Is anyone not laughing at SCO?

Earlier in the week, SCO released some information on some of the files that they say were copied from Unix.

The list resulted in a general guffaw at the ineptitude of the SCO Lawyers.

Although there were around 50 files on the list, due to the fact that they are header files for the different architectures, it transpires that there are only 5 unique file at stake here.

These files are really very simple stuff: they are header files and functions that live in the Linux Kernel. None of the files is more that a few K in size, and most importantly, none have changed much since 1991.

Linus has written in the New York Times that he wrote all the files trivially himself without use of Unix source code. A simple check of CVS supports this: all the development is public and the changelog is clear for these files.

It seems that SCO, who are already hopping, have shot themselves in the foot again.

Here are Linus’ comments

“Some of these files were written by me directly”

The files listed in SCO’s letter are written in the C programming language. Citing two files, “include/linux/ctype.h” and “lib/ctype.h,” Linus said “some trivial digging shows that those files are actually there in the original 0.01 distribution of Linux” in September 1991.

“I wrote them,” Mr. Torvalds noted, “and looking at the original ones I’m a bit ashamed.” He observed that some of the macros, or programming shortcuts, are “so horribly ugly that I wouldn’t admit to writing them if it wasn’t because somebody else claimed to have done so ;)”

Linus is clearly angered by SCO’s accusation that much of Linux was merely copied. “In short,” Mr. Torvalds said, “for the files where I personally checked the history, I can definitely say that those files were trivially written by me personally, with no copying from any Unix code, ever.

“I can show, and SCO should have been able to see, that the list they show clearly shows original work, not copied.”

Darl C. McBride, the chief executive of SCO, said he stood by the company’s assertions. He said that a Linux expert who will testify in the SCO suit against I.B.M., which was filed last March, went over the code closely. “As a social revolutionary, Linus Torvalds is a genius,” Mr. McBride said. “But at the speed the Linux project has gone forward something gets lost along the way in terms of care with intellectual property.”

TurboTas can’t help but think that SCO have more tricks up their sleeve: surely this is not the best they can do? SCO’s accounts show that this year they have paid $9M for legal services (Remember that they have also paid with SCO shares too!)

In February 2004, SCO have said they will target the first 10 end users of Linux.

Leave a Reply