|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.
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,991
The worldwide cellular network will be the backbone of the future IoT, and the telecom industry is clamoring to get on board as more than just a data pipe. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Evan McGee, CTO of Ring Plus, Inc., discussed what service operators can offer that would benefit IoT entrepreneurs, inventors, and consumers. Evan McGee is the CTO of RingPlus, a leading innovative U.S. MVNO and wireless enabler. His focus is on combining web technologies with traditional telecom to create a new breed of unified communication that is easily accessible to the general consumer. With over a de...
May. 25, 2015 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,754
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,031
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
May. 25, 2015 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,241
SYS-CON Media announced today that 9 out of 10 " most read" DevOps articles are published by @DevOpsSummit Blog. Launched in October 2014, @DevOpsSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce softw...
May. 25, 2015 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,238
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,881
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
May. 25, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,394
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,500
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,880
Grow your business with enterprise wearable apps using SAP Platforms and Google Glass. SAP and Google just launched the SAP and Google Glass Challenge, an opportunity for you to innovate and develop the best Enterprise Wearable App using SAP Platforms and Google Glass and gain valuable market exposure. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian McPhail, Senior Director of Business Development, ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, outlined the timeline of the SAP Google Glass Challenge and the opportunity for developers, start-ups, and companies of all sizes to engage with SAP today.
May. 25, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,121
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,515
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
May. 25, 2015 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 6,821
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,340
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
May. 25, 2015 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 5,440
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
May. 25, 2015 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,539
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
May. 25, 2015 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,018
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
May. 24, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,143
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
May. 24, 2015 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,509
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,598
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
May. 24, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,161