January 08, 2004

SCO Lawsuit Death Clock

We're getting close to the deadline set by a judge for SCO to either put up actual code that is being infringed or shut up and withdraw their case. A little background: SCO bought UNIX System V (how much and exactly what parts are under dispute) from Novell. Subsequent to this, they have launched a lawsuit against IBM and threatened innumerable Linux users with lawsuits and tried to scare the entire computer world into turning away from Linux based on accusations that there are huge portions of the code that was stolen from SCO's acquired IP.

It's an awful mess and a great many people have suspected that there was no actual infringement as SCO resolutely refused to say exactly what code was copied. Finally, in early December the judge had enough and gave SCO 30 days to spell out exactly what was infringing. According to the article (linked above) reporting this story, the ruling was issued on Friday, December 5th. Assuming that weekends don't count and neither do Federal holidays, that would put the 21st as the day of reckoning.

The lawsuit, if proven, would kill AIX, IBM's popular business implementation of UNIX and would be a dramatic step backwards for both Linux, the project, and open source/free software. The entire process of contributing code would become much more cumbersome as trust evaporated from the system.

Since both IBM and all the Linux big wheels are acting supremely confident, the variant that SCO's accusations are groundless kills off SCO UNIX and SCO as a business entity. There would be a good chance of stock manipulation and fraud charges as well.

It's a high stakes game people, don't forget the popcorn.

Posted by TMLutas at January 8, 2004 07:24 PM