Novell difunde una carta que niega que SCO sea propietaria de Unix System V
Escrito por Redacción d. 29/05/2003, h. 10:31

Novell ha enviado una durísima carta a SCO, torpedeando las reclamaciones de esta sobre Linux, y en la que aclara no son de ninguna manera propietarios de las patentes de Unix System V.
En una dura carta, que significa un serio correctivo contra las intenciones de SCO, Novell afirma que SCO nunca ha sido propietaria de los derechos de autor de UNIX, desmontando totalmente la argumentación de esta empresa sobre Linux y contra IBM.

Novell afirma que el acuerdo de compra firmado entre Novell y SCO en 1995 no significaba la transferencia de ningún tipo de derechos a SCO.

Por otro lado y en el mismo tono molesto Novell ha mostrado su preocupación por la declaraciones de SCO acusando a Linux de plagio, reclamándole evidencias específicas que apoyen sus alegaciones contra la comunidad Linux.

Finalmente Novell se ha declarado partidario ardiente de Linux y la comunidad de desarrollo libre.

La durísima carta parece ser que ha producido en SCO la reconsideración de su pleito contra IBM, ya que es bastante probable que el gigante azul conteste con un contrapleito que podría dar al traste con SCO.

Por otro lado y de la mano de la asociación alemana "Linuxtag" la comunidad libre ya ha anunciado que demandará a SCO por su acoso contra los usuarios de Linux, ya que recordemos que SCO amenazó con acciones legales a más de 1.500 usuarios corporativos.

Una estupenda noticia para la comunidad libre y que deja en una auténtica posición de ridículo a Microsoft que apoyó las tesis de SCO, mediante la adquisición de una licencia.

Finalmente y a continuación el texto íntegro de la carta.

Mr. Darl McBride President and CEO The SCO Group

Re: SCOs "Letter to Linux Customers"

Dear Darl:

As you know, Novell recently announced some important Linux initiatives. These include an upcoming NetWare version based on the Linux kernel, as well as collaboration and resource management solutions for Linux.

Put simply, Novell is an ardent supporter of Linux and the open source development community. This support will increase over time.

It was in this context that we recently received your "Letter to Linux Customers." Many Novell business partners and customers apparently received the same letter. Your letter compels a response from Novell.

As we understand the letter, SCO alleges that unnamed entities incorporated SCOs intellectual property into Linux without its authorization. You apparently base this allegation on a belief that these unnamed entities copied some UNIX System V code into Linux. Beyond this limited understanding, we have been unable to glean any further information about your allegation because of your letters vagueness.

In particular, the letter leaves certain critical questions unanswered. What specific code was copied from UNIX System V? Where can we find this code in Linux? Who copied this code? Why does this alleged copying infringe SCOs intellectual property? By failing to address these important questions, SCO has failed to put us on meaningful notice of any allegedly infringing Linux code, and thus has withheld from us the ability - and removed any corresponding obligation - to address your allegation.

As best we can determine, the vagueness about your allegation is intentional. In response to industry demands that you be more specific, you attempt to justify your vagueness by stating, "Thats like saying, show us the fingerprints on the gun so you can rub them off." (Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2003) Your analogy is weak and inappropriate. Linux has existed for over a decade, and there are plenty of copies in the marketplace with which SCO could attempt to prove its allegation.

We are aware that you recently offered to disclose some of the alleged Linux problems to Novell and others under a nondisclosure agreement. If your offer is sincere, it may be a step in the right direction. But we wonder whether the terms of the nondisclosure agreement will allow Novell and others in the Linux community to replace any offending code. Specifically, how can we maintain the confidentiality of the disclosure if it is to serve as the basis for modifying an open source product such as Linux? And if we cannot use the confidential disclosure to modify Linux, what purpose does it serve?

In your letter, you analogize SCOs campaign against the Linux community to that of the record industry against major corporations whose servers contained downloaded music files. There are crucial differences between the two campaigns. The record industry has provided specific information to back up its allegation, while SCO steadfastly refuses to do so. In its allegation letter, the record industry provides evidence of allegedly infringing activity that is specific to the targeted company. This offers the company real notice of the activity, sufficient information to evaluate the allegation, and an opportunity to stop the activity if it determines the allegation is true. If SCO wants to compare its actions to those of the record industry, it should follow the example set by that industry and present specific evidence of the alleged infringement.

SCO claims it has specific evidence supporting its allegation against the Linux community. It is time to substantiate that claim, or recant the sweeping and unsupported allegation made in your letter. Absent such action, it will be apparent to all that SCOs true intent is to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Linux in order to extort payments from Linux distributors and users.

This true intent becomes clearer when one considers various public statements you and other SCO personnel have made about SCOs intellectual property rights in UNIX. SCO continues to say that it owns the UNIX System V patents, yet it must know that it does not. A simple review of U.S. Patent Office records reveals that Novell owns those patents.

Importantly, and contrary to SCOs assertions, SCO is not the owner of the UNIX copyrights. Not only would a quick check of U.S. Copyright Office records reveal this fact, but a review of the asset transfer agreement between Novell and SCO confirms it. To Novells knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCOs purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights. We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently, you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected. Finally, we find it telling that SCO failed to assert a claim for copyright or patent infringement against IBM.

SCOs actions are disrupting business relations that might otherwise form at a critical time among partners around Linux technologies, and are depriving these partners of important economic opportunities. We hope you understand the potential significant legal liability SCO faces for the possible harm it is causing to countless customers, developers, and other Linux community members. SCOs actions, if carried forward, will lead to the loss of sales and jobs, delayed projects, canceled financing, and a balkanized Linux community.

We, like others, are concerned about the direction of SCOs campaign. For now, we demand that SCO either promptly state its Linux infringement allegations with specificity or recant the accusation made in your letter. Further, we demand that SCO retract its false and unsupported assertions of ownership in UNIX patents and copyrights or provide us with conclusive information regarding SCOs ownership claims. In the future, we hope SCO will adhere to standards of strict accuracy when stating its rights in UNIX.


Jack L. Messman Chairman, President and CEO