|By Kevin Bedell||
|August 11, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
LWM was able to catch up with Eric on the day of the Novell announcement that SCO did not own the patents or copyrights to Unix.
LWM: In a nutshell, what exactly is SCO trying to do?
esr: What they were trying to do, I think, was shake IBM down for a payoff or a buyout offer. That has blown up in their face, especially now that Novell has made a public statement that all but accuses SCO of lying about the disposition of the IP. But now they have to play this losing hand out to the end - because admitting that they knew they didn't have a real case to begin with might land their management in jail for fraud and harassment.
LWM: So tell me about the position paper you developed. Why did you and Rob Landley write it?
esr: I was trying to do two things really. One, I was trying to give IBM ammunition. Two, I knew the open source community would have to respond to SCO's attack sooner or later, and that it would be better if it was sooner - before SCO's propaganda (if any) had time to take hold.
But part of why I was upset didn't have anything to do with Linux. I'm actually an old Unix developer - back to 1982. I wasn't one of the original developers of Unix (though I've contributed code to Linux and the BSD Unixes), but I know those guys and they know me. The SCO complaint was insulting. It was SCO claiming that they owned all the code that we wrote - and then using that claim to harm Linux.
LWM: What's happening with your "No Secrets" effort?
esr: I'm trying to prove that the proprietary Unix vendors don't have any trade secrets. Right now I have enough people willing to sign affidavits about having uncontrolled read access to Unix source code that I can show there's been a pervasive failure to enforce even the minimum level of nondisclosure required to maintain trade secrecy. Thousands of people who have seen the Unix source code were never under nondisclosure. This is the kind of evidence that destroys trade-secrecy status.
If SCO continues, I'll get enough signed affidavits to prove that they have no trade secrets.
This is also an attempt to send a powerful message to potential future litigants: it's not safe to mess with the open source community because we can bite back.
LWM: And what is IBM's position on all this?
esr: You'll have to ask IBM that. I'm their ally in this, not their spokesperson.
LWM: For readers who may be unfamiliar with your work in this area, can you share some of your background with open source and Linux?
esr: I wrote the foundational paper on open source development, ran the meeting where the term "open source" was invented, and have been one of the community's principal ambassadors to the rest of the world for the last five years. I am the president of the Open Source Initiative, one of the community's two leading advocacy organizations.
LWM: What is the position of the Open Source Initiative on this issue?
esr: We believe SCO's claims are utterly without merit. In much of their complaint they seem to be, plainly and simply, lying through their teeth. We have published a detailed rebuttal at www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html. It looks even stronger than it did in light of Novell publicly announcing that they, not SCO, own the Unix patents.
LWM: So, who owns Unix?
esr: Legally, it's very unclear. Novell holds the patents. The OpenGroup owns the trademark. The copyrights are in some weird limbo - first Novell came out and said they owned them, but SCO now claims to own them under the terms of Caldera's deal with Novell and Novell is keeping mum. The one thing we do know is that the transfer of the copyrights (if any) was never recorded with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That has interesting legal implications, and may be the reason SCO hasn't come out and made an explicit copyright-infringement claim in the lawsuit.
Ethically, OSI's position is that Unix belongs to the distributed development community that wrote it. SCO's threats broke the tacit understanding that kept us from asserting this for 30 years. It used to be that we agreed not to fuss over the fact that AT&T or Unix Systems Labs or Novell or SCO were claiming to own the code as long as they agreed not to fuss over the fact that every senior Unix developer had a technically illicit copy of the source code in his hip pocket.
Everybody took code from everybody. AT&T used Berkeley and Xenix code and got called on it during a 1993 lawsuit. Truth is, the rights picture is so tangled that nobody's theory of ownership would stand close scrutiny of the source code's history. The law of intellectual property doesn't handle this kind of situation well. The equitable thing to do would be to just give up, throw it open, and admit it belongs to the hackers.
LWM: What do you see as the potential downside risk for companies using Linux? Will SCO try to sue everybody?
esr: The risk dropped to zero last May 28 with Novell's announcements. SCO's response (http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/030528/law059_1.html) basically admitted they've got no grounds to sue anybody but IBM.
SCO have since changed their minds, but I think this is just bluster. Furthermore, the various lawyers I've talked with agree that it's just bluster. When you think you have a strong case in court, you don't fight it in the media. SCO would scare me worse of they weren't huffing and puffing.
LWM: If you were a manager in a company considering using Linux for a first project, would this lawsuit impact your decision to give Linux a try?
esr: Not at all. Ignoring the occasional FUD storm is part of the job.
LWM: In your book The Cathedral and the Bazaar you describe the Linux development process as being like a bazaar, where all kinds of people with all kinds of interests are developing different pieces. Is Linux development still that way? How has it changed?
esr: If it has changed, it has changed by becoming more conscious and better organized. I played a part in that by giving people language with which to reflect on what they're doing.
LWM: What do you think will happen with this suit? Any idea how long it might be before it becomes clear what's going to happen?
esr: They can't win, not in front of a judge with any brain cells operating - and the word on His Honor Dale Kimball is that he's a sharp guy. Timeframe? Who knows. These things can drag on for years.
LWM: How can the Linux community ensure that Linux stays free of IP claims in the future? Can there be a process instituted that ensures this doesn't happen again?
esr: See my "No Secrets" page for an example of what network activism can do (www.catb.org/~esr). I've collected nearly 100 responses, with at least 40 people willing to sign affidavits. I think we can prove that there are no trade secrets in Linux. I think we can use the same methods to turn up prior art in patents cases.
LWM: Switching gears a bit, in the IBM -v- SCO analysis on the OSI Web site (www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html), you referred to a "seismic shift" occuring right now in the software industry. Can you explain what you meant?
esr: I already have. Readers should go to www.opensource.org/sco-vs-ibm.html#seismic for the story.
LWM: Will all applications eventually be open sourced? Which kinds might not?
esr: I don't think it will be all - there are economic circumstances in which closed source makes sense, though they're not common. I think "most" is a fairly safe bet, though. I've discussed this at length in my paper "The Magic Cauldron."
LWM: What will the software industry look like in five years?
esr: A lot like the legal profession does now, I think. Independent software firms will be like law firms, partnership organizations of professionals. Other programmers will work in-house at corporations the way that corporate lawyers do now. Programmers in general will be operating from a common open source base; secrecy will be a feature mainly of legacy software.
Regarding outsourcing and offshore development - one thing you can't outsource is getting inside a customer's mind. You can't move face-to-face, person-to-person communications and design offshore. You can outsource cookie-cutter code, but I predict a lot of companies are going to discover they're paying for large portions of code that don't match their requirements.
One of the things we know is that the most effective ways of writing software involve a series of interactions - a succession of prototypes - using continuous feedback. You can't do that if your customer's in Teaneck, New Jersey, and your developers are in Bangalore.
About Eric S. Raymond
Eric S. Raymond is an observer-participant anthropologist in the Internet hacker culture. His research has helped explain the decentralized open source model of software development that has proven so effective in the evolution of the Internet. His own software projects include one of the Internet's most widely used e-mail transport programs.
|Tim Gwyther 02/26/04 10:13:15 AM EST|
So who really owns Unix?
|Chuck Talk 09/29/03 08:32:30 PM EDT|
Unix is a trademark of the Open group, and is a set of specifications which SCO holds nothing on. Who owns UNIX? Not SCO.
|Autosea 09/27/03 09:20:39 AM EDT|
Unix belongs to everyone who has made contributions to it.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 23, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,087
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 23, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,640
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Mar. 23, 2017 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 443
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Mar. 23, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,587
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 23, 2017 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,489
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,336
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,071
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Mar. 23, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,578
SYS-CON Events announced today that Addteq will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Addteq specializes in creating innovative solutions to solve business processes through the use of DevOps automation. Addteq was founded on the firm belief that automation is essential for successful software releases. Addteq's products and services are centered around the fundamental approach of understanding the pr...
Mar. 23, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,638
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 23, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,041
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 23, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 928
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 23, 2017 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,444
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 23, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,697
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Mar. 23, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,249
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Mar. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,414
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,377
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you ...
Mar. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,758
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Mar. 23, 2017 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,388
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Mar. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,030
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Mar. 22, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,329