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SCO/IBM legal issues
- From: Andrew DeFaria <Andrew at DeFaria dot com>
- To: cygwin at cygwin dot com
- Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2003 09:23:20 -0700
- Subject: SCO/IBM legal issues
This probably doesn't effect Cygwin at all since AFAICT the SCO claims
are about the Linux kernel and Cygwin has no real kernel as per se,
however SCO seems to be just about challenging the whole GPL concept.
Briefly SCO claims that since it owns the rights to certain pieces of
Unix (through a long trail of interesting history of Unix) and since it
worked with IBM that IBM effectively stole either parts of System V code
or used what it learned to contribute to the Open Source movement and
into the Linux kernel. SCO is now seeking to extract a hefty license fee
from Linux users!
Initially I thought that this was just a bogus claim but on reading some
of the court documentation it seems that SCO might have a legal point.
From what I understand it hinges on the fact the SCO and IBM worked on
a project called Project Monterey where they jointly were working on
getting *nix working on Intel 64 bit chips. IBM later abandoned the
project and hooked up with Linux. IBM made a few statements about taking
what it learned from AIX and from Project Monterey to "contribute" to
the Open Source movement and particularly the Linux OS so as to help
Linux handle the enterprise environment with multiple CPUs and other
high processing needs. To do this they would effectively contributed
their learned "know how", learned from their affiliation with SCO and
the System V sources, directly into Linux's source base. To me this is
sorta like not directly stealing the copyrighted code you may have
developed for Company X but using what you've learned at Company X to
re-write the code at Company Y. Company X does have a legal write to sue
for theft of "intellectual property".
What does this all have to do with Cygwin? Well Cygwin comes from Redhat
and Redhat has recently thrown it's hat into the ring WRT the SCO/IBM
battle. Perhaps that's why we don't hear much from people here (and
maybe they aren't allowed to talk about it). But what does this all say
about Open Source in general? Are projects such as Cygwin, Mozilla, et.
al. now all possibly subject to previous employers making intellectual
property claims if their current or former employees contribute to Open
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