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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-08-18 Print this article Print

In another keynote presentation, SCO Senior Vice President Chris Sontag and Mark Heise, a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, the primary law firm representing SCO, presented what they claimed was proof that SCO clearly owned all the intellectual property, copyrights and trademarks for Unix. Presenting what he claimed was a literal copyright infringement in Linux of Unix code, Sontag showed examples of identical registration of variables, lines of code and comments in the same sequence.
In terms of obfuscating code, Sontag said SCO has gone through millions of lines of code and developed methods to find similarities. "We have rocket scientists who have applied their spectral recognition and pattern analysis to software, which has yielded amazing results. We have found needles in the Mount Everest-sized haystack," Sontag said.
Sontag noted that a copyright case law also made clear that the quantity of code is not at issue, but rather how important that code is. Turning to derivative works that have found their way into Linux, Sontag said these include NUMA (non uniform memory access), Read Copyright Update (RCU), Journal File System and schedulers. "A number of entities have violated their contracts and contributed inappropriate code to Linux. Thats how Linux has advanced so quickly and found its way into the enterprise so soon," Sontag said. "We have an improbable Linux development process. The current 2.5 kernel contains features and functionality that took years and years to be developed in Unix. With Linux weve seen it develop from a baby to a race car driver in three or four years," he said. SCO could also go after end users who are improperly using Linux for actual damages and seek an injunction to prevent further usage of the infringing material, Heise said, adding that this is playing out as the case of the century as it looked at rights, copyright and usage in this Internet and Web age. Sontag said Linux customers have several choices: stop running Linux or scale back to version 2.2; find another platform that has the appropriate licenses and usage rights; or pay SCO a licensing fee to run Linux in binary form with the appropriate IP from SCO. "We have a very strong case, we have the evidence, we have the contracts and are confident of our position and the rights to defend ourselves," Sontag said. By selling Linux itself, SCO has not assigned all of its copyright ownership to the GNU General Public License. "SCO did not put a copyright into the GPL and authorized the usage of that code in Linux," Heise 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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