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November 20, 2003

Listening to the Voices of Evil (SCO)

Haven't written much about SCO (or anything for that matter), but can't resist. It's a complex saga, and often hard to figure out exactly where the different parties are coming from. It's very difficult for me to imagine why a company would go after the open source community *in this manner.* A couple things of note while listening to the SCO-published conference call:

How can SCO continue to move forward without making the violations clear? Doesn't that seem like it would be the first step? I guess if they make them all clear now they give the open source community more time to clean up and get moved off the violating kernel.

McBride says:

If it turns out the way SCO is saying, the ability to yank a million lines of code, roughly, out of a five million-line kernel that's there today is substantial.
I could be led to believe there would be some chunks of code, but a million lines?

At one time I understood that cleaning the Linux code up would not right the wrong. McBride was asked:

The Linux community is saying that they want to take the code out of Linux, and as you go through the IBM lawsuit, if you have to disclose the elements that are part of Unix that have been contributed into Linux, won't the Linux community just simply rewrite that? So what is the mechanism to disclose that code without losing your confidentiality?
McBride's responds by saying that the 2.6 kernel will have removed the SCO-published violations, but existing 2.4 kernels will continue to have those violations, and companies using the 2.4 kernel will need to license. That story is a lot different from the "all derivative works" we were hearing a few months back. Get the list of SCO-claimed violations, rewrite the code and march forward. I think the community would be willing to take a hit and have to upgrade Linux kernels across the board to get past this mess.

I've heard SCO deny there is any intention of making moves in hopes of being acquired. Twice during the conference call provisions for cases where the company is purchased were mentioned.

Posted by mike at November 20, 2003 10:00 AM