Subject: Re: BREAKING NEWS - "Offending Code" Specified (LinuxWorld)(Printview)
To: NetBSD current list <>
From: William Allen Simpson <>
List: current-users
Date: 12/24/2003 05:37:26
Greywolf wrote:
> =

> Thus spake Jeremy C. Reed ("JCR> ") sometime Today...
> =

> JCR> It seems like SCO doesn't care about if rewritten, but the ABI of =
> JCR> same values, like ENOMEM is 12 and so on.
> JCR> ...
> I would suspect we've not much to worry about.  Nonetheless, I'm a litt=
> concerned out of habit (still have teeth marks on my brain from the day=
> of being Mentally Contaminated), so I'm asking how this all will affect=

> BSD?
> =

> [Never mind the effect that the Broadband and Electronic On-Board
> Copy Protection [DMR/Palladium/required hardware] are going to have on
> Open Source as a whole if they pass...]
> =

As explained in the "letter":

  While some application programming interfaces (=93API Code=94) have bee=
n =

  made available over the years through POSIX and other open standards, =

  the UNIX ABI Code has only been made available under copyright =

  restrictions. AT&T made these binary interfaces available in order to =

  support application development to UNIX operating systems and to =

  assist UNIX licensees in the development process.

IANAL, but I think what they are saying is "we gave you these files to =

run applications on our systems, not to replace our systems".

Based on that legal strategy, I think *BSDs have a dog in this fight. =

Noting that Sun and M$ have paid them, and that was half the income =

they made last quarter (, =

and they are using that money to sue everybody else:

  The company lost $1.6 million, or 12 cents a share, on $24.3 million =

  in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year, including $10.3 million in =

  license revenues that it got from Microsoft and Sun Microsystems - =

  and noticeably not from anybody else. =

  SCO would have earned $7.4 million, or 44 cents a share, if it didn't =

  have to pay its lawyers $9 million of the October investment as part =

  of their convoluted compensation deal, which gives them 20% of =

  practically every dollar SCO sees. SCO said legal costs have run it =

  $16 million so far, roughly $2.5 million-$3 million a quarter, a number=

  it expects to jump by another million or two a quarter going forward. =

I'm also concerned that their lawyer is David Boies, formerly a netHero. =
It's fairly likely that a lawyer is going to have to look into this. =

Question: How hard would it be to change the ABI everywhere?  After all,
these are "just numbers", mostly error return codes? =

-- =

William Allen Simpson
    Key fingerprint =3D  17 40 5E 67 15 6F 31 26  DD 0D B9 9B 6A 15 2C 32=