SCO shows code samples to IBM

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SCO shows code samples to IBM

The SCO Group has finally provided IBM with a list of files and individual code samples which, it claims, violate its intellectual property rights.

The information was sent to IBM in response to a court order issued last month, said SCO spokesman Blake Stowell.

IBM confirmed that it had received documents from SCO yesterday, but declined to provide details about their contents or say whether or not they appeared to satisfy the court's order.

In March, SCO launched a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM, claiming that it had illegally contributed SCO's intellectual property to Linux.

Since then, SCO has maintained that Linux includes software that has been both directly copied and illegally derived from its Unix source code, but until now has been reluctant to provide examples of the alleged copyright violations.

Stowell insisted that SCO's response this week included no examples of copyright violations. "We've not introduced copyright infringement as part of our case with IBM. We've tried to make it clear that it's a contract issue."

The contract issue to which Stowell refers hinges on SCO and IBM's definition of "derivative works". SCO claimed that a clause in IBM's 1985 Unix licence about derivative works prevents IBM from contributing any of the code from its AIX or Dynix/ptx operating systems to Linux. IBM disputes this claim.

In a declaration that accompanied SCO's response, the company's general counsel, Ryan Tibbitts, claimed that Linux's read copy update, journaling file system, enterprise volume management system, Asynchronous I/O, and "scatter gather" I/O code had been derived from either AIX or Dynix/ptx and, therefore, were improperly contributed to Linux.

Despite SCO's talk about line-for-line Unix copying in Linux, copyright will not play a role in the IBM lawsuit, said Bill Claybrook, an analyst with industry research company Harvard Research Group. "It tells me, for one thing, that they're not trying to say that IBM copied code directly from System V to Linux," he added.

SCO has said that some other documents will be sent to IBM later. In a court document posted to the www.sco.com Web site, SCO admitted that it had failed to provide IBM with "files of certain officers and directors for whom SCO could not obtain the requested materials during the holidays with sufficient time to review the documents".

Though he declined to say which SCO officers and directors or what files the court document referred to, Stowell said that the files in question would be delivered to IBM before the next court meeting between IBM and SCO, which is scheduled for 23 January.

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service


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