SCO shares glimpses of alleged IBM Unix misdeeds

A Utah judge dealt the SCO Group a significant blow in June by throwing out more than 180 of the company's specific allegations of IBM programmers moving proprietary Unix code to Linux, or otherwise misbehaving. When SCO fired back last week with a filing that seeks to reverse that decision, it salted its justification with a few instances of IBM actions that SCO believes show its case.

The instances were taken from material Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells threw out of the case. SCO's claims are sometimes redacted so that crucial quotations aren't visible to those without access to the sealed court records, but SCO attorneys give their versions of events.

In one case regarding software "semaphores" that control when computing resource availability through a locking mechanism, "IBM developer Tim Wright expressly told non-IBM Linux developers about locking techniques "that are not currently used in Linux," then stated that "the classic coding style in Dynix/ptx is..." followed by specific source code.

Two other cases concern "methods IBM developer Rick Lindsay contributed to improving Linux in the technology area of locking after he had been exposed to Dynix/ptx locking techniques." Another refers to an e-mail exchange in which IBM programmers Martin Bligh and James Cleverdon "describe a 'bug fix' Bligh made to Linux and how it was based on the method from Dynix/ptx."

Also in the filing, SCO accuses IBM of intentionally destroying evidence. "Weeks after SCO filed its lawsuit, IBM directed 'dozens' of its Linux developers within its LTC (Linux Technology Center) and at least ten of its Linux developers outside the LOC to delete the AIX and/or Dynix source code from their computers. One IBM Linux developer has admitted to destroying Dynix source code and tests, as well as pre-March 2003 drafts of source code he had written for Linux while referring to Dynix code on his computer," SCO said in the filing.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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