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SCO knew Linux doesn't infringe - memo

2002 audit gave kernel clean bill of health

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SCO's CEO Darl McBride was told that the Linux kernel contained no SCO copyright code six months before the company issued its first lawsuit, a memo reveals.

An outside consultant Bob Swartz conducted the audit, and on August 13 2002 Caldera's Michael Davidson reported the results.

"At the end we found absolutely nothing. Ie no evidence of copyright infringement whatsoever," wrote Davidson.

"There is, indeed, a lot of code that is common between UNIX and Linux (all of the X Window system for example) but invariably it turned out that the common code was something that both we (SCO) and the Linux community had obtained (legitimately) from a third party," Davidson concluded.

SCO's insistence that Linux did infringe its IP formed the basis for subsequent licensing deals with Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, lawsuits against IBM, Novell and two Linux customers, and an investment push which netted over $30 million.

McBride subsequently claimed that, "we're finding cases where there is line-by-line code in the Linux kernel that is matching up to our UnixWare code," but SCO has failed to produce evidence that upholds the claim.

The memo had been referred to in court last September, but remained under seal. SCO has attempted to reposition the case as a contract dispute - but this doesn't exactly help.

Groklaw has the PDF and an ASCII version here. ®

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