Ransom Love, Co-founder of Caldera and SCO, Speaks of Unix, GPL and the Lawsuit - Page 2

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eWEEK.com: When you bought SCO, you had other problems beyond the concern about mixing Unix and Linux, right?

Love: Thats right. There were many reasons we bought SCO: its then-strong reseller community; its incredible installed base of replicated business where Linux could play well; its engineering talent; its global support infrastructure; and what we then thought of as the future of our product base—Project Monterey.

Editors note: Project Monterey was a deal between SCO and IBM, with Intels support, to develop an enterprise Unix that could run on systems based on Intels IA-32 and IA-64 architectures as well as IBMs POWER4 processor. The result would have been a single product line supporting systems ranging from entry-level servers to large enterprise environments.

Love: We were really excited about Monterey as the next product step for Caldera/SCO. With it, we would move a combined Unix and Linux to a 64-bit platform. We were counting on it, and senior IBM executives had assured us that they wanted Monterey.

Then, IBM decided to name it AIX 5L (on August 22, 2000, 20 days after Caldera had bought SCO), and they wouldnt release [Monterey] on Intel. That became a real problem for us. SCO had depended entirely on Monterey on IA-64 for the future of our Unix and Linux product lines. IBM did offer some payment for our development troubles, but it was insufficient.

eWEEK.com: That was the real start of trouble between the two companies, then?

Love: Yes.

eWEEK.com: What do you think about SCOs current management claims that IBM took Unix source code and put it into Linux?

Love: I dont get into that level of expertise, so thats an area I cant comment on. Of course, both SCO/Caldera and IBM contributed to the Linux kernel. Certainly, IBM contributed SMP capability. We didnt do much with SMP. Logically, I seriously doubt that IBM would actually list the Unix code into Linux. Were they heavily influenced by Unix? Of course, all operating system engineers are.


eWEEK.com: > SCOs current management is now going after the GPL. What do think of this move?

Love: We looked at the GPL for many years. We thought it had problems, For me, the GPL was not the open source license I would have chosen for commercial opportunities, but if I were trying to establish an open standard, Id use GPL.

Fundamentally, the only business model that works with GPL is a subscription service, one like Caldera had and where Red Hat has with its enterprise Linux distributions. The GPL might be questionable in court, but for what Richard Stallman intended, its not flawed at all.

But, that said, I wouldnt want to test the GPL in court, particularly given Calderas history of voluntary compliance with it.

If you start down a path, and you get high-powered attorneys and [then] you begin to believe things you might not have at the beginning.

Next page: Why SCOs legal moves arent "good for the company or Linux."