Page Two

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

The OSIs Rosen said the matter is really SCO versus IBM, which makes a big difference, as one is an enormous company and the other is a firm that was recently bankrolled, referring to Microsofts recent Unix license deal with SCO. "This proves that Microsoft and proprietary software vendors have a great deal to fear from intellectual property held by others. Maybe Microsoft felt it had something in its software to fear, and perhaps thats maybe why it took out that license," he said.
IBM and others in the open-source community need to understand the origin of their code and to carefully vet where those contributions came from. This case is also a contract dispute, not an IP war.
"SCO has filed a list of factual allegations against IBM, which Big Blue has denied," Rosen said. "There is a lot of misinformation going on here about what this case means and the implications it has for Linux and open source." If it turned out for some reason or another that a piece of code "has been taken wrongly, not willfully, then well find someone in this room to rewrite it," he said. People in the open-source community should also not accept software under the Microsoft Shared Source license as they could become "contaminated" and should also not sign non-disclosure agreements and should not use software that could restrict what they can do with it. "If you dont accept trade secrets, you can never be sued for having them," he said. The FSFs Kuhn advised free software writers to register their copyrights in the United States, even if they do not reside in the country. But Eric Raymond, co-founder and president of the OSI, cautioned that the industry should not respond to the SCO matter by trying to further regulate the open-source code and contribution process. The volume and quality of contributions to open source are very sensitive to the "overheads of submission and increasing these overheads to the development process could do long-term damage to the industry," he said.

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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