Look At The History

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2004-03-04 Print this article Print

Look at the history. When Caldera first bought SCO in August 2000, the company suggested that it was going to open source a good deal of Unix. That never happened. Because as Love explained, "We quickly found that even though we owned it, it was, and still is, full of other companies copyrights."

But what Caldera did do, as described in a Caldera white paper dated March 8, 2001, "Linux and UNIX are coming Together" by Dean R. Zimmerman of SCO, was to try and merge the best features of both operating systems. In the first pages of the white paper, theres a line that fits perfectly with open-source gospel: "For a programmer, access to source code is the greatest gift that can be bestowed."

And then, deeper into the white paper, "Caldera has begun the task of uniting the strengths of UNIX technology, which include stability, scalability, security and performance with the strengths of Linux, which include Internet-readiness, networking, new application support and new hardware support. Calderas solution is to unite in the UNIX kernel a Linux Kernel Personality (LKP), and then provide the additional APIs needed for high-end scalability. The result is an application deploy on platform with the performance, scalability and confidence of UNIX and the industry momentum of Linux."

So here we are, SCO/Caldera software developers were not only working on their own Linux— and with SuSE on what would become UnitedLinux— but were adding Linux kernel functionality to Unix too.

Oh, and lest we forget, if there is Unix system code in Linux, it doesnt matter anyway. For you see, SCO has another major legal problem. It was given the code that SCO claims was stolen via the GPL. That basically means that SCO itself has already open-sourced any Unix code that might be in Linux.

If SCO actually owned the IP in question, had any proof that it was stolen, and sourced the code from somewhere other than the GPL, maybe SCO should win. But, at best, I dont how SCO can prove any of the above, except possibly that SCO, and not Novell, owns the copyrights.

Enough! This is just silly. SCO cant win and it shouldnt win. In the short run, SCO can get some cash from foolish companies like Computer Associates and EV1Servers that are willing to waste their money. And, so long as they can keep the anti-Linux FUD coming, Microsoft will keep supporting them. In the long run though, SCO will rightly lose.

Dont miss the other side, as Rob Enderle takes the pro-SCO position in his analysis of why SCO must win. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum

eWEEK.com Linux & Open Source Center Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.

Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at http://linux.eweek.com for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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