back to article Linux wins the SCO vs Novell case

The six-year-long Novell-SCO case is over - the judge ruled that Novell did indeed own Unix patents copyrights which SCO failed to license properly and therefore the case is closed. Of course this case has closed before, but this really does seem like the end of the line. Judge Ted Stewart said: "The jury could have rejected …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...let it die with dignity? Eh? Oh, yes, maybe it's a bit late for that.

  2. Adrian 10

    I'll drink to that

    Great news to end the week! Now will SCO please go and die it's well deserved disgraceful death.

  3. Paolo Marini

    and who has (not) benefited from this?

    let's not forget who or what was behind the whole allegation of Unix copyrights and the real motives for the long and prolonged pyrrhic battle... just a hint of what a dying monopoly is trying to "invent" to put-up with its last gasps...

    [read Groklaw if you need more information]

  4. adrianww

    Please, please, please...

    ...let this be the end. Let Darl McBrainless and his lawyers disappear up their own fundaments, having finally had it hammered into them that they're a bunch of clueless poltroons with no saving graces whatsoever.


  5. Geoff Mackenzie


    That is all.

  6. M Gale



    Oh well. One down, one to go. Microsoft, you're next.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    thats good news?

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I will drink to that

    Hopefully SCO will go bust shortly

    (SCO = Some Common Orifice?)

  9. John Angelico

    Excuse me...

    "Obsessive compulsive" ??

    Sorry Vultures, but on this issue you can't even give credit graciously.

    It seems someone still recalls the rankles when El Reg was sniping at PJ and Groklaw, and in particular the subsequent back-down when Groklaw pushed back - and was vindicated.

    Bridge --> Construct -->> Traverse, please!

  10. Magnethead

    I wonder how much Novell had to spend fighting this?

    I can't see them ever managing to claw it back from what's left of SCO.

  11. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Dead Vulture

    It's over at last

    One dark night, in an IT graveyard, somewhere not too far from here... An innocent IT worker is picking his way amongst the boxes, rolls of Cat 5 cable, dead servers kept for possible spare parts, old 486 boxes that really were going to be turned into fishtanks, honest, like that website said... Our IT worker is down here amongst the dust, the debris and the corpses of computers past, looking for a spare laptop hard drive.

    The air-conditioning fans hum low in the background. An owl screeches. Our hapless geek turns, startled by the unexpected noise. Bathed in the moonlight through the window is a large packing crate. Unopened. Ooooh! Shinies! Toys to play with, and he's safely on his own to play with them.

    Quickly he whips out his trusty belt-mounted Leatherman and levers up the lid. Tough this one. Good grief, it's nailed down, not stapled. With a lurch and a creak, the lid gives. His hand catches on a nail. A drop of blood falls into the case. At the bottom of which is... A pile of soil? What? Who mailed dirt to us? It's addressed from Lindon, in Utah, wherever that is.

    Smoke rises, it fizzes.

    Hang on! This isn't a packing crate. It's a... A... Coffin!

    From the grave it rises. Rises again. The McBride of Dracula!

    It grabs our poor friend, drains every last drop of the nutritious caffeiney blood from his body, and stalks off into the world in search of some lawyers...

    [Hmmmm - I wonder if I've had too much coffee this morning...]

    1. jake Silver badge

      Hey, I ain't Spartacus!

      Stay the hell out of my machine room! This ain't a movie set, FFS ;-)

      ::uploads coffee::

    2. john oates (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Excuse me...


      I wasn't trying to be snarky, just a bit sarky, and i'm not aware of any row....



  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "Pamela Jones"...

    ...certainly qualifies for some kind of Nobel Prize. If it is a team (is it?)

    Economics? Peace?

    Some of the uselessly deranged people how got these somewhat earlier may consider offering theirs (Obama? Krugman? Hellooo?)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ding dong ..

    the witch is dead ... (As Coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead.)

  14. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Now Novell is the threat

    Novell under current management is a decent corporate citizen.

    But it's value to IP pirates who think SCO had a good idea but just messed up execution may now be a lot higher than its value as an honest business. Indeed, there's evidence of that already: see for example

  15. Golodh
    Jobs Horns

    Well ... there's one or two things wrong with this verdict ...

    and that's that it doesn't

    - (a) favour SCO,

    - (b) doesn't present SCO with a way forward to press its suit against IBM, and

    - (c) doesn't set out a clear way for SCO to sue the world over illegal use of Unix copyrights.

    Other than that, it's fine.

    Surely there will be an appeal? This state of affairs cannot last.

    1. gerryg

      Please, crawl back under your bridge

      Novell did not transfer copyrights to SCO, this is good and clean. This is a fantastic result by Novell for all of us, clearing the FUD around Linux.

      The problem, if Novell had transferred the copyrights to SCO would then have been that no-one really knew what UNIX copyrights Novell actually owned, and then there's the tricky problem that there was no UNIX code in Linux.

      So far, so what? The GPL. That's what the SUSE arbitration on United Linux was all about, the "even if" defence

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Hey man

      not even funny. Don't even think about thinking about these things

  16. Real Ale is Best
    Thumb Up

    My favourite line from the verdict:

    “SCO argues that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law "because the verdict cannot be squared with the overwhelming evidence and the law." The Court respectfully disagrees.”


    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Well, maybe

      But it would perhaps have been better phrased as:

      "The Court respectfully refers SCO to the case of Arkell v. Pressdram."

  17. resudaed

    How ironic ...

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Things to put in back of my rusty Transit today:-





    Directions to nearest crossroads

    1. Robert Halloran

      you forgot some things....


      Bushel of garlic

      Tank-sprayer of holy water

      Two cords of hardwood and kerosene for use at the crossroads after use of all of the above


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't celebrate too soon...

    Only by fire, by water and by holy writ can it be truly exorcised.

    What, no SCO devil icon?

  20. Bob Foster

    Time for SCO to sleep with the fishes

    I seem to remember early on someone, It may have been Bruce Perens being quoted as saying that IBM's legal team in the SCO trial were like Keyser Soze from Usual Suspects, (First he kills you then he kills your family, then he kills your friends then he kills your parents, then he kills your parents friends.....well you get the idea ).

    .....Time for IBM to live up to that reputation

  21. Captain Save-a-ho

    This is still a story?

    So much for thinking SCO was dead three years ago. Didn't they already go under? I'm grateful that no more time or space will (likely) be devoted to a discussion of SCO vs. Linux.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why when we have articles about legal matters do we end up with sentences like "the judge ruled that Novell did indeed own Unix copyrights which SCO failed to license properly and therefore the case is closed" without any explanation of the the reason for the failure to properly licence or the Judge's reasoning?

    I'm sure that we can all understand this sort of thing, can't it go into the article rather than forcing us to other web sites to find out?

    1. ChrisInBelgium

      Not really

      Better goto Groklaw, way too long to explain in one article. You'll realise once you start reading up on the case...

      But, it comes down to a simple fact really, SCO did not have enough money to buy all of UNIX, including the copyrights and just acted as a... no, I'm not trying to explain, you'll have to go and read it for yourself.

      Best news of the day though! Big hurrah for PJ!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Err...

      I'd just like to point out that I'm not a SCO fan at all, I'd just like to understand what happened with regard to what appears to be a massive cock up on SCO's part and seems to have made their whole case fall down around them.

    3. scottm52

      Because the sentence is inaccurate.....

      That sentence is misleading at best. A better way to phrase the actual result would be...

      "the judge ruled that SCO NEVER owned the Unix copyrights claimed by Novell and therefore the case is closed" would be more accurate.

  23. Vic

    @Fraser: Unix Copyrights.

    The background to this is very simple indeed.

    The Santa Cruz Organisation (SCO) wanted to buy the whole Unix business from Novell, but couldn't afford it. So instead, they bought the distribution rights. They sold packaged Unix, and were supposed to pass all the proceeds to Novell. Novell would then return 5% of that as a fee for doing the boring selling stuff.

    Caldera - a Linux distributor - bought that business from SCO and then - this is the confusing bit - renamed themselves "The SCO Group". These two companies have both gone by the name "SCO", and that confusion appears to be deliberate.

    NewSCO (formerly Caldera) then decided that they owned all the Unix copyrights (the ones OldSCO couldn't afford and never bought). they also decided that, as Linux had grown up so quickly, it *must* have stolen Unix code in it. This is the basis on which they tred to sue world + dog.

    The two prongs of defence used so far are :-

    1) Neither incarnation of SCO has ever owned the copyrights that NewSCO have been suing people over.

    2) There is no stolen code in Linux anyway.

    The SCO v Novell case is mostly about the first of these. Judge Kimball ruled a long time ago that SCO didn't own the copyrights it claimed, but the Court of Appeals said that a jury should have decided that. A jury did decide that - and it decided that SCO has never owned said copyrights.

    The SCO v IBM case is primarily about the second of these items - that there is no stolen Unix code in Linux. It is somewhat mooted, though, because even if there were any, SCO has no standing to sue anyone anyway, because it doesn't own the code it claims to be trying to "protect".

    There are further defences. An important one is that SCO was a Linux distributor, and distributed the alleged infringing code even some years after starting its lawsuits. Indeed, Caldera was the company that put most of it into Linux in the first place. They released this under the GPL - and therefore everyone is granted a licence to use and redistribute all this code anyway.

    This last is important because the FUDsters are already firing up the talk of what might happen should Someone Evil(tm) buy Novell. the answer is simple - nothing. Novell have deliberately distributed all of this code under GPL, and that cannot be revoked just because the bad guys buy up the source.


    1. AceBitbucket

      RE: Unix Copyrights

      That is the best short summary of this goat-rope that I have read. Well done.

  24. Ken 16 Silver badge


    I wanted to see how many lawyers IBM would throw at the problem

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I wanted to see how many lawyers IBM would throw at the problem

      Can you get them in multi-packs?

      Come down now to World of Lawyers for our Summer Sale! Buy One Get One Free on all patent attorneys! Yes that's BOGOF Patent trolls today!

    2. Robert Hill

      Quantum computing...

      it would take quantum computers many decades to actually count the lawyers that IBM would throw at SCO should it have come to that. I've seen the legal department in White Plains, NY HQ, and the best way to imagine it is...well, remember the warehouse in the first Indiana Jones movie? Imagine a legal cubical farm of the same dimensions...

    3. John G Imrie Silver badge

      You might still do so

      The Judge said that Novel has the right to stop SCO from suing IBM, and in fact can override SCO should SCO ignore Novell in this. This will cause SCO a few problems in the SCO v's IBM case as SCO no longer has any standing in that case to sue IBM.

      Unfortunately for SCO and its current and previous Directors, nothing on earth except IBM's good graces can stop IBM's counter claims, which include Lanham Act clams.

      From my understanding a claim under the Lanham Act is aimed not at the company but at the Directors, personally.

      1. Captain DaFt
        Thumb Up

        One more act to go!

        "Unfortunately for SCO and its current and previous Directors, nothing on earth except IBM's good graces can stop IBM's counter claims, which include Lanham Act clams.

        From my understanding a claim under the Lanham Act is aimed not at the company but at the Directors, personally."

        And THIS is the part that I've been wanting to see since the whole debacle started!

        Now that SCO is now just a hollow, bankrupt shell, gutted by the bottom feeders that tried to use it as a Universal Extortion Tool(TM). I want to see those bottom feeders brought to a full accounting of their actions in court, then paraded before the public as an example to any scumbag that thinks about trying anything similar.

  25. Seanmon


    Thank fuck for that. Beer time.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You took the words right out of my mouth.


    Sing it, Ella!

    courtesy Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg!

  27. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    SCO on the outs again...

    Always a McBridesmaid, never a...




  28. DrJaymansLoveCookie
    Gates Horns

    Ha Ha!

    Burn in hell SCO!

  29. FARfetched


    Can we give SCO a proper burial and then thoroughly water its grave with used beer now?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      To borrow the words from an acquaintance:

      "Let's erect a Memorial Latrine".

  30. David Shields

    Well done Pamela!

    This must have taken some stamina.

    I smirked when I remembered IBM's lawyers described as the Nazgul.

  31. Tim Bates


    Since this is a software related celebration, does that mean we have to crack open soft drinks?

    I'm off to get some anyway - I don't drink anything harder than Dr Pepper (which sadly we can't get here anyway).

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SCO Website

    Are they still fighting or is there no-one left to administer the website?

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