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."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.
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.