SCO copyright of Linux (kernel) code?

This issue has been raging for some time and I have some questions that might get me labeled as paranoid and/or conspiracy prone. I wanted to bring it out here because there are some intelligent people (and some not) that frequent these forums. Getting different perspectives on this may help settle my own mind on this.

Before I go further, I use Gentoo Linux currently. I have used about 30 of the +130 distros available, 3 of BSD’s, Solaris and SCO unix’s. I despise M$ but have to use it in the corporate environment I work in.

In short, for those unfamiliar with this, SCO says they have found some of their copyrighted code in some undisclosed part of the open-sourced Linux. Novell is also involved because they might be the **real **copyright holders. For more indepth information checkout this or this. There are lots more around if you feel like searching for it.

But instead of just coming out with the bald statement that SCO manufactured this issue themselves, I will ask some questions:[list=1][li]When did SCO (through aquision by Caldera) join the open-source movement?[/li][li]When did the better VM (Virtual Memory management) code start appearing in the Linux Kernel?[/li][li]Why did SCO pull out of the Linux community?[/list=1][/li]The answers to these questions might be enlightening…or may blow this whole theory to hell.

slightly off topic: I think there is really some common code in SCO’s Sources and in the Linux kernel sources. I found 4 matching lines:








First off, SCO does not actually own the copywrites to UNIX.

Novell does.

SCO only has contract rights to UNIX, so as far as any source code copying, that is Novell’s problem, and they have stated that they are not interested in pursuing it.

What SCO can do though, is go after companies like IBM that lisence UNIX for breach of contract if they are in fact, distributing UNIX code in Linux.

This reminds me of the guy that claimed he owned the rights to hyperlinking and wanted a royalty everytime somebody clicked.
You’ve got to love a company that buys contract rights so they can sue others for violating the contracts they bought.
Linux is copylefted to prevent just this sort of thing.
Of course if SCO can show prior copyright enfringement, they have a case.
Linux is an increasingly painful thorn in the side of M$, much to the amusement, I would imagine, of Novell and IBM.
It won’t be an easy fight for SCO.
What I think is telling though, is that they don’t want to release the code in question. Once they do, the open source community will just develop and substitute a none infringing set of code. I’d give it a week after they release what they consider infringing.
It’s a catch-22 no? To prove there is a violation, they have to demonstrate it. Once they show where the violation is, Open source will say, “Fine, we don’t need your damn code anyway. We’ll write our own.” So instead they release blurbs and bits to try to stay noisy and grandstand for the court. Its ugly, but I don’t see it going anywhere.

In my opinion, the entire SCO lawsuit is just Microsoft using SCO as a sock puppet to spread FUD about their major market competitor. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no merit to the claims being made.

Microsoft has been using FUD as a marketing tactic for quite some time; no reason to expect them to stop now.

KellyM, SCO isn’t a puppet of Microsoft. Microsoft did buy a Unix license from SCO, injecting some cash for SCO’s legal expenses, but only after SCO had become aggressive.

SCO essentially just wants to be bought out. It now longer has anything to offer and the stock price has been falling. It is the responsibility of the company’s leadership to ensure the shareholders make some amount of money, and this is really the only way open. As soon as IBM caves in and buy SCO, I’m sure the Linux community won’t be bothered anymore.

And even if Linux were hammered, HURD development would probably increase immediately. That could be a good thing…


UnuMondo, Microsoft had no reason to buy a Unix license from SCO. The only reason they did so (and at a ludicrously high price) was to give SCO the money it needs to do Microsoft’s bidding (and to contribute a bit more FUD).

With all due respect, KellyM, I think you’re the one spreading the FUD. There’s no proof Microsoft is really behind all this, unless you take conspiracy-theory posts on Slashdot as proof. I’m not defending Microsoft, I’m just saying that the SCO chiefs are perfectly capable of being total jerks on their own. Microsoft bought the license after SCO became beligerent in order to congratulate them for their turn to Dr. Evil-like corporate politics.


Did I say I had proof? I said that was my opinion.

And I don’t read Slashdot <spit>.

Now it looks like the Linux community is trying to turn the tables on SCO for violation of the GPL copyleft.

My only comment to the Linux community in general would be, if this is a valid issue, make sure the response is muted so FUD blow-back doesn’t occur. We don’t want to be seen as petty whiners lashing back in a tantrum over somthing we didn’t like.

Last Post:
06-12-2003 08:32 PM by rhodyne.

Well, SCO is an illegal search term. So, I looked for threads with Linux in the title. I found out about this (PDF linky) a few days ago, and waited for the response of the local Linux fans. Then when I was done waiting, I waited some more. Well, no result, So I am bumping this old thread.

SCO knows that Linux doesn’t contain Linux, they knew it all the time, and they went full steam ahead anyway.

For more info; and reactions, see Groklaw.

There is enough information (e-mails, etc.) that show MS has more of a hand in this than simply buying a license, and these other activities were pre and post lawsuit. There is tons of documented information at groklaw and info has been reported in the trade-press as well.