The SCO Group, which is suing IBM for more than $1 billion in a contract dispute, on Monday expanded its attack on Linux and is now claiming for the first time that Linux users are violating its Unix copyrights, particularly as SCO has now registered and received U.S. copyright for its Unix System V source code.
“Until now the case started off as a contract dispute with IBM and did not involve intellectual property or copyright. As of today its a different game, and Linux users now do have a copyright issue to deal with,” SCO CEO and President Darl McBride told a media teleconference on Monday.
While SCO has focused primarily on IBMs alleged Unix contract violations and misappropriation of Unix source code over the past few months, now the Lindon, Utah, companys claiming that “the alleged actions of IBM and others have caused customers to use a tainted product at SCOs expense.
“With more than 2.4 million Linux servers running our software, and thousands more running Linux every day, we expect SCO to be compensated for the benefits realized by tens of thousands of customers. Though we possess broad legal rights, we plan to use these carefully and judiciously,” he said.
As reported by eWEEK today, SCO is now offering a solution to help those businesses that want to continue to run Linux. It will now offer SCO UnixWare licenses tailored to support run-time, binary use of Linux for all commercial users of Linux based on the 2.4 kernel and later.
Any business running commercial Linux that buys a UnixWare license would be held harmless against any past copyright violations, and for any future use of Linux in a run-only, binary format, McBride said. Beginning this week, the company will begin contacting companies regarding their use of Linux and to offer them a UnixWare license.
However, McBride declined to specify the pricing of this run-time, binary UnixWare license, saying that SCO was looking at all the factors around this. But it would be “fair and reasonable” to Linux users while compensating SCO for its “valuable intellectual property” contained in Linux.
But both McBride and SCO chief legal counsel David Boies, from Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, made it clear that SCO intends to use every means possible to protect the companys UNIX source code and to enforce its copyrights. “We intend to use every means possible to protect our Unix source code and to enforce its copyrights.
“While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way,” he said.
McBride again on Monday maintained that hundreds of files of misappropriated Unix source code and derivative Unix code have contributed to Linux in a variety of areas, including multi-processing capabilities.
While the Linux 2.2.x kernel was able to scale to between 2 and 4 processors, Linux 2.4.x and the 2.5.x development kernel, Linux now scales to 32 and 64 processors through the addition of advanced Symmetrical Multi-Processing (SMP) capabilities taken from Unix System V and derivative works, which is a violation of SCOs contract agreements and copyrights, said McBride.
“We are trying to help Linux users with this problem. Following the distribution of our letter to the CEOs of the Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, many of them contacted us to ask what they could do to move into compliance. Today, were delivering a very clear message to customers regarding what they should do. Intellectual property is valuable and needs to be respected and paid for by corporations who use it for their own commercial benefit. The new UnixWare license accomplishes that objective in a fair and balanced way,” McBride said.