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By | Austin Modine 19th October 2009 18:50

SCO boots boss McBride

Linux lawsuits live

Unix code claimant SCO Group has jettisoned its controversial captain, Darl McBride, as part of the company's latest scheme to emerge from bankruptcy.

The serially litigious SCO's executive ousting was revealed in a filing today with US regulators, although corresponding paperwork gives McBride's actual dismissal date as October 14. The decision to remove McBride was done under the auspices of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee assigned to SCO by the US Justice Department. That leaves COO, Jeff Hunsaker, CFO, Ken Nielsen, and General Counsel, Ryan Tibbitts grappling for the helm.

According to the filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, SCO's remaining management will still continue to push forward with its long-running intellectual property lawsuits against IBM and Novell. It also stated the company expects to finalize details of the restructuring and to reach cash flow break-even for core operations within the next month.

McBride was the architect and voice behind SCO's troublesome legal crusade against Linux. It began when Novell sold Unix trademarks and other assets to SCO — and the company assumed the deal included copyrights to Unix code. In 2003, SCO sued IBM for handing over the allegedly copyrighted technology to the Linux kernel and ultimately demanded that just about any company using Linux must purchase an IP license.

A year later, SCO filed a slander of action lawsuit against Novell after the company said it still actually owned the disputed Unix copyrights in SCO's case against IBM. Although US courts have found (twice) that the copyrights do in fact belong to Novell, in August an appeals court determined a jury trial is needed to sort through the mess rather than leaving it to a single judge.

SCO has since become a bankrupt shell of its former self, desperately attempting to unload some of its non-core assets to fund its court battles against IBM and Novell. Revival, at this point, seems extremely unlikely. The company bet the farm on lawsuits and, failing to have any other means of revenue, must now accept the leash of US government regulators if it doesn't want to be put down for good. ®

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