back to article SCO's last arguments in 'Who owns Linux?' case vs. IBM knocked out

The end of the near-immortal “Who owns Unix?” case looks to be near after a US judge knocked out the two remaining arguments with which the SCO group hoped to attack IBM. As we reported on Tuesday, Judge David Nuffer of the US District court found against SCO's attempt to work a breach of contract angle in its long-running …

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Alien

"The end [..] looks to be near"

This is a case of "I'll believe it when I see the body".

The cancerous, leeching parasite has dragged itself back from the brink way too many times for me to trust this at face value.

If the Lizard Men are controlling the White House, they're doing it from SCO HQ.

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Re: "The end [..] looks to be near"

This UserFriendly strip already predicted the end was near: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20070812

Nine. Years. Ago.

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Re: "The end [..] looks to be near"

This is a case of "I'll believe it when I see the body".

The problem is that we're looking at the body. It's the stink that won't go away.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The end [..] looks to be near"

I hate zombies in video games. They are hard to kill, and usually require some special limited ammo, or other game mechanic.

Killing zombies is too much like hard work, and removes the satisfaction of the kill and having the enemy stay down.

Sorry, I know my gripe is only tangentially related to SCO.

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Re: "The end [..] looks to be near"

Who told you that the body will not be reanimated with some more money from Leisure Suit Larry?

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Happy

Re: "The end [..] looks to be near"

Also:-

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20040207

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How much must this have cost IBM?Anyone not a massive multi national would have had to give up long ago.

Unfortunately a feature of Courts the world over all the way from the ECHR to Smalleville magistrates, costs of thousands to defend a $50 fine and multi-millions to defend a $1,000,000 suit, and therefore no justice.

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sunk costs

Well considering they pay much of their counsel whether they are in court or not it's probably not as much more than one would think.

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IBM has profited as well

They've made plenty of money off Linux as well in various ways, and they gained a bit of respect from the Linux community which probably aided in that.

Remember, back in the 80s and early 90s IBM was the big evil company so they needed something like this to help repair their image amongst the rank and file IT people (some of whom eventually get promoted to the big chair and make multi million dollar purchase decisions) It wasn't until the mid 90s that Microsoft took the 'evil' crown away from them. Now it is held by either Apple, Google or Facebook, depending on who you ask and what day of the week it is, though with their Windows 10 forced upgrades Microsoft is trying hard for a comeback!

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Re: IBM has profited as well

As did Caldera Linux; before naming themselves "The SCO Group" to confuse people between Caldera Linux, a Linux company and The Santa Cruise Organization who actually owned some ancient code, and had no connection to "The SCO Group".....

Twisted.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't you mean IBM vs Microsoft proxy (SCO).

MS's involvement in SCO is well documented.

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Anonymous Coward

Worth keeping in mind if someone again tries to sell you the fact that MS has suddenly gone all cuddly and Open Sourcy and things.

Do.

Not.

Trust.

Them.

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Meh

Microsoft's historic interest is well documented - there is little evidence that they are still interested.

Given the age of the case its rather like criticising a teenage for sleeping with the local bike now that they are in their late 20's. And cherry picking MS from all the other teenagers seems a little selective

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Anonymous Coward

You naive fool! Pay attention to the anonymous MS haters, it's clear they don't have an agenda of their own and definitely aren't saying this shit to distract from other, dodgier businesses that are in the ascendant........

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If Edvard Munch was alive today

I would be buying artist paint futures.

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Good fsking gawdess ...

... Will this ancient money-waster never die?

The sad part is that the original SCO is getting a bad name for no good reason.

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Surely, it's now over.

It must be getting to the point where the bankruptcy administrators realize that continuing will end up costing them more, without any prospect of generating any value.

As I understand it, it is only the possibility of winning some money from IBM that is keeping the remains of SCO only half-dead. If all that is left is the IBM counter claims, then there are serious costs and potential losses, but no potential gains in keeping the company in it's zombie state. They should just accept their losses, and finally wind SCO up.

Hopefully very shortly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely, it's now over.

It must be getting to the point where the bankruptcy administrators realize that continuing will end up costing them more, without any prospect of generating any value.

As long as somewhere, someone or something is paying it's an easy job with little stress. Clearly, someone wants to keep that one going as long as possible (as do the lawyers).

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Linux

Tortious interference claims ..

'SCO's allegations of "indirect interference" are untenable as a matter of law, and each of the entities with whom IBM allegedly "directly interfered" has testified that no such interference occurred or, in any event, that they did not change their relationships with SCO as a result of any IBM conduct.'

'SCO accuses IBM of abandoning Project Monterey (a venture between IBM and The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc., not SCO), only to misappropriate source code to which IBM was given access during the project.

In fact, IBM did not abandon Project Monterey; Santa Cruz did. Rather than meet its obligations on the project, Santa Cruz sold the very Unix assets involved in the project to a Linux company called Caldera Systems, which later changed its name to The SCO Group, Inc' ref

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Re: Tortious interference claims ..

It's quite amazing how often SCO lied during the case, how inconsistent the lies were and how no court did anything about it. In fairness most of the case was fought with PR lies outside the courts but at heart the entire affair was high level blackmail and the legal system failed everyone but the blackmailers.

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Re: Tortious interference claims ..

Thanks for your ref. Now, that's interesting. The post has an insert headed "Update: 2014". Groklaw "closed" on 20th August 2013. All I had been aware of happening since then was updates to the various timelines (pretty much SCO vs IBM) and 2 or 3 new "news picks".

And those news picks have some PJ comments too, so it's not just Mathfox.

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WTF?

weird thing is...

for the first time, one wants IBM to win. Truly something from the Twilight Zone. Now if someone could resurrect Deep Space Nine instead of that 1960s sitcom thing in space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: weird thing is...

First, nobody really wins except the lawyers. Second, I consumed DS9 in its entirety mainly so I could stop being curious and really forget about it. It worked, but taking that approach cost me dearly.

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Re: weird thing is...

"First, nobody really wins except the lawyers."

ORLY?

SCO sued IBM, hoping to use the lawsuits to get IBM to pony up the cash to buy them out and make SCO go away.

Bad move. IBM does not forgive, it does not forget, it will crush you.

One of the main things that keeps this farce moving forward is that as soon as SCO's last lawsuit is closed, it's IBM's turn.

And after IBM has had it's turn, there will be a tasteful plaque mounted on the wall in the main reception center.

Mounted on the plaque will be the castrated, broken, charred, mutilated corpse of SCO, with the inscription:

"Fuck with with us, and this will be you."

So as long as SCO can keep the day of reckoning just one more day further away, no matter the cost or humiliation to do so, they will.

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Re: weird thing is...

> Mounted on the plaque will be the castrated, broken, charred, mutilated corpse of SCO

There is a good reason why the collective term for IBM lawyers is "the Nazgul"..

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Re: weird thing is...

There -is- no SCO. There is only the lawsuit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: weird thing is...

"IBM does not forgive, it does not forget, it will crush you"

MSFT might do well to remember this, or not. I grew up with IBM being the bad egg (70s and early 80s) and it pains me a little to be on their side, but I really do hope that in a just future, they inflict payback on MSFT.

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"SCO code" in Linux?

Employees of IBM wrote design documents. Different employees of IBM coded the designs into AIX*. Yet more employees of IBM coded the designs into Linux. According to TSG*, adding code to AIX makes that code property of TSG and therefore TSG own the unrelated code that performs the same function in Linux.

There is also STREAMS (Unix networking - almost everyone uses the BSD flavour instead), which was contributed for the Linux kernel by Caldera (now Tarantella?). The kernel maintainers rejected the contribution because it was slower than the existing networking code. Caldera distributed their own version of Linux with STREAMS, with a GPL license. According to TSG, Linux users need to buy another licence for STREAMS code they could use for free but have not bothered to download.

*TSG: The SCO Group - not The Santa Cruz Operation.

*AIX: IBM's OS which historically is descended from AT&T->USL->Novell Unix.

Although TSG claim to have bought the copyright to Unix source code, they lost that argument in court years ago because Novell never sold it to them, and when TSG phoned up random employees at Novell, none of them accidently hinted that the copyrights might have transferred. TSG actually bought the right to collect license fees on behalf of Novell (now bought out by Attachmate). TSG were supposed to send 100% of Novell's license fees to Novell, and Novell would pay TSG a commission. TSG stopped handing over Novell's money and spent in on suing Novell's customers. TSG did not buy the right to sue over Unix copyrights, and were instructed to stop by Novell. Again, the courts found in Novell's favour and TSG immediately filed for protection from its creditors (chapter 11 bankruptcy).

TSG is now run by a bankruptcy court who have done an excellent job of converting TSG's assets into bankruptcy documents. The bankruptcy court sold something to a company who think they bought TSG's Unix source code. I am sure that court will happily sell similar blank disks to anyone fool enough to give them money.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

re: AIX.... AIX was originally built from 4.2BSD with a mashup of AT&T System V stuff, and has no USL/Novell Unix in it whatsoever as far as I know.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

> Novell never sold it to them

What was never investigated was whether Novell actually held any protected copyrights to the source code at all.

Due to various actions or inactions some copyrights on some versions of Unix source code may have been lost and/or put into the public domain. In addition there have been many contributions to Unix and to various implementations where the contributor retained copyright and gave a licence to AT&T, USL and its successors. Novell did not sell any copyrights to source code (as specified in the sales documents) because it could not demonstrate that it owned any.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

Bollocks - Streams were introduced by AT&T into their version of Unix. SCO were extending a system that originally started out as Xenix.

Phil.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

STREAMS were introduced as an abstraction layer for networking in the later SysV versions back when AT&T was sure the ISO protocol stack would end up on top and this cobbled-together TCP/IP thing was just a stopgap [ remember, telco, of *course* ISO standards trump others, right? ]. And yes, I was *at* AT&T Labs mid-80s and remember the damfool thing coming in.

As of the Unix System Labs venture, Novell had access to the full SysV codebase and whatever they licensed to then-Santa Cruz Operation would have been based on it and not the older V7-based Xenix. Recall your history, there were any number of companies offering pure-play UNIX on Intel in the late 80s.

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WTF?

Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

"Yet more employees of IBM coded the designs into Linux."

Highly unlikely. The IBM Linux team was drastically isolated from the rest of the IBM company to protect IBM crown jewels against any risk of contamination by GPL-infected code. They were in Beaverton, Oregon, for heaven's sake and were formerly known as Sequent Computer Systems. Very few people in IBM even knew how to get to Oregon.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

I could swear it was the other way around - Sys V base with BSD bits mashed in. Wikipedia article seems to concur.

"AIX Version 1, introduced in 1986 for the IBM 6150 RT workstation, was based on UNIX System V Releases 1 and 2. In developing AIX, IBM and Interactive Systems Corporation (whom IBM contracted) also incorporated source code from 4.2 and 4.3 BSD UNIX."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_AIX

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

AIX was originally built from 4.2BSD with a mashup of AT&T System V stuff, and has no USL/Novell Unix in it whatsoever as far as I know.

It's more complicated than that, since there are four different AIXes:

- AIX 1 and 2 for the RT, created by IBM and ISC, was based on SVR2 with some additions from 4.2BSD, running on top of the RT's VRM microkernel. ISC had earlier ported System III to the PC (PC/IX).

- AIX 1 for the PS/2, created by Locus under contract to IBM. If memory serves, AIX for PS/2 was also primarily an SVR2 derivative.

- AIX/370 for the mainframe. Also developed by Locus, and similar to AIX for the PS/2.

- AIX 3 et seq. for RIOS / POWER / PPC machines. IBM kernel (pageable, modular, unified virtual storage mangagement; not much like the SysV or BSD kernels). Userland a mix of SVR4 and BSD with numerous IBM idiosyncrasies, such as the XCOFF object format and IBM's shared-object mechanism, the ODM, and SMIT.

USL didn't split off from Bell Labs until 1989, according to Wikipedia, by which time AIX 3 was already under development. So, yeah, no USL influence per se - they have a common ancestor in SysV, but that's it. And Novell didn't acquire USL until '93.

(Now, of course, we at Micro Focus own Novell. So as far as I can tell, we own the copyrights to the former-USL source code. Novell gave the UNIX trademark to The Open Group.)

That said, there was Project Monterey between IBM and SCO (and Sequent and Intel and maybe some others), which could have introduced some later USL-owned code into AIX 5L. That wasn't until circa 2000, though - long after the original AIXes were developed.

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Re: "SCO code" in Linux?

> (Now, of course, we at Micro Focus own Novell. So as far as I can tell, we own the copyrights to the former-USL source code.

Micro Focus may well own whatever copyrights that exist and are protectable that were owned by USL and/or Novell, but that may be not very much.

Some early code was left unregistered when registration was required, at least one codebase (v32) was made public domain, some code may belong to BSD or other contributors or licensors.

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Anonymous Coward

"The end of the near-immortal "

I read that as near-immoral.

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Pirate

Why...

... WON'T YOU DIE...!!!

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Re: Why...

Because it's a vampire?

And definitely not a black ribbonner

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Re: Why...

Upvote for Pratchett reference.

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Windows

The SCO Group - > TSG

A blatant demonstration of what is horribly wrong in both patent and corporate bankruptcy laws.

Thats Some Gall you have there.

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Back in the day SCO had a Unix version that just worked. At the time any version of Linux only just worked if at all.

Drivers for both were a problem because a lot of H/W vendors were only interested in Windows and Netware. OTOH because this was still dumb terminal time there was SCO specific H/W such as multiple serial interface cards.

They were competing with free-as-in-beer for unsupported Linux and not-free-but-probably-not-as-expensive for Linux with support contracts. They were also, in the long run, competing with Windows for the Intel server market.

If SCO had had any nous they could have cut prices, paid H/W vendors to develop drivers and tried harder to get application developers on their side. At one time they did have a free as in beer offer for developers which included all the development extras supporting only a couple of users or so but the licence was only supposed to be for 6 months IIRC (although it didn't self-destruct) and I don't think the offer ran for very long. Maybe they didn't think Linux was going to get good enough.

I doubt that even if they'd done more they could have strangled Linux at birth or even retained their overwhelming Unix market share but they could have remained viable and maybe kept some server market share away from Windows as well. But they didn't do enough make it worth while for ISVs to continue using the platform and that's what killed them.

Meanwhile Linux improved to the point of just working and attracted ISVs.

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They also worked in that wonderful mini-computer pricing model, that only a former mainframe customer or cable company exec could love.

We had SCO because it was (in the late 80s) the only way of getting more than 640K or 30Mb on a PC and we had to log a lot of data. Order a C compiler for $$$, when you install it you discover you don't have a pre-processor. Oh you want the software development add-on for the compiler ? That's more $$$$

Even more bizarrely we also had Kodak unix for PCs.

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Kodak - ex-Interactive Unix. The only "other" Unix on 80386 in the mid-80s.

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

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I remember Microport Unix for 286 and 386 from that era. This competed with Xenix, pre-SCO.

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> The only "other" Unix on 80386 in the mid-80s.

In the mid-80 I used ICLs DRS/NX on 80286 and 80386. I also had SCO Open Server (derived from Xenix) and Unixware (ex USL/Novell) free developer editions on 386 and 486.

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Other options, back in the day.

Mark Williams Company's "Coherent".

Best non-UNIX[tm] *nix that existed in that time-frame, IMNEHO.

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"Back in the day SCO had a Unix version that just worked. At the time any version of Linux only just worked if at all."

Hmm, no. I tried to use SCO Unix back in 1993. In particular, I tried to get gcc compiled on it. It gave me lots and lots of headaches.

Then I discovered Linux, version 0.12. I downloaded the SLS distro. It already had gcc, and the ultimate goal, compiling and running my program (which was running fine on HP-UX, SunOS, Solaris), was done in no time at all.

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JQW

I worked with SCO Unix (and Xenix) back in those days too.

Every few months we put on a training course for the OS we sold, and one module involved setting up an SMTP server to communicate with an external system, in our case the office's hack SCO box we used for generic support.

Despite our best efforts, the antiquated version of sendmail supplied by SCO Unix simply refused to work properly, and most E-mails from that part of the course got lost.

So for one course I downloaded Slackware Linux and whacked it onto one of the training rooms spare DOS PCs using UMSDOS. When used on the course it worked flawlessly.

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@JQW

"I downloaded Slackware Linux ... it worked flawlessly."

Still does ;-)

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