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SCO, the Not-Walking Dead, Returns

It appears that the once cancelled SCO Show has again been rebooted after a federal judge okays an appeal.

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SCO. There’s a name I’ll bet you thought you’d never hear again. Guess what? It’s back.

Wasn’t there a Bond film called “Live to Die Another Day.” Even if there wasn’t, that applies here.

When last we talked about SCO, in March, 2016, we told you this might happen, although Judge David Nuffer had all but put a bullet through the already dead and bankrupt company’s brain (there’s an oxymoron if ever I wrote one) on February 29, 2016. But exactly a month after the judge’s ruling, the company had somehow managed to scrape together enough spare change to pay the filing fee for an appeal. Today, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that that the appeal could go on, on a claim of misappropriation, but upheld Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

In case you’re new to the Linux game, here’s a few paragraphs I wrote last year explaining who SCO is/was:

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.

So what is this whole misappropriation angle all about? As Ars Technica explains it, it’s all about a Unix operating system that never saw the light of day:

“In essence, SCO has argued that IBM essentially stole, or misappropriated, its proprietary code (known as UnixWare System Release 4, or SVr4) in the May 4, 2001 release of the ‘Monterey operating system,’ a new version of UNIX designed for IBM’s ‘Power’ processors. However, this Monterey OS was incomplete, as it lacked a compiler.”

And I’ll let the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals give you what Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story”:

“IBM released for general distribution a version of its own proprietary AIX for Power product that included the code. SCO thus argues that IBM released a ‘sham’ version of the Monterey system in order to legitimize its own general distribution of the AIX for Power product containing Santa Cruz’s code. (Aplt. Br. 2, 13.) This is the essence of misappropriation claim.”

Anyway, that’s what SCO is claiming.

Stay tuned. We’ll keep you informed.


  1. Massimo Luciani Massimo Luciani October 31, 2017

    Why the surprise? Halloween is coming…

  2. TWP TWP October 31, 2017

    Christine, good to hear from you again!

  3. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | October 31, 2017

    @TWP Thanks, and good to be back. Now that I’ve finally settled in to my day job, I’m hoping that you’ll be hearing from me more often.

  4. fred-X fred-X October 31, 2017

    SCO is so full of it that their (collective) eyes are brown. what’s amazing is that courts (well, some of ’em) keep listening to their specious arguments. One of the important things in this case is that SCO has no standing to sue SINCE THEY DON’T OWN THE UNIX PRODUCT, they merely had a license to use and develop it.

  5. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | October 31, 2017

    @fred-X I’m sure that IBM will point that out in court. 🙂

  6. Quan Quan November 1, 2017

    I used to follow the case on Groklaw from the beginning and was amazed how much craps SCO pulled with every turn. I am glad to see IBM continue to fight back.

    I hope to see SCO is reported absolutely dead and buried soon.

  7. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | November 1, 2017

    At this point, it seems that all IBM has to do to fight back is show up in court. It’s like Andre the Giant wrestling some guy on a stretcher and hooked up to IV.

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