Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

29Feb/04Off

Another Bucket Of Lye Poured Into The Grave

Wow. I step away from a computer (sort of) for a day or two and all hell breaks loose. I'm talking, of course, about Fyodor suspending SCO's right to distribute the ur-useful nmap. This is not some half-finished Freshmeat project in perpetual alpha (nothing wrong with that, by the way) but a pretty important tool if you're at all interested in what your legion of winged monkeys networked workstations look like to the outside world. I use it pretty much daily. So, anyway, what's bothering me about the entire thing is that so many people are babbling like idiots about how it just isn't right. They're wrong.

I think what Fyodor is doing, more than anything else, is formally declaring what is already written into the GPL:

5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.

that you are violation of the law if you disagree with the license but continue to distribute the software. I might be wrong here but I'm pretty sure that nmap is only available under the GPL. I'm putting words in peoples mouths here, but I really think the point of this exercise is to force SCO to admit (preferably in front of a judge) that they accept the GPL as a valid license in order to avoid violating it. The suit might be expensive but the last I heard RedHat had a big pile of cash set aside to protect FOSS developers. This could potentially ham string the whole suit with IBM.

But I am not a lawyer so I will say that and refer you to more legally inclined at GrokLaw for advice that isn't quite so idle.

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