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SCO's Linux license - SCO

Before the vultures descend, let me give my opinion on the latest Sco action ( see http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/10/31/1451233 ) It's wrong. Yes, it's dumb too, but it is outrageously immoral. It's one thing to attack the legality of the GPL. As much as I don't like it, I have to say that it is their right to challenge it. But this is wilfully violating the GPL as though it had already been ruled invalid. That's unconscionable. It borders on unbelievable. -- com Unix/Linux/Mac OS X resources: http://aplawrence.com Get paid for writing about tech: http://aplawrence.com/publish.html...

  1. #1

    Default SCO's Linux license

    Before the vultures descend, let me give my opinion on
    the latest Sco action
    ( see http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/10/31/1451233 )

    It's wrong. Yes, it's dumb too, but it is outrageously immoral.

    It's one thing to attack the legality of the GPL. As much as
    I don't like it, I have to say that it is their right to challenge
    it. But this is wilfully violating the GPL as though it had
    already been ruled invalid. That's unconscionable. It
    borders on unbelievable.

    --
    com Unix/Linux/Mac OS X resources: http://aplawrence.com
    Get paid for writing about tech: http://aplawrence.com/publish.html

    tony@aplawrence.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 21:29:06 +0000 (UTC), com wrote:
     

    Well I'm going to have to agree with Tony here, even though he's not a
    lawyer and really shouldn't be forming an opinion. I honestly didn't
    think SCO could me off any more, but this latest act seems
    designed to whip the entire community up into a fury! SCO really are
    the "suicide bombers" of the IT industry; how on Earth do they expect
    to gain the favour of a judge when they're now blatantly violating
    copyright in public view?! I'm sure no courtroom will be impressed
    with this stupendous act arrogance.

    The good news is that this allows the floodgates to open for a class
    action suit, or indeed each and every developer/contributor to issue
    C&D letters to SCO, and possibly bring thousands of separate court
    cases against these thieving, lying sbags.

    Anyway, I'm in need of some light relief, so let's hear Boyd and
    Lubkin (or whatever that SCO employee's name was before he went into
    hiding) try to explain how this is perfectly acceptable.
    --
    FyRE < "War: The way Americans learn geography" >
    FyRE Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    com wrote: 

    from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    before downloading patches. Am I missing something?

    Mike

    --
    Michael Brown

    The Kingsway Group
    Mike Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 00:22:31 GMT, Mike Brown <ca> wrote:
     
    >
    >from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    >but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    >before downloading patches. Am I missing something?[/ref]

    Yes you are. Why not read the words on SCO's page instead of just
    looking at the pretty pictures, and you'll see they are violating
    copyright law by redistributing software under their own "made up"
    licence, with flagrant disregard to the wishes of the authors of the
    code. In other words, they are guilty of outright theft.
    --
    FyRE < "War: The way Americans learn geography" >
    FyRE Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 00:22:31 GMT, Mike Brown <ca> wrote: 
    >
    >from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    >but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    >before downloading patches. Am I missing something?[/ref]

    According to SCO's site, they are only allowing existing customers to
    download RPMS.

    Section 3.b of the GPL requires that, if you distributed binary copies
    of GPL software, you must offer source code of that binary to ANY THIRD
    PARTY (not just your customers) for a period of 3 years.

    However, I suspect that SCO's argument may be that the Source RPMS were
    available for download and try to say they satisfied the requirement of
    Section 3.a, which allows the requirement for source code to be
    satisfied by delivering the source code with the binary.

    So, one question might be: does offering source code for download at the
    same time as the binary qualify as "accompanying" the source code with
    the binary? Unless I have missed the issue, I suspect some lawyers may
    be considering this very question.

    On the other hand, SCO's managers may feel that they just don't care,
    since they can't simultaneously satisfy their support contracts and
    claim any control over Linux (beyond their rights under the GPL).

    It would be interesting to hear comments from SCO employees on this,
    although I really don't expect any to jeopardize their employment by so
    doing.

    I assume that Samba is also involved now.
    Joe Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    "FyRE" wrote:
     

    I'm not "hiding", I'm just not participating in this blather. I'm here
    to figure out technical problems, for the benefit of OpenServer users
    and for my own amusement (not yours).
     
    Bela Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 00:22:31 +0000, Mike Brown wrote:
     
    >
    > from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    > but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    > before downloading patches. Am I missing something?
    >
    > Mike[/ref]

    Apparently after you register as one of SCO's customers, you would have to
    "agree to a new 'IP license' which implicitly supports SCO's intellectual
    property claims."

    I would assume this means they changed /usr/src/linux/COPYING in their
    RPMs, or perhaps there's something else you must agree to before
    downloading, or during the registration process. I'm not a SCO customer,
    but can anyone on this group confirm this?

    The funny part is that this would violate almost any license, not just the
    GPL. The most basic part of most licenses is "don't modify this license
    or the attributions in any way."

    Although nobody has seen the text of this license (right?), I'd guess they
    tiptoe around the issue like they did for their $699 "license." Maybe
    it's just a license for the mysterious SCO code. Still, the Register
    article, says the license "implicitly support's SCO's IP claims," so it
    might be even more questionable than that. In any case, hopefully a court
    would see through that.

    --
    Tom Felker, <com>
    <http://vlevel.sourceforge.net> - Stop fiddling with the volume knob.

    Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be
    limited without being lost.
    --Thomas Jefferson

    Tom Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 00:45:37 +0000, Joe Dunning wrote:
     

    As I read the last paragraph of Section 3, putting both the RPMs and the
    SRPMs on an FTP server is sufficient for both 3a and 3b. Now, if you, as
    SCO has done, restrict access to your customers, this would only satisfy
    3a, as 3b requires the offer be good for "any third party." But of
    course, as per Section 6, in no case can you impose additional
    restrictions.

    I, but I have the GPL in front of me, and I'm literate.

    --
    Tom Felker, <com>
    <http://vlevel.sourceforge.net> - Stop fiddling with the volume knob.

    Borrowing a page from the late Senator Joe McCarthy's playbook,
    Darl McBride claimed he had a list of Linux kernel IP violations
    that he would reveal at an appropriate time...

    Tom Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 20:26:09 -0600, Tom Felker <com> wrote: 
    >
    >As I read the last paragraph of Section 3, putting both the RPMs and the
    >SRPMs on an FTP server is sufficient for both 3a and 3b.[/ref]

    Yep, you are correct, so the question is: does the registration process
    actually require you to accept a new (GPL-incompatible) license? I have
    not seen conclusive proof that it does.

    Comments anyone? Does anyone know for sure?
    Joe Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    Joe Dunning wrote: 
    > >
    > >from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    > >but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    > >before downloading patches. Am I missing something?[/ref]
    >
    > According to SCO's site, they are only allowing existing customers to
    > download RPMS.
    >
    > Section 3.b of the GPL requires that, if you distributed binary copies
    > of GPL software, you must offer source code of that binary to ANY THIRD
    > PARTY (not just your customers) for a period of 3 years.
    >
    > However, I suspect that SCO's argument may be that the Source RPMS were
    > available for download and try to say they satisfied the requirement of
    > Section 3.a, which allows the requirement for source code to be
    > satisfied by delivering the source code with the binary.
    >[/ref]

    I suspose that the GPL is open to some interpretation in this area. SCO
    is not refusing access to source code at a price, but requiring registration
    before accessing it in the most convenient manner. The wording in 3b
    does not state that access is equal for all. I guess a request in
    writing from a third party with an offer to pay a distribution charge
    would test the issue.
     

    True enough. I wonder how section 7 will figure in this case.
     

    Mike

    --
    Michael Brown

    The Kingsway Group
    Mike Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    FyRE wrote: 
    > >
    > >from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    > >but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    > >before downloading patches. Am I missing something?[/ref]
    >
    > Yes you are. Why not read the words on SCO's page instead of just
    > looking at the pretty pictures, and you'll see they are violating
    > copyright law by redistributing software under their own "made up"
    > licence, with flagrant disregard to the wishes of the authors of the
    > code. In other words, they are guilty of outright theft.
    > --
    > FyRE < "War: The way Americans learn geography" >[/ref]

    Pictures? Have I been missing something using Lynx?

    Mike

    --
    Michael Brown

    The Kingsway Group
    Mike Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    Tom Felker wrote: 
    > >
    > > from reading /. it looks like SCO is selling/distributing Linux again,
    > > but on the SCO website it looks like SCO is requiring a user to register
    > > before downloading patches. Am I missing something?
    > >
    > > Mike[/ref]
    >
    > Apparently after you register as one of SCO's customers, you would have to
    > "agree to a new 'IP license' which implicitly supports SCO's intellectual
    > property claims."
    >
    > I would assume this means they changed /usr/src/linux/COPYING in their
    > RPMs, or perhaps there's something else you must agree to before
    > downloading, or during the registration process. I'm not a SCO customer,
    > but can anyone on this group confirm this?
    >
    > The funny part is that this would violate almost any license, not just the
    > GPL. The most basic part of most licenses is "don't modify this license
    > or the attributions in any way."
    >
    > Although nobody has seen the text of this license (right?), I'd guess they
    > tiptoe around the issue like they did for their $699 "license." Maybe
    > it's just a license for the mysterious SCO code. Still, the Register
    > article, says the license "implicitly support's SCO's IP claims," so it
    > might be even more questionable than that. In any case, hopefully a court
    > would see through that.
    >
    > --
    > Tom Felker, <com>
    > <http://vlevel.sourceforge.net> - Stop fiddling with the volume knob.
    >
    > Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be
    > limited without being lost.
    > --Thomas Jefferson[/ref]

    I have not seen the new "license", I guess as a SCO partner I miss that
    part of the download requirement.

    This will be one huge case for the courts and lawyers to sort out.

    Mike
    --
    Michael Brown

    The Kingsway Group
    Mike Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 19:12:59 -0600, Tom Felker <com>
    wrote:
     

    Just a rhetorical question. SCO has something like 6000 vendors that
    have contributed to OpenServer and Unixware. Yet, SCO distributes the
    final products under a single license that is quite different from
    those negotiated with these 6000 vendors. Other than what's stated in
    the GPL, is there some principle of law that requires 2nd parties to
    not modify licenses with 3rd parties (i.e. customers) not involved in
    the original agreement with the software author? I don't think so.
    Therefore, methinks that the GPL restriction on modification of the
    license with 3rd parties on derivative works might be on shakey
    grounds since it seems to be an industry practice.


    --
    # Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    # 831.336.2558 voice http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
    # santa-cruz.ca.us
    # 831.421.6491 digital_pager com AE6KS
    Jeff Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 07:18:05 GMT, Jeff Liebermann
    <santa-cruz.ca.us> wrote:
     
    >
    >Just a rhetorical question. SCO has something like 6000 vendors that
    >have contributed to OpenServer and Unixware. Yet, SCO distributes the
    >final products under a single license that is quite different from
    >those negotiated with these 6000 vendors. Other than what's stated in
    >the GPL, is there some principle of law that requires 2nd parties to
    >not modify licenses with 3rd parties (i.e. customers) not involved in
    >the original agreement with the software author? I don't think so.[/ref]

    Possibly it's copyright law and possibly it's the contract. Essentially,
    SCO licenses from its vendors in some fashion. Then, the same IP is
    licensed to SCO's customers IN SOME MANNER THAT SCO IS ALLOWED,
    ACCORDING TO SCO'S LICENSE WITH SCO'S VENDORS.
     

    I'm sorry, but your "concern" is based on a false premise. When SCO
    licensed the IP, part of that license ALLOWED SCO to sublicense -- the
    sublicense is almost certainly different, but many of those terms will
    have been defined by the primary license.

    The point is that industry standard is not to arbitrarily change the
    license, but to only do what is allowed by the incoming license.

    The GPL allows sublicensing, but the sublicense must be GPL (or
    something very similar).
    Joe Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: SCO's Linux license

    On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 07:18:05 +0000, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
     
    >
    > Just a rhetorical question. SCO has something like 6000 vendors that
    > have contributed to OpenServer and Unixware. Yet, SCO distributes the
    > final products under a single license that is quite different from those
    > negotiated with these 6000 vendors. Other than what's stated in the
    > GPL, is there some principle of law that requires 2nd parties to not
    > modify licenses with 3rd parties (i.e. customers) not involved in the
    > original agreement with the software author? I don't think so.
    > Therefore, methinks that the GPL restriction on modification of the
    > license with 3rd parties on derivative works might be on shakey grounds
    > since it seems to be an industry practice.[/ref]

    SCO isn't modifying the licenses it got from its contributors, rather,
    those licenses explicitly allow SCO to relicense the contributions to
    their customers. This is by no means required: consider a EULA, which
    certainly does not give you the right to relicense the software at all.
    Also, consider SCO's case: They claim that the license under which they
    gave UNIX to IBM does not allow IBM to relicense works derived from UNIX
    under non-proprietary terms. (The weakness is that JFS, RCU, etc. clearly
    aren't UNIX derivatives.) When a copyright holder licenses his work to
    you, he can decide whether you can license his work to others, and if so,
    under what terms.

    The GPL lets you sub-license only if that license is compatible with the
    GPL (see Section 6 - the recipients automatically get a license from the
    original author). However, there are exceptions for what you describe.
    Look at the last paragraph of Section 2 - mere aggregation does not bring
    other software under the GPL. What this means is that RedHat, or even
    SCO, can make an OS using GPL components without all components being GPL.
    For example, SCO is within its rights to distribute Samba with their
    products, as long as they offer Samba's source and any modifications they
    make.

    I, but I play one here,

    --
    Tom Felker, <com>
    <http://vlevel.sourceforge.net> - Stop fiddling with the volume knob.

    Code is speech!

    Tom Guest

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