Roseland said that SCO is "playing dirty." "To freely and openly distribute [Linux] code in accordance with and in acceptance of the GPL and then to turn around and say that doing so was a mistake and that it wants all the code back or to at least be paid royalties for it is pure nonsense," he said. "If SCO freely gave away their code via their distribution of Linux, nobody else has any legal obligation to pay them for it."The validity of the GPL rests with its language and the law, not the ruminations or beliefs of its authors or the open-source movement, Murphy added. What SCO, of Lindon, Utah, wants is for the GPL to be held invalid and for all the rights of other open-source copyright holders, except SCO, to be terminated, he said. "There is no possible scenario that this can happen," Murphy said. "There is no doubt that many in the open-source movement wish that copyright and patent law were substantially different or altogether done away with. It is clear to most of us that intellectual property law has failed and needs to be significantly rethought or eliminated. But, that said, it is still the law of the land." Still, Murphy said that he believes the GPL is safe. The GPL has survived for years despite the risk that some interest with deep pockets would challenge it, he said. "But, today, it is being defended by lawyers from one of the largest corporations in the world [IBM]," he said. "The GPL is likely to emerge unscathed, and this case will leave it unassailable." Tim Dion, a software engineer manager at a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer in San Jose, Calif., who also runs a consulting company called PhiSoft LLC, said McBride seems oblivious to the fact that the GPL is a grant of copyright. The GPL requires copyright law, as enacted by Congress, to protect the works of developers. "[McBride] fundamentally does not understand that SCO licensed, modified and distributed Linux source code. By doing this, SCO agreed to freely license those works, including the alleged infringing code under the GPL," Dion said. Next page: Interpretating SCOs interpretation.
Another software developer, Kevin Murphy, of The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, agreed. SCOs GPL claims are "even weirder than most," said Murphy, who is also the technical lead for a research group that develops software that uses the GPL.