Software’s Killer Comet

May 20, 2003

I know about the SCO/Caldera/Son of SCO vs. IBM lawsuit, but how did I miss this ?

“The SCO� Group (SCO)(Nasdaq: SCOX), the owner of the UNIX operating system, today warned that Linux is an unauthorized derivative of UNIX and that legal liability for the use of Linux may extend to commercial users. SCO issued this alert based on its findings of illegal inclusions of SCO UNIX intellectual property in Linux. The company also indicated that until the attendant risks with Linux are better understood and properly resolved, the company will suspend all of its future sales of the Linux operating system. “

Then one press release above that :

“According to a statement from Microsoft, the company will license SCO’s Unix patents and the source code. That code is at the heart of a $1 billion lawsuit between SCO and IBM, which is aggressively pushing Linux as an alternative to Windows in corporate back shops.”

“Late Sunday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said acquiring the license from SCO “is representative of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community’s healthy exchange of IP through licensing. This helps to ensure IP compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like services for Unix that further Unix interoperability.”

SCO is saying it owns UNIX and Microsoft bought their Intellectual Property rights. I somehow imagine that this is Microsoft’s way to make an attempt to “crush” Linux….or at least scare off a couple of large corporations from making that move from Windows to Linux. I would also imagine that if the lawsuit verdict ruled in SCO’s favor, Microsoft would have such a monopoly it wouldn’t be funny. As this would wipe out Linux and UNIX in one fatal blow, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since dinosaurs ruled the earth.

I haven’t heard how this would effect the FreeBSD/BSD variants including OS X, but it sounds like it wouldn’t. Just the thought of AIX and the other commercial Uni disappearing, is awe-inspiring. Not saying they would vanish immediately, but the license fees alone would cause most UNIX/Linux vendors to close up shop. Because who wants to fund SCO? Actually what UNIX/Linux vendors want to fund Microsoft?