How Long

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-05 Print this article Print

?"> While all this litigation, if pursued all the way to resolution in the various courts, could drag on for years, Moglen pointed out that for that to happen "SCO would have to have an infinite amount of time to remain in being. I have to also point out that the parties being sued here by SCO are its present and former customers. "Ordinarily, a business engaged in suing its own customers is not in it for the long haul. Another interesting question is where SCO gets the money to litigate endlessly, particularly against billion-dollar enterprises like IBM, Novell and AutoZone," he said.
Current and potentially new Linux users do not have anything to fear from these lawsuits and the threat of others, Moglen said, adding that the market has seen players like IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Novell all essentially treat the matter as a nuisance rather than a problem.
"I think that large enterprises are also aware of that. They have assessed the legal risks themselves to some extent, but have also watched the largest firms in the IT industry assess as their proxies the technical and legal claims. They are eyeing it as a possible concern and going forward nonetheless," Moglen said. If AutoZone or DaimlerChrysler does not settle quickly, then SCOs theory of action has a real problem because you "cannot sell licenses when you are in litigation against firm A to prove that you own what you are trying to license; and you are in litigation against firm B for needing a license and nobody has settled with you and people are saying that if you dont own what you are selling then I dont need to buy it." "And if your infringement action if I dont buy your license isnt any good, then I shouldnt buy, and so Im going to sit and wait. What judge is going to say I was intentionally infringing when it wasnt clear if the licensor owned what he was trying to license and was in litigation against somebody else who was defending that litigation and saying there was no infringement," Moglen said. "You now have a little company suing four immense companies in different places on very different claims and supposing that it can take all of this on at once. My advice to potential and/or existing Linux customers who might be worried about being sued by SCO is that the lesson here is that your greatest danger of that is to be a SCO customer," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
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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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