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Is SCO finally dead?

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols on July 18, 2008 (2:00:00 PM)

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Even though SCO has suffered another legal defeat, the company looks like it has enough willpower, if not sense, to keep its legal losing streak going.

On July 16th, Judge Dale Kimball ruled in favor of Novell in SCO vs. Novell and said that the maverick Unix company owed Novell $2.5-million for its Unix deals, and, oh, by the way, Novell, not SCO, really owns Unix. With no IP rights to Unix, it would appear that SCO's lawsuits against IBM, Novell, and Linux were done. Alas, the experts say "no."

Eric S. Raymond, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative says, "Sad to say, it ain't over. SCO is already saying it's going to appeal on a theory that it was entitled to a jury trial. Clearly, they think trying to get Judge Kimball reversed is an option."

So far, SCO hasn't officially appealed, but a SCO press release stated, "We are reviewing today's ruling by Judge Dale Kimball with our counsel and will be assessing the next steps over the coming days and weeks. This ruling is an important step in our ability to pursue the appeals to try to get all of our claims heard by a jury as soon as possible."

The result of this latest trial hasn't surprised anyone. As Jay Lyman, an open-source analyst for The 451 Group says, "As far as SCO, it's certainly no surprise to see this ruling and reinforcement that SCO's strategy to challenge the IP (intellectual property) rights to Linux and Unix has been a total failure."

Thomas Carey, chairman of the business practice group at the Boston-based Bromberg & Sunstein IP law firm still thinks "that the whole theory that the judge is proceeding under is odd. The notion that Novell sold the UNIX business but not the copyright in the UNIX code is a metaphysical leap that might not survive an appeal (if SCO can muster an appeal). Nonetheless, that is the foundation on which the most recent opinion builds."

Be that as it may be, the court has ruled that SCO never bought Unix's IP rights. This issue of what exactly SCO did, or did not buy, from Novell was rehashed in this most recent hearing. It can certainly be argued that SCO made a bad deal, but it does appear that that was the deal it made.

SCO is almost certain to appeal. Where it will get the money to so, since the company has been in bankruptcy since September 2007, is another matter. For a time, it looked like Stephen Norris & Co. Capital Partners (SNCP) would buy out SCO for the purpose of continuing its lawsuits, but that proposed deal seems to have come to nothing. Still, one way or the other, everyone agreed that SCO would continue its legal battles against Linux and Linux-related companies.

Winning, however, is another matter. As Raymond says, "SCO hasn't got a snowball's chance in a supernova of prevailing, but if that had ever been a serious consideration these lawsuits would have been abandoned years ago."

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the operating system of choice for PCs and 2BSD Unix was what the cool kids used on their computers.

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on Is SCO finally dead?

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 221.128.201.38] on July 18, 2008 02:42 PM
Oh GOD not that again!

Reminds me of Chucky from Child's Play. You cut it's head off, burn it, smash it, and it still keeps coming at you. Someone please shoot it through the heart!

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Re: Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 164.114.248.33] on July 18, 2008 06:10 PM
When SCO started out on this road, they clearly had the incentive in the form of licensing fees they collected, apparently all too easily from certain entities, and other similar sources of funding. It appears similarly motivating factors are still present. If someone needs to be shot, like the poster pointed out, it has to be "through the heart".

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.173.88.239] on July 18, 2008 03:10 PM
Let them appeal. That way they are going to become a case study about how destructive Intellectual Monopolies (a.k.a. IPs) are! I really hope that at some point critical mass of people will wake-up and reject the Hollywood propaganda about copyrights and patents. The biggest problem lies inside of us. We are voting for corrupt politicians and they are going to keep voting in favor of Intellectual Monopolies. It is time to start voting with our wallets. Personally, I am not going to buy anything released under 'All rights reserved (C)" contract. There are (CC) licenses and that where my money will go. I also never am going to buy so call exclusive bundles. For example: iPhone and AT&T; Mac OS X and Apple computer; A PC from OEM with pre-loaded Windows (unless they have option to buy different OS if I like). Here in US they teach the kids from very early to buy more so called deals, but if you ever bother to think by yourself, you are going to realize that the only winner is the company or companies that bundle the stuff. So every time you buy an exclusive bundle you are loser in the long run!

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.14.105.56] on July 18, 2008 04:27 PM
SCO will appeal as soon as MS send them the money

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.167.106.34] on July 18, 2008 05:22 PM
The article states that their legal fight has been a total failure. I would beg to differ if you considering where the money to put up a fight came from (Microsoft). I would guess that there were a number of large companies with even larger bureaucracies that passed on Linux because of this legal fight.

Most individual users and small businesses would not have given this a 2nd thought. I think this is geared at government, defense, banking, and insurance sectors. The IT staff could be screaming for Linux, but if some CTO in the main office gets word of any possibility for legal trouble, they would reject it. Why change what already appears to work and take on added risk?

It's sad, but I think this legal battle has achieved its goal.

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Re: Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.61.53.234] on July 18, 2008 07:19 PM
I think, just as one example, Dow Jones running on Linux would be an argument to the contrary.

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 4.240.141.158] on July 18, 2008 05:45 PM
Carey of Bromberg and Sonstein thinks SC0 has grounds for appeal?
Not surprising. That particular law firm specializes in litigating patents and IP. Their Web site brags about recent wins in such suits, including at least one for an "invention" that is trivial.

Possibly they're hoping to get SC0X as a client for the appeal.

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.81.217.119] on July 19, 2008 12:25 AM
Thomas Carey, ... thinks "that the whole theory that the judge is proceeding under is odd. The notion that Novell sold the UNIX business but not the copyright in the UNIX code is a metaphysical leap that might not survive an appeal ..."

As I understand it from reading several of the public documents from the trial (thanks Groklaw!), SCO was like a property management company. Novell didn't sell them the apartment complex, they just let them manage it and take a cut of the rents. But then SCO started acting like they owned the whole thing and actually sold "property" to Sun and others that they didn't own.

Mr. Carey may find this to be a metaphysical leap, but I think his scenario is more bizarre. Why would Novell sell SCO everything for a fraction of the asking price, which was all they could afford? However, it does make sense to outsource the paperwork. This was in fact how Judge Kimball ruled, and he was paying a whole lot more attention than anyone in the peanut gallery.

Later . . . Jim

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.92.128.124] on July 19, 2008 02:01 AM
Thomas Carey has been commenting on SCO v. The World for quite some time.

http://www.theinquirer.net/en/inquirer/news/2003/09/19/digging-for-truth
http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/14466,sco-sues-first-linux-customer.aspx
http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0,14179,2914464,00.html

In the current article, Carey supposedly opines that "... the whole theory that the judge is proceeding under is odd. The notion that Novell sold the UNIX business but not the copyright in the UNIX code is a metaphysical leap that might not survive an appeal (if SCO can muster an appeal)."

If the above comment is accurate, then it is Carey's comment that is odd. First, there is no such thing as the "judge's theory" - rather, it is Novell's "theory" (or, more accurately, version of the transaction) that the Judge is agreeing with. Second, the notion of selling a business without selling the copyrights is hardly a "metaphysical leap" - when Santa Cruz sold its OpenServer business to Caldera, it also wanted to do exactly that - retain the copyrights, while Caldera acquired the business and paid back royalties to Santa Cruz. [This arrangement was finally scuttled when it made the deal too complicated, but not because it involved any metaphysical leaps.] Business deals may appear odd from a legal perspective such as that of Mr. Carey, but ultimately, they are driven by business needs (as Jim has noted above).

sk43999

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.124.228.85] on July 19, 2008 02:44 AM
Die SCO Dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 201.141.170.198] on July 19, 2008 02:46 AM
Why don't they (IBM, Novell) just buy SCO? Even I could buy it with my pocket change now.

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Re: Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.197.26.46] on July 19, 2008 06:13 AM
Because if IBM bought SCO, they would be giving money to the people who brought a nonsense lawsuit against them. Yes, IBM knew that it would of cost less to settle or buy SCO than fighting it would of cost, but both of those options reward the people bringing the lawsuit.

Crushing them utterly sends a message to anyone else considering such a lawsuit that IBM will make their lawsuit unprofitable. So when you think long-term, it is much cheaper to fight the idiots and scare everyone else away.

If anyone else bought SCO, they would of:
1 - Rewarded SCO for bringing the lawsuit.
2 - Brought the entire lawsuit, including IBM's counterclaims. Thus giving IBM a nice rich target that they can actually get money out of.

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.178.39.20] on July 19, 2008 07:18 AM
It appears SCO senior employees knew right from the beginning that they do not have any chance to win. They possibly also knew that both SCO Open server and Unixware perform poorly as compared to Linux in benchmarks on Intel Plateforms particularly systems with multiprocessors, large RAM and Database. If senior employees can not find another good job, question arises how to survive and how long? Convince the investors to get into a legal battle is one way. The organization will have to be kept going. The longer the battle, better it may be. Looks it may be good idea to benchmark and find out where SCO products stand as compared to Linux They might have become bullock cart? Can they survive based on performance and features?

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Re: Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.112.68.151] on July 19, 2008 12:16 PM
SCO management was never interested in surviving based on performance and features. They bought SCO when they were called Caldera just for the purpose of suing. This is the same reason they bought DR-DOS years ago, then turned around and sued Microsoft for what MS-DOS did to DR-DOS, and won. Once they had the taste of legal blood in their mouth, they had to find more, and Microsoft provided the funds (lawsuit winnings, then behind-the-scene capitol investment, then license purchase) to move ahead.

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Caldera bought SCOs unix part for legitimate reasons

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.113.35.31] on July 20, 2008 09:37 AM
Caldera bought out the unix buisiness of Santa Cruz Operation for legitimate reasons. This was when Ransome Love was still in charge. He was a straight up guy.
When Darl started all this lottery ticket madness Ransome Love told him it was a bad idea, and sold off all his shares BEFORE they went up in value.

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Re(1): Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.117.239.128] on August 02, 2008 10:26 PM
Not quite. They originally bought SCO's operating systems business when Ransom Love, an actually HONEST man, was still CEO of Caldera. It was originally to make Linux a much more robust, UNIX-featured operating system kernel. In other words, Love wanted to COMPLETELY open up the UNIX property they had. Unfortunately, Mr. Love made the mistake of hiring Darl "Linux is a copy of UNIX" McBride and putting him on senior management and then leaving the company a couple years later.

McBride didn't have ANY noble goals for SCO, UNIX, or Linux that Love did, and he is the one responsible for Caldera renaming itself SCO and claiming to own UNIX IP it didn't. (Evidence has been discovered that McBride KNEW he didn't have any actual IP at least a year before he started the lawsuits.)

If I were Ransom Love, I would be seriously regretting letting the likes of Darl McBride even look in the general DIRECTION of his company, let alone basically letting a potentially good thing for Linux turn into probably the most ridiculous litigation in IP rights history!

The honest to god truth as far as anyone with an IQ can tell is that McBride saw an opportunity for a pump and dump scheme and the hopes of a takeover. In other words, once McBride became CEO, he wasn't actually looking to make SCO a successful company, he was basically trying to get rich without really earning it, but rather by committing fraud and perjury. He deserves to be in prison.

When that 100 Megadollar deal was on the table, why do you think it is that they actually wanted Darl to be terminated if that deal were to go through? Likely because they SAW what he was doing and wanted to fix the company. Of course, I was happy to learn the deal went south, simply because I don't think SCO is a company worth saving, even when it was still Caldera.

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The situation HAS changed

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.192.250.149] on July 19, 2008 10:34 AM
SCO may or may not be finally dead, but the decision by Judge Kimball that SCO owes Novell $2.5 million is a major milestone, because for the first time, SCO's liabilities exceed its assets.

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We have not yet begun to fight!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.174.160.188] on July 19, 2008 07:53 PM
We have IBM and Novel right where we want them, complacent. We have seen the infringing code and hear this now, Linux users and all companies will be made to pay the billions they owe SCO for it's intellectual property. Mark our words, the day of Open Source reckoning is coming. Sincerely Daryl, Rob and Maureen.

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SCO did not make a bad deal.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.113.35.31] on July 20, 2008 09:33 AM
Santa Cruz Operation (and it should be repeated that SCO Group is NOT Santa Cruz Operation) made a perfectly legitimate deal: they bought the UNIX business from Novell, and the rights to continue to develop Unixware and Openserver. They never needed the copyrights on System V for this, because they actually, you know, were trying to make a real product.

It's only when Darl and his cronies decided to shift their business strategy to litigation, accusing people of infringing their code without showing what code it was, even in contradiction to their own hired experts, that they, you know, needed copyrights.

And the key point here is that it is good that Novell still owns the copyrights, because they have said what we all know: Linux is clean.

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.229.222.85] on July 20, 2008 11:45 AM

Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.94.213.82] on July 21, 2008 07:42 AM
SCO? Sounds like I have heard it somewhere and just couldn't recollect it. I'll google to find out who SCO is using my Linux system.

Ramesh
http://www.thegeekstuff.com

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Is SCO finally dead?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 120.28.136.186] on August 15, 2008 10:55 AM
It's "doesn't stand a whelk's chance in a supernova", if you wish to remain true to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy books, or "a snowball's chance in hell" if you wish to use the more common phrase.

Remember folks, the number is 42!

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