August 21, 2003

The SCO Group responds to Torvalds

- by Joe Barr -
Yesterday morning, Linus Torvalds told NewsForge "He's lying"
when we asked him for a comment on remarks by Darl McBride, CEO of The SCO Group, claiming there are a million lines of SCO code in Linux. This morning, we have a response to Torvalds' comment by Blake Stowell, the Director of Public Relations for The SCO Group. Updated

Stowell told Newsforge in an email late last night:

To clarify, the code we showed in Vegas was Unix System V code that was copied line for line from UNIX into Linux. It was contributed by a UNIX licensee, which was not IBM. It was shown not to build our case against IBM, but it was shown to identify that there are issues with Linux. Linus can have his opinion of Darl McBride and what was shown, but ultimately, we will have to show our proof in a court setting and
convince a jury that we have been wronged by IBM, not this other UNIX
licensee that we showed the code from. That will be a separate issue.

As the company that owns the UNIX System V source code, we think we're sufficiently qualified to identify this code.

SCO might believe that they are "sufficiently qualified," but the open source community believes otherwise.

Updated: Eric S. Raymond had this to say this morning about that last statement: "Their claim to be qualified has already been refuted by their own egregious errors." Raymond has put his own analysis on the web here.

Linus Torvalds said in an email interview with eWeek yesterday about SCO's claims as to the origin of the code: "To counter the open-source peoples' contention that any shared code is likely of BSD or "ancient Unix" origin, [SCO's] claimed several times how it's "modern System V" code that they have clear ownership of. That's despite massive proof to the contrary, going back three decades."

In related news, Linux Journal publisher Phil Hughes has responded to McBride's comments (also made at the SCOForum Conference in Las Vegas this week) that SCO is looking for a Linux user to sue for not obtaining a SCO license for Linux in order to stir up more license sales. In an open letter to SCO, Hughes identified his firm as a Linux user and invited SCO to sue them.

Joe Barr has been writing about technology for 10 years, and about Linux for five. His work has appeared in IBM Personal Systems Journal, LinuxGazette, LinuxWorld, Newsforge, phrack, SecurityFocus, and He is the founder of The Dweebspeak Primer, the official newsletter of the Linux Liberation Army.


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