SCO owns the trunk

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2003-06-24 Print this article Print

?"> SCO owns the trunk? As SCOs intellectual property campaign has expanded, so, too, has the group of potential targets grown. In an interview last week with Cnet, SCOs Darl McBride said: "We think of this as a tree. We have the tree trunk, with Unix System 5 running right down the middle of the trunk. That is our core ownership position on Unix." In an interview with Byte, SCOs Chris Sontag went further by stating, "we believe that Unix System V provided the basic building blocks for all subsequent computer operating systems, and that they all tend to be derived from Unix System V (and therefore are claimed as SCOs intellectual property)."
By asserting ownership claims over works broadly defined as derivative of Unix, SCOs managed to inflate the group of possible SCO targets potentially to include Apples OS X, the BSDs, nearly every flavor of commercial Unix and even Microsofts Windows.
As for the licensing agreement that Microsoft recently signed with SCO for a reported $10 million, Sontag told Byte that the deal was for an applications interface layer. This means that to the extent that Microsoft products partake in the eternal form of "Unixness," (the exact definition of which no one has concretely pinned down) Microsoft owes royalties to SCO. I know that Microsoft had been emerging for many as the imagined Mr. Big behind SCOs IP chicanery, but if any firm can be identified so far as a powerful industry buddy for SCO, its Sun Microsystems, the only firm that SCO has identified as paid-up in the Unixness licensing department. Whats more, Sun has been quick to trumpet its good relations with SCO in advertisements, contrasting themselves to those swashbuckling code-lifters over at IBM.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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