SGI in response to SCO

To the Linux Community:

As one of many contributors to the Open Source movement and to Linux,

SGI takes the subject of intellectual property rights seriously. Our

contributions are a valuable expression of ideas which contribute to

the intellectual richness of Linux.

Over the past four years, SGI has released over a million lines of code

under an open source license. Throughout, we have carried out a

rigorous internal process to ensure that all software contributed by

SGI represents code we are legally entitled to release as open source.

When a question was raised by the community earlier in the summer about

the ate_utils.c routine, we took immediate action to address it. We

quickly and carefully re-reviewed our contributions to open source, and

found brief fragments of code matching System V code in three generic

routines (ate_utils.c, the atoi function and systeminfo.h header file),

all within the I/O infrastructure support for SGI's platform. The three

code fragments had been inadvertently included and in fact were

redundant from the start. We found better replacements providing the

same functionality already available in the Linux kernel. All

together, these three small code fragments comprised no more than 200

lines out of the more than one million lines of our overall

contributions to Linux. Notably, it appears that most or all of the

System V code fragments we found had previously been placed in the

public domain, meaning it is very doubtful that the SCO Group has any

proprietary claim to these code fragments in any case.

As a precaution, we promptly removed the code fragments from SGIs Linux

website and distributed customer patches, and released patches to the

2.4 and 2.5 kernels on June 30 and July 3 to replace these routines and

make other fixes to the SGI infrastructure code that were already in

progress at SGI. Our changes showed up in the 2.5 kernel within a few

weeks of our submission, and the 2.4 changes were available in the

production version of the 2.4 kernel as of August 25 when the 2.4.22

kernel was released. Thus, the code in question has been completely


Following this occurrence, we continued our investigation to determine

whether any other code in the Linux kernel was even conceivably

implicated. As a result of that exhaustive investigation, SGI has

discovered a few additional code segments (similar in nature to the

segments referred to above and trivial in amount) that may arguably be

related to UNIX code. We are in the process of removing and replacing

these segments.

SCO's references to XFS are completely misplaced. XFS is an innovative

SGI- created work. It is not a derivative work of System V in any

sense, and SGI has full rights to license it to whomever we choose and

to contribute it to open source. It may be that SCO is taking the

position that merely because XFS is also distributed along with IRIX it

is somehow subject to the System V license. But if so, this is an

absurd position, with no basis either in the license or in common

sense. In fact, our UNIX license clearly provides that SGI retains

ownership and all rights as to all code that was not part of AT&Ts UNIX

System V.

I hope this answers some of the questions that you and the Linux

community might have. We continue to release new Linux work, and are

very excited about the growth and acceptance of Linux. We are

continuing full speed to do new work and release new Linux products.

We take our responsibility to the open source community seriously and

are confident that we have an effective process to verify the quality

and integrity of our contributions to Linux.

Rich Altmaier

VP of Software, SGI

[email protected]