Page Two

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-12-04 Print this article Print

Going on to attack the Free Software Foundation and those software developers around the world who did not believe in the approach to copyright protection mandated by Congress, McBride said that over the past 20 years, the Foundation and others in the open source software movement "have set out to actively and intentionally undermine the U.S. and European systems of copyrights and patents. "Leaders of the FSF have spent great efforts, written numerous articles and sometimes enforced the provisions of the GPL as part of a deeply held belief in the need to undermine or eliminate software patent and copyright laws," he said.
The software license adopted by the GPL was called "copyleft" by its authors, because the GPL had the effect of requiring free and open access to Linux (and other) software code and prohibits any proprietary use thereof. As a result, the GPL was exactly opposite in its effect from the "copyright" laws adopted by the US Congress and the European Union, McBride said.
This stance against intellectual property laws had been adopted by several companies in the software industry, most notably Red Hat. According to McBride, Red Hats position was that current U.S. intellectual property law "impedes innovation in software development" and that "software patents are inconsistent with open source/free software." But SCO took the opposite position, McBride said, believing that copyright and patent laws adopted by the U.S. Congress and the European Union were critical to the further growth and development of the $186 billion global software industry, and to the technology business in general. In taking this position, SCO had been attacked by Free Software Foundation, Red Hat and many software developers who support their efforts to eliminate software patents and copyrights. "Personal threats abound. At times the nature of these attacks is breathtaking—the emotions are obscuring the very clear and important legal issues SCO has raised," he said. "SCO is confident that the legal underpinning of our arguments is sound. We understand that the litigation process is never easy for any party involved. Our stance on this issue has made SCO very unpopular with some. "But we believe that we will prevail through the legal system, because our position is consistent with the clear legal authority set down by US Congress, the US Supreme Court and the European Union," he concluded.

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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