SCO Attempts To Prove Linux Intellectual Property Rights Violations

The battle between SCO and the proponents of other Unixes and Linux took a new turn during a SCO Forum in Las Vegas on yesterday. For those of you just emerging from hibernation, SCO is claiming that its intellectual property rights have been violated by IBM and the distributers of Linux. The company says that IBM allowed Unix code copyrighted by SCO to become part of the Linux kernel. Accordingly, SCO is suing IBM for damages relating to the alleged copyright infringement.

IBM is counter suing SCO, claiming that SCO has no business suing anyone because it gave away whatever offending code there might be under the General Public License (GPL), which is the cornerstone of the Open Source software movement. This happened when SCO released its own version of Linux. In response to that, SCO revealed that it would argue in court that the GPL isnit valid, as it runs contrary to US copyright law, thus, according to SCO, saving the company from its own actions.

In the meanwhile, SCO has been demanding money from end users, though nothing has actually been decided in court, as of yet. Red Hat, another Linux vendor as yet not named in SCOis suit, has launched its own preemptive suit against SCO, seeking to have its version of Linux legally declared free from SCOis suits. For more information on this subject, check out our extensive coverage of the issue.

One of the main complaints that many who are watching this battle unfold have is that SCO had not shown the code it claims it owns. On Monday, SCO finally offered several examples, of sorts, of what is claims is proof that Linux is rife with code that originally belonged to SCO. Until now, SCO has refused to show the allegedly offending code to anyone unless they signed an NDA. From a C|Net article called "SCO Puts Disputed Code in the Spotlight:"

During the first two hours of a morning keynote session at SCO Forum here Monday, CEO Darl McBride outlined the companyis legal strategy and tried to convince SCO partners and customers that it is fighting the good fight.

"Weire fighting for the right in the industry to be able to make a living selling software," McBride told the audience. He compared this right to the ability "to send your children to college" and "to buy a second home."

McBride said pattern-recognition experts SCO hired have ferreted out a slew of infringing code in Linux. "They have found already a mountain of code," he said. "The DNA of Linux is coming from Unix."

McBrideis message was reinforced by comments from Chris Sontag, head of the companyis SCOsource effort to extract more revenue from its Unix intellectual property, and attorney Mark Heise, one of the Boies, Schiller & Flexner partners who is working on SCOis intellectual property case.

Sontag said the inclusion of its Unix code in Linux has enabled the open-source operating system to attain world-class status among big customers.

"I can understand one or two lines being in common," said Sontag, who is charged with maintaining the companyis intellectual property rights surrounding Unix. "But when youire talking about this level of variables being the same - the comment sections all being the same, itis problematic."

According to the C|Net piece, the execs from SCO then offered some slides of some of the offending code, though "much of the Unix code was obscured." The article goes on to detail some product announcements by SCO, including a SAMBA offering. Read the full article at C|Net news.