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Reader Feedback Special on James Turner's 'Is SCO Bad Not Just for Linux, But Also for America?'

Reader Feedback Special on James Turner's 'Is SCO Bad Not Just for Linux, But Also for America?'

LinuxWorld Magazine senior editor James Turner fluttered the dovecotes just a tad this week when he wrote an opinion piece here on LinuxWorld.com in which he detailed six reasons why he was “enraged” by the SCO Group’s latest actions in their campaign to derive revenue from their ownership of the various Unix / UnixWare patents they purchased from Novell when SCO was still called Caldera.

Here’s a round-up of some of the most energetic and insightful feedback. . .

Turner’s piece ended with a call to action. That resonated well with Don Whitbeck, who writes: “It appears to me that SCO is trying to hijack something that does not belong to them. Perhaps they could be sued for violating the GPL. I for one would be willing to contribute a little money towards that end.”

Dennis Perkins agrees. “They [SCO] are attempting to steal more than the Linux kernel,” he writes. “They are not releasing source code to the GNU project software, XFree86, KDE, Gnome, etc. They are attempting to hijack the whole Open Source/Free Software movement.” But Ron Norman isn’t so worried. “SCO cannot stop the momentum of Linux,” he asserts. “SCO's weakness is they are afraid of showing anyone the offending code. This is why they have the restrictive NDA. When the trial starts, they will have to show the code; Linux developers will rewrite the offending code and release new distributions. Long live Linux!”

Turner’s assertion that "Linux (in spite of its Scandinavian origins) is a profoundly American idea" drew some flak.

“While I support Linux (of course) and all the outrage against SCO I have to disagree with some statements,” writes kernelPanic. “Linux is NOT an American idea. It may be an idea very popular in America but it is a Scandinavian idea. Many Americans adopted Linux as theirs and offered a profound contribution to the OS. What's American in the present status quo is the lawsuits against Linux. Also, Microsoft is a profoundly American idea.”

Bret agrees GNU/Linux is an international effort, adding “but it's true that the ideals here are *also* American ideals, and I read the article as pointing that out in order to head off attacks that cry "socialism" (there have been some). I think [Turner] is just setting the record straight, and I agree with him.”

The crux of the debate remains the issue of whether SCO have a claim or not. “I still can't see that SCO have a valid claim,” writes Richard Corfield. “All they've managed to ‘prove’ so far is that there is some common code in their version of UNIX and Linux, perhaps 10s of lines, but as both contain code from the original BSD UNIX, that proves nothing. The BSD license has already been defended in court. SCO can have no claim over that code.”

“Then there's the bit about Enterprise Technologies that IBM supposedly stole,” Cornfield continues. “The argument as I understand it is that IBM developed some technology which they used in both their commercial UNIX, AIX, and in Linux. Apparently SCO believes that that makes the IBM technology theirs and that IBM therefore stole it when they used it in Linux as well. Add to that SCO seems to believe that IBM using IBM's own code in Linux gives SCO ownership of Linux and it just seems a farce. IBM has no more right to sign away rights to Linux than I do, no matter what the SCO/IBM license says.”

“UNIX has been around longer than the currently longest standing patents (14 years by definition), and longer than the US has had this mad idea of patenting abstract concepts and ideas. This just doesn't wash,” concludes Corfield.

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