SCO blasts open source community in open letter

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In an open letter, Darl McBride, CEO of SCO, the Unix seller that's shaken the open-source community with a lawsuit against IBM and calls for companies to license Linux code that SCO says it owns, took the community to task.

Holding open-source supporters accountable for several denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on its Web site, McBride called on the open source community to not only police itself, but help SCO stop such attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

'If they fail to do so it casts a shadow over the entire open source movement,' McBride said in his letter.

McBride also confirmed that SGI is a target of SCO's ongoing legal efforts. He noted that comments from open-source leader Bruce Perens demonstrate that code derived from SCO's System V version of Unix was inserted into Linux software distributed by SGI (formerly Silicon Graphics).

Perens has said that the inserted code was due to 'an error in the Linux developer's process,' an argument McBride dismissed.

'Nothing can change the fact that a Linux developer on the payroll of Silicon Graphics stripped copyright attributions from copyrighted System V code that was licensed to Silicon Graphics under strict conditions of use,' said McBride.

He said that this was a violation of SGI's contract and copyright obligations to SCO, and noted that SCO was in negotiations with SGI to resolve the issue.

McBride went on to question the basic trustworthiness of the entire open-source philosophy.
'This improper contribution of Unix code by SGI into Linux is one small example that reveals fundamental structural flaws in the Linux development process.

In fact, this issue goes to the very heart of whether open source can be trusted as a development model for enterprise computing software,' McBride wrote in the letter.

Earlier this year, SCO filed a US $3 billion lawsuit against IBM, claiming that IBM illegally used copyright-protected code from SCO's Unix in its Linux distributions.

SCO has also sent hundreds of letters to IT managers, warning them of the legal repercussions of using Linux, and this winter debuted a licensing program whereby companies could pay SCO to continue to use Linux without fear of legal action.

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