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SCO sort of thinks there are Linux IP violations, but isn't quite sure

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ever since The SCO Group announced it had found its intellectual property turning up in the Linux kernel, world+dog has been anxious to find out what the offending code might be.

After a long explanation of why he handed his homework in late, SCO attorney Ryan Tibbitts explains what this is. Only, he doesn't sound quite sure.

Tibbitts complains that with only an old version of AIX to go on - and only one CD of Dynix/ptx source, SCO can't say for sure.

"It was therefore not possible to directly compare IBM's contributions to Linux with another likely source of those contributions, namely the missing versions of Dynix/ptx."

That doesn't stop him leaping to conclusions, which SCO had concluded in advance.

"Our engineers have reached the conclusion that parts of Linux have almost certainly been copied or derived from AIX or Dynix/ptx. In those cases, confirmation of this opinion would require access to more current versions of AIX and Dynix/ptx," says Tibbitts.

AIX is IBM's UNIX™ and Dynix/ptx was Sequent's UNIX™. As part of Project Monterey, the two were due to be merged with SCO's UnixWare into a unified 64bit UNIX™ for Itanium processors. Monterey was announced in October 1998, and IBM bought Sequent the following summer. SCO maintains that IBM bled its IP into Linux. It shouldn't be hard to find out what, exactly: Linux source code is freely available.

"In some additional cases it was also possible to infer [our emphasis] with reasonable certainty [ditto] from comments in the source code that the engineer who implemented that code had experience and knowledge of the methods, sequence and structures used in either or both of Dynix/ptx and AIX," adds Tibbitts, before again requesting more information.

So SCO sorta, kinda thinks it has an ironclad case: but needs more help.

For the record, the full list of violations inferred follows:

  • The "Read Copy Update" (RCU) code contributed to Linux by IBM was copied substantially verbatim with only relatively minor changes from Dynix/ptx.
  • The Journaling File System (JFS) code contributed to Linux by IBM was almost certainly copied and adapted for Linux from a version of AIX more recent than the one available for comparison
  • The "Enterprise Volume Management System (EVMS) contributed to Linux by IBM is based on the same architecture and data structures as are present in the AIX Volume Management System, and was therefore copied from AIX.
  • The AIO code contributed to Linux by IBM was written by an engineer who had a detailed knowledge and familiarity with the same area of technology in Dynix/ptx, and who likely used the same methods and/or structures in the AIO Linux implementation.
  • The scatter/gather I/O code contributed to Linux by IBM was written by an engineer who had access to the same area of technology in AIX. This engineer appears to have worked in conjunction with the aforementioned Dynix/ptx engineer and likely implemented Dynix and/or AIX methods and/or structures in the scatter/gather I/O Linux code.


So if you can help shore up SCO's case, someone in Utah really wants to hear from you.

The Groklaw community has been tearing it apart comprehensively
here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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