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LinuxUser & Developer: SCO v. IBM

Jun 14, 2003, 05:30 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eben Moglen)

[ Thanks to Daniel James for this link. ]

"The lawsuit between the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) and IBM has been roiling the free software world this past month. More disturbing than the lawsuit itself have been the public statements by representatives of SCO, which have irresponsibly suggested doubts about the legitimacy of free software overall.

"SCO's lawsuit asserts that IBM has breached contractual obligations between the two companies, and also that IBM has incorporated trade secret information concerning the design of the UNIX operating system into what SCO calls generally 'Linux.' This latter claim has recently been expanded in extra-judicial statements by SCO employees and officers to include suggestions that 'Linux' includes material copied from UNIX in violation of SCO's copyrights. An allegation to this effect was contained in letters sent by SCO to 1500 of the world's largest companies warning against use of free software on grounds of possible infringement liability.

"It is crucial to clarify certain confusions that SCO's spokesmen have shown no disposition to dispel. In the first place, SCO has used 'Linux' to mean 'all free software,' or 'all free software constituting a UNIX-like operating system.' This confusion, which the Free Software Foundation warned against in the past, is here shown to have the misleading consequences the Foundation has often predicted. 'Linux' is the name of the kernel most often used in free software systems. But the operating system as a whole contains many other components, many of them products of the Foundation's GNU Project. GNU's components are copyrighted works of the Free Software Foundation. GNU includes the C-compiler GCC, the GDB debugger, the C library Glibc, the bash shell, among other essential parts. The combination of GNU and the Linux kernel produces the GNU/Linux system, which is widely used on a variety of hardware and which taken together duplicates many of the functions once performed by the UNIX operating system..."

Complete Story

Related Story:
SiliconValley.com: GPL Legal Battle Coming?(May 21, 2003)