back to article SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

IBM's lawsuit with SCO over just who owns Unix has crawled out of the grave and seems set to shuffle back into US courts. For the uninitiated, or those who've successfully tried to forget this turgid saga, a brief summary: SCO in 2003 sued IBM for doing something nasty to bits of Unix it owned. Or felt it owned. SCO also sued …

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WTF?

Oh you gotta be kidding....

Really?

Really?!

SCO - die quietly already. It is beyond over. Let it go.

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Linux

Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

Once again, the most important feature in all this - who is *really* behind SCO - is totally left out. There's so much FUD involved it's enough to make you want to throw your chair across the room and bury someone.

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

SCO had a deal with Boies Schiller to provide legal representation for a fixed fee and a percentage of win for all the litigation.

As the only asset retained by The SCO Group was the litigation it may be that Boies have to carry on the fund for this? Otherwise it is likely to be some of the crazy investors (Yarro?) who are still hoping for a payout or a buyout.

Either way it is impossible for there to be any requirement for licensing of Linux due to the cases already gone. They didn't even get to the Copying of code by IBM part, as it was a moot point due to the Novell no transferring copyright in the first place part. Even after the IBM part there was the fact that SCO produced and distributed Linux themselves which was licensed under the GPL, so they wouldn't be able to sue due to that.

This case does allow IBM to vindicate itself and bring in its counter claims so it's no bad thing but obviously there will be no payout for IBM but it could. at least, put the nail in the coffin.

The biggest travesty is the bankruptcy court that gave a safe habour to SCO with absolutely no hope of them getting back on their feet, which meant that their lawsuits were a free ride with none of their assets or dwindling funds being at risk.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

Yeah, Bob, and I'm sure none of that FUD is people like you and Eadon suggesting that Microsoft are teh evils and behind everything that's bad on the Internet and everything bad that happens to Linux.

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

FUD? not so much...

"Microsoft funding of SCO controversy

On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means. Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real. BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft, but that no money for it came directly from them. In addition to the Baystar involvement, Microsoft paid SCO $6M (USD) in May 2003 for a license to "Unix and Unix-related patents", despite the lack of Unix-related patents owned by SCO. This deal was widely seen in the press as a boost to SCO's finances which would help SCO with its lawsuit against IBM"

(from wikipedia - cause i knew it had happened but couldnt remember when etc)

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

I can't really understand how anyone thinks this has a chance.

Hurdle No. 1: SCO does not own the copyright to Unix, Novell owns it.

Hurdle No. 2: Linux did not copy from Unix, both copied from BSD, and both are entitled to do that.

Hurdle No. 3: SCO published the code in question as part of Caldera Open Linux, and licenced it under the terms of the GPL, which gives people permission to copy it. Novell did the same as part of SuSE Linux.

If you fall at any one of those hurdles, the case fails. They fell at hurdle no. 1 last time round. Even if they get over that hurdle this time, they still have hurdles 2 and 3.

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

"Linux did not copy from Unix, both copied from BSD, and both are entitled to do that."

What?

check link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unix_history-simple.svg

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

Well I moved one of my servers from OpenSuSE to FreeBSD. They have a lot more in common than the differences between them. ZFS is a difference, and the reason why I switched. There is ZFS for Linux, but it isn't mature enough for me at the moment. The kernels are obviously different, but most of the stuff running on top of the kernels seems to be the same on both.

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

> Hurdle No. 1: SCO does not own the copyright to Unix, Novell owns it.

That is rather simplistic and actually wrong. It is true that no copyrights transferred from Novell to SCO at the time of the sale. Since then any original lines of code written by SCO would probably be their copyright. Whether Novell actually has any protectable copyrights in Unix has not been addressed. The original Unixes are likely to no longer have any copyright due to lack of registering, at least one version was put in the public domain. Over the years there have been many contributions from hundreds of different parties who may have retained copyright on their code, or have licenced it in ways that allow usage. Determining the state of those is just not practical.

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

> What?

Berkley started with an early AT&T Unix and contributed lots of code back into Unix. Later they created their own distribution.

"""Though these proprietary BSD derivatives were largely superseded by the UNIX System V Release 4 and OSF/1 systems in the 1990s (both of which incorporated BSD code and are the basis of other modern Unix systems), ..."""

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Software_Distribution

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Linux

Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

How Can Any Company Ever Trust Microsoft Again?

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Devil

Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

I thought Eadon owned Unix....

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How does the bankruptcy help?

Sure a bankruptcy means SCO ca, in theory, get a free ride by spending up on lawyers without having to actually pay in the end.

But what law firm would be stupid enough to fall for that?

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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

> Hurdle No. 1: SCO does not own the copyright to Unix, Novell owns it.

Yes, but who owns Novell these days?

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Vic
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Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

> Yes, but who owns Novell these days?

Doesn't matter.

Novell knowingly and deliberately released code under the GPL, and has been very open about that.

Should Novell actually own any Unix copyrights - if there are any to own - everything they have released under the GPL is properly licensed as such. Anyone who subsequently owns these putative copyrights cannot rescind that license; it is permanent.

Vic.

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Trollface

Re: Oh you gotta be kidding....

MicroSoft once attacked IBM head on. When they met, IBM showed Microsoft, IBM'S HUGE portfolio of SOFTWARE patents developed no doubt since the 1940's. IBM showed the Microsofties that even the cursor going to the top of the next page's screen, ( the days of the C:\ ) was patented by IBM. IBM then said by the way you know what to do on the way home from this meeting. Yeah, the millions you wanted us to extract from OUR bank, why not YOU pay those SAME millions for your violating OUR patents instead, to same said bank. Which of course Microsoft did. ( IBM had been cool about MICROSOFT'S blatantly violating IBM'S untill Microsoft's attack on IBM )

Microsoft ( who once OWNED SCO in whole, or part ), ALSO was found in court to have prompted the initial SCO attack on Linux/IBM. A document was entered into evidence verifying the same. Microsoft was found guilty of skullduggery, and highly unethical business practices in the EU ( that was not tolerated AT all over there ). Microsoft thought they could do as they wanted the world over. The EU is to be praised for catching sentencing, and then levying serious fines $1.4 billion ( 2008 $$s ) against Microsoft for wanton unethical practices, and then FAILURE to comply with the agreement Microsoft signed, promising they would. (ft.com quote)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cba37560-e529-11dc-9334-0000779fd2ac.html#axzz2WfPSOqD8

Microsoft and Apple team up literally, to take on adversaries. Remember, Microsoft once invested in Apple.

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Devil

SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

. . . die already!

Funnily enough, I thought SCO was long dead anyway

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Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

They are long dead. That's what so scary.

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Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

Too true, the "Zombie lawsuit..." should have been a dead [no pun intended but hey it works] give away.

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Devil

Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

Funnily enough, I thought SCO was long dead anyway

Oh but it is. However, this needn't be a major impediment. I predicted this event 3 years ago. They said I was mad, they said I was wrong, they laughed at me! But who's laughing now? Mwahahahahahahahaha! I was right all along!

IT LIVES! The Master Lives!!!!

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Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

Is their legal team run by Mr Slant?

Alternatively, SCO might really be a vampire outfit. Somebody spilled blood in the wrong place.

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Linux

Re: SCO ... do us all a favour . . .

I agree very much, still I feel sorry for those guys who worked and developed SCO Unix. I worked some 15 years with different Unix-like systems like FOR-PRO, SCO, HP-UX, Solaris and AIx. SCO was not bad at all but was run on cheaper hardware. The word to remember here is not Unix but the POSIX standard for Unix-like systems. Porting software between different "systems" was not always "automatic" but possible when you understood what to avoid. Anybody could write a Unix-like system and call it what ever just not Unix without breaking any law. Code copying without permission is out of the question of course. And Linux is Linux.

If you look at this graph you can see that Linux stands alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unix_history-simple.svg

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WTF?

Huh?

What's this, zombie rush? SCO went down years ago, how the hell can this lawsuit even happen?

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Windows

Re: Huh?

> What's this, zombie rush? SCO went down years ago, how the hell can this lawsuit even happen?

Like zombies, corporations and intellectual property are (legal) fiction. Just like in films, they can always come back, a little more mutilated and even more scary.

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Re: Huh?

Zombies, Lawyers.

Ever read the Disk World books?

Who ever said Pratchett wrote fiction?

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Joke

@Daniel

Someone forgot to kill the parent process. That's the only sure way to get rid of defunct processes.

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Mushroom

Re: @Daniel

Only sure way to get rid of it is to nuke the site from orbit

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Mushroom

Re: @Daniel

Nukes only work against stuff with substance.

But since SCO has no substance...

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Like P. Lee said

Corporations are nothing but papers filed in a court somewhere, a legal fiction designed for profit.

Anyone that thinks there's something to be gained from one, no matter how defunct it is, merely has to contact the owners and strike a deal with them.

Now the *big* question, who, besides the lawyers hired, stands to profit from this, and how? (Money, IP, FUD, LULZ?)

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Holmes

Corporations are people, my friend!

Haven't you been paying attention? The SCOTUS (Supreme Court) says corporations are people. Sociopathic people focused on nothing but making money.

Then the SCOTUS wonders why people are losing respect for the law? Don't forget Bush v. Gore, for-profit prisons, and the pursuit of pot smokers. Oh? You thought they were pursuing happiness? Fie fie on you.

Short summary of why the system is increasingly phucked even though most businesspeople are fine and upstanding people. It is because a FEW of the greediest and least ethical businessmen are bribing the cheapest professional politicians to rig the game. The insane IP laws and the resulting insane SCO lawsuit are just part of the rigged game.

But don't worry, they'll settle down as soon as they have enough money. ROFLMAO.

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Re: Corporations are people, my friend!

"Haven't you been paying attention? The SCOTUS (Supreme Court) says corporations are people. Sociopathic people focused on nothing but making money."

Actually, although that's technically the case, if you look at that ruling, interpreted correctly. it would outlaw corporations! (Follow me here)

A. People create and own a corporation.

B. Corporations are legal entities that the SCOTUS gave human rights.

C. Slavery is illegal. (You may not own another person.)

D. Since forming a corporation creates an entity with human rights, stockholders are technically slave owners.

E. Therefore, forming a corporation is an act that facilitates slavery, and is illegal.

Disclaimer: No, I'm not serious, just pointing out how absurd that "Corporations are people" ruling actually is.

Remember that lawyer that claimed he could drive in the carpool lane because he had a briefcase full of corporate paperwork and thus was legally carpooling? Judge didn't see it that way. Ah, here's the story:

http://www.marinscope.com/news_pointer/news/article_a9168c46-5a93-11e2-abaf-0019bb2963f4.html

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Re: Corporations are people, my friend!

If corporations are people.... how come they are taxed on profit rather than income as the fleshy people are... No one has satisfactorily explained this anomaly to me...

Or is it an application of the golden rule...

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Re: Corporations are people, my friend!

"C. Slavery is illegal."

Not where I work it isn't.

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Software patents

When a single company can make this kind of noise and if successful, undermine huge amounts of business simply by creating instability, isn't that a threat to national security.... it would be if we switched SCO for Huweii ....

But large US tech companies trying to destroy each other, thats just all in the game and definitely benefits US business as whole right? (sarcasm)

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Ok what just happened to the statues of limitations ? How they hell can you just put a law suit on hold ?

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Anonymous Coward

I think they're kept next to the Elgin Marbles.

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You may be thinking of criminal law. Civil law scoffs at the passage of years.

the "McLibel" case took 10 years to sort out.

and although Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is fictional, it is also plausible

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Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

I resently heard of a court case (a real one) regarding a will that actually ran for 110 years, and then collpsed because all of the money ran out. I can't remember its name at the moment, but will probably try to look it up later.

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Re: Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

Jennens vs Jennens

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Jennens

If you can trust Wikipedia.

Looks like Americans were to blame for the extended litigation here as well, so the tradition has a long history.

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Re: Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

See also the Marks and Spencer 'tea cake' case which lasted for 13 years, via the House of Lords and the European Court of Justice. Especially if you have a receipt for some between 1973 and 1994.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

Yeah, but you heard about it on QI, so there is a pretty high chance that it's a load of cobblers.

Honestly, that a program which holds itself up on being factual get so much wrong or 90% correct really gets on my wick.

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Holmes

Re: Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is not that fictional

QI = Questionable Integrity

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Anonymous Coward

Laches?

According to Wikipedia:

Laches is an "unreasonable delay pursuing a right or claim...in a way that prejudices the opposing party" ... ...The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party [in this case SCO] has "slept on its rights," and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed such that it is no longer just to grant the plaintiff's original claim.

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Not in the US

At least in my states there are time limits to bring civil cases. There are time limits to file and respond to civil cases.

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Vic
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Re: Not in the US

> There are time limits to file and respond to civil cases.

Doesn't apply here.

The SCO v. IBM case was filed in plenty of time - but was stayed because of the bankruptcy[1].

Vic.

[1] SCO wasn't actually bankrupt when it filed that - it just expected to become so when it lost its case. And the judge allowed it...

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Daftest thing is ...

... no company in their right mind will ever actually use IP that is lawfully owned by SCO! The world at large will simply code around it. They are spending money, with absolutely zero potential for profit.

SCO is a really, really good example of why manglement & lawyers should be separated from technology, kinda like Church & State (Yes, I know, shaddup about the US, I'm intelligent, I vote, and will continue trying to fix the system ... ).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Daftest thing is ...

The lawyers profit. The lawyer-children of the original lawyers could have persuaded someone to stomp up some money in return for 1/3 of the settlement - or something like that.

Enterprising lawyers could create a lawyer-version of kickstarter: "Sue4Ca$h.com" - f.ex. A site where people cast money into the pit to sue anyone they think should be sued and perhaps share the potential profit. It could work except the lawyers would inevitably find a way to appropriate all the money.

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Facepalm

AC@11:40

"Enterprising lawyers could create a lawyer-version of kickstarter: "Sue4Ca$h.com" - f.ex. A site where people cast money into the pit to sue anyone they think should be sued and perhaps share the potential profit. It could work except the lawyers would inevitably find a way to appropriate all the money."

Oh sweet $deity NO.

Did you have to give them ideas.

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RE: Re: Daftest thing is ...

SCO is a really, really good example of why manglement & lawyers should be separated from technology, kinda like Church & State strangled at birth

There!

FTFY

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