SCO/IBM: Readers Respond

Strong responses mostly positive

Last week, we presented a story on the efforts of The SCO Group (SCO) to fine tune its case against IBM Corp. and the open source Linux operating system. Readers responded strongly. Almost all offered positive assessments of the story, with several offering additional—and important—clarifications of our reporting.

For example, we initially reported that IBM filed a pair of Interrogatories—Nos. 12 and 13—to force SCO to disclose more specific allegations about its charges. That was in error. Big Blue actually filed a pair of motions to compel a proper response from SCO to Interrogatories Nos. 12 and 13. (The online story has since been corrected.)

More importantly, one reader kindly pointed out that we were telling less than the whole story when we reported that SCO had turned over “46 CDs totaling more than 900,000 pages of code” to IBM’s legal team.

“The funny thing is that SCO printed out the code and then scanned it back in as images before putting it on CD. This is why the code took so many CDs as 900,000 lines of code would only a fifth of a CD as text—even without compression,” he pointed out. “Such a format is almost impossible to use for analysis and it is absurd for IBM to have to deal with such a format when SCO has easy access to the text of the source code.”

This same reader also gently chided us for uncritically repeating SCO’s claims that it will add copyright infringement charges to the original charges in its case. “SCO claimed in December, at the end of the court hearing, that they would be filing such claims within the week,” he said. “It has now been several weeks and I haven't heard anything about it.”

Several readers mentioned that the issue of Novell’s claim to own the copyrights to the Unix System V source code—which first became an issue in June of 2003, until Novell appeared to back down—is back on the front burner now that Novell is again disputing SCO’s ownership of the Unix System V copyrights. “You neglected to mention that Novell has filed copyrights for the same material (and then some) that SCO claims copyright to,” a reader observed.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.