Saturday, May 31, 2003

SCO Vs Linux

SCO Vs Linux

I am a Linux user. I feel that SCO's tactics toward an operating system of my choice are unjust, ill founded and bizarre.

"I am willing to be sued because I am confident that SCO's tactics toward Linux will fail. If I have published my email address as part of this petition it is so SCO representatives can email me and begin the process of serving me a court order."

Thousands have signed the petition above outraged at SCO's ( Read Microsoft's) blatant claims of owning Unix. SCO alleges all companies selling Unix and products built around it are violating its IP. I believe MS strongly urged SCO to do it after IBM decided to throw its weight behing Linux distribution. Linux has been gaining ground on PC's and the recent set back is Steve Ballmer losing a 14,000 PC order in Munich in spite of a discount bonanza.

The story of Unix, Linux development is interesting....

UNIX took the academic world by storm in 1974 as a simple and elegant Operating system.

But AT& T's antitrust decree effectively stopped AT&T from selling or supporting software . Their solution to meet the UNIX demand was to charge a nominal "license" fee to obtain UNIX and to distribute tapes or disks "as is. At the time, having full source code access for a useful operating system was unheard of.

After the breakup of AT&T into baby bells, AT&T had the freedom to start selling software. Source code licenses for UNIX became very expensive . Thus the era of UNIX source code hackers ended

What were UNIX hackers going to do with no UNIX source code to hack anymore? The solution was to create UNIX clones that didn't require source code licenses

One of the first was Minix, created by Andy Tanenbaum and aimed squarely at teaching operating systems . Minix lacked virtual memory and networking, as Andy wanted to keep the system small for teaching purposes. Eventually, a user named Linus Torvalds got annoyed enough that he used Minix to create another UNIX clone with these extra features. And so Linux was born.

UNIX is built on...

Write programs that do one thing and do it well.

Write programs that work together

Write programs that handle text streams, because that is the universal interface.

Caldera Systems International, the corporate entity now trading as SCO, was founded as an open-source centered company by a group of former Novell executives who were enthusiastic about Linux. Its only product was Linux distribution.

SCO linecsed Unix from AT & T and actually only owns a corner of Unix. A court case long ago decided that some parts of UNIX are free and not under AT&T’s or SCO’s or anyone’s control. In fact, it doesn’t even own the name.

As SCO also sells Linux itself and has itself contributed to the Linux distributions, should it sue itself?


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