Feeds

Only 326 lines of code said to be at issue in SCO-IBM flap

'Mountain' turns out to be flat

Top three mobile application threats

The Mount Everest of evidence proving IBM's Linux contributions infringed SCO's intellectual-property rights amount to little more than a mole hill, according to a lawyer for Big Blue, who recently told a federal judge SCO has identified only 326 lines of offending code, compared with more than 700,000 lines of IBM's GPL'd code in the Linux kernel. (Note: an earlier version incorrectly said out of a base of 700,000 lines.)

Of the 326 lines, most are comments, header files and other statements that aren't eligible for copyright protection, the IBM attorney, David Marriott, argued. To be copyrightable, a work must be the result of originality and creativity, not a mindless variation of something already out there.

In 2003, SCO CEO Darl McBride publicly declared SCO had a "mountain of evidence" that would prove that Linux was a direct descendant of Unix. Marriott pounced on that assertion at the March 7 hearing.

"They claimed rights to more than a million lines of code in Linux," he said at a hearing last week. "At the end of the day, there's 326 lines of code in which they have rights, and they have sought to exert the supposed monopoly they have and copyrights they claim to have over technology plainly owned by others." The transcript, along with plenty of commentary ridiculing SCO's every argument in microscopic detail, were provided by Groklaw.

According to the Groklaw screed, 121 of the 326 lines at issue are #define statements that specify abbreviations. That's tantamount to trying to copyright the abbreviation 10 Cir. when referring to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is where this case will likely land (assuming SCO doesn't go bankrupt first). Be that as it may, such shorthand isn't eligible for copyright protection, even if IBM did lift them from SCO, and Groklaw is confident IBM did not.

Also among the contested lines are what are known as structure declarations, which identify things, such as the type of OS a computer is using. A third class of header files being fought over are function prototypes, which specify which operations can be carried out and how.

According to Groklaw, an expert hired by SCO has argued that even the choice of list names put in alphabetical order and the assignment of sequential numbers requires a level of creativity sufficient to qualify for copyright protection. Marriott took aim at that claim, saying a US Supreme Court decision shows such code lacks the required originality to be protected. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.