The SCO Group on Monday terminated Big Blues right to use or distribute its Unix-based AIX operating system.
SCO, which is suing IBM for $1 billion, said it was going to file an amendment to the complaint against IBM with the U.S. States District Court of Utah, where the case is currently pending, for a permanent injunction requiring IBM to cease and desist all use and distribution of AIX and to destroy or return all copies of Unix System V source code.
In the amended complaint, SCO is also seeking additional damages from IBMs AIX-related businesses. These damages began accruing Friday, June 13th at midnight, the company said. Asked by eWEEK how much that would be, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said they estimated IBM earned between $30 billion and $50 billion a year for services, software and hardware sold around its AIX business.
Stowell also confirmed that SCO has named Sequent Computer Systems in its amended complaint, alleging that Sequent contributed part of its Unix-derivative Dynix, specifically the non-uniform memory access (NUMA) technology, to Linux.
As Sequent was acquired by IBM before the NUMA technology was released to the open-source community, Sequent and IBM are “one and the same for the purposes of our lawsuit. We have code to justify this claim,” he said.
In 1999 IBM and Sequent announced a merger agreement under which IBM would sell Sequents product line worldwide and integrate Sequent technologies into IBM products. Sequent would then become a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM, they said at that time.
If the permanent injunction SCO is seeking is granted and allowed to stand, it means that IBM will not be able to sell AIX and those companies already using AIX will have no rights to do so anymore.
IBM is expected to challenge any the injunction in court. Spokeswoman Trink Guarino told eWeek that there is nothing new in the press release SCO issued on Monday.
“Our view is that our AIX license is irrevocable and perpetual and cannot be terminated. We intend to defend this vigorously,” she said. IBM intends to continue shipping and investing in AIX and supporting its customers as they implemented AIX solutions.
SCOs CEO Darl McBride told eWEEK in an interview on Monday that “AIX customers will not have an authorized right to use the software and we are going to tell them to seek legal opinion as to what it means to be running your business on unauthorized version of software.”
When SCO first announced the lawsuit it informed IBM that it intended to revoke its AIX license if the two companies could not reach agreement within 100 days, the amount of time specified in the Unix licensing agreement between them. That deadline passed Friday, June 13, with no resolution.
McBride told eWEEK that SCO is now simply enforcing its legal rights. “We have every right in the world to revoke their right to use the software. We have been through the 100-day cure period and we did not get resolution, so we have every right to revoke their license,” he said.
SCO had met with IBM after it informed them it intended to revoke their AIX license, and had taken nine people to see them, from business staff to technology staff to its attorneys and had given them “every opportunity to sit down and work through this. But we continually got the cold shoulder from IBM. They have not solved the problem so we are taking the next step: enforcing the very strong contract rights we have,” he said.
SCO also decided to go for a permanent injunction to prevent IBM from shipping AIX rather than first starting with an audit of its customer base, McBride said. “Were not going to play softball at this point, we are simply going to go in and enforce our rights by seeking a permanent injunction,” he said.
AIX is based on Unix System V, to which SCO holds the copyrights, McBride said. If the injunction is granted and upheld, AIX users will have to stop running AIX unless IBM and SCO reach an agreement of some sort.
“The ultimate enforcement agreement is the courts. The amended filing also deals with the issue of damages and our legal view is that IBM has no right to derive any benefit from AIX after June 13, and we are seeking the AIX revenue stream going forward in amended damages. Thats what puts the teeth in it for us and if IBM wants to move their whole AIX revenue stream onto the table here were certainly willing to discus that with them,” he said.
Sun Microsystems, which is seeking to benefit from the fallout, said last week it is preparing to launch a campaign known as the AIX to Solaris Migration Program. On Monday Sun officials stressed again that its Unix-based Solaris platform is not in any way affected by the SCO/IBM battle.
John Loiacono, vice president of Suns operating platforms group, said the company has re-affirmed with its customers and partners that it has licensing rights to the Unix code on which Solaris is based, for both SPARC and x86 systems.
“In light of SCOs legal dispute with IBM over Unix licensing rights, Sun wants to reaffirm that it has no licensing issues with SCO as it pertains to its Solaris operating environment and that Suns previous licensing agreements give Sun complete Unix IP rights in relation to Suns Solaris operating systems. For Unix, this includes Suns Unix development and Suns Unix development agreements and subsequent licensing transactions,” he said.
Sun had also not had to make changes to its contracts with customers and continued to provide indemnification to its Solaris customers, including its Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86, and Trusted Solaris customers, he said.