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Linux Project Ripped Off Unix Code

DailyTech released an article on July 12, 2010 with this headline:

"Proof" That Linux Project Ripped Off Unix Code Released


I found this article very interesting because of various reasons. For one, the irony of this situation and the outcome is just picture book karma. Two, UNIX is often written off as dead or not used anymore, which is far from the true. Linux, developed by Linus Torvalds, has it's roots in UNIX, exactly how much of it though has often been debated and always fuels forum threads and makes hot topics.

Now here we have some big industry players with huge stakes in the two platforms, the biggest supporters and developers, taking the forum battle to court. Very expensive and not necessarily in the best interest of the development and future of either platform and their derivatives. In fact because of all this, SCO had to file for bankruptcy. Who gets that piece of the pie and what will they do with it?

Here is an extract of the article:


IBM, which is among the largest firms pushing the open-source Linux operating system, was slammed with a $1B USD lawsuit in 2003 from SCO, one of the owners of a Unix distribution. The lawsuit alleged that IBM ripped off Linux code from the Unix codebase and was "devaluing" it.

The damages eventually swelled to $5B USD, but SCO was defeated when Novell was shown to hold most of the applicable Unix intellectual property and Novell waived the case. In the end, SCO filed for bankruptcy, and the Novell loss resulted in a ruling that SCO owes Novell $2.35M USD for copyright infringements (a total later bumped to $3.4M USD).

Even as SCO is appealing that decision, Kevin McBride, a lawyer and brother of former SCO CEO Darl McBride has released a wealth of documents showing some of the code that SCO claimed IBM's Linux ripped off.


You win some, You Lose some.
We will see what the hopefully positive outcome of this will be.

So it turns out that this does not involve Linus Torvalds at all or his Linux operating system in anyway but rather IBM's use of the Linux kernel in possible conjunction with UNIX code which was not denied or proven to be untrue but rather that SCO has no valid claim on UNIX.

I found it very generous from Novell to not only step in and right the wrongs but then also to forgive IBM and leave everything else intact. Let me know your 2 cents.

created by
Edward 'BoT' Reese