By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-03-05 Print this article Print

SCO owns Unix Unix—which forms the core of AIX, Solaris, Digital Unix, BSD and HP-UX as the major variants—was originally owned by AT&T, which licensed it to others. The ownership rights passed through various paths to Santa Cruz Operations. Santa Cruz Operations then sold the rights to Caldera, along with the companys shortened name of "SCO." Caldera is now known as SCO. Every one of the Unix licensees knew of the transfers. There were no known, timely challenges to the related ownership transfers. Through this period, IBM, among others, maintained through documentation its responsibilities under its licenses with various Unix owners, including SCO. SCO and IBM entered into a partnership. The nature of that partnership remains unclear, but it surrounded SCOs owned Unix property. As do most partnerships, this one failed, and the parties went their separate ways. There is no evidence that the partnership activity changed SCOs ownership rights in any way.
BSD is protected directly by a settlement agreement that dates back to AT&Ts ownership of the product. Sun and HP both have license agreements from that same period, as well as current agreements with SCO. Of the major players, other than BSD, only IBM lacks a direct license with SCO.
While there now appears to be a broad attempt to undermine that ownership by companies such as Novell, which appear to be working in concert with IBM and the Linux community, the purchase and certainly SCOs intent appeared clear at the critical time of the actual purchase. Firms like Entrust and NTP are designed for litigation and are run by attorneys and intellectual property experts. SCO is not. Rather, despite accusations otherwise, SCO remains, first and foremost, a software company. If there was a doubt about SCOs ownership rights, it should have surfaced during, or shortly after, the purchase. The current actions by Novell and others are clearly connected to the IBM litigation and not the purchase, which makes them suspect. Most nations are founded on the belief that property ownership is a fundamental right. Whether that property is built or bought is not a material distinction; either you own it, or you dont. If we allow the rights of one individual or company to be violated by any group, does that not then weaken our own rights, as well? We operate by rule of law, not by rule of force. If we dont support the rights of others, who, then, will support our rights? The evidence on record currently supports SCOs ownership of Unix. Next Page: IBM executive error.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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