In a recent lkml thread, the idea of getting the entire Linux kernel history into a git repository was discussed. Linus Torvalds noted, "I actually tried to get something like this together back in the BK days and early in the SCO saga. It was pretty painful to try to find all the historic trees and patches - they're all in different format, and some of them are unreliable." He added, "I've been thinking about trying to re-create some really old history into git, but it's still a lot of work.. And obviously not very useful, just interesting from an archaeological standpoint." Much information on early Linux kernels is gathered at oldlinux.org, and Linus already has the full 2.5.0 to 2.6.12-rc2 history imported from BitKeeper available in git. Linus went on to talk about why git is better suited than BK was for building a complete kernel history:
"The good news is that git would be a lot more natural to the process of trying to create a history, because you could basically import random trees, and tag them as just independent trees, and then re-create the history after-the-fact by trying to stitch them all together. And if you find a new tree, you'd just re-stitch it - something that was very hard to do with BK (and BK generally wouldn't help you with keeping multiple independent trees around, and wouldn't generally accept the notion of re-doing the histories and keeping various versions of the histories around)."
Following SCO's allegations regarding the origination of some source code files comprising the Linux Kernel, in May of 2004 Linux creator Linus Torvalds implemented a simple method for tracking how patches reach the source tree [story]. The simple system was further refined in the following months [story], and has become second nature to most kernel developers. However, a recent debate on the lkml illustrated the fact that nothing is simple, in this case with concerns that archiving someone else's email address in the "Signed-off-by:" line could violate the UK's Data Protection Act.
Alan Cox [interview] suggested that to solve for this concern, the DCO, or Developer's Certificate of Origin, be updated to explicitly give permission to include an email address when archiving patch information. Linus agreed, "yes, I'll update the SubmittingPatches [documentation file] to state explicitly that the sign-off is a public record." Alan pointed out that adding a comment to the file alone is not enough, but that the new wording needs to be part of the DCO, "you have to -actively- agree to the DCO to submit a change, and that is what makes it work (whether you put something in submitting patches or not that is more explanatory)." Again, Linus agreed, "I'll also run it past the OSDL lawyer, and if others were to run it past their lawyers, that would be good." Once approved, the update will become version 1.1 of the DCO.
Linux creator Linus Torvalds began a recent email, "this is a request for discussion.." describing a method of tracking how patches find their way into the Linux kernel. The incentive for this change in process was made clear:
"Some of you may have heard of this crazy company called SCO (aka "Smoking Crack Organization") who seem to have a hard time believing that open source works better than their five engineers do. They've apparently made a couple of outlandish claims about where our source code comes from, including claiming to own code that was clearly written by me over a decade ago."
He notes that though people have proven to be quite good at debunking these claims, the effort has been tedious. "So, to avoid these kinds of issues ten years from now, I'm suggesting that we put in more of a process to explicitly document not only where a patch comes from (which we do actually already document pretty well in the changelogs), but the path it came through." Read on for Linus' complete description of how this process would work.
Linux creator Linus Torvalds posted to the lkml an explicit rebuttal of SCO's recent claims that certain specific files were stolen intellectual property. He begins, "I spent half an hour tearing part of it apart for some journalists. No guarantees for the full accuracy of this write-up, and in particular I don't actually have 'original UNIX' code to compare against, but the files I checked (ctype.[ch]) definitely do not have any UNIX history to them."
Linus' full explanation follows, as well as some other dicussion on the topic further refuting SCO's claims. Linus offers the following summary:
"In other words, I think we can totally _demolish_ the SCO claim that these 65 files were somehow 'copied'. They clearly are not. Which should come as no surprise to people. But I think it's nice to see just _how_ clearly we can show that SCO is - yet again - totally incorrect."
Mark Mitchell commented today on the gcc-announce mailing list that the recent GCC 3.3.1 release [story] includes a new file titled 'README.SCO', expressing outrage at SCO's recent legal actions against the Linux kernel. From the document:
"As all users of GCC will know, SCO has recently made claims concerning alleged copyright infringement by recent versions of the operating system kernel called Linux. SCO has made irresponsible public statements about this supposed copyright infringement without releasing any evidence of the infringement, and has demanded that users of Linux, the kernel most often used with the GNU system, pay for a license. This license is incompatible with the GPL, and in the opinion of the Free Software Foundation such a demand unquestionably violates the GNU General Public License under which the kernel is distributed."
The statement goes on to discuss the possibility of dropping GCC support for the SCO Unix platform in protests, noting however that at this time it would be more of an inconvenience to users than SCO itself, "but we cannot indefinitely continue to ignore the aggression against our community taken by a party that has long profited from the commercial distribution of our programs. We urge users of SCO Unix to make clear to SCO their disapproval of the company's aggression against the free software community." Read on for the full statement, written by Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen.