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Why Does SCO Focus On A Minix-to-Linux Link?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the sometimes-they-really-are-out-to-get-you dept.

Unix 227

ansak writes "In the latest scoop from Groklaw, Groklaw user talks_to_birds pointed out an error in SCO's version of the famous Levenez Unix Timeline. The important error is the green dotted line which shows Minix to be a derivative of Unix. If this were accepted, and if Linux was shown to be a derivative of Minix, then SCO's lawsuits would be more likely to have merit. As it turned out, even MS called Samizdat unhelpful, but at least now there may be a plausible reason why someone would try to make the link between Minix and Linux in the first place."

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Long live geeks (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9479985)

One can't help but feel a warm fuzzy sense of nostalgia looking back over the history of Unix, even if a fair number of us geeks here are younger than Unix (er, UNICS) itself.

UNICS was released nearly 40 years ago...and it's legacy still lives on. It'll take more than the likes of SCO (and a dotted green line) to tear down the Open-Source community. Long live geeks.

Re:Long live geeks (4, Funny)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480000)

Forget unix. I am younger even than DOS
(Disk Operating System not /.s Denial Of Service)

(Karma be damned; I am no better than an AC anyway)

Re:Long live geeks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480038)

Unix is older than DOS. Dumbass. DOS came in the 80s, UNIX "official" start was 1970, although the groundword started in the mid 60s.

Re:Long live geeks (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480113)

That's the point, idiot. UNIX is older than DOS which is older than that poster.

Re:Long live geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480150)

With the AC you replied to modded down to -1, for someone viewing at 0, it would look like you are calling the younger-than-dos-guy an idiot and making a fool of yourself saying again that unix is older than dos

Re:Long live geeks (5, Insightful)

Further82 (720625) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480001)

Unix itself is not open source, its more like a specification for an OS, but there are plenty of unix OS's that are not open source and plenty that dont fall under SCO's attack plan. So even if SCO did manage to win it would not destroy UNIX or the open source community (freeBSD comes to mind as a unix OS thats open source and SCO is not targeting, yet...)

Long live FreeBSD (5, Informative)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480919)

SCO nor anyone else can target FreeBSD anymore. Berkeley Software Design Inc.(creators of BSD/386 and BSD/OS) and the creator of FreeBSD (U of C, Berkeley) and were sued by AT&T back in 1992. All was settled out of court and the result was FreeBSD had to be moved to a new code base (4.4BSD-Lite Source Code) free of AT&T licences before FreeBSD could move on in life.

Another note: back in 1992, AT&T sold the portion of the company that made their UNIX (UNIX Systems Laboratories - USL) to Novell, Inc.

SOURCE: The Complete FreeBSD 3rd Edition by Greg Lehey

Re:Long live geeks (4, Insightful)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480071)

Personally I get a warm feeling every time the geeks at Groklaw find another piece of evidence that sticks it to SCO. They're alpha geeks. All hail PJ!

Re:Long live geeks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480948)

How is this Insightful? Meta-moderators, do your duty.

The real warm and fuzzy sense... (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480156)

Groklaw finding out about and debunking SCO's bogus worthless claim before they even finished laying down the groundwork to make it.

It starts to make me wonder, even if SCO had a case wouldn't they just get stomped into the ground by Groklaw's army of F/OSS paralegal type folks.

Monolithic kernels (-1, Troll)

Sarojin (446404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9479986)

are worthless!

T4C & GNAA for life!

simple... (5, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9479987)

They are trying to bolster their claims that Linux came from Minix, which came from the same source as Sinix, which is their code.

Actually, if you just go to Groklaw, they have tons of really good info on this, instead of just AC comments. Including links to the SCO chart showing how Linux is linked off of "SCO Linux"...

Re:simple... (3, Informative)

fanatic (86657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480012)

Minix, which came from the same source as Sinix,

Not that's wrong too. Tanenbaum wrote Minix form scratch.

Re:simple... (2, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480025)

As they explain in the articles, "from" doesn't mean the same source code, it means it was compatible or supposed to be. Again, I know this is wrong, and its just more of their FUD. Grok has a great set of articles on it, better than average.

Re:simple... (1, Insightful)

perlchild (582235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480582)

I know that and you know that, but they don't tell the judge that, that's why it's news.

Boy, would that be funny... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480976)

...if they based their entire legal attack on a single green line on a picture that while excellent in showing basic history doesn't go into detail and doesn't reference sources.

(I think that Levenez's work is quite good. I just always assume that a chart or graph is a simplified representation and never to be taken literally)

maybe not so simple... (2, Interesting)

fatray (160258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480175)

I think the interesting thing about this is that it is a brand new offensive from SCO. We should have known this was coming when we saw the BS from Ken Brown claiming that Linux had Minix source in it. This shows that SCO has run out of plausible claims and is now making up really silly stuff that has already been refuted.

If anything, this shows that SCO is not going away merely because they don't have a case. The will keep grinding away as long as they have funding.

Re:maybe not so simple... (1)

Surazal (729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480189)

I think the interesting thing about this is that it is a brand new offensive from SCO.

I think they ran out of offensives quite a while ago and are focusing on trying to cull the damage as much as they can.

But, of course, it's far, far too late. MWAH HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Re:maybe not so simple... (3, Interesting)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480555)

Where I come from we have a legal figure called (how can I put it in English? let me try...) "litigation in bad faith" ("litigância de má-fé", to the Portuguese speakers out there). It is what SCO is doing: starting a legal process against someone even when they know they don't have a case. Doesnt the American juridical system have such a thing?

to the best of my knowledge- (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480863)

-if it can be PROVEN they filed knowing they didn't have a case-say they were just fishing for an out of court settlement by using a bluff- then yes, to me at least it certainly appears that they could be sued back under the not-used-much but still there civil provisions of the RICO act. They *possibly* could have federal felony charges against them later on as well if any federal prosecutor wanted to persue it. There's more, but that is usually good enough nowadays to get a hefty judgement. It's the proof that's hard. You would have to prove they knew upfront, later on and in between, and that they lied about everything, and conspired with multiple people, and used interstate communications, and etc.

I know there's another more normaly used law that could be used as well, but darn if I can recall the name of it right now. Someone here will know it though most likely.

Re:simple... (5, Funny)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480190)

Or maybe it's a backup plan -- if you can't successfully sue everyone that has used Linux, sue everyone that has used Minix! :-)

It doen't matter. (4, Insightful)

theglassishalf (216497) | more than 10 years ago | (#9479992)

This enitre issue is moot. SCO distributed copies of linux under the GPL. Thus, if they owned the code, they GPLed it. End of story. It's silly to talk about it. They have already released their copyright. That is the final, and only important issue.

Arrg!

-Daniel

Re:It does matter. (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9479999)

They have already released their copyright.

They can't release what they don't own. Since it appears that Novell owns the copyrights, SCO may be elligible for a lawsuit for unlawful disclosure of copyrighted material to the public. This is yet another can of worms, and we would have to hope that since Novell just bought SuSe (with the help of IBM) that this would not cause other problems with code SCO contributed before it became evil.

Re:It doen't matter. (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480018)

That would only hold if they were aware of the supposed violation at the time they distributed the GPLed code in the first place. They claim that they weren't, and that once they were, contractural obligations prevented them from ceasing to distribute the code. (hard to swallow, but it's a story)

Re:It doen't matter. (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480135)

IANAL, but I read slashdot!

To my knowledge, a software license is a contractual agreement. Can I join into two conflicting contractual agreements, and then later pick which one to ge oblicated to?

Re:It doen't matter. (4, Funny)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480208)

To my knowledge, a software license is a contractual agreement.

The GPL is not a contractual agreement. It says so itself, right in the first paragraph or so.

Can I join into two conflicting contractual agreements, and then later pick which one to ge oblicated to?

No, but you can decide who you'd rather be sued by.

Too late. (4, Insightful)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480182)

They may not have been aware of the violation at the time they initially distributed the GPLed code. In that case they get to hide behind this "doctrine of mutual mistake" or whatever it's called.

However, they certainly were aware of the violation at the time they filed their lawsuit against IBM. And they knowingly and consciously continued to distribute Linux as a product for some time, and from their website for at least eight months, after this. Any protections they might have potentially had they simply threw away by doing this.

Re:It doen't matter. (3, Insightful)

cpuffer_hammer (31542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480201)


As a software company that created a Linux distribution for them to say they did not know what was in it is for them to admit that they were not doing there job as a distribution.

The reason to by a distribution like RH, Caldera, or Lindows is to have someone bring the product together and make sure it works. As well as provide support and other services.

It would be one thing if it was a distribution by an non-software company, or by a private group or individual. Then maybe I could imagen that they did not know what they were selling, but Caldera's pitch was buy our product because we know what we are doing.

wrongo. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480179)

SCO dosn't have a case, but not because of this. If they didn't intentionaly release their code under the GPL, then they havn't give up their rights to it. If SCO didn't know, origionaly, that Linux had their code in it, their distribution dosn't mean they gave up their code. You can't agree to something without knowing that you've agreed.

And also, you can distribute GPL'd code without GPLing it, it's just a violation of copyright law. If the author finds out, you'll have to stop, or be fined by the courts. But the author can't claim that all your code is now GPL'd.

Re:It doen't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480468)

Please refrain from telling people what does and doesn't matter until you at least understand what the GPL and copyright are and how they relate to each other. It's obvious that you do not at the moment.

Come to think of it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9479995)

... That looks like the family tree of a random christian-fundamentalist family over here...

Linux a derivitive of Minix? (5, Interesting)

JoeShmoe950 (605274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9479998)

Inform me if I'm wrong, but didn't Linus make Linux because he didn't like Minix?

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (5, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480015)

He made linux for two reasons, from what I have read: He didn't like the limitations of Minix. He didn't like the license of Minix. Minix was designed to be a limited teaching tool, and cost like 70-80 bucks a license. He worked on a Minix box when he first started, until he could get .1 kernel up enough to boot.

I think Minix was completely from scratch as well, and not fully POSIX, but close enough. The author of Minix is and was a college professor, whose sole motivation was to make a teaching tool (and appearantly make a few bucks to cover costs I guess...)

I also think that Linus began using the GNU/GPL within a year of starting the project.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480139)

Minix pre-dates the POSIX standard.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (1)

Josh Booth (588074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480021)

Linus made Linux to learn 386 assembly code. I believe that he did start off with a lot of Minix code but that was all quickly replaced. It just so happened that there was a demand for a Unix-like kernel.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (4, Funny)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480031)

Linus made Linux to learn 386 assembly code.

Do you think he succeeded?

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480027)

Inform me if I'm wrong, but didn't Linus make Linux because he didn't like Minix?

Not exactly. Minix was pretty much the only option other than BSD at the time, and BSD required some beefy hardware. The problem was that Tanenbaum didn't want to add the features necessary to make Minix a useful OS. He wanted it to be a teaching tool. The result was that Linus used Minix to bootstrap Linux development to fill the vacuum.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480309)

BSD wasn't an option at the time. At the time MINIX was created, you needed an AT&T source license before Berkeley would give you the BSD source. At the time Linux was being created, they had released an incomplete version of the system (Net Release 2) minus the AT&T source code that was still in the system. Bill Jolitz's 386BSD (which rewrote those six files and made a complete usable system for the '386) wasn't release until sometime in 1992. http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/ki rkmck.html

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480533)

At the time Linux was being created, they had released an incomplete version of the system (Net Release 2) minus the AT&T source code that was still in the system.

You forget that Minix wasn't free either. BSD was an option, it was just a piss poor one.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480795)

Linux was one hell of a lot piss poor than BSD at that point in time regardless of the couple of kilobytes that were removed from the BSD codebase. Before the 2.4.x kernels, only a GNU bigot would bother using Linux for anything.

Re:Linux a derivitive of Minix? (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480900)

Linux was one hell of a lot piss poor than BSD at that point in time regardless of the couple of kilobytes that were removed from the BSD codebase. Before the 2.4.x kernels, only a GNU bigot would bother using Linux for anything.

Dude, you need to go MUCH farther back in time. When Linux came out, you needed a MINIMUM of a 286 AT machine to run BSD. Minix ran on an 8086. Linux attempted to copy the small footprint of Minix instead of the large footprint of BSD.

The reason for BSD's poor performance was that it was originally written for Mini-Computers (a serious step up from Micro-Computers) like VAXes and PDPs. PCs of the era lacked many of the computing features that made BSD and Unix possible. As a result, OSes had to simulate those features in software at a cost of CPU and memory.

Once PCs reached the stage of 386s, they were finally able to run Unixes without issue. Given BSD's 10+ years of development, it was obviously more advanced than Linux. It also helped that BSD was were all the "modern Unix technology" was developed. (e.g. TCP/IP, Fast File System, strong Multiuser support, etc.)

Can Linux kernel be a derived from a microkernel? (0)

Avenel (603755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480159)

Doesn't the whole microkernel versus (hugely) monolithic kernel make this whole discussion a moot point?

Not plausible (5, Interesting)

fanatic (86657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480002)

plausible reason why someone would try to make the link between Minix and Linux in the first place

No, because the guy who made this link, Ken Brown, intentionally ignored multiple sources of information that Linux was *not* derived from Linux. It was totally untrue, and he knew it because:

  • Tanenbaum, who wrote Minix, told him so.
  • The guy Ken Brown hired to find where Linux took from Minix told him that it had not in fact happened, after analysing the code.
There never was *any* plausible support for Brown's case and he knew it *befire* making PR announcements, but he went ahead anyhow.

Re:Not plausible (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480022)

...that Linux was *not* derived from Linux.


That would have made writing it a lot easier, I'm sure...

You missed a few! (5, Informative)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480062)

  • Andy told him so several times.
  • Bruce Perens, editor of the Prentice Hall series cited by Brown, told him so.
  • Robert Swartz, founder of Mark Williams Co, authors of Coherent, also told him so.
  • Ilkka Tuomi and several other scientists and historians told him so.
  • Richard Stallman told him so too.
  • No less than Dennis Ritchie told him so.
There's a reasonably complete linkfarm on GrokLaw [groklaw.net] , of course, and even more complete derivative at WikiPedia [wikipedia.org] , including gems from their tobacco-whore days.

Re:You missed a few! (3, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480169)

[Brown immitation]

All of those people are hybrid source hackers.

It took thousands of programmers years to create Unix. It seems obvious to me that there is no possible way an inexperienced lone programmer could create millions of lines of the Linux system in 6 months in his parents basement. All of the people you listed are obviously biased and lying.

[/Brown immitation]

-

Re:You missed a few! (1)

transiit (33489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480950)

Yes, those people told him so.

However, if I read the grandparent post correctly, the point was that Tanenbaum and the hired gun (too lazy to look up his name. Sorry, sir.) both said there was nothing substantial shared between Minix and Linux. And they said so before the Ken Brown/AdTI PR machine ramped up.

While you are correct that a number of individuals-in-the-know did try to make the information known, the grandparent post stands correct as far as the timeline is concerned.

-transiit

Linux not derived from Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480085)

Um...

So I'm guessing that every new version is magically conjured up from thin air?

So Linux *DOES* have something in common with SCO's case...

Re:Not plausible (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480109)

At this point, Tanenbaum, Linus and Ritchie have all chimed in. Has Kernighan commented on the statement? That (and plausably RMS for glibc) would complete the statements of all authors involved in every system - Unix, Minix and Linux. None so far have seen any link whatsoever other than formally published reference specs intended to maintain compatability.

--
Evan "Ran a BBS based on Minix for awhile"

You missed the point ... (1)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480995)

The point is not that the link made by Ken Brown is plausible (which it clearly isn't). Rather it is that Ken Brown now appears to have a plausible reason for trying to link Minux and Linux; i.e. to support a legal argument that SCO might try to make in their various lawsuits.

The other theory on Ken Brown's motivation (that this "research" was done at Microsoft's behest) makes no sense to me. Microsoft would not want to be seen as associated with anything as obviously bogus as Samizdat. They are not that stupid!

Or perhaps they are ...

Even though they called it "unhelpful"... (4, Interesting)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480016)

...a Microsoft-sponsored IDC telephone survey a couple of days ago did still ask me if "the SCO litigation" was one of the reasons I use Linux.

I said "Yes", of course, since I'd use Linux on principle if I hadn't been already when extortionists like TSG (The Sco Group) sued them. If they turn and sue someone like the NetBSD project, I'd find a place in my organisation for a NetBSD box as well.

For the curious, IDC called from Malaysia into Australia, and "Brian" (no idea if that's his real name) said that IDC were planning on setting up their main Asia-Pacific offices there.

Is anyone else angry (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480030)

That there is not a gook vagina enveloping my penis right now.
I'm sure as hell mad.

The Diagram Is Not Measuring Source Dependancy (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480035)

From the notes [levenez.com] accompanying the diagram:
Note 1 : an arrow indicates an inheritance like a compatibility, it is not only a matter of source code.

Emphasis is not mine.

Thus is, an arrow does not imply that Linux's source code is derived from Minix. It only implies that, in some way, the functionality may be compatible with Minix. Source code is not the only criteria for an arrow.

Re:The Diagram Is Not Measuring Source Dependancy (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480073)

Apart from that fact, if you look at their green dotted line it's faulty anyway - the actual line shows a short arrow branching from the main trunk to Sinix and then shortly after a branch from the same trunk (not from the Sinix branch) to Minix. On the SCO version the size of the dots obscures this, the top of the Minix branch is cut off and the green dotted line follows from the Sinix branch down to Minix when infact they both come from the trunk, the Minix branch just happens to cross the Sinix branch in this representation and therefore the SCO version has chosen to use this meaningless crossover to obscure where the Minix arrow is really coming from.

Re:The Diagram Is Not Measuring Source Dependancy (4, Interesting)

femto (459605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480092)

More info:

The Wayback Machine [archive.org] indicates [archive.org] that "Note 1" was added in the period 2nd August 2002 [archive.org] to 14th October 2002 [archive.org] .

This is well before the start of the SCO affair (7th March 2003), so the note is not a belated attempt to bolster Linux's case. The diagram genuinely does not measure source code dependence.

Re:The Diagram Is Not Measuring Source Dependancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480433)

an arrow indicates an inheritance like a compatibility

Well then, I guess Linux is a derivative of Microsoft Windows, as it is compatible in many different ways.

Now, since Ken Brown... (3, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480043)

... made Linus admit that Santa Claus wrote Linux, everything is settled...

Linux cames from North Pole and this is it...

Ha!

"If we had some ham, we could have ham 'n' eggs... (5, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480045)

...if we had some eggs."

It's just like that old joke. If Linux came from Minix, and if Minix came from Unix, then SCO might have some eggs. But since Linux didn't come from Minix and Minix didn't come from Unix, SCO has shit.

Re:"If we had some ham, we could have ham 'n' eggs (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480255)

It's just like that old joke. If Linux came from Minix, and if Minix came from Unix, then SCO might have some eggs. But since Linux didn't come from Minix and Minix didn't come from Unix, SCO has shit.

No, that would imply that SCO actually had something . After all, even shit can be spread on a field to make something productive...

Re:"If we had some ham, we could have ham 'n' eggs (1)

jorgen (36633) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480474)

... SCO has shit.

No, that would imply that SCO actually had something . After all, even shit can be spread on a field to make something productive...

Hmm, maybe they can buy some of the shit pouring out from that overfull AdTI stink tank.

Re:"If we had some ham, we could have ham 'n' eggs (1)

kunudo (773239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480381)

They've just been sniffing the shit so much it's started to smell like eggs...

Levenez's Chart (4, Interesting)

Kismet (13199) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480058)

If you examine Eric's original chart, you will see that this relationship between Linux, Minix, and Unix exists even there. SCO has simply made it obvious to see, and called the chart a sort of "pedigree" to suggest that Linux contains actual Unix "genetic" material.

Of course, Eric states very clearly on his site that "an arrow indicates an inheritance like a compatibility, it is not only a matter of source code"

And anyway, Minix doesn't contain any AT&T source code by Tanenbaum's own admission. Linux doesn't contain Minix code. These are both original works, influenced by the Unix flavor of their time. That is what the Levenez chart shows, nothing more.

The chart is only useful to SCO in their campaign of dishonesty to suggest something that is clearly untrue, and that has been proved repeatedly to be untrue.

Re:Levenez's Chart (1)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480379)

Regarding the chart, I agree. UNIX V7 -> Sinix -> Minix -> Linux is what SCO implies. UNIX V7 -> Minix -> Linux is what the chart shows. There's still a UNIX -> Minix -> Linux relationship and no one disputes that, but the relationship is one of compatibility or useability, not source, as Eric points out.

Minux had no unix code (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480059)

Try suing the BSD distros instead?

I read in the Linux journal a few years ago that Minux was formed because AT&T wanted to charge $30,000 per cpu for sysV!

Talk about extortion!

Minux was formed as a result but was never updated when Bell labs lowered the price and allowed other people to make versions of Unix like Sun and SGI.

Unless I am wrong?

Minix became outdated after Unix went down in price and instead became used in the academia environment to teach students how an OS works. It never really was finished and the internet really did not exist like today without a WWW. Mainly just a few newsgroup and a tiny number of FTP sites which made working on Minix difficult.

BSD on the other hand has plenty of more merit.

It is a direction descendant of SysIII with some bits of SysV unixware code added in.

All the offending code has been removed today but FreeBSD 1.x and early builds of NetBSD had the Unix in it. THis is why FreeBSD compatiblity only goes back to 2.x and not the 1.x series based on NET/2.

They are a descendant of SysIII from the late 70's since this was used for early BSD development.

Since the deal was sealed we dont really know what happened or what the terms were with the current BSD's. IBM wants to find out.

Someone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong since I may be ingorant in this subject area. I want to know.

Minix is for teaching (5, Informative)

mflaster (702697) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480117)

Tanenbaum didn't write Minix to be a competitor to Unix - he wanted to use it primarily for teaching. See here [cs.vu.nl] .
Years later, I was teaching a course on operating systems and using John Lions' book on UNIX Version 6. When AT&T decided to forbid the teaching of the UNIX internals, I decided to write my own version of UNIX, free of all AT&T code and restrictions, so I could teach from it.
He even said that he rejected many patches from people trying to make it more "useable", because he wanted it to remain simple enough to teach from.

Mike

Re:Minux had no unix code (5, Informative)

LardBrattish (703549) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480119)

I read in the Linux journal a few years ago that Minux was formed because AT&T wanted to charge $30,000 per cpu for sysV! Talk about extortion! Minux was formed as a result but was never updated when Bell labs lowered the price and allowed other people to make versions of Unix like Sun and SGI. Unless I am wrong?

Not strictly wrong Minix was written by one person, college professor Andy Tannenbaum, in order to teach Operating System design to students and be able to give them a real example to work with. Obviously paying $30,000/CPU for a student is not feasible so that was probably part of the motivation but being able to show a fully functional operating system was the main reason. Minix is sold with a book. It was never an open source project in the way we now know & love. Andy didn't apply patches regularly and didn't want to overburden the core of MINIX because it would reduce its' value as a teaching tool. Hence people became frustrated and LINUX was born.

Re:Minux had no unix code (1, Informative)

arodland (127775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480124)

Minix! Minix, Minix, Minix! Minux? Minix!

Re:Minux had no unix code (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480884)

BSD on the other hand has plenty of more merit.

It is a direction descendant of SysIII with some bits of SysV unixware code added in.

Actually, BSD started from V7 Unix. System III came later. This is one of the reasons that signal handling semantics are such a mess.

Remember it's pump and dump (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480063)

The whole point is not to make legal sense but to keep enough bafflement in there to confuse the "investors" and keep them hoping that there is still some reason why SCO stock should not be printed on toilet paper.

Re:Remember it's pump and dump (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480606)

It's also a FUD campaign.

Doesn't the original... (1)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480072)

... show Minix to be a derivitive of Unix as well? or am I reading the original version's timeline incorrectly? Because in both the original and SCOs version, there's a line from a version of Unix to Minix.

But according to the SCO graph... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480078)

...they own everything. Just look at that blatant yellow line labelled Unixware Pedigree that starts on the left.

So why haven't they picked on the other 'derivatives' in the diagram? Surely it should be an all or nothing argument, not a 'pick the ones you want to fight' affair?

"SCO Darl Mcbride == IBM Scarred clod"

MINIX to LINIX to LSD (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480120)

that timeline reminds me of some photos I saw at MOMA here in NYC of spiderwebs made by spiders that had been given doses of LSD.

wish I had a link.

Re:MINIX to LINIX to LSD (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480535)

Actually, it is pretty interesting [cannabis.net] .

Re:MINIX to LINIX to LSD (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480560)

"wish I had a link."

Don't wish, google... http://www.missblackwidow.com/drugs.html

The real question is (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480125)

What would happen if John Carmack decided to program an operating system from scratch? Is his specialty 3D engines, or does he have the talent required to build an OS?

Reply below

Perhaps. (2, Interesting)

mcc (14761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480312)

He's a smart fellow. What I'd be curious to see happen, though, is John Carmack attempt to write a web browser.

A modern web browser

  • is OS-like in complexity, but less silly hardware tying is necessary
  • poses interesting crossplatform targetting compatibility issues, such as those Carmack faces when writing his game engines
  • like a game, requires rendering of very large, complex, and dynamic graphic objects, and this must be done in an efficient and quick manner-- something current web browsers tend to be bad at, DHTML animations rarely look smooth
  • poses interesting optimization questions for these dynamic graphics, much like an Id game
  • like an Id game, must perform complex network operations efficiently
  • requires the efficient parsing and execution of text files, much like the maps and interpreted-c mods for Quake 3
  • like Id game engines, must expose an external development interface for plugins and embedding
Gecko, KHTML and MSIE are great browsers in many ways, but they pretty much all suffer from the fact that DHTML/flash/SVG or (God forbid) VRML all behave in rather inefficient, obnoxious, and (well) gimmicky manners. They don't feel like they're integrated with the web pages. They CERTAINLY don't feel like something you could do serious application development with (remember back when DHTML was first being proposed and people seemed to be under the impression complex and high-level applications would target web browsers?) I would like to see someone with a background in game development take a crack at these issues, as these issues seem very similar to the problem game engine designers must solve.

For the moment however it appears Mr. Carmack's spare time project is trying to build a spaceship, so maybe we'll have to wait.

Re:The real question is (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480838)

What would happen if John Carmack decided to program an operating system from scratch?

Its shell would have commands like: idkfa, idspispopd, idchoppers and (for administrators only) iddqd.

Was This Not Obvious? (5, Informative)

LuYu (519260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480128)

Ken Brown in an email message to Dennis Ritchie:

3) In my opinion, you wrote Unix (UNICS) from scratch. In my opinion, Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch. What is you opinion? How much did he write? I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon's Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux. I hate to ask such a bare-knuckle question, but I really feel that this part of history is very gray. [Empasis mine]
This was a question Ken Brown asked while interviewing for his book. He obviously made his decision before he asked any questions at all.

Tannenbaum also said that Ken Brown had not read any of the available books on the history of Unix. It looks like AdTI and SCO are working together on this. Then again, maybe SCO is just grabbing at straws tossed out by AdTI. Either way, this has to be targeted at the ignorant (read: politicians).

The funny thing is that these "theories" do not take into account the classic and widely known Linux anecdote which was Linus' very motivation for writing Linux: He did not even have working MINIX binaries when he wrote Linux because he had accidently overwritten his harddrive. So, he had two choices: buy MINIX again or write his own OS. That is a far cry from having possession of the MINIX source code.

Final Note: It is not like the Linux kernel was doing 3D graphics back then. It was a text based console with disc access. I doubt Ken Brown or SCO would have called it an operating system back then (this is not to say it was not amazing, just that these mud slingers cannot imagine a non GUI system -- they are lawyers, after all).

Re:Was This Not Obvious? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480330)

The funny thing is that these "theories" do not take into account the classic and widely known Linux anecdote which was Linus' very motivation for writing Linux: He did not even have working MINIX binaries when he wrote Linux because he had accidently overwritten his harddrive. So, he had two choices: buy MINIX again or write his own OS. That is a far cry from having possession of the MINIX source code.

I have never heard this anecdote, and heard that Minix was used as the development environment for Linux. I also am somewhat perplexed as to how Linus wrote an operating system kernel without having a working operating system on his own machine. Perhaps since he could not run a text editor, he manipulated the inodes by hand with a hand magnet?

Could you please provide a source for this anecdote?

Re:Was This Not Obvious? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480356)

I had an email exchange with Ken Brown soon after the initial Slashdot story. While my mail was civil (no swearing), it was strongly worded and didn't hold back along the lines that Mr Brown's book, his opinion and motives were without merit.

Anyway, it was enough to provoke a response from Mr. Brown. From his reply, it was obvious that he has an agenda. His reply implied that there would be retribution when the 'house of cards' [Linux and open source] come falling down. The retribution was not physical or violent, but I got the impression it would be something along the lines of sticking his tongue out and going "na-na-ni-na-na, told you so".

The bottom line was that Mr Brown did not write his book as an intellectual argument against the 'open source movement'. He wrote it starting with the dogmnatic position that the open source movement is against his beliefs (and financial interests) and he will write whatever is necessary, factual or not, to try and score a blow.

Re:Was This Not Obvious? (1)

CanadianCrackPot (727998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480770)

Then blow their minds by telling them that Linux is still CLI with a windowing shell...

Re:Was This Not Obvious? (1)

tiny69 (34486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480992)

Ken Brown was seen by the Tannenbaum questioning CS students after his interview. Everyone is assuming that the references to the mysterious "Finnish programmer" is nothing more than quotes from a CS student, who may or may not be able to tell the difference between UNIX source code and a bubble sort.

We need the source (2, Interesting)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480157)

If those gaudy rasters can be believed, SCO believes that Minix is an offshoot of Sinix, and not merely an imitator of UTS Version 7. On some high resolution versions (PS) of the chart, Levenez's intentions seem clear-- the path from UTS V7 merely crosses over the descendency of Sinix. But, of course, if we had access to the original framemaker document, we could ascertain Levenez's intent quite easily (*). It might also be possible to rebuild the structure of the plot from the postscript rendering.

(*) or we could just ask him.

I doubt it. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480158)

The crucial flaw in this reasoning is that it assumes SCO's graphs and charts and piles of bullshit have been actually read by Ken Brown, or read by SCO's own lawyers for that matter.

Everything about SCO's suit, and Microsoft's supplimentary PR, is a smokescreen. Trying to find logic or reason in this smokescreen is no different in any way than pointing at clouds and going "hey, that one looks like a bird".

at least now there may be a plausible reason... (0, Offtopic)

FFFish (7567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480171)

What's the matter with the old plausible reason: they've been huffing leaded gasoline?

Brain damage explains all.

Re:at least now there may be a plausible reason... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480266)

Objection! Assumes presence of organ not suggested by evidence.

Re:at least now there may be a plausible reason... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480434)

Well, according to Linus, SCO's drug of choice is crack cocaine.

anything prior to 1991 (4, Insightful)

kardar (636122) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480216)

Anything prior to 1991 is not Linux, actually.

I guess it really depends on what you call a Unix timeline, and what you call SCO intellectual property. Of course it wasn't their intellectual property at the time, but it is now since they changed the contracts on everyone. IBM didn't think that they could change the contracts, and see what happened.

They sued Daimler Chrysler for not giving them the serial numbers of processors that used to run UNICOS 1.0 or something similar (UNICOS 1.0 apparently always shipped with source)- for Cray supercomputers that vary in processing power from approximately 0.25 gigaflops to 1 gigaflop. No one keeps museum pieces that old around, there is no point in doing so, especially when the point of having those computers in the first place was for their supercomputing abilities.

It's not a Unix timeline if they use it like that; they are basically saying that "Linux" has its "roots" in stuff prior to 1991, but that "SCO Linux", whatever that is supposed to mean, is anything from 1991 forward.

The whole point is this: whatever it is that SCO are doing, they are doing things that will more than likely fail. Expecting an organization to keep records of a multi-million dollar supercomputer from the mid-eighties that has approximately 1/60th the floating-point processing power of a single-processor G5 at 2.0 Ghz and the equivalent of 64 megs of ram is a little bit on the funny side, I seriously doubt that any organization would have the floor space to keep a computer like that around just for the sake of licensing purposes. How many of us wrote legal documents to Microsoft cancelling our EULAs when we stopped using Windows 3.0, or say, for instance, how many universities wrote documents to Sun Microsystems every time they retired an IPX or a Sparcstation 1+ or perhaps something even older than that? It's just so you can say "We are suing this prominent company for something that, when you look more closely at it, is never going to fly, but we realize that most people won't look at it that closely or understand it that thoroughly, so it will, in the end, have the desired effect.

Anything prior to approximately 1991 is not Linux, so again, it's not relevant.

It does explain what \\\\{_hybrid-source_\\\\}, is though, - \\\\{_hybrid-source_\\\\} would be Linux (post-1991).

Anything prior to that is not Linux, so it's not \\\\{_hybrid-source_\\\\}.

SCO is basically saying that because they distributed Linux at some point under the GPL, and because the GPL is not valid in their opinion, that because they contributed to it, and because they hold some sort of UNIX rights, that they own Linux. That's really what they are saying, it has nothing to do with Minix, that's just a coincidence.

Of course, they won't get away with it. They know that, the lawyers know that, we know that. The real question is WHY are they doing it? That's the question. The answer to that question is known by those who need to know.

Re:anything prior to 1991 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480805)

Anyone get the feeling that the SCO debacle may be the BEST thing to ever happen to Linux?

Before SCO, I (and my company) used open source because of a warm fuzzy 'freedom' feeling. Today that support has hardened (and is still hardening) into a business *requirement*.

The GPL is a known quantity to me. All I have to do is agree to its straightforward terms and all my licensing worries are over.

Contrast that with SCO's EULA shenanigans. If I was with SCO, I would have to be watching my back against the EULA being changed on me, being hauled into court and having to meticulously track every license I own (or should that be rent?).

Technically, I can't see what's stopping any other software company that uses an EULA from pulling the same stunts as SCO.

The end result is my company has made a decision, for *business* reasons, that all software must be open source and to avoid EULAs if at all possible. Proprietary will be tolerated only if there is no alternative, and even then I will always be on the lookout for an open source replacement.

How many other companies must also be arriving at this view of the world?

Further more, companies such as mine are operating in stealth mode on this issue (hence the AC). I'm not going to sick my head up and asked to be shot at by a desperate software company. I don't care if I don't show up on any user surveys. What I'm really saying is that lots of companies going down the same path as my company will not be advertising the fact.

Perhaps proprietory software is a bit like a fence post being eaten by termites? No damage shows until all that is left is a paper thin outer shell, at which point the post collapses.

Minux Linux SCO (4, Insightful)

bayerwerke (513829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480277)

SCO simply doesn't understand the difference between a timeline and a family tree.

"cleanroom" (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480310)

SCO is starting to scare me. They may have a chance of convincing a judge they have rights over Linux.

Why? The problem is that Linux might be considered to be derived from a reverse-engineering of Minix, and that the reverse-engineering wasn't done "cleanroom" style.

Just as an example: When companies like NEC and AMD started producing x86-compatible processors, they went through a procedure designed to isolate them from being accused of copying Intel's work. Two teams were formed: One team's job was to analyze the processor and write a detailed specification of the Intel processor's operation; they passed this data to the second team, which designed a new processor to meet those specifications. The second team could ask the first team to clarify information, but in any case, all communications between the teams were kept minimal and were logged, in order to prove Intel's IP wasn't stolen. Intel sued anyway, but the audit trails kept Intel from proving its cases.

Now the question becomes, did Linus have access to Minix's source code while he was writing Linux? Did he ever look at Minix's source code to determine how it behaved? There was no separate team writing the specification. Linus can't prove a negative, unless he can rightly claim he'd never had access to Minix's source. But a civil court doesn't base its decision on absolutes, and a good lawyer might convince the court that Linus did incorporate intellectual property from Minix.

Re:"cleanroom" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480380)

Since Minux was a model operating system sold as part of a textbook on operating design... please explain to me exactly what SCO has accomplished if they do in fact manage to establish a link between Linux and Minux?

I mean.. teaching people about operating systems would seem to be the point of Minux. I cannot fathom that an operating system textbook from which you are legally implicating yourself if you take ideas on operating system design out of it being of much use.

Re:"cleanroom" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480444)

AMD did not produce x86-compatible processors in a clean room environment. Back in the '386 and '286 days the goverment required a second source for a particular chip -- just in case the manufacturer went belly up. AMD was Intel's second source. Thus, Intel gave AMD their IP and AMD had the right to produce Intel chips. Around the time the 486 came out they decided to sue each other because Intel decided they did not like the competition and people did not care much about second sources. But it was too late. AMD already had the 386 and the 486 was not that different. Intel delayed their production, but eventually Amd won because they cannot produce an instruction set.

However, you cannot say that AMD produce a clean room implementation of x86. They had the IP and they used it.

Re:"cleanroom" (2, Interesting)

ChaoticLimbs (597275) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480558)

Okay, if it is SCO's position that the GPL is invalid, under what legal authority did they distribute linux? Without teeth to the GPL, the code is still the property of whomever wrote it, and they certainly distributed more than simply the contested kernel files. Many other project's product was redistributed by SCO as well, in clear violation of the license. SCO's problem is that they believe that if the GPL is invalidated, then all of the code under the GPL would be Public Domain. That is not the case. If the GPL were somehow declared invalid, which is VERY unlikely, then the code all still belongs only to the original authors. This is unlikely because it is perfectly legal to redistribute copyrighted works with the express permission of the author or owner. The GPL establishes who has that permission. If you don't abide by GPL, you don't have permission.

Arrow into Unixware (1)

bayerwerke (513829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480487)

Did anyone notice on the SCO timeline the arrow from Linux 2.4.0 in to Unixware 7.1.1+LKP around Aug 21, 2000? This is probably why SCO seems to think there is common code.

Ow. That timeline... (3, Funny)

Farrside (78711) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480593)

HURTS. My eyes won't stop crossing.

Re:Ow. That timeline... (1)

CanadianCrackPot (727998) | more than 10 years ago | (#9480806)

Good gawd and I thought my redneck family tree was convoluted...

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480641)

Going by SCO's airbrushed graph, Minix (or maybe Xenix?) came from pre-V7 AT&T unix which is completely in the public domain under a BSD-style license. This lawsuit is (as before) just a way for SCO lawyers and their crooked bosses to make a little more money of their otherwise worthless holdings at the expense of profitable companies.

i use LINUX (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9480748)

because it will become illegal next week, got to get these free unix kicks while I can.

Even if SCO loses you'll just have to make out a check to Novell!
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