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IBM CEO Ordered to Turn Over Linux Secrets to SCO

IBM CEO Ordered to Turn Over Linux Secrets to SCO

The magistrate judge doing the legal housekeeping in the run-up to the $5 billion SCO v. IBM trial next year gave the SCO Group what it wanted Wednesday and ordered IBM to cough up the discovery that SCO claims is vital to its charge that IBM copied Unix code into Linux.
 

IBM has been told to turn over the releases of AIX and Dynix that SCO's lawyers say represent "about 232 products" in 45 days. SCO in turn has been told to provide the court with a memorandum saying whether the code is relevant or not to its case and identify
additional files it may want.

IBM has also been ordered to give SCO "any and all non-public contributions it has made to Linux." SCO is on its own to identify IBM's public contributions.

SCO has also been given access to all reports and documents in the possession of IBMers involved in the Linux project including IBM CEO Sam Palmisano and IBM VP and top Linux evangelist Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

 

The paperwork is to supposed to include any materials relating to IBM's Linux strategy, Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells said.

Reports suggest that SCO is particular giddy over this stipulation, apparently having feared it wouldn't get access to IBM e-mail and filing cabinets.

IBM has also been told to response to SCO interrogatories and include "relevant information from all sources including top-level management.

IBM has identified 7,200 - yup, that's right, 7.200 - potential witnesses and the judge told IBM to give SCO the contact information of a representative sample of 1,000 of most important potential witnesses agreed on by both of them.

The court gave SCO 45 days to come up with the answers to IBM's interrogatories that it hasn't answered yet despite a previous court order, and to identify all specific lines of code that IBM is alleged to have contributed to Linux from either AIX or Dynix - or at least the ones SCO can identify at this time.

SCO is also supposed to identify all the Unix System V code that IBM allegedly contributed to Linux from AIX and Dynix and all the lines of code in Linux it claims to have rights to and identify the code SCO distributed to other people and explain who they were and when they got it and why.

Both companies have been ordered to produce source logs that identify how documents were kept and file memoranda with the court on the impact of SCO's second amended complaint that drops SCO's original trade secrets misappropriation charge and substitutes copyright infringement.

The switch means SCO has stopped saying IBM snitched code from either UnixWare or OpenServer and leaves the charge standing solely on derivative AIX and Dynix code.

Meanwhile, this Friday SCO is supposed to answer Novell's motion to throw out SCO's suit against it.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
Jared Davis 03/09/04 06:40:50 AM EST

Seems to me that when the dust settles, SCO's CEO will get pentioned off for a chunk of money, SCO will get sued for more that it is worth by justabout everybody, and Linux will coninue on its way.

So all in all, this is a way for a typical CEO to get his retirement cash. I am sure the he knows they will lose all these court battles, and he is going to get himself canned, on purpose, just before the hammer falls.

SCO's CEO is a very, very dishonest man. It's really too bad he himself didn't learn all those lessons of truth and honesty he taught to others on his mission for the LDS church.

a linux admin 03/08/04 10:08:52 PM EST

Sco is doing what Microsoft couldn't. Stop Linux from progressing in the business world. Already one major company, Merrill Lynch, has decided to drop ALL linux (desktop and mainframe) due to this suit. Others will follow.

LilALBIE 03/04/04 12:46:34 PM EST

I will never buy anything from SCO....So, I hope they do well with there legal theft plan. Now companies no longer need to produce good products because all they have to do is to place a threat against your company and watch their stock prices climb.

MH 03/04/04 11:21:17 AM EST

William -- you may want to add mail fraud to the charges ;-)

GH 03/04/04 10:44:19 AM EST

Ms O'gara should try hard to tell things the way they are !!! and not show her liking of SCO... just to get people to read.

Bruce Hogman 03/04/04 10:28:50 AM EST

Once this whole process reveals the offending code in Linux, then it can be cleaned and improved with new code and continue its advances. This case is a minor road bump. Linux developers should be concentrating now on a new coding of those functional areas that are of potential issue to remove the possibility of contention and also to improve those functional areas.

This can only benefit future Linux users. It does not represent a terminal situation for the OS but a delay of sorts.

William Keeley 03/04/04 08:39:12 AM EST

I'm still waiting for my invoice from SCO. The day it arrives, I'm going to see if I can file criminal charges against SCO for extortion. If that fails, I'll see if I can sue in small calims court.

lol 03/04/04 06:23:03 AM EST

Once SCO gets the right offer it will slide away with 'the precious'!

Max Kernel 03/04/04 03:57:58 AM EST

I suspect IBM will end up owning the disputed code under any circumstances, once SCO goes on the block. I would suggest to Darl McBride that he avoid high-stakes poker games. He sucks at the art of the bluff. SCO's days are numbered. If you're an investor, I'd say SCO has great short potential these days.

Bernard Ortcutt 03/04/04 03:12:00 AM EST

Doesn't anyone think that the phrase "Linux Secrets" is bizarre and inapt? All of the Linux code (since 0.01!) is on ftk.kernel.org. IBM has been ordered to divulge some AIX and Dynix code, but those can hardly be called _Linux_ secrets.

LittleLebowskiUrbanA 03/04/04 03:11:17 AM EST

Darl mentioned that "last summer" some Linux programmers admitted there was some stolen code in the kernel.
Paula Rooney from CRN asked what code was stolen and who these programmers were. Darl got tongue tied and somebody else from SCO stepped in and said they couldn't comment on that

fodi 03/04/04 03:06:53 AM EST

I wonder if, after this case is over, Linux distributors (or Linus himself) can sue SCO for defamation? I'm sure that some companies have resisted purchasing Linux distributions in the past few months, in light of this court case...

ppanon 03/04/04 03:05:51 AM EST

Since SCO will have to divulge which lines they lay claim to, and the trial will determine which lines they actually have a legitimate claim on (if any), we will soon know what needs replacing and it will be replaced. The replacement lines will probably be incorporated in distributions before judgment is passed.

fishbonez 03/04/04 03:04:50 AM EST

The judge has just let IBM control what code SCO gets to see. IBM would not offer to hand over 232 files containing their code without having fully vetted it first. I guarantee they did extensive computer analyses of the code before ever making the offer. They know what, if any of this code is in Linux, exactly how it got there and can verify copyright ownership. SCO can do all the fishing it wants but IBM already knows what is in there. It is highly unlikely that SCO will be allowed access to any more IBM code unless they have some truly compelling reason.

k98sven 03/04/04 03:04:08 AM EST

Groklaw has a full treatment of this story.

Basically, the court ruled SCO must put up within 45 days, while IBM must also give AIX (but not all versions) to SCO.

This is of course bad for SCO, who claims they need IBM to provide AIX before they can identify what is infringing. As IBM most likely won't be handing over AIX in the next 44 days or so, obviously SCO will not be able to comply.

It's a cute judgement, since it is fair to both parties while being devastating to SCO at the ame time.

It'll be interesting to see if they will play the 'we need the AIX code!' card again for the third hearing running.

scoWatcher 03/04/04 03:01:44 AM EST

According to this, the Server that they have to post their PDF filings to runs Linux! (The webserver for the court.)

iantri 03/04/04 03:00:25 AM EST

hope this is going to put a halt to this SCO nonsense, but I fear that it won't...

The last announcement SCO made (re: the suing bit) had nothing to do with the disputed code, and they intentionally phrased it to seem like AutoZone was being sued for just running Linux.

SCO's tactics seem to be growing more and more deceitful and misleading..

rebel witha cause 03/04/04 02:59:54 AM EST

I guarantee that the winners will be - THE LAWYERS !!! They must be all rubbing their hands in glee...

AprilFool 03/04/04 02:59:32 AM EST

SCO has 45 days in which to produce the offending lines of code: that allows SCO to present their evidence on April 1.

I like the way this judge thinks!

dipipanone 03/04/04 02:58:18 AM EST

The code that IBM has been ordered to produce is actually the code that IBM offered to produce prior to the point at which the Judge ordered a stay of discovery because she was concerned that SCO was attempting to avoid compliance.

In short, this is a total victory for IBM and a total pasting for SCO

cosmo7 03/04/04 02:54:01 AM EST

SCO is no longer claiming any code was stolen from their product and inserted into Linux. They are claiming that IBM developed AIX and Dynix from Unix System V (as licensees) and then ported routines from AIX to Linux. The code in question never belonged to SCO or their predecessors.

SCO is arguing that the code that was contributed to Linux is derivative of their Unix, because it was originally developed for Unix. It's a very optimistic approach to the law, on their part.

Elwood P Dowd 03/04/04 02:52:22 AM EST

This definitely requires SCO to put everything on the table. But it also requires IBM to put everything on the table. Basically, both parties are required to supply complete copies of everything they've ever done relating to Unix. That's a lot. SCO is required to supply the license that they released everything to anyone ever. IBM is required to provide source control logs for everything they've ever done relating to Unix. IBM is required to provide current contact information for 1000 current and past employees.

This is so, so far from over. The case just got ten times bigger.

JWW 03/04/04 02:49:52 AM EST

I'm surprised that SCO are supposedly going after DaimlerChrysler next...DaimlerChrysler could file a nasty countersuit in Germany, somewhere where the courts have already started giving SCO a hard time.

Ralph Wiggam 03/04/04 02:47:33 AM EST

The people that sent SCO money deserve to lose it. If SCO never produces a shred of evidence they will probably have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that IBM racked up to defend a baseless lawsuit. I would love to see what their stock price does that week.

-B

Thomas Frayne 03/04/04 02:02:04 AM EST

Ms O'gara seems to present the court order as a victory for SCOG, but it was a total victory for IBM.

The order was even-handed: both IBM and SCOG were given 45 days to complete discovery, and were required to submit affidavits detailing their efforts. Both
were ordered to file source logs, and to file briefs related to SCOG's new claims.

However, the order to SCO says "fully comply ... with the court's previous order", and goes on to order in detail the items that IBM had complained had not been complied with, including information that will allow IBM to trace specific lines of code that SCOG claims were copied from its code to AIX/Dynix and from there to Linux.

The order to IBM is to produce the 232 products that IBM said it was prepared to produce (SCOG's lawyers wanted much more), IBM's non-public contributions to Linux, documents from IBM's employees currently working on Linux, further responses to interrogatories two, five, and eleven. SCOG wanted IBM to fully identify 7200 witnesses, but the court ordered IBM and SCOG to agree on the most important 1000, and IBM to identify those.

I found it interesting that, in the middle of the order to IBM there were more orders for SCOG, to use its best efforts to find the relevant information from public Linux documents.

I think the Judge Wells is bending over backward to be seen as fair and to make no ruling that could be successfully appealed. However, I think that IBM got
everything it wanted, and SCOG got what IBM was willing to give them. Even the extension of time for SCOG to comply with the December order resulted from a suggestion IBM made on February 6, and permission to add new claims was given earlier because IBM did not object. Since both got 45 days, IBM does not have to provide any information to SCOG until the day SCOG fully complies with the court order, but perhaps IBM will be generous in providing SCOG more rope.