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The Courts Government Linux Business News

SCO Bankruptcy "Imminent, Inevitable" 234

Posted by kdawson
from the quebrada dept.
mattaw writes "From analysis by Groklaw it seems that SCO may owe Novell nearly all the SCOSource licensing fees, and has been hiding the fact for 3 years. Imminent. Inevitable. Bankruptcy. Those are the words from Novell's lawyers. Perhaps the IBM/SCO case could close earlier than planned? Perhaps we can finally be rid of this specter once and for all?"
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SCO Bankruptcy "Imminent, Inevitable"

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  • by GodInHell (258915) * on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:55PM (#17525616) Homepage

    Perhaps we can finally be rid of this specter once and for all?"
    Unless a "plausible" suit would be considered an asset by a bankruptcy court? I know the court won't let you give away corporate property generally.. anybody know?

    -GiH
  • I'm excited (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:56PM (#17525636) Homepage
    But I feel bad for SCO's real employees. Like the software developers who actually worked to make a good product at one point in time.

    Hopefully Novell and IBM can split the leftovers, I think it's owed to them.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thebdj (768618) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:58PM (#17525664) Journal

    Perhaps the IBM/SCO case could close earlier than planned? Perhaps we can finally be rid of this specter once and for all?
    My understanding is the lawyers were paid in advance. Since filing bankruptcy is hardly the end for a company, I do not know that it would necessarily finish off SCO or the IBM case. Actually, someone could come in and purchase SCO with the intentions of keeping the lawsuit alive.
  • IANAL.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:59PM (#17525674)
    .... therefore almost nothing referenced here makes any sense to me. Someday lawyers will be forced to speak and write in NormalSpeak, preferably in English. Until such time, I am at the mercy of people like Cokie Roberts to explain these legal doings. Could /. maybe hire her to boil this down for us mortals?
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:01PM (#17525702) Homepage Journal
    Because /. keeps posting it.

  • Re:I doubt it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:01PM (#17525704)
    IBM should buy SCO and dismantle them just for spite
  • by Edward Ka-Spel (779129) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:04PM (#17525746)
    I would be really disappointed if the Novell and IBM cases are finally resolved because SCO ran out of money. I would much rather see a final resolution on whether or not Linux has any sort of IP conflict with SCO. Bankruptcy skirts the issue. I would rather see a clean bill of health. Perhaps Microsoft now wants SCO to go bankrupt so that clean bill of health never comes.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:07PM (#17525812) Homepage Journal
    After all this time, money spent by IBM defending/pursuing, and all the defining issues raised, I don't want SCO dying before a precedent verdict is set. The best justice will be for SCO to spend itself bankrupt pursuing this frivolous lawsuit, its frivolous lawyers getting stiffed and wasting more time as creditors in bankruptcy court, and Linux proven free of the FUD SCO has produced as its flagship product. Either way, watching the speculators betting on SCO's stock rising on blackmail is fun, but satisfaction lies in proving the facts about how Linux is free.
  • Re:IANAL.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:10PM (#17525912) Homepage
    .... therefore almost nothing referenced here makes any sense to me. Someday lawyers will be forced to speak and write in NormalSpeak, preferably in English.

    Unfortunately, lawyers can't use NormalSpeak. The maze that is modern law requires a very large amount of terms with very specific meanings to convery what is being said. It's wrapped up in hundreds (if not thousands) of years of history and the like, and embodies a large vocabulary of concepts, precedents, and methods.

    That's why we like Groklaw, becuase they do a very good job of summarizing the legalese, as well as explaining it in context of the issues as they relate to tech.

    Sadly, I don't think you'll see your wish any time soon. Legalese is probably going to get more complex over time than less.

    Cheers
  • Re:IANAL.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:15PM (#17526072) Homepage Journal
    You have a couple of vague terms in your last message that I hope you could clarify:
    Define NormalSpeak. New speech codec that only works on English?
    Define "legal doings." Lawyer guano?
    Define "boil this down." Are you talking about putting legal doings in a bubbling pot of water?
    Define "us mortals." Presumably, it means that Cokie Roberts is immortal. Based upon past assumptions, this means that once Cokie Roberts boils down the lawyer guano, it's safe for everone else to use. Do you make bowls out of them or something? Or do you eat it to become immortal yourself?

    To be serious, I know what you probably mean. The point is, though, that the language of the law will always be with us. It helps let one say exactly what they mean without room for interpretation, or to fit all interpretations that they want it to fit.
  • NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:23PM (#17526268)
    SCO wanted to be bought by IBM. That would be a "good thing" for SCO. Their stock jumps and their executives all cash out more options.

    IBM should crush SCO in court and be awarded whatever is left of the company as compensation.

    If IBM gives up any money to SCO or SCO executives, IBM has lost and will be sued again over this same kind of crap.
  • Darl (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:27PM (#17526390) Homepage
    Alas, it's almost 100% certain that Darl will parlay this experience in the limelight into a cushy job at some other company when SCO's gone. Things are so screwed up...

    I personally think Darl should get jail time. I consider him no better than Lay or Skilling.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:38PM (#17526638)
    Don't forget about that United States vs IBM antitrust case that ran on and on from 1975 until 1982 when it was finally dismissed. Basically, IBM out-litigated the staying power of three consecutive US federal executive administrations (Ford, Carter, Reagan) to the point the feds were no longer willing to spend any more money fighting the case.

    IBM is the KingDaddyPawPaw of dragging a court case out forever whenever anyone picks a fight with them.

    (it's also poetic and funny as hell that the captcha I have to type in to post this message as A/C is "victors" because that's what IBM will be in this case too)
  • Re:I doubt it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BoneFlower (107640) <(george.worroll) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:47PM (#17526842) Journal
    While I see the attractiveness, this would be a bad idea.

    One, IBM would then face lawsuits from other two bit companies that might have even less of a case, leading to IBM spending even more money on legal fees. The more money they blow defending their linux ventures, the less profit their linux ventures make. This is less money for them, and for us... a greater likelihood that they will eventually pull out of linux entirely. Bad for IBM, bad for us. A decisive win now, good for IBM and good for us.

    Two, it would appear to be an admission that SCO had a case. Technically it isn't, but people would see it that way even if the courts didn't. This is bad.

    Three, this would encourage other people to go after potential copyright/contract problems related to Linux in courts, rather than approach Torvalds and his crew and say "We've got concerns about this code here" before resorting to a lawsuit.

    Four... there are concerns about the GPL actually holding up in court. While I have heard vague references that it has held up a few times, this is a high profile case where one of the largest companies in the world has thrown down GPL violations in its countersuit. Winning on those counts will be a significant boost in public confidence about how well it will hold up, hopefully leading to more people who were considering it actually going with it.
  • Re:Darl (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tehdaemon (753808) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @02:54PM (#17526996)
    It may just be me, but, I don't think I want that kind of 'luck'. T
  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#17527338) Journal
    In software development, you may safely assume that developer salaries is the majority of the cost. I know - I'm a manager of software development.


    You should go through the list and add up the costs. It's not that great. For example, it's hard to imagine having more than one manager and one secretary per 10 developers. Hardware is dirt cheap (a few thousand per year at most). Electricity and office space likewise, at least compared to a developer's salary. Health insurance is a serious expense, but still only a fraction of the cost.

    And if SCO is paying $1.5 million for coffee, the management should be fired tomorrow. A dollar or two per day per employee, that's it.

    Trust me, $8 million per year buys a lot more than 10 developers.

  • by spun (1352) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `yranoituloverevol'> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:09PM (#17528812) Journal
    The difference is that the internal complexities of other professions rarely bite the common man in the ass the way the internal complexities of law do. The language of law should be open and accessible to all but the most mentally deficient. That is not as important with even the medical, electrical, plumbing or mechanic's professions.
  • Re:Overlords (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DonnieD701 (735118) <(moc.eticxe) (ta) (107deinnod)> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:25PM (#17529186)
    Don't we already have that, the US Congress?
  • Just for laughs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PingXao (153057) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:38PM (#17529506)
    When the SCO fiasco is all wrapped up here's a number I'd like to see: How much money did all the lawyers involved earn apiece? There are hundreds involved, to be sure, but the Top Ten would be enough. Then I want to contemplate whether the fucked up Copyright laws in the U.S. make it all worthwhile. SCO's complaint was worthless from day 1 and it should have taken no more than 6 months to get it laughed out of court.
  • Re:I doubt it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @04:38PM (#17529516)
    Actually, someone could come in and purchase SCO with the intentions of keeping the lawsuit alive.

    They should allow open-source supporters to make donations to them. Someone should start an organized "Adopt a lawsuit" campaign. It is in our best interest to keep SCO's doors open until it gets trounced in court.

  • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @07:08PM (#17532206) Homepage
    thus much more risk than an average broker would be willing to absorb

    I do not think it reasonable to equate current SCO shareholders with "an average broker". Any current SCO shareholder would be so far off the norm to make any rational evaluation impossible. That is not an anti-SCO-biased claim... that is a simple fact based on the stock price history. Any stock with that sort of price history simply would not be held in the portfolio of any average risk-adverse investor. A stock that has fallen from over $20 to approximately $1 would be primarily held by one of three investory types: (1) An extremely savy and extremely risk tolerant investor who has done a deep analysis looking for an entirely rational undervalued longshot payoff, or (2) an irrational investor emotionally drawn to the hope of making a fortune and overvaluing the stock based on that hope, or (3) an irrational or innattentive investor reluctant to sell already held stock at such a massive loss.

    Depending on which NON-average investors are holding the stock and why, the current market price could be substantially overvalued or substantially undervalued. In my oppinion the actual value of SCO stock is just about zero. SCO's assets are depleted, and even in the extremely improbable case that SCO were to win in the IBM case they are not going to win anywhere near the massive figures they are claiming and such winnings would likely get devoured as damages in the Novel case and any remaining winnings would still get bled away in ongoing negative profit margins. The only hope for an investor-win would be to win in the IBM case AND not get wiped out in the Novel case AND to then quickly liquidate the entire company.

    -
  • Re:Sorry, wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhiestand (157373) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:49AM (#17539178) Journal

    The legal language is exact and well-defined.
    Ok, I'll follow along...

    The perceived "slipperyness" of lawyers is a side-effect of their function: To help their employers present effective arguments for the most-favorable-to-them interpretations of legal matters in dispute.
    You mean to say that the job of a lawyer is to exploit the fact that laws, as written, are open to interpretation? That doesn't really sound very "exact" or "well-defined" to me. Certainly there is a lot of technical jargon involved, and some terms are very specific but, overall, I can't think of a single law, article of the constitution, or amendment which hasn't resulted in someone in the legal system having to interpret exactly what it means. And those interpretations often change over time as society's morals change. I think there is ample evidence to say that our current systems of law and language are unable to precisely define meaning such that they will be honestly interpreted by everybody in the same way.

    In religious texts they have tried to tell stories, such as the Good Samaritan, which went through great lengths to make the reader actually experience the associated emotions and understand the concepts on an emotional and ethical level, yet these texts have been the subject of even fiercer debate than Clinton's infamous questioning of the definition of "sex".

    In short, I'd say it's obvious that our current legal language is imprecise and not well-defined. If the supreme court can't unanimously agree on interpretations nobody else can be expected to.

    There is hope that current and future research into neurolinguistics will allow us to fully understand exactly how language is comprehended by different people, and ultimately develop a system of communication that eliminates the possibility of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. If we manage to accomplish this, the supposed redeeming value of modern legalese will finally become a reality. Until then, we'll have people who genuinely disagree, people encountering new situations that weren't considered when the laws were originally conceived, and people who know damned well they're wrong but know they can win an argument without being right.

Brain damage is all in your head. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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