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The Courts Linux

CowboyNeal Looks Back at the SCO-Linux Trials 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
This past week, SCO filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which finally begins the end of a long saga that started over nine years ago. While their anti-IBM litigation has risen from the grave and still shambles onward, the company itself is nearly put to rest after nine years of choosing the wrong legal battle to get into. Even if it may be too early to dance on SCO's grave, join me as I look back over the long and bumpy road to nowhere of The SCO Group.

The Beginning, or, We Sure Do Miss Ransom Love Around Here

Back in January of 2003, SCO announced that Unix SYSV code had been misappropriated into Linux. They didn't say much more than this, saying that they would only reveal the code in question to the court, and that it was a secret. Given the nature of Linux, this set off the BS-meters of nearly anyone with a clue, including the Linux kernel developers, not the least of which being Linus himself. In March of that year, SCO announced that they owned the copyrights to Unix, and that they were suing IBM for a billion dollars, for leaking SCO trade secrets into Linux. When people who had a clue thought about the case for more than a few minutes, they remembered back to the USL v. BSDi case that had been settled a decade prior, and figured SCO was full of it. Unfortunately, instead of SCO's announcement being taken as the ramblings of a crazy CEO desperate to increase the value of his flagging company, it went ahead. The worst part, is that at least for the short term, it worked. SCO's stock price shot from under $2/share to over $20/share in six months.

Around this time, a new champion would arise. A new website, Groklaw, run by paralegal Pamela Jones began blogging daily coverage of SCO v. IBM. While Groklaw was originally intended as a way for PJ to practice blogging, it soon grew into the front lines of the PR war against SCO, a war which they were losing badly.

This is where the case should have been thrown out, and everyone gone out for beers and had a good laugh, but that didn't happen. However, a new challenger would appear. In August of 2003, Red Hat sued SCO to try and put an end to this mess. While this was a valiant effort on Red Hat's part, ultimately a judge would stay the case pending the outcome of SCO v. IBM. Those hard-earned beers would have to wait.

At this point, SCO's claims were sounding dubious at best, so they showed off two samples of alleged copied code at a reseller show later that month. However, the code in question was shown to be part of BSD, and previously released under the BSD license. In spite of this, SCO decided that to save face, they should waste everyone's time with continuing their warpath of litigation.

SCO v. Everyone

Since the suit against IBM was going so well, The SCO Group came up with the brilliant strategy of "sue all the things!" and proceeded to do just that. In lieu of having their own product that people actually liked and used, they figured they could just sue their way to profitability.

One of SCO's key claims was that they owned the copyrights to Unix, due to some purchases they'd made from Novell. Novell, however, didn't take this sitting down and respectfully disagreed. For butting in on SCO's new business model, Novell was served with a lawsuit in January of 2004. 2004 was the year that SCO decided to sue everyone they looked at. AutoZone, who had recently switched from using SCO OpenServer to Linux, got sued for doing so. DaimlerChrysler was just walking down the opposite side of the street and accidentally made eye contact with SCO, and they got sued as well.

While also suing everyone in sight, SCO also announced that they would not sue their own customers, so for the price of a SCO license, a company could exclude themselves from possible litigation. A few companies actually bought into the madness, but for the most part, the world collectively rolled its eyes at SCO, meaning that SCO would have to soldier on with their lawsuit-based business strategy, or face the wrath of their shareholders.

Novell Jams SCO's Gears

A few years went past while the SCO v. IBM case was still in the discovery phase, with SCO not wanting to reveal the code they were suing over, without seeing sources from IBM first, and IBM not wanting to give SCO any source without first being told what code was in question. This provided time for the Novell case to advance, albeit also slowly. By 2007, Novell was awarded several summary judgements, and several of SCO's claims were denied. By 2008, Novell had been awarded over $3 million as a result of the case. Just under half of that amount would be appealed by SCO, and temporarily reversed for a couple of more years. The main outcome here, however, was that Novell was ruled as the owner of the Unix copyrights.

The SCO legal juggernaut, however, would not, nay, could not be stopped. Despite not owning the Unix copyrights they contended they were the owners of "control rights" to derivatives of SYSV, and for the period during the appeals to SCO v. Novell, they were still able to claim potential ownership of the Unix copyrights in court as well. When they finally lost the appeals, they were forced to fall back to their claims of control rights, which is where they still stand today.

Being faced with having to pay out to Novell, SCO finally received its first nail in its coffin. Following the Novell ruling, SCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and SCO v. IBM was stayed until SCO could emerge from Chapter 11 and continue the case. Shortly thereafter, SCO's stock price fell to under $0.50/share and they were de-listed from NASDAQ.

The End of SCO, but not of SCO v. IBM

So that's where we are today. Once the Chapter 7 filing is finalized by a judge, SCO will cease to be as a corporate entity, however they are proposing that SCO v. IBM be allowed to continue, not for sheer entertainment value, but rather so that they don't risk the wrath of their shareholders.

Nine years on, it's difficult to say who the real winners are. It's definitely not The SCO Group themselves, since they've gone under. It's also probably not SCO's lawyers, since their chances for being paid are greatly diminished since SCO's short-lived high times in 2003. IBM stands poised to win the case should it go forward, however their legal expenditures at this point are so large they could only be fielded by the likes of IBM. Novell, despite having already won, may not ever get paid all that it's owed. Linux users will most likely eventually emerge as not having to pay SCO a dime, which while is nice to have reaffirmed, is where they were back in 2003 to begin with. Another side effect of the courts rulings, was the reaffirmation of USL v. BSDi, which means that FreeBSD users are definitely safe from licensing fees and litigation.

While I've given an overview of the SCO-Linux litigations here, I've surely missed many of the bumps in the road. I only briefly touched on the PR war SCO fought against Groklaw, and many of the other insanities brought on by this case. With SCO v. IBM still possibly lunging ahead in a stupor, it may be too early to finally enjoy those aforementioned hard-earned beers, but it's still safe to chill them with the ice off SCO's corpse.

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CowboyNeal Looks Back at the SCO-Linux Trials

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  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:20PM (#41056641)

    Seriously. 9 years of facepalming is enough. Let's forget the SCO morons and focus on the future, which is celebrating and embracing open source in all ways imaginable.

    • by biggyfred (754376) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:24PM (#41056725)
      Young'ins need to know the story of SUE EVERYONE doesn't begin or end with Apple.
      • by jbolden (176878)

        Look people may disagree with Apple. But an analogy to the SCO v. IBM would be Apple suing Coca Cola for Microsoft's properly licensed use of Apple's technology. They aren't doing anything remotely like SCO.

      • by xtracto (837672)

        I remember in the days when SCO went crazy (about 9 years ago) that there was something like a "patent pool" or "patent society" by several companies (including) which had A LOT of patents which could be used by any company which was a member of said "patent society" in case they were sued by someone else.

        Nowadays, It would be really good if such patent pool was used to stop Apple senseless lawsuits. Everybody should sue Apple for all the patents they have 'infringed'. I am sure they have infringed one of t

    • Most folks have.

      I'm just curious about one thing though... TFA mentions shareholders. Who the fuck would be crazy/stupid/naive enough to still be clinging to shares of SCOX? It's not like it's worth anything (it currently trades at $0.02, FFS [yahoo.com])

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fustakrakich (1673220)

        TFA mentions shareholders.

        But nobody mentions the guy who started this. Anybody here believe he's changed his evil ways? It is said that the best way to get even with a rich man is to make him a poor man. Has that happened to him?

        • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:25PM (#41057597)
          There are several investor websites that have SCO/SCOX/DarlWatch forums, particularly in Utah. If you want to keep track yourself, either to drop him a note or make sure you never ever invest in anything he touches, here is his LinkedIn [linkedin.com] page. He describes himself and an Entrepreneur at Me, Inc. whose mission is to,"Incubate, design and build companies that deliver smart phone, social and cloud-based applications."
          • I've been wondering exactly what is he getting up to there at Me Inc? The site is shitty in both presentation and content. He hasn't discovered how to correctly size images. In lieu of actual substance, it's mostly about telling us that smart phones are the future, and that Me's ostensibly non-imaginary products can be used to develop applications for smart phones. I see some of these things are available on iTunes Store, and not exactly a roaring success. The self-stated raison d'etre for Me Inc. can be su

            • by jbolden (176878)

              This world would be a better place if McBride were to go out back and end it with a revolver,

              The world would be a better place if McBridge had been tried, convicted and jailed for fraud. I suspect McBridge's life in technology is over. Lots of other executive do similar things in other industries. The world would be a far better place if they faced criminal prosecution for their conduct.

              Also the Boies Schiller & Flexner people should be disbarred for deliberately misleading the court.

      • "Clinging" presupposes they have a choice. If nobody wants your shares, how do you sell them?

        Actually, some fools do want worthless "penny stocks.". Lots of people speculate in them for much the same reason people play the lottery. That's what all the spam about "hot tip: United Fecal Matter is set to take off!" is about.

        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          Actually, some fools do want worthless "penny stocks.". Lots of people speculate in them for much the same reason people play the lottery. That's what all the spam about "hot tip: United Fecal Matter is set to take off!" is about.

          Those spams are pretty much 'pump & dump' scams. Somebody buys an email list from a list broker, then snarfs up a few hundred thousand shares of some penny stock, spams the planet, waits for the stock to move up, and dumps them for a couple quick bucks. Hardcore daytraders used to get taken by this all the time til they wised up.

          I just keep in mind the old saw about "Know how to make a small fortune in the stock market? Start with a large fortune!"

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        I'm just curious about one thing though... TFA mentions shareholders. Who the fuck would be crazy/stupid/naive enough to still be clinging to shares of SCOX? It's not like it's worth anything (it currently trades at $0.02, FFS [yahoo.com])

        A bunch of people who jumped on it when it was 18, 19 bucks a share just before it took the swan dive into the cesspool. Once it started down, no smart investor would touch it, and once it was delisted, even the 'pump & dump' scams couldn't move it a millimeter. I'm thinkin a lotta people tried to sell, but nobody was buying at any price; their brokers warned them off fast.

      • I'm left wondering what Yarro (the largest shareholder) was thinking, and to a lesser extent, the other shareholders. By the time Yarro received Canopy's 30% share of SCO, it must have been pretty clear that McBride's strategy was turning to shit, and that IBM would vigorously fight SCO's poorly evidenced and sometimes nonsensical claims. I can think of three possibilities:

        1) Yarro and the shareholders were batshit crazy.
        2) The shareholders considered the almost certain decimation of their investment to be

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Who the fuck would be crazy/stupid/naive enough to still be clinging to shares of SCOX? It's not like it's worth anything (it currently trades at $0.02, FFS)

        If they're not anything, you can't get anything by selling them, and can as well just keep them. You're only risking losing $0.02 per share, after all, which is hardly a "crazy" risk.

      • by Antarius (542615)
        Ooh, anyone have a broker who can buy some of this for Non-US residents? I'd love to buy a couple of hundred share certificates in SCO to have on hand.

        Not only is it cheap toilet paper, but think of the novelty value and gag-gift potential!
    • by medv4380 (1604309) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:31PM (#41056837)
      ... are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana

      I'd rather be reminded of SCO and what they've done every now and then. If not then we might slip up and another SCO will come and we'll have to repeat this all over again, or worse someone like SCO might win because we're off guard.

      • by andydread (758754) on Monday August 20, 2012 @02:27PM (#41057613)
        Its already happening unfortunately. This time with software-patents and Microsft is doing it directly now [tomsitpro.com] rather than using a proxy like SCO they are quietly going around to companies [computerworld.com] and telling them if you use Linux then you need to pay up or face litigation. They are not sending letters they are sending layers and everything is done under NDA so you cannot talk about it in the press. Its very shady [informationweek.com] but they are already doing this. The goal is to stain/destroy Linux in the marketplace
        • by jbolden (176878)

          That was over Android not Linux. Though as an aside you are behind the times. Barnes and Noble refused to cave and wanted to go trial and make the claims specific and public. Microsoft responded by offering by offering a licensing deal to B&N for $300m. While I'd love to know the details, the good guys won that round.

      • by idontgno (624372) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:24PM (#41058363) Journal

        The great failing of Santayana's wisdom is that no one believes the lessons of history applies to them. Movers, shakers, and other douchebags are exceptionalism personified. They're above the rules, lessons, restrictions, or morals that the suckers in the streets are subject to. No matter what happened before, it won't happen to them, because they're just different. Visionary. Smarter. More aggressive. They shift the paradigm. The break the mold.

        No one is more surprised* when karmic justice catches up with a Great Person than the Great Person himself. Just ask Darl.

        *Corollary: When karma runs over a Great Person's dogma, it's someone else's fault. The Stab in the Back. Treason. The fickleness and weakness of the Great Person's followers. Whatever. It's not the Great Person's fault. Just ask 'em.

        • by MrHanky (141717)

          No, the great failing of Santayana's 'wisdom' is that it's evident bullshit. There's oh so much stuff that no one has ever bothered learning from history, yet rarely is any of it repeated. That's some exceptionally weak condemnation right there. It's just another saying that has some air of wisdom while being absolutely void of any insight whatsoever. Pure, unadulterated dumbfuckery, perfectly tailored for the free market of ideas.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>When karma runs over a Great Person's dogma, it's someone else's fault. The Stab in the Back. Treason. The fickleness and weakness of the Great Person's followers. Whatever. It's not the Great Person's fault. Just ask 'em.

          EXAMPLE: How our current "Great Man" also president blame the Republicans for "blocking his initiatives" even though it was the Democrats who controlled Congress for 4 years (2 years under Bush and 2 years under Obama). Blame everybody else but themselves.

    • Don't even think the term laid to rest. People have to stay on SCO till it is "ground into dust". Otherwise it can and will if at all possible rezombify and attack again. It is in need of a double tap to the head to ensure it stays down. Laid to rest makes it sound so peaceful and that will soon be calmly over. Don't stop driving till it is gone. That will also put the fear of whatever into other scumbags like SCO. Killer instinct needed on this one.
  • First of all, I don't understand how this story was told without mention of Chief Executive Dbag Darl McBride [wikipedia.org].

    Secondly, I flat out object to the following reoccurring theme prevalent in this piece that alleviates any leaders (none of whom are named) of any responsibility, onus or wrongdoing:

    A few companies actually bought into the madness, but for the most part, the world collectively rolled its eyes at SCO, meaning that SCO would have to soldier on with their lawsuit-based business strategy, or face the wrath of their shareholders.

    Once the Chapter 7 filing is finalized by a judge, SCO will cease to be as a corporate entity, however they are proposing that SCO v. IBM be allowed to continue, not for sheer entertainment value, but rather so that they don't risk the wrath of their shareholders.

    (emphasis mine) I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders." Yes, I know that shareholders can sue you when you commit a colossal screw up but you can't hand out free passes like this for every thing they do. What would the shareholders have done? Sued him out of his position? Well, at least he'd still have his ethics and dignity intact. The problem is that the people running SCO lacked any fragments of those things from the start! Let me remind you of McBride's open letter in 2003 that remains to this day at SCO's site [sco.com]. It contained such gems as:

    Based on the views of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, we believe that adoption and use of the GPL by significant parts of the software industry was a mistake. The positions of the Free Software Foundation and Red Hat against proprietary software are ill-founded and are contrary to our system of copyright and patent laws. We believe that responsible corporations throughout the IT industry have advocated use of the GPL without full analysis of its long-term detriment to our economy. We are confident that these corporations will ultimately reverse support for the GPL, and will pursue a more responsible direction.

    And what? Was there a shareholder holding a loaded gun to his head when he penned this letter? No, there wasn't. I mean, looking back this comment is laughable.

    And a side rant is that this is a perfect example of why corporations have more rights than citizens. SCO goes Chapter 11 then Chapter 7 and all the assholes that ran the show walk. And they're hired elsewhere and they have very minimal repercussions. What happens when an individual makes bad decisions with their personal finances? They get Chapter 13? They get liens slapped on all their income? Regardless of the chapter, their credit is screwed so they can't buy anything big for 10 years? You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see the names of the people running this show published so we know who ran the show at this company. And I'd like to see bankruptcy laws barring them from assuming any position within a company where they have direct purview or control of any assets worth over $5,000. You know what? I'd bet then they'd be a little more rational, ethical and logical in their decisions just like the general populace is forced to do for fear of bankruptcy.

    Seriously, where is the blame going to be placed? Who will learn their lesson here? I'll be damned if I allow you to just pass the buck to "the wrath of the shareholders." That black hole of capitalistic logic has lead to major problems in the governance and upper rankings of American companies.

    • I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders."

      Then you don't understand capitalism. Publicly held companies are driven by just one priority: increase shareholder value. If a CEO's conscience interferes with that goal, the shareholders soon appoint somebody else.

      You're upset about McBride's pursuit of frivolous litigation? Corporations have been known to kill people in pursuit of profit. That's why socialism was such a popular doctrine through much of the 20th century. Of course socialism has its own evils (aside from its own share of mass murder, socia

      • by jbolden (176878)

        30 years ago corporations had to meet multiple criteria. Their activities had to the advantage of stakeholders not just shareholders:

        the community they operated in
        workers
        ownership (shareholders)
        vendors
        society at large

        They could lose their charter for failing to meet those obligations. There are some good ideas from the 1970s we should bring back.

        • by fm6 (162816)

          Are you kidding? Corporate corruption was rampant during the 70s Ever hear of ITT?

          Name a corporation that's ever lost its charter for being bad for "society at large".

          • by jbolden (176878)

            Cleveland Clinic refused to cooperate with the city in a zoning dispute had its charter revoked and its building taken under eminent domain.

            • by fm6 (162816)

              I'm talking about publically-held corporations. You're talking about a non-profit.

              • by jbolden (176878)

                I can't find any examples of for profit corporations since the 1840s.

                • by fm6 (162816)

                  So, all we have to do is roll our economic model to back before the age of steam...

                  • by Kismet (13199)

                    I'm in favor. Local and family businesses sound pretty good to me.

                    • by fm6 (162816)

                      So, no mass production? No large-scale farming? Get ready to pay a lot more money for everything.

                    • by Kismet (13199)

                      Let's dump the mature money economy too!

                    • by fm6 (162816)

                      Subsistence farming is a really boring way to make a living.

                    • by Kismet (13199)

                      Surely many people did better than mere subsistence farming before the age of the mass-production economy.

                      Besides, we've learned some things since then. What are the possibilities? Are there ways to express technical innovation through local economies? How could local economies cooperate? Could independent coterminous spheres of consumption and production integrate to replace a global economy?

                      Anyway, there might be a mass movement somewhere in all of that, but I suppose it's something people would do becaus

                  • by jbolden (176878)

                    Not all of it. Just our mistrust of immortal persons and a willingness to treat for profit entities like we do non profit ones today. But it is disappointing that governments haven't used the authority except in the example of non profits. Could catch on your part.

                    • by fm6 (162816)

                      I think the important point is that threatening to lift an organization's charter for vague, general reasons is pretty impractical. It happened to Cleveland Clinic because they were mismanaging a important community resource. It would be very hard to justify that for a forprofit corporation. "Hello, IBM? We're shutting you down because your public stakeholders think you're a bunch of creeps."

                      I think you've latched onto one of those internet memes that proposes some magic formula to make things right. If you

                    • by jbolden (176878)

                      I'm all for better laws, though the ones we have are good just mostly not enforced.

                      As for pulling charters... it could be easily done. Assume that a company's right to operate in a state could be pulled by public referendum that would have a huge impact on corporate behavior. Assume the US treasury had this power and used it regularly. That would clean up corporations.

                      Now I agree that a treasury department that would have no problem disbanding large corporations is also a treasury department that doesn't

    • by chrb (1083577)

      I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders."

      I still don't understand why the shareholders haven't called for an explanation of the mysterious investments that bankrolled this whole thing: [wikipedia.org]

      BayStar Capital and Royal Bank of Canada invested US$50 million in The SCO Group to support the legal cost of SCO's Linux campaign. Later it was shown that BayStar was referred to SCO by Microsoft
      On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means.[60] Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real.[61] BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft

      It's been pretty clear that Microsoft was involved in providing indirect financing for SCO - surely there are some investors who lost money and would want to expose these shady deals, and sue Microsoft for subverting SCO and turning it into a litigation vehicle, rather than the independent enterprise that the board claimed it to be?

    • It doesn't make any sense on the face of it, until you recall who the "shareholders" actually are. The shareholders aren't the Wall St riff-raff. Rather the shareholders were the guys on the board of directors, and also Darl McBride. They all stood to make huge $$$ off trashing the company, and they did. Microsoft effectively covered the legal fees paid to Boies Schiller thru a front company if you recall. So ultimately it didn't cost anyone anything - They all got what they wanted and probably made big $$$

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      This is one of the key problems with corporations. Corporations are amoral creatures because in many ways there is never one single person that gets involved in moral decisions. At every level, including with the CEO, employees just say "I'm just following orders". Except the ultimate bosses are just the shareholders which can be an amorphous concept. They aren't actually running the company, they leave that to the execs and as long as there are profits they aren't going to second guess or micromanage t

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:30PM (#41056813) Homepage

    In the middle of Scocades didn't it surface that they got a lot of money from Microsoft, which was in the midst of the Vista disaster and didn't want anyone thinking about migrating to Linux until Windows 7 was safely on the market.

    They bought some Linux licenses from SCO to help fund the litigation, isn't that right? There was more than a little evidence the whole thing was really litigation by proxy.

    Those were the days the Big B was making personal appearances in the corporate jet to talk a couple cities out of switching to Linux. One went ahead and one in the U.K. threw in the towel if memory serves.

  • twice you mention that, without ever saying what exactly the shareholders could do about it besides sell? Which from the looks of it going for 2 cents/share I'd say happened anyway. or am I missing something? I'd say all the "wrath of the shareholders" could be summed up in one of three ways: piss, moan, and SELL.

    • someone should start a kickstart to buy all of the old SCO stock and donate to the Linux foundation. mean if its like a $0.25 it should be easy and cheap enough to get most if not all of it. Just think of the Sweat poetic justice of Linux then owning SCO.

  • Lets also not forget (Score:5, Informative)

    by andydread (758754) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:47PM (#41057095)
    FTS

    At this point, SCO's claims were sounding dubious at best, so they showed off two samples of alleged copied code at a reseller show later that month. However, the code in question was shown to be part of BSD, and previously released under the BSD license. In spite of this, SCO decided that to save face, they should waste everyone's time with continuing their warpath of litigation.

    Aided by Microsoft Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc. direct investment of $23,000,000 dollars to fund the lawsuit and an additional $50,000,000 dollars organized by Microsoft to funnel funds to SCO through Baystar Captial and RBC facilitated by one Mike Anderer IIRC.

    Also the saga with Maureen O'Gara, Dan Lyons, Rob Enderle and others that were caught spreading misinformation in the IT media on behalf of Microsoft and SCO in this case.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Rob Enderle -- has written a fairly long explication of his involvement. His reputation is permanently damaged.
      Maureen O'Gara -- didn't have much of a reputation to start with but there are now many articles that insinuate she fabricated information for pay, which is likely about the worst she did.
      Dan Lyons -- The link to his apology is easy to find http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/19/software-linux-lawsuits-tech-oped-cx_dl_0919lyons.html [forbes.com]

      But I still thought it would be foolish to predict how this lawsuit (

    • by laing (303349)
      Sun had recently settled their lawsuit with Microsoft over Java with undisclosed terms. A conspiracy theorist might wonder whether those terms included Sun acting as a proxy for Microsoft in channeling that $23M to Caldera/TSG/SCO.
  • by tenchima (625569) on Monday August 20, 2012 @01:59PM (#41057241)

    Just wanted to remind people that this farce was initiated by the company called Caldera when they bought SCO (The Santa Cruz Operation). They renamed themselves The SCO Group ("...SCO no longer means Santa Cruz Operation..."), but it was still the Caldera management calling the shots.

    The Santa Cruz Operation was a good company to work for. I can't say the same for Caldera. When the take-over occurred, the lucky ones (IMHO) go to go to Tarantella (eventually subsumed into what was Sun). The red-headed step-children got to stay behind with the sinking ship. And boy, was I ^H ^H ^H ^H ^H were they glad top be let go before the Darl McBride hit the fan.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Given that Caldera and RedHat were among the first distributors of Linux, how exactly did that work? Did Caldera fold their distro? Even if they did, what was out there was out there - under the GPL. So didn't/couldn't other companies have pointed out that any common code b/w Unix and Linux actually came from Caldera itself?
    • SCO Group did not buy The Santa Cruz Operation, but instead had bought certain assets from them, and had some rights to use Unix in specific ways under contract. The court ruled that this contract did not transfer the copyrights (in fact, it ruled Santa Cruz Operation didn't own them either, Novell retained ownership). There was quite a bit of willful obfuscation by SCO where they preferred to let on that they had just inherited Unix ownership from The Santa Cruz Operation, and the name similarity helped th

    • by devjoe (88696)
      Ironically, Caldera was a Linux company before they become The SCO Group and turned into a lawsuit fountain. One of the many fun pastimes of people in the early days of Groklaw was pointing out where The SCO Group was distributing the exact Linux files they claimed infringing, with accompanying GPL. But before long they shut down the Linux distribution.
    • by jbolden (176878)

      Not really. Caldera was Bryan Sparks and Ransom Love. Caldera died when McBride moved in.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Sorry I replied before realizing you used to work there.

      In which case I understand you hate Caldera but by the time Caldera bought SCO they weren't the Caldera that had been part of Linux. The integration was bad between those two companies and their interests conflicted.

  • ...to LMFAO.

    DaimlerChrysler was just walking down the opposite side of the street and accidentally made eye contact with SCO, and they got sued as well.

    I can (probably) do it without getting sued now too...

  • I am writing about software patents and came across Daryl's current picture online.

    The guy is probably living in a show box. His house was foreclosed, and afterward I see most of his assets have been destroyed.

    In my opinion, given the criminal activity he engaged in on the stand, and also flirting with the RICO Act sending fortune 500 companies write downs to the tune of "You better buy a SCO license, otherwise we will sue you for millions.", he should be in jail.

    If he ever finds work, make sure you don't b

  • by jbolden (176878) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:12PM (#41058185) Homepage

    One thing that didn't get mentioned was prior to groklaw a lot of the counterfactual information was being collected here. People who later had testimony related to this issue found out about it from /. I think some pats on the back to Taco ... are in order.

    As for IBM they are certainly a winner. For a few tens of millions they got 4-5 years of fantastic PR which moved them from being a vendor exploiting Linux to the defender of Linux and warmly embraced by the Linux community. This has helped their consulting business to the tune of billions in revenue as techi-nerds/geeks didn't push against executive management's favorite vendor.

    Sun was a huge loser. They had originally sided with SCO and they never lived down the alienation from the open source community. They remained mistrusted.

    Microsoft was a loser. Microsoft tied themselves to this lawsuit early and many of their more legitimate arguments against open source were discredited along with the fantasies of Darl McBride.

    The GPL was a huge winner. 2 major claims: was the GPL legal at all under the copyright clause was tested and the counter claims collapsed. More importantly the idea of a company issuing a GPL release and then revoking licenses was tested in court with the GPL holding up.

    Web 2.0 was a winner. Sco v. IBM represents the first Web 2.0 trial were important witnesses found out about the trial and presented evidence (i.e. self deposed) based on online publicity.

    Democracy was a winner. SCO made several claims that were detrimental to the rights of public participation in trials which were thrown out.

    Tarantella was a loser. No one technical wanted anything to do with SCO. They ended up being bought by Sun and withering even there.

    There are few wars with such clean cut good guys, bad guys.

    • Forgot 1 (Score:4, Informative)

      by jbolden (176878) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:19PM (#41058303) Homepage

      Oh I forgot.

      The reporters who originally sided with SCO were huge losers. SCO v. IBM was one of the few times (Judith Miller and Iraq being another) where reporters who engaged in unethical conduct were outed and their conduct has become part of their public profile.

      And for the same reason as above, integrity in journalism was a winner.

  • Apple, are you reading this?

  • by durdur (252098) on Monday August 20, 2012 @03:35PM (#41058509)

    So, Novell was awarded $3 million in 2008 but they have not to this day seen a dime of it. SCO declared bankruptcy and from that point on, various attorneys and advisers got paid, and the bankruptcy trustee, but not the creditors. This went on until no money was left, and now they're going into Chapter 7.

    And the IBM case was stayed by the bankruptcy. IBM had a very good counter-suit against SCO for defamation and interfering with IBM's business by wrongfully claiming IBM had no right to sell their Unix product, AIX. This case can now technically be resumed now that SCO is out of Chapter 11, but IBM will never see any monetary compensation, even if they win, because of course SCO has no money.

    The whole thing illustrates very well why companies incorporate in Delaware, because the bankruptcy process there practically guarantees that nobody with a claim against the company will get anything. At least if this case is any indication.

    • With so much litigation, a long track record of failure, and a rapidly deteriorating financial position, it seems odd that they were able to persist until they destroyed any value that could have been used to settle the debts due to the companies they tried to shake-down. Shouldn't there be some point at which legal action is stopped when a plaintiff is clearly unable already to deal with the costs it's running up on other people's tabs?

  • Let us not forget the other victim in all of this - Caldera OpenLinux.

    I know, it's a long dead distribution, but it was well ahead of it's time when SCO killed it to focus on it's Litigation-for-Profit business model. I often wonder what would have happened if Caldera Linux had survived.

  • A modern-day Dickens could do something with it.

    "Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have di

  • My biggest concern is that on the back of this there is Novell's takeover by Attachmate (funded in part by the sell off of patents). Who has them now...?
    • Novell already said that Linux does not infringe on UNIX copyrights. It would be pretty hard for someone to buy the copyrights with that out there and then turn around and say "oh... wait... we bought it from people who said Linux didn't violate UNIX Copyrights... but after we bought it we changed our minds."
  • Look at what's happened in the tech world during the last ten years... Hell, just look at the Linux world - who would have thought IBM would be selling Linux as the "never-get-fired-for choosing-IBM" mid-tier server option? It's not just that our legal system can't keep up with the ever-increasing pace of change, It's having trouble staying in the same freaking decade. I fear the coming patent wars and their effect on innovation. Hell, when this story broke I had a high /. UID.....
  • Daryl and his cronies, who made a shitload of money while The SCO Group burned.
  • ...but there's a much better summary on Groklaw.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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