Public Source Code Means Traceability!

Following on from Bruce Perens writings, A journalist at InfoWorld has asked various people for comment including the developer that wrote ‘the code’ and Linus himself.

This article shows that the traceability of code origins is excellent when using versioning tools, plenty of disk space and of course public code!

As much of the article is direct quotes from Perens, TurboTas is only citing a small part of the article.

‘”The obfuscated code example is not SCO’s property,” said Perens. “It was developed by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in 1993, under funding of the US Government. The code was added to SCO’s version of Unix in 1995 or 1996, he maintained. “SCO took (the BSD) source code, lost the attribution, and now believes it’s theirs.”

SCO disputed Perens’ claims. “We’re the owners of the Unix (AT&T) System V code, and so we would know what it would look like,” he said. “Until it comes to court, it’s going to be our word against theirs.”

The obfuscated sample, which contains networking software, could have been legitimately copied in the Linux source code, because it has been released under a BSD license, Perens said.

But the code was created from scratch and not copied from any version of Unix, according to the Linux developer who contributed it.

Jay Schulist, a senior software engineer with Pleasanton, California’s Bivio Networks says he wrote the 500 lines of code in 1997 as part of a volunteer project for the Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools in Wisconsin. “I used it for helping a local school district in my home town to connect their old Apple Macintosh machines to the Internet,” he said.

Schulist wrote the code, based on the publicly available specifications created by Lawrence Berkeley Labs, he said. He has never seen the AT&T source code, he added.

The Linux hacker expressed surprised that his contribution would be singled out by SCO. “I have no idea why they would even chose my code,” he said. “If they had done any research at all, they would have realized that there was no other way to implement the actual filtering engine.”

Linux creator Linus Torvalds said he had no plans to delete Schulist’s code from the Linux kernel. “I’m not removing Jay Schulist’s code,” he said in an email interview. “We can show where it came from, and there’s nothing strange going on there.”‘

Source: InfoWorld: read the full article here.

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