfuscate rather than inform. But he has proven to be top-notch at one thing since SCO began its assault: annoying the free/open source software communities. And he’s done it again.

As reported by CNet yesterday, SCO has announced that it has filed subpoenas in the U.S. District Court in Utah for Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, among others. In that story, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell was quoted as saying he didn’t know what was in them, but that he knew some had been served.

After hearing the news, we checked with Linus to see if he had been served. As of approximately 5 PM PST, he had not been served.

Several hours later, however, Linus sent NewsForge an email which said:

Ok, just an update - I got a subpoena later in the evening. I guess I should try to find a lawyer now, dammit.

Oh, well. 

We asked Linus this morning to tell us (if he could) what the subpoena asks of him. He replied:

I really don't see any reason why I couldn't say what they ask for, but quite frankly, this is the first time I've ever been served legal papers (Ahem. Unless you count speeding tickets ;), so I want to check it out with a lawyer first. 

SCO’s latest legal moves seem to be a direct reaction to a flurry of subpoenas recently filed by IBM for analysts and investors who have publically supported SCOs thus far unsubstantiated charges against IBM.

I guess it is starting. I wonder if SCO will be filing a law suit against Novell, since it just purchased SuSE?


I had to…