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Millions of users and hundreds of companies depend on the flexibility, scalability, reliability, and considerable cost-savings of the Linux operating system, as compared to proprietary (exclusively owned) operating systems like Microsoft's Windows and The SCO group's Unix. SCO is hoping many of those users and companies will pay copyright protection money in case SCO wins a lawsuit against computer giant IBM. This unlikely, domino-like, worst-case scenario would have relatively small SCO commanding a fee from millions of Linux users.
in order to perceive that the copyright extension strengthens their effect, since the copyrights of the original authors of GPLed and other Open-Source licensed software will hold for longer.
Modern OSS was probably made possible by in the US by the strengthening of copyright law whereby copyrights didn't have to be registered in order to exist; if people had to shell out $25 and fill out forms to get copyright on their contributions to OSS projects, they probably just wouldn't bother, due to lack of interest in producing work that closed source projects could freely assimilate.
"The SCO group's (formerly known as Santa Cruz Operation) Unix."
Absolute rubbish. Current SCO has nothing to do with the Santa Cruz Operation. <- Yes that's a period as in Nothing period. The Santa Cruz Operation is now called Tarentella (formerly known as the Santa Cruz Operation).
SCO got permission th use these three letters from Tarentells so they can create exactly the impression the author (Andrew Ohman) has stated here.
He and many others should do some research before writing.
"further constraining public domain software."
"proprietary software code was placed in public domain Linux"
Don't you think it would be a good idea to do some minimal research before publishing an article? Linux is not, and never has been, public domain.
I just don't understand how such poor articles get published. It's not as if there was any shortage of people who want to write for a living.
No matter how many times that Mr Ohman says that Linux is public domain, it will not make it true. Linux is open source software licensed under the GPL. The original copyright owners still maintain ownership of it. They have not released it into the the public domain. It is 'free' only within the terms of the GPL license agreement. SCO still haven't proved their claims that IBM's copyrighted software that IBM contributed to Linux is their IP as 'derived works' as yet, that will be determined by a real judge in a real court of law, which won't happen until April, 2005, unfortunately. Until then, SCO will make press releases to drive their stock up. Mr Boies will probably be successful in convincing some Fortune 1000 companies that it is cheaper to pay a 'license fee' instead of litigating in court.
There are two errors in this story. One is relatively minor. The other is not.
SCO was not previously known as the Santa Cruz Operation. SCO was previously known as Caldera. Caldera purchased Linux from the Santa Cruz Operation. Santa Cruz Operation is now known as Tarantella.
Not so minor:
Linux is referenced in the article as "Public Domain" software, which it is not. A cursory reading of the GNU General Public License will quickly show the difference.
Public domain would allow anyone to take any and all portions of the Linux O/S and incorporate it into a proprietary product, without revealing the nature of the underlying product.
The GNU/GPL allows use of the code in any manner one so chooses, but as part of the agreement, the author requires that any changes to the source code must be made available to the general public.
This is a big difference, especially since reports have indicated SCO will attempt to have the GPL voided and the Linux code declared public domain. Such an action would allow any vendor (such as SCO) to utilize Linux code within their own proprietary products without regard for previous ownership, without publishing the underlying source code and without the need to compensate the true authors of the software.
Caldera (now SCO) purchased UNIX, not Linux from Santa Cruz Operation.
Most legal scholars give SCO's chance of success as slim to none. Most also note that invalidating the GPL would mean SCO is infringing the copyright of all the Linux contributors, since that's the terms of their work. That's why SCO's pushing to get GPL equated to public domain, otherwise they're in for a bugswarm of infringement cases against them, and likely the Death of a Thousand Stings.
The presumption in the tech community was that SCO expected a quiet buyout for their silence, and when IBM actually chose to go to court, SCO had to start blowing smoke to avoid the exposure of their
lack of a case. We'll see how they fare after these upcoming hearings.
Regarding SCO's blowing smoke, the following article on groklaw is very interesting: it actually has a content (as opposed to speculation). The author succeeded in reverse-engineering the shell scripts SCO must have used to obtain their lists of "infringing" source files. As a result we get a peek at the actual intent behind the list of the source files SCO selected as their proof of infringment. If the scripts are indeed more or less correct (as they appear to be) then SCO have no case. One of the source files, for example, was selected by SCO as a proof some SMP code was copied, but when one actually looks in the file, all it contains is... an error message to the effect "we do not implement SMP" (SCO based their argument here on the presence of the sequence of letters S, M, P in the file! If the rest of their case is similarly dim-witted then good luck.) The groklaw article seems not to be very popular with the mainstream press (and it should be) because it's somewhat technical but such is the nature of this thing:
I completely agree that SCO's real intent was to get bought by IBM. Now they are reduced to FUD and P&D (the P&D especially should be of great interest to the SEC - why aren't they doing anything? It's really odd.)