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February 8th, 2016

Judge Says ‘No’ to SCO

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, SCO rises from the dead

Ha! Guess who’s back in the news? Even as a ghost, SCO is trying to pickpocket IBM’s wallet. Well, it’s not a ghost exactly. It’s brain dead and on life support, but just alive enough to seek yet another day in court.

Judge David Nuffer with the US District Court in Utah gave SCO another day in court last week and returned a judgement against the bankrupt company.

I’m no lawyer, or even Pamela Jones, but it appears to me that SCO’s attempts to bring an action for Unfair Competition was denied as the issue is already covered by another breach of contract claim by SCO.

SCO, of course, is the Utah based company, once part of the Canopy Group, which sued IBM for $1 billion in 2003, claiming that IBM had purloined code from Unix and contributed it to Linux. SCO’s case against IBM was eventually rendered moot when Novell proved that it owned the Unix copyrights that SCO was claiming.

In the media circus which surrounded the story in the period immediately following SCO’s initial claim, SCO produced code at a press conference that they claimed to be a line by line copy of Unix code. It was — but it was no smoking gun. The code also belonged to BSD and was available under the open source BSD license, meaning Linux developers were fully within their rights to use it.

Although SCO pretty much died under the weight of bankruptcy many years back, the current owners seem to be keeping it alive just enough to continue legal action against IBM on several fronts, in the off chance of an eventual windfall. IBM, of course, has been returning the favor with countersuits, hoping to help SCO exhaust itself of what little capital it has available.

As always, FOSS Force is watchful of any moves on the SCO front and will publish updates whenever anything happens. FOSS supporters have no cause for concern, however. SCO’s obituary has already been written. Eventually its owners will take the company off life support and we’ll be able to publish it.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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