SCO Takes Aim at Linux User Target

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-02-18 Print this article Print

The SCO Group is standing firm by its commitment to sue an enterprise Linux user, even as it has missed its own self-imposed three-month timeframe for doing so. The question remains: What company will be the target?

The SCO Group is standing firm by its commitment to sue an enterprise Linux user, even though it has missed its own self-imposed three-month timeframe for doing so. Speculation that the Lindon, Utah software firm is set to file suit against a Linux user as early as this week is growing, particularly in the light of comments made by SCO CEO Darl McBride on November 18, 2003, when he told in an interview that his company plans to file at least one lawsuit against a large Linux user within 90 days as part of its effort to expand the scope of its legal battle with the open-source operating system. The 90-day time period is now up.
However, SCO is not denying that such a lawsuit is imminent. SCO director Blake Stowell on Wednesday declined to comment on the exact timing of its potential lawsuit against an enterprise Linux user, but left no doubt that SCO intends to take such legal action, telling eWeek that SCOs only comment on any end-user lawsuits at this point in time is "stay tuned.
"We are not stating yet when that may take place or with whom it may take place, but you may see something from us in the near future on this," he said. There has been much speculation about who the likely target would be. In November, reports surfaced that SCO had picked its target: Google, the worlds largest search engine company. Stowell at that time denied that Google had been singled out, telling eWeek that "we have not yet decided what company we will sue for Unix intellectual property rights. At this time, we dont even have a date for when we will decide except that it will be by the end of our already started 90-day clock." But he did admit that Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was one of the companies notified by SCO that its use of Linux violated SCOs intellectual property rights, even though the search engine company isnt publicly traded. SCO has been threatening Linux users since last May, when it sent 1,500 of the worlds largest enterprises warnings letters about their Linux use. That was followed by other letters warning them of potential legal action and encouraging them to take out a SCO intellectual property license that would indemnify them for their alleged illegal Linux usage. In August, McBride again warned Linux users that the company had compiled a list of all the large companies with numerous servers running Linux and warned that it would not hesitate to drag them into court if they refused to pay for UnixWare licenses. McBride told eWeek at that time that there were some 2.5 million servers running Linux and that SCO had "identified by name those companies running many of them. We are in the process of contacting them about coming into compliance and taking a UnixWare license from us. If they refuse to do so, we will sue them directly and see them in court," he said then. Next Page: Red Hat Bolsters its Case vs. SCO

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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