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IBM Denies Destroying Evidence in SCO Case 125

Rob writes "IBM Corp has denied claims made by SCO Group that it destroyed evidence relevant to their ongoing breach-of-contract and copyright case, maintaining that SCO has had the evidence in question in its possession since March 2005. SCO, which believes IBM breached a contract by contributing Unix code to the Linux operating system, accused IBM of destroying evidence in a July 2006 court filing, claiming that "IBM directed 'dozens' of its Linux developers within its LTC [Linux Technology Center] and at least 10 of its Linux developers outside... to delete the AIX and/or Dynix source code from their computers.""
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IBM Denies Destroying Evidence in SCO Case

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  • What cojones! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:02AM (#17001380) Homepage Journal

    What's really funny about this particular SCO accusation is that they're basically accusing IBM of being careful not to accidentally put SCO's (alleged) IP in Linux, and trying to spin it as a bad thing. IBM didn't want its developers to inadvertently use AIX or Dynix code in their Linux development work, because IBM didn't want to risk revealing AT&T's trade secrets and violating their contract. So, IBM prudently directed developers who were going to work on Linux to get rid of the AIX and Dynix source on their machines prior to beginning Linux development work. Now SCO wants the court to interpret this attitude of respect for AT&T/Novell/SCO/TSG IP as bad-faith destruction of evidence.

    I guess I have to admire their chutzpah.

  • The Disappeared Ones (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CmdrGravy ( 645153 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:11AM (#17001514) Homepage
    It's funny, there used to be a fair amount of posts in SCO Threads from people ( usually using words likes Slashbots, Groupthink, Worship OSS etc ) who believed that IBM might certainly be in the wrong and SCO could well have a case.

    It's funny they don't seem to crop up anymore, just like all those people telling us our governments could never be so wrong about WMD and how they'd certainly find loads of evidence once the invasion was completed.
  • Re:What a mess! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:44AM (#17001946) Homepage
    Those economic strides have their costs []. Do you think USians would put up with 6000 coal miner deaths per year? It's not even proportional counting population and production amount. And that's just one sector. The old adage is that growth entails risk, and we just aren't willing to put up with the amount of risk it would take to grow at a competitive rate.

  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by udderly ( 890305 ) * on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:47AM (#17001992)

    IANAE (economist) so, for all I know, if SCO won this lawsuit and IBM had to pay up, it might be counted towards the GDP too. Juking the stats to create a perception of growth is meaningless except if you're running for reelection.

    At least in the case of the Exxon Valdez cleanup, something constructive was done. What would happen with this SCO thing? A big chunk of cash moves from one party to another, with a hefty percentage for the lawyers, of course. But when all is said and done, what benefit will be realized, except to the winning party and the lawyers? No new technology is created, no goods produced--a lot of heat and no light.

    By the way, excellent quote from EA, one of my favorites. Here's another good one: New Yorkers like to boast that if you can survive in New York, you can survive anywhere. But if you can survive anywhere, why live in New York? New Yorkers, don't hate me, ILNY as much as anyone else--it's just such a clever quote.

  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:48AM (#17002010)
    ah, but the money spent on lawsuits is still in the economy enabling the lawyers to purchase yachts and houses and thus paying the salaries of the house and yacht builders and then going on whatever they decide to spend it on. It's only "lost" money as far as IBM and their shareholders are concerned. The money is still going around the money-go-round being taxed at every opportunity...
  • Re:What a mess! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by udderly ( 890305 ) * on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:08PM (#17002362)
    At some point, China will have to crack down on this problem, or risk very damaging WTO sanctions. The only question is in how long western nations will wait before coming to a consensus about how to deal with the problem.

    True enough. One thing is certain though, when the West does come to a consensus, the little dictator in North Korea will suddenly burst back on the world stage with his missile-rattling. He's China's pawn, whom they use as a bargaining chip when we object to their crap.
  • by KokorHekkus ( 986906 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:17PM (#17002496)
    I thought so as well so I looked it up: "In answering, the defendant is limited to admitting, denying or denying on the basis he/she/it has no information to affirm or deny"

    Source: cted=488&bold=%7C%7C%7C%7C []
  • by CaptainZapp ( 182233 ) * on Monday November 27, 2006 @12:19PM (#17002518) Homepage
    Companies have their employees delete copies of source code all the time, particularly when they change projects or switch departments.

    I'd wager that only unbelievably dumb companies destroy their source code, since any company with a quarter of a clue and above enforces the use of a source code management system.

    It's part of the nature of those thingies that you can pull the code for just about any version of a specific, version controleed software.

    I'd be absolutely stunned if this wouldn't be the case for AIX, given that it's IBM maintaining the code.

  • Go IBM (Score:1, Interesting)

    by qaz20 ( 264928 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @01:08PM (#17003242)
    I'm glad they chose IBM to go after. IBM has the resources to defend against this shite.
    They could have knocked out half a dozen distros just filing the complaint. Thanks, IBM.
  • Re:What cojones! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @02:23PM (#17004434)
    The most funny thing about it is even IF there was such infringement (which several years of trial have shown there is not) there was a clarification of the contract terms by AT&T in a published letter to their licensees stating that such behavior was NOT covered by the contract.
  • The SCO Effect (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JaJ_D ( 652372 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @03:34PM (#17005550)
    It appears to me that this SCO v's IBM is a type of "Concorde Effect" (aka sunk-cost [])

    SCO have NO other business plan, and will (more likely than not) be destroyed if they pull out. They have NO other choice but to carry on this fight to the very end. There is, basically, nowhere to retreat to.

    My guess is that, in 5 years time, there will be an economic thery known as "The SCO Effect" which will basically be summerised as:

    There comes a point when a company has invested so much money in one course of action, which is now apparent to all parties (inside and external to the company) to be futile; however they have no other choice but to carry on, with a full knowledge, and with clarity of thought (albeit fatally flawed) that this is the ONLY course of action left to them.

    The company have to have faith in the outcome as failure will lead to the total destruction of the firm.

    The company has no choice BUT to drive on - no matter how ludicous their actions. This is, in summary, The SCO Effect. These are the slow, painful death-throws of a weaken and fatally wounded company trying to do anything to survive.

    Lets face it - it happens frequently in the software industry.

  • by mstone ( 8523 ) on Monday November 27, 2006 @11:09PM (#17011280)
    The memo SCO complains about was written by a project lead from the Linux effort, and was distributed to a whopping total of eight programmers coming to the Linux project after having worked on AIX some time in the past. The whole gist of the memo was "given the litigation, it would be a good idea to have these people remove any sandboxes with AIX code in them before they start working work on Linux."

    Only files on the programmers's personal machines were deleted. Anything that actually got submitted to AIX was in the central repository, which IBM produced to SCO five months previously.

    Of the eight people who got copies of the message, four didn't delete anything, and the other four don't remember of they deleted anything or not.

    The real kicker, as IBM points out, is that none of the eight people in question are listed in any of SCO's complaints about alleged IP infringement. If SCO thought these people had misappropriated methods or concepts from AIX and ported them into Linux, it was required to say so, specifically, before filing this motion as 'proof' that IBM was destroying evidence.

    SCO's brief really boils down to, "We haven't actually accused these people of doing anything wrong. But if you adjust your tinfoil hat just right, you can see how their getting a memo to delete AIX files looks like evidence of a conspiracy by IBM management to destroy evidence related to this case." In practical terms, it's about half a step up from the Chewbacca Defense, and IBM's reply memo shows the Nazgul giving it the reaming it so richly deserves.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling