[TUHS] Source code abundance?

Paul Ruizendaal pnr at planet.nl
Thu Mar 2 23:55:44 AEST 2017

On 1 Mar 2017, at 21:28 , Clem Cole wrote:

> 1.) UCB Regents Position per AT&T/BSDi/UCB - anything through 32V is public domain (see groklaw)

I think the USL lawyers feared that a jury might side with the Regents' position and therefore preferred to settle. Making the settlement secret was a clever idea and if it wasn't for Linux happening might have succeeded.

Even if the position taken by the USB Regents would not hold up in court, than anything through to and including 32V is still available under the BSD-style license granted by Caldera Inc. (see http://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Caldera-license.pdf). It was later established in court that Caldera did not hold copyrights to Unix, but that Novell did at that time. However, Caldera was the licensing agent for Novell and had broad rights to grant licenses (and collect license fees as applicable). Novell had the right to overrule Caldera if it felt such was necessary. It did so when Caldera revoked IBM's license. It did not overrule the "ancient unix" license, even though it was aware of it. Renouncing it 15+ years later probably won't stick.

Caldera (later renamed TSG) went bankrupt around 2011 and I'm not sure where the licensing agency went - perhaps it lapsed. Novell was acquired by Attachmate in 2010, which was acquired by British firm Micro Focus in 2014. Presumably they now hold the copyrights to the Unix source code. If so, perhaps they can be convinced to extend the BSD-style license to later versions, e.g. extend it up to SysV/R4.

Note I'm not a lawyer and just expressing opinion.


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