Linus Torvalds - Linux succeeded thanks to IP infringement
"Indeed - the /concepts/ of linux are naturally based on things that have been available in USL and BSD code. That doesn't mean that there is any risk of linux being sued by AT&T - they are all properly documented features, and thus AT&T cannot claim any infringement due to things like uid/setgid etc general unix interfaces.
"The problem with BSDI and 386BSD is that they have a bit more to prove than linux: BSD has been developed with free access to AT&T code (and nobody tries to argue otherwise), and there has been a flow of information both ways (arguably the flow has been bigger in the BSD -> AT&T direction, but that isn't the point). Linux, on the other hand, has been coded without /any/ AT&T code - not even as a starting point. I simply don't have access to any AT&T code even if I wanted to use it, which I don't.
"So if AT&T claims that BSDI (or 386BSD) couldn't have been developed in such a short time without AT&T sources, linux is indeed an argument against that claim. If one person can write a perfectly functional system in one year on his home machine (and some people that have tried both and don't need networking even /prefer/ linux to 386bsd), then a couple of knowledgeable people shouldn't have any problem to remove all the AT&T code.
"Note that linux isn't the only system that can claim being free from AT&T code: coherent, minix, etc have all been commercial for a long time, and USL hasn't tried to sue them. But linux is special in that it's been developed in a very short time, and thus can be used as a counter-argument to the USL claim that the BSDI developement would have been impossible without AT&T code."
Somewhere a group of loons, reminiscent of the old drug-happy hippy-freak Unix culture so enamoured of free software, is planning the next assault...