Linux Heavies Slam SCO at Show

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-07-10 Print this article Print

Participants in an Oscon panel discussion titled "The IP Wars: SCO Versus Linux" believe money may be the driving force behind SCO's lawsuit against IBM.

PORTLAND, Ore.—The contentious issue of the SCO Groups lawsuit against IBM and its claims that the Linux operating system is an unauthorized derivative of Unix, to which SCO owns the rights, reared its ugly head at the OReilly Open Source Convention (Oscon) here on Wednesday. In a late afternoon panel discussion titled "The IP Wars: SCO Versus Linux," moderator Chris DiBona, vice president and founder of Damage Studios, said the topic essentially involves a "SCO versus everybody else talk," adding that the lawsuit was probably brought for financial reasons as IBM is a player with a lot of money.
Lawrence Rosen, general counsel for the Open Source Initiative (OSI), said he has sued many people, adding that he hates suing poor clients. "The rich ones have deep pockets," he said.
Bradley Kuhn, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, which is the copyright holder for much of the GNU Linux operating system, said if a company is not after money, suing is not the way to go. The Free Software Foundation has never sued anyone who was in beach of the GNU General Public License (GPL) as it simply wants them to come into compliance with the license. But it wasnt long before the finger was also pointed at Microsoft Corp., which in May licensed SCOs Unix technology. "Microsoft has identified the GNU GPL as their biggest competitor and is making sure that it does not lose any deals on price to GPLd software in Europe. That had a lot to do with why they took a license; their goal is to make the GPL look bad," he said. As recently as May, SCO was shipping copies of Linux off their FTP site under the terms of the GPL, which allows users can copy and redistribute it. "So, whatever happens, you will still have Linux under GPL," Rosen said. Alan Nugent, chief technology officer for Novell Inc., which once owned the rights to Unix before selling them to SCO, said his company is committed to helping the community "get over this. We believe all the things that have gone on are pretty baseless, and we want to move on from here," Nugent said. Asked about Novells copyright claims with regard to Unix System V, Nugent would only say that when the transfer deals took place, "not all things were transferred and the things that were transferred are not necessarily the things that will help [SCOs] case."

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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