John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Die, SCO, Die

“We’re either right or we’re not. If we’re wrong, we deserve people throwing rocks at us.”

Former SCO CEO Darl McBride in 2003

It has taken nearly a decade, but SCO’s hard-fought but ultimately ludicrous legal campaign against Linux is finally winding down, seemingly for good.

The company, now know as The SCO Group (TSG), filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection this week, conceding that there’s no longer any hope of a reorganization under Chapter 11. Its only option now is liquidation. Which is not to say that TSG has given up hope of prevailing in its litigation against IBM, which it sued back in 2003 for illegally distributing its proprietary Unix code with the Linux OS. As Groklaw reports, the company would like to press on in its battle against IBM, it just doesn’t really have the funds to continue.

“There is no reasonable chance of ‘rehabilitation’ in these cases as the Debtors’ estates have already sold substantially all of their assets and have no continuing business operations,” TSG wrote in its Chapter 7 filing. “Furthermore, the only reasonable opportunity for the Debtors’ estates to be in a position to pay outstanding administrative expenses and to potentially make a distribution to general unsecured creditors hinges upon a successful outcome in the District Court Action.”

In other words, the company literally has both feet in the grave and it’s still swinging wildly at IBM for allegedly “devaluing” its version of Unix.

A quick bit of history from an old post of mine:

“There’s No Free Lunch–or Free Linux.” That was the title of SCO CEO Darl McBride’s keynote address at the Computer Digital Expo in Las Vegas back in 2003, and it signaled the start of a long legal siege. Earlier that day, SCO announced plans to file suit against a large-scale user of Linux as part of its campaign against the open-source operating system.

“For the last several months, we have consistently stated and maintained that our System V code is in Linux,” McBride explained. “The claims SCO has are both broad and deep. These claims touch not just IBM but other vendors as well. They also touch certain industry consortia and corporate Linux end users. Our claims aren’t trivial. The violations of our intellectual property are not easily repaired. It is our intention to vigorously protect and enforce SCO’s intellectual property, System V source code and our copyrights. We’re now fully prepared to do that.”

And they did. SCO subsequently filed suit against IBM (IBM), auto giant DaimlerChrysler and a coterie of other companies, each time sounding the same theme: Our copyrighted UNIX code was illegally cobbled into Linux. You’re using it without a license. Pay up.

But SCO never specified exactly the Linux code it believes infringes on its copyrights, even in the face of repeated calls to do so from its defendants and the open source community. Indeed, it could be said that the company’s legal campaign against Linux was defined by its utter failure to prove that the open-source operating system contains any of its intellectual property.

But it dragged on for nine years. And now it seems it may finally be over.

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