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Response to SCO's Open Letter

Unix IP rights suggest strongly that SCO should clean up its own act

before daring to accuse others of theft.

SCO taxes IBM and others with failing to provide warranties or

indemnify users against third-party IP claims, conveniently neglecting

to mention that the warranties and indemnities offered by SCO and

others such as Microsoft are carefully worded so that the vendor's

liability is limited to the software purchase price, They thus offer

no actual shield against liability claims or damages. They are, in a

word, shams designed to lull users into a false sense of security -- a

form of sham which we believe you press on us solely as posturing,

rather than out of any genuine concern for users. We in the

open-source community, and our corporate allies, refuse to play that

dishonest game.

You invite us to negotiate, but you have persistently refused to


a negotiable claim. You have made allegations of a million lines of

copied code which are mathematically impossible given the known,

publicly accessible history of Linux development. You have uttered

vast conspiracy theories which fail to be vague only where they are

slanderous and insulting. You have already been compelled to abandon

major claims — such as the ownership of SMP technology alleged

in your original complaint against IBM — on showings that they

were false, and that you knew or should have known them to be false,

Accordingly, we of the open-source community do not concede that


is anything to negotiate. Linux is our work and our lawful

property, the distillation of twelve years of hard work, idealism,

creativity, tears, joy, and sweat by hundreds of thousands of

cooperating hackers all over the world. It is not yours, has never

been yours, and will never be yours.

If you wish to make a respectable case for contamination, show


the code. Disclose the overlaps. Specify file by file and line

by line which code you believe to be infringing, and on what grounds.

We will swiftly meet our responsibilities under law, either removing

the allegedly infringing code or establishing that it entered Linux by

routes which foreclose proprietary claims.

Yours truly,

Eric Raymond

Bruce Perens