SCO CEO seeks viable future with open-source community

Darl McBride, chief executive officer of the SCO Group has written an open letter to the open-source community, offering to find...

Darl McBride, chief executive officer of the SCO Group ,has written an open letter to the open-source community offering to find ways each can remain viable in the software industry.

He has also launched a public broadside against Silicon Graphics, which he said contributed some of SCO's protected Unix code into Linux.

McBride vowed that he "will continue to protect SCO's intellectual property and contractual rights" but added that he is "open to ideas of working with the open source community to monetise software technology and its underlying intellectual property for all contributors, not just SCO".

McBride wrote, "A sustainable business model for software development can be built only on an intellectual property foundation." That, he said, is the basis for SCO's ongoing $3bn lawsuit against IBM.

He also wrote about a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on SCO's website two weeks ago, which apparently were the second and third such attacks against the site since the IBM lawsuit was filed.

"There is no question about the affiliation of the attacker - open source leader Eric Raymond was quoted as saying that he was contacted by the perpetrator and that 'he's one of us'," McBride wrote.

"To Raymond's partial credit, he asked the attacker to stop. However, he has yet to disclose the identity of the perpetrator so that justice can be done."

In an interview, Raymond denied knowing the identity of the DDoS attacker.

"SCO itself knows that I don't have that person's identity," he said. Instead, SCO is "trying to convey the impression that the DDoS attacks are still going on, when in fact they've stopped".

McBride called on the open-source movement to help police the incidents. "If they fail to do so, it casts a shadow over the entire open source movement and raises questions about whether open source is ready to take a central role in business computing," he wrote.

McBride also noted a recent "admission" by open-source leader Bruce Perens that Unix System V code, which SCO says it owns, is improperly included in Linux.

The System V code was allegedly put into Linux by a developer "on the payroll of Silicon Graphics... who stripped copyright attributions from copyrighted System V code that was licensed to Silicon Graphics under strict conditions of use, and then contributed that source code into Linux as though it was clean code owned and controlled by SGI," McBride wrote.

"This is a clear violation of SGI's contract and copyright obligations to SCO. We are currently working to try and resolve these issues with SGI.

"This improper contribution of Unix code by SGI into Linux is one small example that reveals fundamental structural flaws in the Linux development process," McBride continued.

SCO is now claiming that more than one million lines of Unix System V protected code have been contributed to Linux, according to McBride.

Open-source advocate Raymond was sceptical about McBride's offer to work together.

"I don't see an offer to work with us there," Raymond said. "What I see is a kind of trap. I see an attempt to get us to concede to SCO's position by sitting and negotiating with it on its terms. We're not going to play that game. SCO has failed to make a case."

Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld

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