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Last of original SCO v IBM Linux lawsuit settled

Well, that took long enough! But, what’s this? The lawsuit still lingers on in one last case from the company that bought SCO’s Unix operating systems.

While at the Linux Foundation Members Summit in Napa, California, I was bemused to find that an open-source savvy intellectual property attorney had never heard of SCO vs. IBM.  You know, the lawsuit that at one time threatened to end Linux in the cradle? Well, at least some people thought so anyway. More fool they. But now, after SCO went bankrupt; court after court dismissing SCO’s crazy copyright claims; and closing in on 20-years into the saga, the U.S. District Court of Utah has finally put a period to the SCO vs. IBM lawsuit.

According to the Court, since:

All claims and counterclaims in this matter, whether alleged or not alleged, pleaded or not pleaded, have been settled, compromised, and resolved in full, and for good cause appearing,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties’ Motion is GRANTED. All claims and counterclaims in this action, whether alleged or not alleged, pleaded or not pleaded, have been settled, compromised, and resolved in full, and are DISMISSED with prejudice and on the merits. The parties shall bear their own respective costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees. The Clerk is directed to close the action.


Earlier, the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, which has been overseeing SCO’s bankruptcy had announced that the TSG Group, which represents SCO’s debtors, has settled with IBM and resolved all the remaining claims between TSG and IBM: “Under the Settlement Agreement, the Parties have agreed to resolve all disputes between them for a payment to the Trustee [TLD], on behalf of the Estates [IBM], of $14,250,000.

In return, TLD gives up all rights and interests in all litigation claims pending or that may be asserted in the future against IBM and Red Hat, and any allegations that Linux violates SCO’s Unix intellectual property.

So is this it? Is it finally all over and only people who lived through the battle will remember it? I wish.

Xinuos, which bought SCO’s Unix products and intellectual property (IP) in 2011, sued IBM and Red Hat for “illegally Copying Xinuos’ software code for its server operating systems” on March 31, 2021.

How? Xinuos bought SCO Unix operating systems in 2011. These operating systems, OpenServer and Unixware, still have a few customers. When Xinuos made the deal, its CEO, Richard A. Bolandz, promised that the company “has no intention to pursue any litigation related to the SCO Group assets acquired by the company. We are all about world leadership in technology, not litigation.”

That didn’t last. In the US District Court of the Virgin Islands, the company claimed:

First, IBM stole Xinuos’ intellectual property and used that stolen property to build and sell a product to compete with Xinuos itself. Second, stolen property in IBM’s hand, IBM and Red Hat illegally agreed to divide the relevant market and use their growing market powers to victimize consumers, innovative competitors, and innovation itself. Third, after IBM and Red Hat launched their conspiracy, IBM then acquired Red Hat to solidify and make their scheme permanent.

Xinuos also claims that IBM is out to destroy FreeBSD. While there’s no love lost between Linux and BSD Unix supporters, this claim is a stretch. Xinuos is throwing this claim in on the grounds that its “most recent innovations have been based” on FreeBSD.

So, Xinuos is not asking merely for damages, but for the courts to dismiss IBM’s Red Hat $34-billion acquisition! Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

While we’re one step closer, the SCO lawsuits still live on just like one of those Halloween monsters that just won’t die. But, in this go-around, there aren’t many people in the audience.

This story first appeared in ZDNet.

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