Linus Torvalds Refutes SCO Copyright Claims

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Open-source experts offered detailed analysis that refutes SCO's recent claims of copyright violations in Linux. Linus Torvalds sees fingerprints in the files in question.

In a letter sent last week to Linux companies, The SCO Group Inc made a number of specific claims about programs within Linux it contends were stolen from its Unix intellectual property. However, several Linux experts, including Linux founder Linus Torvalds, on Monday countered SCOs assessment, wondering if the programs cited by SCO are Linux through and through.

Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, told eWEEK.com there was a good reason why some of the code looked similar. "Do you know that there is not one bit of executable code in those files? Theyre pretty much all macros and declarations forced by POSIX and other technical standards."

Meanwhile, Bruce Perens, an open-source leader, told eWEEK.com that some parts of the code seemed to show gaps in Lindon, Utah-based SCOs interpretation of evolutionary history. "There are mistakes in the Linux versions that dont exist in the Unix ones, and i386 Linux doesnt even use the same numbers as in Unix, Perens said.

Torvalds went into far deeper detail. "Im pretty sure the same is true of the errno.h file too (which is then duplicated several times for each architecture)," Torvalds told eWEEK.com.
"In fact, Im pretty sure the error numbers arent even the same on Linux/x86 as they are on traditional Unix, exactly because the Linux header file was written independently," he said. "But [the errno.h files] obviously have the same error names. Thats not because they were copied; its because thats specified by several standards, not Unix per se—youll find those error names in any operating system that has a C compiler," Torvalds said.

Torvalds and other Linux leaders were personally issued subpoenas in the SCO case. To read the full story, click here.
Torvalds said he picked two of the 71 files SCO listed as examples of intellectual-property theft; ones that he had written himself. "This is just a quick analysis, but it boils down to the fact that SCO is [yet again] claiming copyright on something that they did not write, and that I can prove that they did not write," Torvalds said.

Next page: Torvalds take on the contested code.


 
 
 
 
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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