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US Trustee Asks To Send SCO Into Chapter 7 259

Posted by kdawson
from the long-dark-teatime-drawing-to-a-close dept.
Several readers including Pop69 inform us that the US Trustee's office has asked to convert SCO's Chapter 11 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 — a.k.a. liquidation. Groklaw has the text of the filing: "...not only is there no reasonable chance of 'rehabilitation' in these cases, the Debtors have tried — and failed — to liquidate their business in chapter 11."
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US Trustee Asks To Send SCO Into Chapter 7

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  • Re:Liquify what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:49PM (#27841631) Journal
    Don't be so mean: SCO has an iPhone App! [fcmobilelife.com] and an e-postcard service! [shoutpostcard.com] That would have been worth, like, a billion dollars in VC play money back before the bubble burst...
  • I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @11:54PM (#27841661) Homepage

    ...where would SCO be today if it hadn't started filing lawsuits? Sure, it wouldn't have had that cash infusion from Microsoft, but what was the state of that company and where was it headed prior to the suits? Would SCO still be a respected Unix vendor?

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jk379 (734476) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:00AM (#27841689)
    As they were a Linux company they might be making $$$'s. Even at 3rd place linux company would be in a much better place than SCO is today...
  • I dont understand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@NOspam.comcast.net> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:00AM (#27841693)
    I don't understand, their reality distortion field has got to be worth millions in it's own right. Nice thing about chapter 7 is they have to auction /everything/. I wonder if you can buy their data and load up their servers to see what they were really thinking. Perhaps someone can buy whatever rights they thought they had and donate everything to the FSF.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:06AM (#27841723)

    "Perhaps someone can buy whatever rights they thought they had and donate everything to the FSF."

    Where is Bruce? More importantly, where is his checkbook? He likes to buy stuff.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:10AM (#27841749)

    Seems like the office supplies, the inventory of their soda machine, and the desk chairs might the most valuable assets the company has. DIAF, SCO.

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:17AM (#27841793)

    When were they ever a respected Unix vendor? SCO Unix never stood out from any of the dozen other Unix variants, and Caldera was the same way on the Linux side. All they had was some tenuous rights to the Unix name and code, but original Unix has been carved up so badly that it's impossible to know who really owns what.

  • Constructive Trust (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shentino (1139071) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:28AM (#27841859)

    Hey, didn't judge kimball have novell's money set aside in a constructive trust?

    I hope someone at SCO gets nailed for contempt.

    Novell has probably got to be mega POed right now.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:32AM (#27841885) Homepage Journal

    Let's not forget to archive the materials they have published (mostly as Caldera). There is some useful information there.

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:32AM (#27841887)

    I wonder...where would SCO be today if it hadn't started filing lawsuits?

    Same place, chapter 7.

    They knew they were tanking and that's why they did this hail mary "let's sue IBM" nonsense. Their UN*X product was not spectacular. They didn't really offer anything unique or give any compelling reasons to do any business with them.

    People do this sort of thing all the time. There is something nearly universal in the human psyche that says that it makes sense to spend your last five bucks to buy a lottery ticket.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:44AM (#27841941) Journal

    ... when they started suing everybody who did anything SONET (including our company) over potential infringements of their patents. (I got dragged in because a chip I had co-architected included a SONET-like framer and some other telecom carrier framer stuff.)

    When the company is sinking and the management is grabbing any floating debris that might keep their heads above water, the patent portfolio that USED to be just for protection against suits from others suddenly becomes a potential cash cow. (Or an inflatable life raft to continue the previous metaphor.) And a technology company starts taking on the appearance of a patent troll operation.

    Of course in SCO's case it looks like the patent trolls bought into the sinking company so they could use it for trolling...

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:50AM (#27841979) Homepage Journal

    When were they ever a respected Unix vendor?

    SCO had the lead in Unix on x86 hardware and apparently were used widely in certain sectors.

    Unline, IBM, HP and Sun, SCO didn't have their own processor architecture so they weren't resistant to having their OS run on commodity hardware like the other big Unix vendors did.

    This whole SCO lawsuit thing confuses me. At least the reaction to it and SCO going after Linux users.

    SCO was under the Canopy Group and every time Ray Noorda [wikipedia.org] spun a company out of Novell, it usually resulted in an IP lawsuit. Usually against Microsoft. Strange or ironic that SCO and Novell would go head to head this time.

    I can understand why SCO sued IBM. IBM, SCO and Sequent got together to work on Project Monterey. SCO's role in that was providing their leading Unix on x86 work. Then the project fell apart, IBM bought Sequent and SCO got nothing for their efforts.

    Then all of a sudden, IBM puts more effort into Linux, an alternate Unix like OS that can run on x86.

    If you were SCO, had spent a lot of time with IBM showing them your Unix/x86 secrets, then they ditch your work and all of a sudden put a big push into a competing unix like os on x86 that could benefit from the knowledge you shared with IBM, you'd probably want to sue too. I would.

    Maybe they did, maybe they didn't, but you'd have to go to trial to get to the bottom of it.

    Somehow it all turned into a giant circus and SCO seemed to start it by going after licensing fees for Linux users, but people on the sidelines, in either camp really made a mess of things. I think it's probably one of the most ridiculous moments in technology history.

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:52AM (#27841989)

    On the opposite, I wonder what would have happened if they actually *won* the suit. I'm not sure if anything of this nature was ever discussed. The business was failing anyways - so they would have had to significantly improve or diversify their product and/or go after new markets.

    They were claiming damages in the 100's of millions of dollars. Would they have invested their riches in new developers, sales, marketing folks? I don't know that even with the riches in hand they would buy out the Linux/Unix talent of another company (Sun, RH, etc) and even if they did and also operated on the basis of collecting royalties from other 'Nix vendors, what would have happened. My general impression is it would be a shell company. Does nothing but deepens the pockets of those that 'own' the IP. Its a shame that the developers who actually went through long days etc programming wouldn't have gotten a cent. The suits that just kind of 'show up' could be sitting on a beach (assuming, again they won) in the middle of nowhere and collecting millions - and they really were never responsible for the IP.

    I'm somewhat pro 'IP'. But in this context, I think as long as an IP or patent (or whatever) stays in a shell company that does absolutely nothing but to exist to get money from its IP etc, then the people who created/developed the IP - scientists, engineers, should be the first in line to profit.

  • Re:Where's Darl now? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RagingFuryBlack (956453) <NjRef511@noSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @12:56AM (#27842019) Homepage
    Ironically, Yes. The Zales corporation...yes, the jewelry company, still uses an SCO system for their in-store terminal system. Maybe this will force them to update their systems to something more advanced than the current Circa 1989 software they're running.
  • Re:I call dibs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @01:12AM (#27842099)

    fuck that, make it a goatse mirror! ;)

  • Re:Ahem. Ahem. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by russ1337 (938915) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @01:38AM (#27842219)
    the funny thing is..... SCO is like a zombie. Just when you think it's dead, a hand reaches from under the bed and grabs your leg.

    It'll take a shotgun to the face to get rid of SCO. (a.k.a buy the trademark and all SCO's IP and release it all under creative commons / GPL / public domain....)
  • Re:Where's Darl now? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by palegray.net (1195047) <philip...paradis@@@palegray...net> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:03AM (#27842339) Homepage Journal
    While I'm certainly no fan of SCO, in The Real World you use what works. If it still works, there's no need to replace it. Here's the thing about IMS about related systems: they solve what's largely understood to be a "known domain" of problems. You can still use third-party systems to link the central DBs to more modern systems if your business rules change, but the basics of managing inventory and keeping sales records haven't changed since pencil-and-paper ledgers.

    Short version: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.
  • Re:Liquify what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:11AM (#27842379) Homepage

    Seriously. What assets do they have left that are worth selling? Patents? Software?

    The way this works is that the Bankruptcy Trustee brings in an auction house. [go-dove.com] Assets like intellectual property and lawsuits are usually handled directly by the Trustee. The auction house handles the physical assets.

    There's a whole food chain in Silicon Valley for disposing of defunct companies. Action Computer buys up many of the old PCs, the ones that work. Weird Stuff Warehouse buys up old networking gear and miscellaneous electronics. Consolidated Office Distributors buys much of the furniture (Their warehouse in San Jose looks like the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark, only bigger. That's where many of the Aeron chairs from the dot-com boom ended up.) There's a place in San Jose that buys steel shelving. Quickly, the office buildings and factories are cleaned out, cleaned up, and put on the market.

  • Re:Where's Darl now? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @02:44AM (#27842545) Journal

    To hell with Zales' POS systems. McDonalds is a MAJOR user of SCO Unix, and they just keep growing.

    Maybe they'll buy-up the IP rights for in-house development, or spin-off a small company to maintain it for their own needs and make a bit of money off selling to others at the same time...

    Or maybe their contract works out better if they go out of business, then McD gets the software, with full source code, and unlimited rights, automatically. Who knows?

  • Where's the SEC? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eternal Annoyance (815010) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @03:19AM (#27842733)

    I wonder when they will come banging on the door of senior SCO managers who performed insider trading. Also, it wouldn't amaze me if they follow the cash donation (that $500.000.000 they got from Microsoft) back to the source and start asking some very nasty questions over there.

    SEC's arguments: competition fraud, misleading shareholders, inciting forgery of papers, inciting abuse of the judicial system.

    When will that RICO act be invoked against Microsoft by the SEC?

  • Re:Where's Darl now? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @04:24AM (#27843025) Homepage

    In the real world it's also incredibly fun to watch the scramble when some ancient system nobody knows, supports or maintains goes postal, if you're not responsible for fixing it. Maybe it's nothing more than the inventory hitting more than MAX_INT items or whatever, but the day production is down and keeps going down every time you bring it up someone will wish they had a vendor to scream at.

  • Re:Where's Darl now? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pipoca (1142297) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @04:59AM (#27843145)

    My grandfather's business, a steel yard in West Virginia, uses a Unix server that runs SCO. I've told him about the law suit, but they'll probably continue to run it until it's no longer supported.

    There's probably a number of small businesses like his, that started using SCO back in the day, and never bothered to learn about their comparatively recent legal troubles.

  • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by countach (534280) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @06:58AM (#27843529)

    I don't see why you need to go to trial to get to the bottom of it. Linux development is out in the open and the code is out in the open. If there was anything to it, they could have shown us the code on day one.

  • Re:Liquify what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @07:56AM (#27843771)

    Service contracts and customer lists. There are a stack of fiscal and paperwork handling companies that used OpenServer for relatively inexpensive x86 based servers, for years, and wrote very important in-house toolkits on which their companies are founded. I had a long chat with a corporate partner 3 years ago about exactly this, because SCO hardware compatibility seriously lagged anything that wasn't in bankruptcy. They chose to stay with their existing software environment rather than do a complete database migration in a ruch, and have been engaged in a very careful and cautious code cleanup, to get their toolchain under source control and virtualization, so that they can retain access to old data and old environments, while they build a new environment. With that careful toolchain migration and cleanup, they're _much_ better off than they would have been migrating in one giant leap 3 years ago, and are ready to select their next major OS, whether that be OpenServer or Solaris or any other OS that's obviously about to go out of business.

    OK, I'm kidding, but they remain unconvinced that any Linux OS is stable enough. And they've got a point with Linux's eagerness to embrace new toolkits and utilities. For companies with 30 year mortgages, database stability rules over database performance and new features.

    There is apparently some actual compoetent open source work for SCO systems, over at http://aplawrence.com/cgi-bin/indexget.pl?OSR5 [aplawrence.com]. This site was an important resource for their cleanup work, especially the notes on VMware and on getting open source tools like gcc and SSH and HTTPD to work properly. Mr. Lawrence is real open source and freeware champion doing very difficult work and deserves all the paying work and support we can send his way. (I had a harsh argument with my corporate partner friend, saying that he should be cutting Mr. Lawrence a _big_ check.)

  • Re:Circuit City (Score:3, Interesting)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@p10linkTWAIN.net minus author> on Wednesday May 06, 2009 @08:05AM (#27843803) Homepage

    Yeah, raise the price of everything to 20-40% over market value, so it can be offered at a 10-20% discount off the "original price".
    The job of the liquidators is to get as much as possible as quickly as possible for the stock being liquidated. Not to build a good reputation with customers.

    So if such slimy tactics are legal in your region IMO it would be negligent of the liquidators not to use them.

Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable, and three parts which are still under development.

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