OSI Tears Apart SCOs Claims

In an amended paper, the Open Source Initiative addresses a wide range of SCO's claims in its lawsuit against IBM and its claims to ownership of the Unix source code.

The Open Source Initiative on Monday updated its stinging attack against the SCO Group—the company that is suing IBM for $1 billion and that claims that the Linux operating system is an unauthorized derivative of Unix, to which SCO owns the rights.

OSI, a non-profit educational association with offices in Palo Alto, Calif., is one of the principal advocacy groups for the open-source community and falls under the presidency of Linux luminary Eric Raymond.

In an OSI position paper, amended yesterday, the group addresses a wide range of SCOs claims in the lawsuit against IBM and its claims to ownership of the Unix source code.

It also claims that a judgment in favor of SCO could do serious damage to the open-source community. "SCOs implication of wider claims could turn Linux into an intellectual-property minefield, with potential users and allies perpetually wary of being mugged by previously unasserted IP claims, and ever-more-outlandish theories of entitlement being propounded by parties with only the most tenuous relationship to anyone who ever wrote actual program code," it said.

Speaking on behalf of the community that wrote most of todays Unix code, and whose claims to have done so were tacitly recognized by the impairment of AT&Ts rights under a 1993 settlement, "we protest that to allow this outcome would be a very grave injustice."

"We wrote our Unix and Linux code as a gift and an expression of art, to be enjoyed by our peers and used by others for all licit purposes both non-profit and for-profit. We did not write it to have it appropriated by men so dishonorable that after making profit from our gift for eight years they could turn around and insult our competence," Raymond says in the paper.