Code simularity is not a breach of contract.
Posted May 31, 2003 8:19 UTC (Sat) by chel
Parent article: SCO's conference call
If two peices of software contain the same lines of code, there are a number of possibilities.
- The code can be written twice, if the piece of software is millions of lines of code and the number of corresponding lines are in the ordr of tens to hundreds this is a real possibility.
- The code can have a common source, e.g. information of hardware vendors etc.
- the code can be copied from A to B
- the code can be copied from B to A
In the SCO case we see there are strict, well enforced mechanisms to avoid copying from SCO based code to GPL. We see there is no mechanism to avoid copying from GPL to SCO. In fact we have seen that a lot of SCO's proprietary code is vulnerable for security problems in GPL code. Just visit CERT archives to check.
For SCO's claim it is essential to prove the orgin of the code and to prove the path of code to GPL being a breach of contract. Even if there has been an illegal transfer of code orginating from SCO to GPL, it will be almost impossible to prove. Furthermore, for the claim to be substantial, it must be proven that the lines of code really made a substantial contribution to the value of the GPL code. As Linux has been better on most important area's than System V for a very long time, this will be hard to prove.
The factor "independent groups" is without value. It is impossible to have knowledge of System V code orgin, or even System V code, for an independent expert. After signing the required NDA, one is no longer an independent expert, as from then only contributions to System V code, or advices for System V code are possible.
to post comments)