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Novell and SCO: A Final Shakedown

Posted in Courtroom, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

SCO is definitely beyond this Web site’s scope, but recently there has been a great deal of Novell in that saga. There are things there which have future implications on Novell, SUE Linux [sic], and other GNU/Linux distributions. We covered some of the latest in last week's cumulative report, so let’s look at more recent articles and consider portions of them.

From the local press comes nothing but the promise that a decision will come soon. No word since then.

The trial between The SCO Group and Novell over disputed fees involving a computer operating system ended today with the judge promising a decision soon.

Also from the local press:

Novell-SCO trial now is in hands of judge

Arguments this week focused on how much value to attribute to the licensed technology. Novell claimed that technology it controlled — several versions of Unix System V — was a valuable part of the SCO licensing initiative.

InternetNews has an interesting take.

SCO Novell Trial – The Verdict is…


Frankly I’m still amazed that SCO has hung in this long.Though it is easy to paint SCO as the villain in this drama, it’s also possible to see this as a Tragedy (Greek or Shakespearean) in many ways. McBride (the tragic hero?)really does believe in his view and he is sticking with it to the (bitter?) end.

From another source comes a more detailed (but not so accurate) analysis.

There are times when the jokes just seem to tell themselves. Yesterday, during testimony for Novell’s lawsuit against SCO to determine how much Novell was owed for its ownership of the Unix copyrights, none other than Darl McBride took the stand and said two things that will no doubt become fodder for .SIG files from here to eternity.


Fortunately, the right people were not that naive. And now we’re at a point where scaring people away from open source on wholly spurious grounds is so passe that even Microsoft is leaving it behind.

That last bit is far from true. Microsoft just knows how it hide it better. It often uses other parties to do its dirty deeds against Free software and other competitive threats. We gave many examples of this before, e.g. here.

The local press from Utah goes further and claims that what’s at stake now is SCO’s fate, short of a Sugar Daddy.

McBride also said Kimball’s decision could affect the new reorganization plan SCO is preparing to file in Delaware, where the company filed for bankruptcy last year.

Groklaw caught up with the bankruptcy filings just a couple of days ago.

SCO’s accountants, Tanner, have applied to the bankruptcy court for compensation for the seventh month. Amazing, isn’t it, this story without an end? This monthly bill is for April, and Tanner would like only $8,574 plus $71 in expenses. That’s the lowest monthly bill ever. December 5-November 5 was $28,499; November 6 – December 5 was $19,001; December 6 – January 4 was $65,955; January 5-February 1 was $98,095; February 2 – March 3 was $32,868; and March 4 – March 31 was $28,441.

Going back to the trial, Lamlaw does its bit of analysis also.

Is a license to Microsoft more valuable than what MS paid SCO? Perhaps so. Certainly Novell might think so.

If the money paid to Novell comes up short, Novell has a few options. And, my bet is that some very interesting discussions take place in that back room between Novell and SUN and between Novell and Microsoft. Fly on that wall kind of thing.

Darl McBride gets cyberslapped here.

SCO CEO, Darl McBride, still believes that SCO owns UNIX in some form. Novell never transferred the copyrights to SCO in the sale of UnixWare but yet the dream lives on. This week the trial began that determines how much money may be owed to Novell from SCO (Up to $20 million). A strange turn of events indeed.

Here is another cyberslap from The Inquirer’s avid Groklaw follower.

McBride’s statement contradicted the just prior testimony of SCO SVP Chris Sontag, as well as the company’s internal memos from 2002, which concluded that SCO’s own software examinations had not found any UNIX code in Linux.

Perhaps McBride was confused about which lawsuit he was in court testifying about.

This week’s comic strip from the Bizarre Cathedral is of Darl McBride, whose mis-comprehension (probably deliberate) has him ridiculed.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has this good piece published in Linux.com where he is now a regular contributor.

Reality, as good writers know, is sometimes stranger than fiction. SCO’s recent performance in the U.S. District Court in Utah is a perfect example. With years to prepare, SCO executives made some remarkable statements in their attempt to show that SCO, not Novell, owns Unix’s copyright.

As a more introductory article, consider this one from ZDNet Australia.

Troubled software maker SCO’s chief executive has claimed the Linux operating system includes Unix source code, during a court case in which Novell is suing SCO for royalties on Unix.

There will probably be a torrent of news when the verdict is out.

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