Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 13/1/2004The SCO Versus The World  affair grinds on, but it really does look like SCO is losing the plot. Today, SCO has filed a set of documents as part of its case against IBM -- it would take too long to go into the details, and you can and should hop over to www.

Tuesday 13/1/2004
The SCO Versus The World  affair grinds on, but it really does look like SCO is losing the plot. Today, SCO has filed a set of documents as part of its case against IBM -- it would take too long to go into the details, and you can and should hop over to www.groklaw.net to gasp in awe, but they make compelling reading.

You remember the fuss that SCO made about 'millions of lines' of code that IBM had appropriated from SCO's copyright Unix and inserted into Linux? Fully twenty percent of Linux was SCO's, the company said. Why, they'd employed a team of mathematicians from MIT to analyse it -- and sorry, but it was going to cost $700 for a licence if anyone wanted to run Linux in the future. That was last summer -- since then, not one of those lines of code has actually been published (oh, and that team of mathematicians from MIT? Nobody at MIT knew anything about them).

Guess how many lines of code are included in the documents that SCO has been forced to provide to the court (and IBM) in order to specify exactly what the case hinges on. Oh, well done.

Instead, we get marvellous lines like "Our engineers have reached the conclusion that parts of Linux have almost certainly been copied or derived…";" The AIO code contributed to Linux by IBM was written by an engineer who had a detailed knowledge and familiarity with the same area of technology in Dynix/ptx, and who likely used the same methods and/or structures…"; and that sorry things were late and incomplete, but directors had been on holiday over Christmas and nobody could get hold of them.

In other words: we've got a hunch. Oh, and some of Linux was written by someone who knew what they were doing. And this $3bn lawsuit and the court order to comply with the evidence? Heck, we'd love to, but. You know. Christmas. Think of the kids!

So far, not one claim that SCO has made has received the benefit of evidence. Not only is there no sign of copied code, but even if it was found it now looks more than plausible that SCO didn't own the rights to control the code in that way in the first place, Novell is now waving documents that say quite the opposite.

And now, SCO is trying to get licence fees out of European companies. Hey, if  you get a letter from SCO -- let us know. We'd love to see it -- and we can suggest some interesting questions you might like to ask before signing on the dotted line.

Next court hearing: 23rd Jan. Can't wait.

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