SCO Showing More Code in Linux Dispute

SCO officials are planning to hand over specific Linux code they contend was released to the open source community by IBM , allegedly in violation of SCO’s copyright.

Blake Stowell, SCO spokesperson, confirmed the move, telling he expects the evidence will be enough to convince the judge overseeing the contract dispute between SCO and IBM to demand that IBM also produce other UNIX derivative code under dispute in the case.

Stowell also said the code that SCO is handing over is protected, and that only IBM would be able to see the code in question. The open source community has been critical of SCO’s refusal to show the specific lines of code in the select Linux kernels that it claims were lifted from its copyrighted versions of UNIX.

The latest deadline for SCO to produce evidence in the case comes about a month after U.S. District Judge Brooke Wells ordered SCO to turn over all source code related to its $3 billion lawsuit it has filed against IBM, which claims that Big Blue violated its UNIX license by releasing copyrighted code to the open source community. The ruling gave the software company 30 days to comply with the ruling that it show the code that’s under dispute.

If SCO didn’t, the judge said she would suspend all fact-finding discovery motions.

“It’s certainly in our interest to provide them everything they’re asking for because until we have, the judge will not allow us to proceed in asking IBM to provide us what we’re looking for,” Stowell said. “It’s our turn first and then it’s [IBM’s] turn second.”

Technically, IBM was the first to turn over its source code. On the eve of the December ruling, IBM handed over the UNIX source code it maintains through ownership of former software company Sequent. This source code was one of two motions to compel filed by SCO, which called the move an “11th hour” maneuver.

The two companies have both filed numerous motions to compel discovery in past months, a legal maneuver seeking to determine the extent of SCO’s Unix System V source code that it claims has slipped into select Linux kernels. SCO owns the rights to that
particular version of the venerable UNIX operating system and the possible
inclusion of the code in Linux would essentially render the open source kernel subject to license revenues.

To date, SCO has kept a tight rein on the lines of code it claims will prove IBM has released to the Linux community in violation of its license; but up until now, it has only showed small code snippets to various members of the media and analysts.

Both sides have been wrangling with motions to compel the other to show some code in the dispute. For example, the Lindon, Utah-based SCO requested that IBM show its source code for Big Blue’s version of UNIX, called AIX, which SCO says was eventually used to beef up Linux.

An IBM spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

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