TurboTas only just finished writing about the SCO letter when he discovered the fast response by Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens
TurboTas is really heartened to learn that at the moment Bruce and Eric are singing with the same voice: Infighting has been a worry for a while: there are some very strong characters in the Open Source community and they don’t always agree!
Here is the combined response: I’ve lifted this from Eric Raymond’s web site.
Mr. McBride, in your Open Letter to the Open
Source Community your offer to negotiate with us comes at the end
of a farrago of falsehoods, half-truths, evasions, slanders, and
misrepresentations. You must do better than this. We will not
attempt to erect a compromise with you on a foundation of
Your statement that Eric Raymond was “contacted by the perpetrator” of
the DDoS attack on SCO begins the falsehoods. Mr. Raymond made very
clear when volunteering his information and calling for the attack to
cease that he was contacted by a third-party associate of the
perpetrator and does not have the perpetrator’s identity to reveal.
The DDoS attack ceased, and has not resumed. Mr. Raymond subsequently
received emailed thanks for his action from Blake Stowell of SCO.
Your implication that the attacks are a continuing threat, and that
the President of the Open Source Initiative is continuing to shield
their perpetrator, is therefore not merely both false and slanderous,
but contradictory with SCO’s own previous behavior. In all three
respects it is what we in the open-source community have come to
expect from SCO. If you are serious about negotiating with anyone,
rather than simply posturing for the media, such behavior must cease.
In fact, leaders of the open-source community have acted responsibly
and swiftly to end the DDoS attacks just as we continue to act
swiftly to address IP-contamination issues when they are aired in a
clear and responsible manner. This history is open to public
inspection in the linux-kernel archives and elsewhere, with numerous
instances on record of Linus Torvalds and others refusing code in
circumstances where there is reason to believe it might be compromised
by third-party IP claims.
As software developers, intellectual property is our stock in trade.
Whether we elect to trade our effort for money or rewards of a subtler
and more enduring nature, we are instinctively respectful of concerns
about IP, credit, and provenance. Our licenses (the GPL and others)
work with copyright law, not against it. We reject your
attempt to portray our community as a howling wilderness of IP
thieves as a baseless and destructive smear.
We in the open-source community are accountable. Our source code is
public, exposed to scrutiny by anyone who wishes to contest its
ownership. Can SCO or any other closed-source vendor say the same?
Who knows what IP violations, what stripped copyrights, what stolen
techniques lurk in the depths of closed-source code? Indeed, not only
SCO’s past representations that it was merging GPLed Linux technology
into SCO Unix but Judge Debevoise’s rulings in the last big lawsuit on
Unix IP rights suggest strongly that SCO should clean up its own act
before daring to accuse others of theft.
SCO taxes IBM and others with failing to provide warranties or
indemnify users against third-party IP claims, conveniently neglecting
to mention that the warranties and indemnities offered by SCO and
others such as Microsoft are carefully worded so that the vendor’s
liability is limited to the software purchase price. They thus offer
no actual shield against liability claims or damages. They are, in a
word, shams designed to lull users into a false sense of security — a
form of sham which we believe you press on us solely as posturing,
rather than out of any genuine concern for users. We in the
open-source community, and our corporate allies, refuse to play that
You invite us to negotiate, but you have persistently refused to state
a negotiable claim. You have made allegations of a million lines of
copied code which are mathematically impossible given the known,
publicly accessible history of Linux development. You have uttered
vast conspiracy theories which fail to be vague only where they are
slanderous and insulting. You have already been compelled to abandon
major claims such as the ownership of SMP technology alleged
in your original complaint against IBM on showings that they
were false, and that you knew or should have known them to be false.
Accordingly, we of the open-source community do not concede that there
is anything to negotiate. Linux is our work and our lawful
property, the distillation of twelve years of hard work, idealism,
creativity, tears, joy, and sweat by hundreds of thousands of
cooperating hackers all over the world. It is not yours, has never
been yours, and will never be yours.
If you wish to make a respectable case for contamination, show us
the code. Disclose the overlaps. Specify file by file and line
by line which code you believe to be infringing, and on what grounds.
We will swiftly meet our responsibilities under law, either removing
the allegedly infringing code or establishing that it entered Linux by
routes which foreclose proprietary claims.
Linus quickly followed McBrides letter of 9th September with his own response. I feel it’s typical Torvalds: Pretty short and utterly to the point.
Here is the complete letter:
Sept. 9, 2003
Open letter to Darl McBride — please grow up.
Thank you so much for your letter.
We are happy that you agree that customers need to know that Open Source is legal and stable, and we heartily agree with that sentence of your letter. The others don’t seem to make as much sense, but we find the dialogue refreshing.
However, we have to sadly decline taking business model advice from a company that seems to have squandered all its money (that it made off a Linux IPO, I might add, since there’s a nice bit of irony there), and now seems to play the US legal system as a lottery. We in the Open Source group continue to believe in technology as a way of driving customer interest and demand.
Also, we find your references to a negotiating table somewhat confusing, since there doesn’t seem to be anything to negotiate about. SCO has yet to show any infringing IP in the Open Source domain, but we wait with bated breath for when you will actually care to inform us about what you are blathering about.
All of our source code is out in the open, and we welcome you point to any particular piece you might disagree with.
Until then, please accept our gratitude for your submission,
SCO have released an open letter to the Open Source community attempting to justify their recent actions.
Although on the surface the letter appears conciliatory, it does not contain any new information other than presumably trying to placate average Joe Linux user.
Interestingly McBride does attack both Bruce Perens and Eric Raymond in counter-bombardment to their own recent comments about SCO.
TurboTas guesses that the personalities here could be instrumental in the eventiual outcome: Playing Perens and Raymond off against each other could make things really messy for the Open Source community: Perens and Raymond have had a really nasty slanging match in the past, in public.
What McBride does is start to manouever around statements that the pair of them have made so that Raymond is made out as a militant SCO hater whilst Perens Staunchly agrees that SCO could be right.
Look around for yourself, nothing could be further from the truth!
The new SCO open letter is here (I didn’t dare rip it!)
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Well, It’s been another roller coaster few weeks in the SCO drama. It seems that every time McBride or his loons make a statement they open themselves to instant ridicule
There are some really interesting articles popping up now and some brilliant counter attacks planned.
Check out Eric Raymond’s ‘No Secrets‘ site: Eric is gathering evidence to torpedo the claim that System V contains trade secrets. This is due to many many individuals having free and unrestricted access to the source code. Presently Eric has 60 odd people prepared to sign affidavits to this effect.
Next there are now former SCO employees coming out of the woodwork also prepared to sign affidavits that it was common practice to strip BSD copyright warnings off as they used code in System V. This is Excellent: If proven it may show that SCO don’t own Unix themselves!
Check out the ‘We Love the SCO Information Minister‘ Site: It gives an excellent timeline of McBrides descent into madness.
As if the above were not enough, I’m even working on a piece myself regarding the risks of using any *nix variant except Linux. Think about it for a moment before you buy your next Sun or HP platform: What happens if their licenses get revoked?