[Linux-aus] Extent of sco's complaint - birthday paradox

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Thu Jun 5 22:23:34 UTC 2003

On Thu, 5 Jun 2003 21:21, Jon maddog Hall wrote:
> Within reason (i.e. two lines of code is too few), the amount of code
> would probably not change the issue of copyright or license
> infringement.... but might change the judgment of remedy.  I believe
> this was the case in AT&T vs BSD. When it was proved that the amount
> of code in question was three files, AT&T withdrew.

There's another factor, too, called "The Birthday Paradox", whereby if 
you have 23 people in a room, the odds are even that two of them share 
a birthday. Applied to code, it means that some code is bound to look 
the same once you get enough of it.

If SCO can only come up with "hundreds of lines" of code in 
10-to-15-line chunks then that's probably well below the noise 
threshold (I would need to know more about code theory and stats to say 
for sure; somebody in the world must know).

It's more of a testimony to the *differences* between SCO and Linux. As 
well as birthday paradoxes, consider this:

Since they're addressing the same issues and with very similar 
constraints, a reasonably limited "instruction set" (C language) and 
working from similar educational bases and textbook examples, I'd 
expect many, many problems to be solved indistinguishably, yet without 
the Linux people ever seeing or even knowing that the SCO code exists.

The Mandrake kernel I'm running on (sans object and documentation files) 
weighs in at 172MB of uncompressed source. I was flabbergasted when I 
saw that, last time I looked it was 30-something megabytes. Somebody 
typed all of that, sometimes repeatedly! I have no idea how big SCO's 
sources are, but the intersection of those code-bases has just gotta be 

> In a lot of ways it is too bad that the BSD license reads as it does.

I can't imagine how overjoyed Mr Stallman would be to hear someone say 
that. He might even let you off prefixing it with "GNU/". (-:

> If SCO had to remove all the BSD licensed code from their "AT&T
> stream", it would probably be a LOT harder.

To use? (-: Is that possible? :-)

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Committee Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Committee Member, Linux Australia

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