Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Paul Simmons

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Bruce Perens on SCO's "Tapestry of Lies"

Bruce Perens on SCO's "Tapestry of Lies"

SCO management had a problem. Their quarterly financial report was going to show only twenty thousand dollars in income for their SCOSource licensing program. And so, in an announcement timed to distract people from the bad financial report, SCO announced two new lawsuits and license purchases from Computer Associates, Leggett and Platt, and EV1 Servers.

Computer Associates' CEO was quick to blast SCO, pointing out that CA had settled a breach-of-contract suit unrelated to Linux with Canopy Group - SCO's main investor - and one of its other companies, Center7. The settlement terms compelled CA to purchase some licenses from SCO, and required that CA not disclose those terms. Leggett and Platt managers who were asked about that company's license purchase scratched their heads, maybe someone in the company had purchased a license, but they'd asked around and they didn't know about it. And EV1 Servers CEO says he didn't pay nearly what SCO claims he paid.

When a company arranges for the appearance of sales, the way SCO seems to have done with CA and most likely has done with other companies, that's called window dressing. It's something that companies do to make their stock look better than it actually is.

On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO's strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO's financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital. SCO spokesperson Blake Stowell has admitted that the email is real, but called its implications a "misunderstanding", while Microsoft softly called them "not accurate". We'd hear stronger denials if there wasn't some truth there. This was followed by a comment from the the Securities and Exchange Commission that, yeah, they're interested. Mr. Anderer, expect to see lots of subpoenas with your name on them.

SCO has suffered other setbacks recently, in their lawsuit against IBM. First, the company dropped all breach of trade-secret allegations against Big Blue. The time had come and gone for SCO to provide evidence regarding those allegations, and it hadn't been able to support them. And then came a ruling on the discovery process in the case.

The ruling requires SCO to finally reveal, with specificity, what code IBM has copied from Unix to Linux, on the same day that IBM must deliver the source code of IBM's AIX Unix system to SCO for examination. The ruling is calculated to show what infringement SCO could allege just by looking at the published source code for Linux. SCO will then have two weeks to look at AIX, and make additional allegations regarding the transfer of IBM's AIX source code to Linux.

We have yet to see SCO's specific infringement claims, but we can expect them to follow the two general theories of copyright infringement that they've stated in the case or in other public venues.

SCO alleges that code that IBM wrote on its own for AIX became SCO's property or is otherwise encumbered by SCO due to terms of the Unix license that IBM acquired from ATT, the creator of Unix. According to SCO, IBM does not have the right to put in Linux any code that has ever touched Unix. That's why the judge is giving SCO a peek at AIX. But SCO's interpretation of the Unix license was refuted in by ATT itself when they announced a change in the license terms in their August 1985 Echo newsletter sent to all Unix licensees. ATT wrote:

Section 2.01 - The last sentence was added to assure licensees that AT&T will claim no ownership in the software that they developed -- only the portion of the software developed by AT&T

SCO is the "successor in interest" to the ATT license. They'll have to honor ATT's terms and ATT's own interpretation, and thus their claim on IBM's code will fail.

SCO's remaining copyright infringement theory is regarding the Unix API or ABI. SCO says that Linux contains copies of a number of the header files that define the Unix API or ABI. But SCO doesn't own that information. When Novell sold off the Unix business they'd purchased from ATT, they transferred the Unix definition and trademark to The Open Group, while SCO was sold some rights related to the Unix implementation. The Open Group maintains the Unix definition today as their Single Unix Specification, and they assert that anyone can implement it without a copyright encumbrance.

Indeed, the header files in question were released for the public to implement without a copyright encumbrance on five separate occasions in all. These included:

  • ATT's release for the ANSI C Language Standard.
  • ATT's release for the U.S. Government POSIX standard.
  • The USL v. BSDI court case of the early 1990's, in which ATT's Unix System Labs was found not to have a defensible copyright interest in Unix. Thus, Unix was in the public domain.
  • The transfer of the Unix definition to the Open Group.
  • The release of all ATT Unix implementations under the BSD license by Caldera (which now calls itself SCO) in 2002.

The chairpersons of the standards organizations are still living and able to testify regarding ATT's copyright releases, and the rest of the releases are documented in public records. And thus SCO's remaining allegation of copyright infringement will fall.

SCO's suit against Daimler Chrysler alleges that Daimler failed to give SCO an accounting of their use of Linux, which SCO feels is a violation of their Unix license. Daimler is a very large company used to nuisance suits. Their legal department alone is several times the size of SCO's entire staff. This suit places SCO in an expensive two-fronts war against the giant companies IBM and Daimler, or should we count the medium-sized companies Novell, Red Hat, and AutoZone and say a five-fronts war? In selecting AutoZone and Daimler, SCO was clearly targeting troubled companies that might be more likely to settle than sustain a long lawsuit, whatever its merit. But probably not likely enough. Companies that settle lawsuits with no merit just buy themselves more, similar lawsuits.

SCO's mounting legal costs have prompted a financial analyst at Decatur Jones to forecast that SCO's stock will post a significant loss. The same company downgraded its forecast of full-year earnings from the SCOSource licensing program from $7 Million to essentially zero in January ahead of news of the twenty-thousand-dollar quarter.

SCO's suit against AutoZone is related to AutoZone's alleged use of Unixware compatibility software for Linux previously released for free on the net by Caldera, before they stopped being a Linux business. SCO claims that AutoZone had old applications that ran on Unixware and could not be recompiled. This is unusual, in that most Linux users will not be moving software that they can't recompile. Caldera, now SCO, gave that compatibility software away for years, so they're going to have a very hard time showing that AutoZone didn't have a right to use it. A former AutoZone lead software engineer contradicts that the compatibility libraries were used at all.

SCO has run its campaign against Linux for over a year now, kiting their stock from fifty cents to over twenty dollars on many statements that, it is turning out, weren't true. When a company makes unfounded assertions for a month or two, it can be dismissed as a mistake or wishful thinking. When the distortions go on for a full year, it becomes difficult to explain their behavior as anything but a deliberate fraud meant to hurt Linux for Microsoft, their financial backer, while bringing SCO Millions in stock windfalls.

Perhaps the saddest part of this whole fiasco is its human dimension. Canopy Group was created and funded by Ray Noorda, who also founded Novell. Noorda would have hated SCO's current strategy. In fact, when the very similar USL v. BSDI lawsuit came up in the early 1990's, Noorda himself brokered the settlement between ATT's Unix System Labs and the University of California, so that Unix could go on without ambiguity. But more recently, Noorda has been afflicted with a very severe senility disorder and no longer participates in managing his own portfolio.

Canopy Group director Ralph Yarro, the self-proclaimed mastermind of SCO's strategy, was a graphic illustrator at Novell when he befriended Noorda. Noorda is said to have seen Yarro as "the only person who isn't after my money". Although we don't have oversight on the privately-held Canopy group, people close to the situation say that Yarro has been generous to his own portfolio with bonuses and other compensation. Yarro will probably be the major person to profit from SCO.

From a finanical standpoint, Canopy Group has already won. Because it's not a public company like SCO, we can't see all that's going on there. However, we know that they have swapped some of their other holdings, including a company called "Vultus", for SCO stock. And of course they've multiplied the value of their existing SCO stock as much as forty times over the past year. I've no doubt that much of this stock has already been converted to cash. The leaked email forecasts SCO's exit from this business in the near future. When they exit, Yarro and Canopy will walk away with tens of millions.

More Stories By Bruce Perens

Bruce Perens, a leader in the free software and open source community, is a member of the International Advisory Board of Linux.SYS-CON.com. He is the creator of the Open Source Definition, the manifesto of the open source movement. Bruce is founder or cofounder of the Open Source Initiative, the Linux Standard Base, Software in the Public Interest, and No-Code International. He is the creator of Busybox, which has spawned its own development community and is part of most commercial devices using embedded Linux.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
nastyphil 03/10/04 03:29:29 PM EST

If Groklaw's interperatation of the facts and the law in this case is accurate and mirrored by the presiding courts, then SCO doesn't have a case.

Cpl Laque 03/10/04 03:25:18 PM EST

SCO os done. Worst case scenario IBM actually put AIX code into Linux. SCO doesn't own the code. SCO doesn't have copyright on the code. It's even in dispute with Novell if SCO can even sue IBM over this AIX code anyways. Worst case is they will get a few bucks from IBM. Linux will remained unchanged. Obviously this case hasn't killed the adoption of Linux by many corporations. So I am not worried. Hell, SCOX is starting to plummet regardless of what crazy press releases SCO makes. Do you think AutoZone and Chrysler are worried about SCO? Even a large company would have trouble with the plethora of lawsuits SCO is dealing with and there will be more when all is said and done.
No one is taking Linux from us.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.