[Techtalk] Stallman speaks on SCO's dispute with IBM

Julie txjulie at austin.rr.com
Wed Jun 25 19:29:00 EST 2003

Andrea Landaker wrote:
> http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0,14179,2914132,00.html
> A well-written article by Stallman that clears up some common 
> misunderstandings and gives some hope.  :-)

I don't think it clears up anything.  SCO's claim is that IBM
tooks parts of UNIX source code and incorporated them into Linux.
It doesn't matter if Linux is really "Linux" or "GNU/Linux" or "GNU".
What matters is the claim by SCO that someone took their property
and gave it away.

Stallman completely avoids the issue, which is that if someone
somewhere takes source code belonging to someone else and includes
it in GNU, the fact that it is included in GNU doesn't make the
source code magically GNU/GPL source code.

My personal thoughts are that a lot of people who deal with open
source software have the ethics of snakes.  Many years ago, back
when I was still developing Shadow, there were some people who were
rather upset that Shadow wasn't under the GPL (and for that matter
it still isn't).  Rather than try to understand why it wasn't (and
the issue has to do with "forking" and loss of control), they set
out to create a GPL'd version of Shadow.  Shortly after that I
released all of Shadow under a BSD license.

I did manage to find some of the "GPL'd" code which was going to
be released as a GPL'd version of Shadow.  The plaigarism was
very obvious -- someone had taken a version of Shadow, changed
variable names and formatting and released it as their own.  I
was able to go through that code, one line at a time, and figure
out which variables had been renamed what and reconstruct the
original code by re-adding the comments (if you read the =real=
Shadow source code, or any code I've written in the past 15 years
or so, you'll notice that I comment my code very heavily),
renaming the variables back to their original names, and reformating
the code.  The differences between =that= code and the real Shadow
code was almost non-existent.
Julianne Frances Haugh             Life is either a daring adventure
txjulie at austin.rr.com                  or nothing at all.
					    -- Helen Keller

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