SCO: IBM Suit Not About Linux

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-03-07 Print this article Print

SCO CEO Darl McBride stresses case "is only about IBM and the contractual violations that we are alleging IBM has made."

The legal action the SCO Group brought against IBM on Thursday has nothing to do with Linux or the open-source community, Darl McBride, CEO and president of the SCO Group, stressed in a media conference on Friday morning. "This case is not about the Linux community or us going after them. This is not about the open-source community or about UnitedLinux, of whom we are members and partners. A small part of our business is Linux-based," McBride said. "This case is and is only about IBM and the contractual violations that we are alleging IBM has made and that we are going to enforce." The legal action also is not about other companies, McBride reiterated, adding that SCO has some 30,000 licensees. "This case is about IBM not stepping up to what we feel are contract violations, which weve alleged in our complaint," he said.
As recently as LinuxWorld in January, IBM made comments that it intended to take its core AIX expertise and move that into Linux. These statements followed other comments made by IBM that "are very concerning to us," McBride said.
IBM can donate whatever it wants to, to the open-source community as long as it does not infringe on SCOs proprietary information, McBride said. To the extent that IBM wants to take WebSphere and Informix and donate those to the community, the company has every right to do so. "But when they take our proprietary code and, without our permission, put that into the open-source community, that is where we do have a major-league problem," McBride said. IBM corporate spokesman Bill Hughes told eWEEK on Friday morning that the company has not yet seen the lawsuit and thus is unable to comment on it. Thursdays legal filing, which was predicted in an exclusive report by eWEEK last week, also accuses IBM of "affirmatively taking steps to destroy all value of Unix by improperly extracting and using the confidential and proprietary information it acquired from Unix and dumping that information into the open source community." "IBMs tortious conduct was also intentionally and maliciously designed to destroy plaintiffs business livelihood and all opportunities of plaintiff to derive value from the Unix software code in the marketplace," the filing says. The suit goes on to explain that IBM, SCO and now-extinct Sequent had entered into an agreement to create a version of Unix for Intel Corp.s Itanium processors, known as Project Monterey. Under that agreement, SCO had shared its expertise with IBM about how best to run Unix on Intel processors, but IBM ultimately canceled the project. However, "in violation of its obligations to SCO, IBM chose to use and appropriate for its own business the proprietary information obtained from SCO," the suit alleges. SCO also claims in the suit that it is not possible for Linux to have "rapidly reached Unix performance standards for complete enterprise functionality without the misappropriation of Unix code, methods or concepts to achieve such performance, and coordination by a larger developer, such as IBM." McBride on Friday cited a recent example of how IBM is still acknowledging SCOs AIX rights. "Yesterday I had a request from a $28 billion company, an IBM customer, who sent us a request asking to see the AIX source code and the derivative work that came out of that. It is crystal clear to us here that certain parts of IBM are regularly reinforcing that we do have pretty strong ownership of the AIX code base," he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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