SCO-Linux Wars Are Far from Over

Opinion: Just because SCO has been doing badly lately doesn't mean that its battles against Linux are even close to being over. Darn it!

Its not over yet.

Yes, I know SCO lost in the DaimlerChrysler case, but when all was said and done, that case turned into a much smaller matter of contract law rather than anything to do with Linux. And making it even more meaningless was the fact that DaimlerChrysler did finally assert that it had kept Unix System V source code safe.

In short, it was an almost meaningless victory in the larger war of SCO versus the Linux-using world.

Mind you, I dont think SCO can win. Ive gone over the reasons for that several times before, and I havent seen anything to come out from SCO that has made me change my mind.

But to think, as some seem to, that the DaimlerChrysler loss was the beginning of the end … well sorry, but no its not.

I also know that SCO has been putting its foot in its mouth again with claims that it somehow owns ELF (Executable and Linking Format Specification).

ELF, for those of you who never programmed in the Unix/Linux world, is a standard that almost all Unix/Linux programs use to communicate with many higher-level routines. Its important, indeed critical, for Unix/Linux programs.

And as the good people at Groklaw point out, while SCO helped make ELF, it has no right whatsoever to claim that its proprietary, and you can also forget about SCOs claims of owning the whole Elf ball of wax.

But as fun as it may be to show how a specific SCO claim doesnt hold water, the Linux/open-source community has been shooting holes in SCOs code claims for ages now. This is just one more example of why SCOs IP claims arent much good.

Finally, SCO is once more at war with BayStar, and this time I dont see these two settling their differences anywhere outside of a courtroom.

No matter who wins here, though, Linux loses. BayStar is the company that wanted SCO to dump all of its Unix work to focus entirely on whacking Linux. Say what you will of SCO, but the guys from Lindon, Utah, really are trying to run an operating-system business and not just an IP-litigation house.

If BayStar somehow carried all before it, wed just have a continuation of the anti-Linux lawsuits.

No, the only way I see the larger case of SCO versus Linux ending anytime soon is if Novell wins in its contention that it never transferred the Unix copyrights to SCO in the first place. If the federal courts rule that way, then Linux wins quickly.

Without that win, though, well, I expect we can look forward to years of more Linux litigation. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Still, despite the lawsuits, Linux continues to gain corporate support. In a way, its a testament to just how good Linux really is. Despite all of the FUD, despite all the talk of lawyers, more and more users are turning to Linux for both their personal and business use. It really is that darn good. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.


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