[svlug] MS outlaw?

John Conover conover at rahul.net
Thu May 29 23:16:18 PDT 2003

John Conover writes:
> So the out-of-court-settlement goes, (much of it has never been
> disclosed,) if certain re-writes were done, AT&T would give its
> blessing for the BSD/freely distributed/unencumbered source license:
>     http://www.daemon.org/bsd-releases/misc/USL-lawsuit
>     http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/bsdi/bsdisuit.htm

BTW, the latter URL probably contains one of the most accurate
histories of Unix available; its in the court/judge opinions.

It is kind of evident that the current SCO/IBM/Novell thing is going
to be a real mess. The history of Unix is very convoluted and
incestuous-and spans an era when IP law-and its interpretation and
application-changed. (You can blame it on Judge Green-of AT&T
divesture fame-when AT&T was prohibited from selling commercial
software; Unix was a corporate stepchild after that-it could only sell
licenses to companies to sell it commercially and research

Its going to be a real mess: confidential out of court settlements on
IP; parts of it under a free software license-much of it used in other
OSs; the IP sold/licensed, but all the corporate officers involved in
the contract of the sale on both sides no longer with either company;
and both companies have been through merger/acquisitions with

Going to be a real mess.


BTW, what is appearing in the media probably isn't the whole story.
IBM has more patents than any company on earth-a really big IP war
chest-and a really big legal staff that knows how to use it; its what
they do for a living.  IBM is in the drivers seat, and has a lot of
options in handling SCO; it could force SCO into an IP cross licensing
agreement, (IBM has something, somewhere, that covers all of
computing,) by threatening to sue, and SCO could not afford the
litigation. Or, IBM could just string them on for decades; IBM can
afford it, SCO can't. SCO is the fly, and IBM is the swatter.

No company executive would expose a company to SCO's situation, unless
there is an ulterior reason. (And, getting acquired by IBM is not a
reason since SCO does not have unfettered ownership of the Unix IP. No
one knows who does.)


John Conover, conover at rahul.net, http://www.rahul.net/~conover

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