SCO Isnt Going Away Anytime Soon

Opinion: Like the Energizer Bunny, SCO and its Linux/Unix lawsuits keeps going and going and...

The only person who has written more about SCO than yours truly is Pamela Jones of Groklaw. So, when PJ—a real, live person by the way, lest any of you still have doubts—says that SCO is probably not going to show any long promised proof that Unix code has been ripped off and used in Linux this Friday, I agree with her.

Mind you, neither of us, nor much of anyone else outside the Lindon, Utah town limits, believes that SCO has any such proof, but thats beside the point. In theory, SCO has to show its "Allegedly Misused Material Identified to Date" cards. In practice, I, like Jones, expect SCO to find some way to delay the matter until, at least, the next deadline: Dec. 22.

Sooner or later, though, I do expect SCO to show something. What I dont expect though is for it to actually prove anything.

After all, SCO has done it before.

Back in December 2003, SCO sent out a letter to numerous companies claiming to cite Linux specific code, which had been taken from its Unix intellectual property.

Many of open-sources best and brightest, however, quickly pointed out that there wasnt any proof of SCOs claims in the examples the company had cited.

Heck, even SCOs own people havent been able to find any stolen code. An e-mail in the SCO vs. IBM case that was unsealed over the summer revealed that a 1999 study of Linux code by a SCO-employed consultant found no Unix code in the open-source operating system.

Since then SCO has been in one scrape after another. Novell is trying to undercut SCOs entire Unix/Linux argument, by claiming that SCO never bought Unixs intellectual property in the first place.

SCO also has simmering lawsuits with AutoZone, DaimlerChrysler and Red Hat.

The company has had a giant fight with BayStar, a major investor. It came within a whisker of being delisted from the Nasdaq stock market.

Do I need to mention that despite a spiffy new Unix operating system, OpenServer 6, and an interesting branch into mobile device management, that SCO still loses money hand over fist? I thought not.

And, of course, SCO vs. IBM goes on and on and… Well, you know the drill.

If you really want to know more, try either Groklaws Summary of SCO v IBM or, in even more painful detail, the IBM Timeline.

So, court cases or no, can we now put SCO behind us?

Many people already have. No one seriously thinks any more that SCOs claims are damaging Linux.

Linux has become a mainstream choice on servers and its making slow inroads on the corporate desktops.

The question is no longer: "Can Linux be used in the enterprise?" Its, "Which Linux should we consider for our enterprise?"

Still, like an old wound which aches when bad weather comes around, the SCO-IBM lawsuits continue to haunt us.

Regardless of what happens, or doesnt happen, on Friday, until the case is finally resolved, we still need to keep an eye on it.

Oh, and by the way, the SCO-IBM 5-week jury trial is currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 26, 2007.

The saga continues.

Ziff Davis Internet Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been working and writing about technology and business since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.


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