SCO v. IBM has been absent from the LWN front page for some time - and
there has been a striking lack of letters from readers protesting that.
An important ruling has been issued, however, and so it's time for
IBM's tenth counterclaim ("CC10") in this case requests a ruling from the court that
IBM's Linux activities do not violate any of SCO's copyrights. IBM filed a
motion requesting a summary judgment on this counterclaim, stating that
there were no disputed facts that might argue against that judgment. A
victory on this motion would take much of the wind from SCO's sails.
The SCO Group knows this, and so filed a motion of its own requesting that
the tenth counterclaim be dismissed, or at least stayed.
These motions were argued before Judge Kimball back in September. The
ruling was long in coming, but it is now available (in PDF
format). The ruling is not a clear victory for either side, but it
suggests that SCO is facing a rough road unless it turns up something truly
incriminating in the discovery process.
The first order of business was SCO's motion to dismiss or stay CC10. The
Judge notes that SCO's arguments have shifted over time, ending up with the
statement that CC10 is moot because SCO is not actually alleging copyright
infringements on IBM's part. The Judge didn't buy it:
Notwithstanding SCO's puzzling denial in its briefing that it has
not alleged a claim against IBM for copyright infringement arising
out of its use, reproduction, or improvement of Linux, it clearly
has alleged such a claim.
The Judge makes note of SCO's public statements on the matter, and the
AutoZone suit as well. In conclusion:
The court assumes that SCO was prepared to prosecute its claim in
the AutoZone case or it would not have filed suit. Indeed,
in light of SCO's lawsuit against AutoZone and SCO's public
statements during the last two years, which have essentially
invited this claim, it is incomprehensible that SCO seeks to
postpone resolution of this claim.
The motion was denied flat out, with prejudice. In other words, SCO
will have to face this counterclaim, which is clearly a problem of
its own making.
The Judge then moved on to IBM's request for a summary judgment, which
would have resolved CC10 (in IBM's favor) immediately. Judge Kimball
reviewed a number of SCO's more blatant public statements, along with IBM's
claim that no evidence to back up those statements has been presented. The
Judge clearly sees some merit in IBM's arguments, but is not willing to
grant the judgment at this time:
Viewed against the backdrop of SCO's plethora of public statements
concerning IBM's and others' infringement of SCO's purported
copyrights to the UNIX software, it is astonishing that SCO has not
offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding
whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's
Nevertheless, despite the vast disparity between SCO's public
accusations and its actual evidence-or complete lack thereof-and
the resulting temptation to grant IBM's motion, the court has
determined that it would be premature to grant summary judgment on
IBM's Tenth Counterclaim.
The Judge reasons that SCO's contract claims could play into the final
determination of the copyright issues, and that ongoing discovery could yet
yield the evidence that SCO seeks. The ruling, in passing, notes that
Judge Kimball is "in general agreement" with the discovery order forcing
IBM to provide all of its Unix/Dynix code to SCO. The Judge also states:
Simply put, regardless of the merits, the granting of summary
judgment would be very unlikely to survive an appeal when a Rule
56(f) motion has been filed and a motion to compel production of
arguably relevant information remains pending.
Judges hate being reversed on appeal, for obvious reasons. So Judge
Kimball is, as he should, playing the game in such a way as to come to
conclusions which will stand. So the court declined to rule in favor of
IBM's motion now, but states that the motion can be refiled after discovery
IBM had also argued that the summary judgment on CC10 should be granted as
a sanction for SCO's misbehavior in the case. Judge Kimball didn't buy it,
though, and rejected that motion out of hand.
Then, IBM had filed a motion trying to strike a number of declarations
filed by SCO. These declarations, by Sandeep Gupta, Chris Sontag, and John
Harrop, were said (by IBM) to be inadmissible because the people who wrote
them didn't know what they were talking about. The Judge accepted SCO's
argument, though, that the real purpose of the declarations was to argue
that more discovery was needed; he then said, however, that he made no use
of the declarations in any case. So this motion, moot to begin with, was
IBM has two other summary judgment motions on the table. One seeks to
dispose of SCO's contract claims, while the other seeks a ruling on IBM's
eighth counterclaim - the GPL violation claim. The filings on these
motions are not complete, and arguments have not taken place. Judge
Kimball has denied them (without prejudice) anyway, stating that they
cannot be resolved until discovery is complete. In fact, no such motions
can be resolved, so there is now a ban on any further dispositive motions
during the discovery period.
What all this seems to mean is that there will be no shortcuts in this
case. SCO does not get to squirm out of CC10, but neither does IBM get a
quick resolution to its claims. SCO, it seems, will be able to conduct its
fishing expedition through IBM's source repositories, though there may yet
be more arguments on that point. Your editor, attempting to read between
the lines of the ruling, senses a fair amount of hostility to SCO's claims
and tactics. But, regardless of how the Judge sees the case now, he seems
determined not to make any premature or careless decisions. This case will
have to play out according to the calendar - at least, until the discovery
phase is over.
Comments (3 posted)
The latest addition to the Mozilla Project's offerings is Mozilla Sunbird,
a calendar application based on the iCal standard
Sunbird has been in the works for some time, but the recent 0.2 release
from the Sunbird team is the first "official" release. We're not really
sure what makes this "official," but we thought this might be a good time
to look at Sunbird to see how it's maturing.
Sunbird is far from complete, but it's much more stable than one might
expect from an application at version 0.2. We used Sunbird for a couple of
days without experiencing any crashes or "show stopper" bugs. There are a
few glitches in Sunbird 0.2, which is to be expected. For example, copying
and pasting an event from Thursday to Friday changed the start and end
times of the event. There are also a few minor interface glitches, but
nothing that would prevent a user from getting work done with Sunbird.
To test Sunbird's calendar import feature and handling of iCal files, we
grabbed the U.S. holiday calendar from the Mozilla's holiday
and a few calendars from iCalShare. Sunbird had no problems
importing the calendars, though it automatically pushed the displayed month
back to the start of the calendars.
The Sunbird roadmap
shows how far Sunbird has progressed so far. Sunbird lacks the ability to
export to HTML, edit remote calendars, accept invitations from Outlook
users, and a number of other features. Still, the list of features that are
complete is larger than the list of incomplete features. The list is not
entirely up to date, either. For example, the "work week view" feature is
available, though the roadmap doesn't show this feature as complete. This
is, in fact, one of this writer's favorite features in Sunbird. The user
can specify the days of their work week, and display only those days in the
calendar view. Since this writer works a decidedly non-standard work week
(Thursday through Sunday) this can come in quite handy.
As a standalone calendar application, Sunbird is already on its way to
being a useful project. However, many users are going to want a calendar
application that integrates with a mailer and browser. To that end, there's
Lightning. Lightning is still in the early development phase, so
there's very little concrete information about it, but the general gist of
the project is to provide tighter integration between Thunderbird and
Sunbird. The first general-user release of Lightning is tentatively
scheduled for mid-2005.
Another area where Sunbird needs help is device
synchronization. Right now, the application doesn't offer any automatic
method of synchronizing with a PDA, which is a feature that many users will
want from a calendaring application.
Why should users care about Sunbird when we already have Evolution and KDE PIM, which are much further along than
Sunbird? The primary reason is multi-platform support. While Evolution and
KDE PIM have much to recommend them, wide cross-platform availability is
something that neither project can offer at this time. Companies that are
looking to standardize on an application will want something that runs on
Windows, and possibly Mac OS X as well.
Sunbird is a promising application. Given the quality of Firefox and
Thunderbird, not to mention the original Mozilla suite, we're optimistic
that Sunbird will be an excellent calendaring application when it grows
Comments (4 posted)
Conference & Expo
happens February 14 through 17 in
Boston. LWN editor Jonathan Corbet will be wandering by the event for the
first time in a few years. Among other things, he will be giving a talk in
the O'Reilly booth on Wednesday at 1:30; one can only hope that there will
be no rap bands or accordion players in the neighboring booth at that
time. Such problems are not unheard of at LinuxWorld.
It would, of course, be a disservice to our readers if we failed to point
out that Linux
Device Drivers, Third Edition, by Jonathan Corbet, Alessandro
Rubini, and Greg Kroah-Hartman, will be released (and available) at the
The first LinuxWorld event was almost six years ago now. LWN was published that week only because the
kind folks at Linuxcare let us stay in the exhibit hall past closing and
plug the laptop into their network hub. That conference was an
eye-opener. Even for those of us who had been convinced for years that
Linux World Domination was inevitable, the level of interest - and the
amount of money - to be seen at LinuxWorld was shocking. The wave was
clearly building, and it didn't seem that anybody had any real control over
The memories of the Red Hat party - or the disturbing lack thereof - will
be with us forever.
Six years later, LinuxWorld is a different experience. It's all executive
keynotes and expensive exhibits; the conference
program almost seems like an afterthought. The more
development-oriented conferences, such as OLS or Linux.conf.au (where your editor will also
be speaking), are much more fun. LinuxWorld remains the preeminent
commercial Linux show, however, at least in the U.S. As a place to get a
sense for what the business of Linux is doing, it is hard to beat. Your
editor, masochist that he is, is looking forward to having his nose rubbed
in the hype for a few days, seeing where people think the money is in
Linux, and meeting some LWN readers. See you there.
Comments (2 posted)
The FFII site has a
translated article from the Polish press agency
stating that Poland
will no longer resist the adoption of the software patent directive in the
European Council. If Poland backs down - and no other country steps up in
its place - the Council could adopt its version of the patent directive
without regard to the restart motion which passed the legal affairs
committee on February 2. And that would mean US-style software
patents in Europe.
Comments (22 posted)
Page editor: Jonathan Corbet
Inside this week's LWN.net Weekly Edition
- Security: Attacks on Firefox; New vulnerabilities in emacs, mailman, postfix, python, squid, ...
- Kernel: Audio latency goes full circle; Access checking for read() and write(); Kernel event hooks.
- Distributions: A look at Slackware 10.1; Mandrakelinux Corporate Server 3.0 now LSB 2.0 certified; Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.1 Supports Mac mini & iMac G5
- Development: The GRASS Geographical Information System, PostgreSQL Security Releases,
new versions of MySQL-python, Samba, Nagios Plugins, ATutor, UnCommon Web,
Compiere, Gmsh, The Equinox Desktop Environment, Eclipse Trader, Mathomatic,
Sunbird, Python, Aegis.
- Press: Linux on the corporate desktop, Spyware Predicted for Firefox,
How SCO Rallied Linux, Trolltech Dual Licensing Qt for Windows,
DVD burning tutorial, Sub-$500 Notebook.
- Announcements: JBoss and Sun Collaborate, Linux Gazette, LinuxQuestions.org Award Winners,
ApacheCon Europe CFP, FUDCon, NSPW 2005 CFP, Penguin CFP,
VOIPSEC mailing list, CPAN::Forum.