Martin Pool's blog

SCO's Contributions to Linux

I just happened to be looking at the kgdb kernel debugger stub and saw this copyright message:

+/****************************************************************************
+ *  Header: remcom.c,v 1.34 91/03/09 12:29:49 glenne Exp $
+ *
+ *  Module name: remcom.c $
+ *  Revision: 1.34 $
+ *  Date: 91/03/09 12:29:49 $
+ *  Contributor:     Lake Stevens Instrument Division$
+ *
+ *  Description:     low level support for gdb debugger. $
....
+ *  Integrated into 2.2.5 kernel by Tigran Aivazian <tigran@sco.com>
+ *      thread support,
+ *      support for multiple processors,

(I didn't go grepping for SCO; it just popped up. Probably there are many more. Of course, this was the old SCO, capable of actual engineering effort, not the sad parasite they have now become.)

This code is concerned with on-line debug support for multiprocessor machines, which is an “enterprise” feature inasmuch as that word has meaning. The term is RAS: reliability, availability, and serviceability. As you may recall, these are exactly the features that SCO thought could not possibly have got into Linux without IBM's assistance, and IBM's unauthorized use of SCO's code.

But here we see that at least some of the support in that area was intentionally contributed by SCO, and intentionally released under the GNU GPL. SCO's claims that IBM breached a contract by putting RAS and SMP functionality in are a bit hard to swallow when SCO was doing the exact same thing.

I suppose there is the outside possibility that this was an unauthorized release either by Aivazian or his managers, though that seems very unlikely. (It seems even more unlikely that if someone where going to disclose SCO proprietary information they would do it under their own name and from a SCO address.) I don't think that's true. But if it were true, surely it is a disciplinary issue within SCO, and not really any of the concern of the rest of the world. SCO has now granted a licence to the code; if they did that by accident it's not my problem and they have no grounds to suddenly ask for more money.

Perhaps, splitting hairs, SCO will say: well, we put in remcom.c but this other code over here was copied in from UnixWare by some other programmer. (As has already been extensively discussed, SCO really need to say what code was allegedly copied to be taken seriously.) But given evidence that SCO were working in this exact area, I wonder why they didn't notice their proprietary code being slipped in right next door, if that was in fact happening.

Some of the more gullible analysts keep saying, “but what if it's true?” And indeed, you can keep playing “but what if the moon landings were faked” all day without absolutely eliminating every possibility. But back on planet Earth, the story about SCO is increasingly clear. The overwhelmingly likely scenario is

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