The Channel logo


By | Simon Sharwood 17th June 2013 00:48

SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

Zombie lawsuit back and wants to suck the brains out of Linux

IBM's lawsuit with SCO over just who owns Unix has crawled out of the grave and seems set to shuffle back into US courts.

For the uninitiated, or those who've successfully tried to forget this turgid saga, a brief summary: SCO in 2003 sued IBM for doing something nasty to bits of Unix it owned. Or felt it owned. SCO also sued Novell, which it felt did not own some copyrights for Unix.

Many private school educations later for the offspring of the lawyers involved SCO lost against Novell. By this time SCO was out of cash with which to keep up the fight against Big Blue, so the matter hibernated for a while.

That stasis persisted until early may when SCO applied to get things going again. As Groklaw reports, that attempt has succeeded.

Groklaw's assessment of SCO's current position is that it has asked the court for “a Time Machine, so it can go back in time and do a better job”.

Bored yet?

Don't be: if SCO can eventually prove it really, truly does own a critical bit of Unix it's a chance of saying it therefore owns that same bit in Linux. And given that world+dog runs Linux – a couple of billion Android devices for starters – if SCO wins it can start throwing sueballs at the Googles, IBMs and Red Hats of the world and cash in big time.

A more likely scenario is that this case drags on for years longer and that the lawyers involved start to eye off yachts now that the kids have left home. ®

comment icon Read 125 comments on this article alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe