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IS THIS THE END?

SCO's COPYRIGHT CLAIMS AT ODDS WITH NOVELL CORPORATE RECORDS

by BigDumbDinosaur

Like Tony, I'm against SCO's attempt to shore up the bottom line via their "Linux stole our code" lawsuits.  I'd much rather see SCO focus their efforts and resources on software development—especially in the realm of bringing OpenServer up-to-date.  For that reason, as well as others, I've had more than a passing interest in what would ordinarily be boring litigation.

As it turns out, the whole mess may come to a halt sooner than expected, and SCO will be able to resume software engineering instead of lawsuit-mongering—assuming the company is still intact after the dust has settled.  In a recently posted Groklaw article, it is revealed that the contents of some Novell corporate board meeting minutes from 1995—right before Novell's sale of UNIX to SCO was consummated—seem to indicate that the board did not include the UNIX copyrights with the rest of the package to be sold to SCO.  In other words, what Novell had been claiming along was indeed true.

If in fact this is the case and if a judge determines that said records conclusively prove that Novell did not sell SCO the copyrights along with the rest of the package, then every action mounted to date by SCO will have been for naught.  It would be highly likely that all claims by SCO would be summarily dismissed, leaving them (SCO) with a very big legal bill to pay—and freshly scrambled egg on their collective corporate faces.



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---November 11, 2004

This indeed would be good news, but while it would resolve the SCO mess, it unfortunately would not resolve all the issues. Novell may not pursue any claims at this time, but unless they release the whole ball of wax, they or someone who buys them could at some later time.

Consider a disgusting scenario in which Novell fails in its current efforts, spends a bunch of cash doing stupid things, and ends up in trouble. Bill and friends step in with an offer to buy up certain intellectual property.. guess what happens next..

So - while I think this is potentially great news, I'd still rather see it settled in court or Unix GPL'd or whatever it takes to bury this forever.

--TonyLawrence

"Bill and friends step in with an offer to buy up certain intellectual property..."

That would be much worse than "Nightmare on Elm Street."

"I'd still rather see it settled in court or Unix GPL'd or whatever it takes to bury this forever."

Yes, that would be an ideal outcome, but probably unrealistic. Right now, Novell is in a transitional period where they are finally burying Netware (it was officially EOL'd some four year ago, but not actually discontinued) and shifting their focus onto Linux. Netware was their cash cow for many years but has finally run dry, so a new cow is needed -- a Linux distribution.

Retaining the UNIX copyrights is a trump card that they can play if needed to help the new cow produce some milk (sorry for the mixed metaphors). Novell could incorporate UNIX code into their Linux distribution knowing that they wouldn't get sued. The result could be a uniquely designed Linux distro that could push Red Hat out of the lead, possibly for good. So for Novell to GPL UNIX would be to throw away the trump card and thus become just another (Linux) player at the table.

However, an unambiguous court ruling on exactly who owns what would be highly welcome, I'd say, and not just by the Open Source community.

--BigDumbDinosaur

---November 11, 2004

A GPL'd Unix would be nice, definately. Personally I would find that funnier then all get out.

Anyways down at arstechnica.com I found a link to a interview of Novell's CTO and he talks about Linux and it's interesting how they are dancing around the netware issue.
"http://www.linuxtimes.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=228"

(check out ars.linux,too. They talk about Filelight which is a great app)
http://arstechnica.com/columns/linux/linux-20041109.ars/2

--drag



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