Linux Community Doubts SCO Claims

And how is the Linux community at large handling SCO Group’s latest claims that the Linux kernel versions 2.4.x and later copied its copyrighted Unix code?

According to a report on Linux Today, open-source advocates are dubious because they say SCO has yet to the link between Linux and Unix in a court of law.

“IBM is not aware of any Unix System V Code in Linux. SCO needs to openly show this code before anyone can assess their claim. SCO seems to be asking customers to pay for a license based on allegations, not facts,” said Trink Guarino, Director of IBM Media Relations.

Joseph Eckert, SuSE's VP of Corporate Communications, couldn't agree more: “SCO still needs to prove the copyright infringements at least once–don't they?”

Leigh Day, Red Hat spokesperson, said that, “SCO still hasn't contacted us and while we've asked them to show us the offending source code, they haven't shown us any source code. So, Red Hat continues to maintain that we are not in violation of any IP rights. Red Hat Linux falls completely under the GPL and SCO's license is simply not necessary for our customers.”

SCO's CEO, Darl McBride, response to such arguments is that those who have seen the code samples provided by SCO in their Linden, Utah offices, under a strict non-disclosure agreement (NDA) which prevents the viewers from describing exactly what they've seen, believe that there are intellectual property problems with Linux and are seeking a way to continue to use Linux while honoring SCO's IP rights. McBride did not, however, cite any companies which agreed with this claim.

SCO said it is ready to license its code to Linux users so they can avoid copyright violations. However, Eben Moglen, professor of law at Columbia University and general counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF), though said there is absolutely no reason for anyone to buy SCO's license.

“Users don't need a license to use copyrighted programs anymore than they need to pay a copyright fee before reading Gone with the Wind. If you copy, distribute, or modify copyrighted material, then you can be in copyright violation,” Moglen said.

The preceding report is a news digest from sister site, Linux Today. The full-version of the story can be found here.

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