Supreme Irony-SCO lost the rights to UNIX after the lawsuit.

This is delicious.

SCO bought the rights to UNIX from Novell, then sued IBM for violating the copyright on UNIX by copying code from UNIX into Linux. Since this put Linux customers at risk, Sun paid SCO $10 million to secure the rights to the remaining pieces of UNIX that we had not already secured. This allowed Sun to indemnify our customers against any lawsuits. Sun got a lot of flack at the time from the Linux community because this deal put money into the SCO coffers and presumably allowed it to continue to press the lawsuit more forcefully. Microsoft also cut a deal with SCO in a like manner.

So, it turns out that part of the deal SCO had with Novell included a provision that said that Novell gets 95% of all future licensing like this and SCO only gets to keep 5%. But SCO kept all of the money from Sun and Microsoft. Since
this violated the contract, the judge in the lawsuit has ruled that the deal that transferred the rights to SCO in the first place is null and void, so SCO has no standing for the lawsuit.

SCO could now transfer the money and re-instate the contract, but it no longer has enough money to make good on the deal. So it appears that long lawsuit with IBM is over. And it is all because of the same deals that Sun and Microsoft cut with SCO that drew such flamage from the Linux world.


One response to this post.

  1. My read of the decision (but IANAL) is that the judge did not invalidate Sun’s nor Microsoft’s agreements with SCO, but the judge did rule that SCO did not obtain required approval from Novell to make those deals. This does not necessarily imply that those deals are invalid. IANAL, and I didn’t even follow the story closely back then, so I’m not sure what the significance of this ruling is, or what the significance of a potential subsequent invalidation of those agreements would be. I recommend we leave this one to Sun Legal and PR…


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