SCO Challenges the Open Source Community.By Matthew Aslett
The CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of SCO Group The SCO Group, Inc. (TSG, informally SCO; NASDAQ: SCOX) is a software company formerly called Caldera Systems and Caldera International. After acquiring the Santa Cruz Operation's Server Software and Services divisions, as well as UnixWare and Inc Darl McBride Darl McBride (born circa 1960) is the CEO of The SCO Group. He became the CEO of Caldera International on June 28, 2002, and during his tenure, Caldera renamed itself The SCO Group and, on March 7, 2003, initiated litigation against IBM regarding the intellectual property status of has issued an open letter to the open source community in which he criticizes the open source development and business models, and challenges the community to change its ways.
The Lindon, Utah-based company is involved in a head-to-head battle with the open source community after launching a $3bn lawsuit against IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) Corp for misappropriation misappropriation n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or funds of another person for one's own use or other unauthorized purpose, particularly by a public official, a trustee of a trust, an executor or administrator of a dead person's estate, or by any of trade secrets and breach of contract, and claiming that the Linux operating system operating system (OS)
Software that controls the operation of a computer, directs the input and output of data, keeps track of files, and controls the processing of computer programs. contains code copied from its Unix System V Unix System V - System V code.
The company has also challenged the legal validity of the open source General Public License, and has launched a licensing scheme for Linux users to license its Unix code at a price of $700 per server, or face potential litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. .
Some members of the open source community have reacted angrily to SCO's allegations, and as well as being challenged to prove its claims, SCO (The SCO Group, Lindon, UT, www.sco.com) A leading vendor of Unix operating systems for the x86 platform. SCO had also offered Linux, but abandoned the line in the spring of 2003. The SCO Group is the combination of two companies: Utah-based Caldera, Inc. has also been the victim of denial of service attacks, the most recent of which was confirmed by Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, as having been perpetrated by an open source advocate.
Raymond, who said that he neither knew nor wanted to know the identity of the attacker, urged the perpetrator A term commonly used by law enforcement officers to designate a person who actually commits a crime. to stop, but it appears that is not enough for McBride.
"Mr Raymond and the entire open source community need to aggressively help the industry police these types of crimes," he wrote in his open letter. "If they fail to do so it casts a shadow over the entire open source movement and raises questions about whether open source is ready to take a central role in business computing."
McBride said that the denial of service attack was one of two recent events that affect the long-term credibility of the open source community. The second, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. McBride, was an admission by open source leader Bruce Perens that Unix System V code had found its way into Linux.
To prove his point, McBride quoted ComputerWire's reporting of Perens' reaction to code presented by SCO that it claimed had been illegally copied into Linux from System V. "Mr Perens stated that there is 'an error in the Linux developer's process' which allowed Unix System V code that 'didn't belong in Linux' to end up in the Linux kernel," wrote McBride.
In his statement McBride appears to have attributed a ComputerWire paraphrase as a quote from Perens. Anyone looking to verify this reference should try the August 26 edition of Computergram, not August 25 as stated by McBride. The paragraph referenced was published as follows:
"The other SCO code snippet A small amount of something. In the computer field, it often refers to a small piece of program code. Perens walks through had to do with memory allocation functions in Unix System V and Linux. He says there was, in fact, 'an error in the Linux developer's process,' specifically a programmer at SGI (SGI, Sunnyvale, CA, www.sgi.com) A manufacturer of workstations and servers, founded in 1982 by Jim Clark. The company was founded as Silicon Graphics, Inc., but changed to its acronym in 1999. , and he says while the Linux community had the legal right to this code, it didn't belong in Linux and was therefore removed."
Perens' original document (available at www.perens.com/Articles/SCO/SCOSlideShow.html) also adds that the code in question is included in Unix System III UNIX System III (sometimes called System 3) was a version of the Unix operating system released by AT&T's Unix Support Group (USG). It was first released outside of Bell Labs in 1982. It was an amalgam of various AT&T Unixes: PWB/UNIX 2.0, CB UNIX 3.0, UNIX/TS 3.0. code copyrighted by AT&T and released under an open source BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) The software distribution facility of the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) of the University of California at Berkeley. license by Caldera caldera: see crater.
Large, bowl-shaped volcanic depression that forms when the top of a volcanic cone collapses into the space left after magma is ejected during a violent volcanic eruption. The term is Spanish for “caldron. in 2002, before it changed its name to SCO.
The same ComputerWire story also contained the following comment from Perens: "I was easily able to determine that of the two examples, one isn't SCO's property at all, and the other is used in Linux under a valid license. If this is the best SCO has to offer, they will lose."
Despite indications that the code in question is not protected by SCO copyright, McBride maintained that as the holder of contracts with Unix licensees, SCO was in the process of trying to resolve the matter with SGI.
"Nothing can change the fact that a Linux developer on the payroll of Silicon Graphics stripped copyright attributions from copyrighted System V code that was licensed to Silicon Graphics under strict conditions of use, and then contributed that source code to Linux as though it was clean code owned and controlled by SGI," McBride wrote.
He added that this example was indicative of "structural flaws in the Linux development process," that failed to check whether code was protected by intellectual property. "The open source community should assure [sic] that open source software has a solid intellectual property foundation that can give confidence to end users," he wrote.
This idea that the Linux development process has no respect for intellectual property has been repeatedly dismissed by Linux supporters in the past. "We take intellectual property issues very seriously. We are constantly reviewing available source code to determine its origin and whether it is protected by IP," said Mark Webbink, general counsel of Red Hat Inc in June.
"We have processes in place through which we make sure as much as you can that we don't run into that trap," stated Richard Seibt, CEO of SuSE Linux AG the same month. "Part of the Autobuild process [SuSE's product build process] is to make sure that there is no illegal code in our distribution. In open source, this was the case from the beginning."
McBride also took a potshot pot·shot also pot shot
1. A random or easy shot.
2. A criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack: reporters taking potshots at the mayor. at the business model of Linux vendors. "Free open source software primarily benefits large vendors, which sell hardware and expensive services that support Linux, but not Linux itself," he wrote. "Other Linux companies have already failed and many more are struggling to survive. Few are consistently profitable."
This is a statement that few would disagree with, but many will take umbrage with. Linux vendors have found it difficult to remain profitable, and have struggled to build a business model around the operating system. The likes of Red Hat and SuSE are heading in the right direction with subscription support services support services Psychology Non-health care-related ancillary services–eg, transportation, financial aid, support groups, homemaker services, respite services, and other services aimed at enterprise users, however.
One of the biggest strugglers as a Linux vendor was Caldera, now known as SCO, which still managed to build up enough of a business through the Linux operating system to buy the Unix products and intellectual property on which it is now building its business.
The company's SCOsource intellectual property division was worth $8.3m to the company in its second quarter of 2003, and $7.3m in the second, representing 38.8% and 36.3% of total revenue respectively and pushing the company into profit for the first two quarters in its history.
It is not clear whether or not that was the business model that McBride was referring to when he stated: "It's time for everyone else in the industry, individuals and small corporations, to understand this and to implement our own business model - something that keeps us alive and profitable."
McBride also challenged the open source community to design a new business model that enhanced its trustworthiness in the eyes of enterprise customers. "A sustainable business model for software development can be built only on an intellectual property foundation," he wrote. "I invite the open source community to explore these possibilities for your own benefit within an open source model."
Finally McBride maintained that SCO "is open to ideas of working with the open source community to monetize software technology and its underlying intellectual property for all contributors, not just SCO."