SCO Subpoenas Linux Leaders

UPDATE: The legal war between SCO and IBM continues to expand as SCO this week targeted top Linux, free software leaders, Torvalds, Morton and Stallman with subpoenas.

The SCO Group Inc.s spokesman Marc Modersitzki confirmed Thursday that the company had issued subpoenas to a number of companies and luminaries of the Linux community, including founder Linus Torvalds.

In addition to Torvalds, the subpoenas were served to Digeo Corp., employer of Linux kernel maintainer Andrew Morton; the Free Software Foundation; Novell Inc.; the Open Source Development Labs; and Transmeta Corp., the employer of Linus Torvalds. Morton and Torvalds also work for the Open Source Development Labs, where they devote their time to Linux development.

The common link between the entities, Modersitzki said, is that each has been involved in leading Linux or creating Linux code. Modersitzki characterized the subpoenas as seeking technical details, but he would not specify what SCO is hoping to uncover.

Modersitzki also countered reports that have suggested that SCO is making this move in response to IBM Corp.s subpoenas of investment banks and The Yankee Group, which have been viewed as siding with SCO.

He flatly denied the suggestion. "There is no connection," he said. According to the court documents, SCO notified IBM on Oct. 5 by mail that it was intending to subpoena the six parties.

Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of system software research for analyst company International Data Corp., characterized this latest legal act as "SCO continuing to try to turn what is a contract dispute into a media event and thus produce over a shadow over a whole Linux market with perhaps no justification."

"If SCO is hoping to find that Richard Stallman [founder and head of the Free Software Foundation], Linus Torvalds or IBM put misappropriated Unix code into Linux, they will be disappointed. Richard, Linus and IBM do things right," Kusnetzky added.


At this time, none of the subpoenaed parties have decided on a response. For example, Novell, according to Kevan Barney, senior manager of public relations, still hasnt received a copy of the subpoena.

Torvalds, who has received a subpoena, commented in a NewsForge report that he wants "to check it out with a lawyer first" before commenting in detail on the action.

In any case, the subpoenaed parties will have until Nov. 21 to produce the documents requested by Lindon, Utah-based SCO. If they do not comply, they could be held in contempt of court.

The OSDL has announced that it will be paying Torvalds and other OSDL employees, presumably Mortons, legal bills. An OSDL representative also said that the "subpoenas request that OSDL and Torvalds produce documents for use in the [SCO-IBM] dispute."

Meanwhile, the Groklaw legal blog reported that IBM had continued its attack on SCO in court. According to PDF copies of the District Court filing posted earlier this week, IBM requested the court to dismiss some grounds for SCOs case because "specifically, SCO fails to allege any facts concerning the fraud that IBM is alleged to have committed."

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