SCO loses Linux legal fight

November 25, 2008 // 8:57 a.m.

Tags: #dale-a-kimball #darl-mcbride #intellectual-property #ip #judgement #unix

Companies: #novell #sco

The long-running saga of SCO versus everyone who ever so much as looked sideways at Linux – but especially Novell and IBM – has drawn to a close with the news that Federal District Judge Dale A. Kimball has dismissed all the company's claims.

According to Ars Technica's article on the judgement all claims against Novell have been dismissed, declaratory relief has been granted, and SCO is faced with a whopping bill for “unjust enrichment” of over $2.54 million (£1.68 million) – plus interest.

Ending the five year attack on Linux and anyone who would seek to popularise it – and finally laying to rest claims that the popular open-source kernel and associated operating system somehow 'ripped off' SCO's UNIX intellectual properties – the judgement is likely to remain unpaid, as the company is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings in the face of a skydiving stock price.

While chief executive officer Darl McBride remains adamant that Linux infringes his company's intellectual property and directly profited from work done on the UNIX code his company owns, an appeal is unlikely at this stage – and would serve no purpose other than to prolong SCO's agony and increase the amount it owes Novell.

Where this leaves customers who were duped into buying “licences” for a product – Linux – that SCO had no rights to is unknown; although the judgement orders restitution to be paid to Novell, there's no mention of refunds for companies who shelled out hard-earned cash for the right not to be sued by a company based on groundless claims and accusations. Nevertheless, it's a win for Novell and a win for open source in general: Linux users can go to bed with a clean conscience, safe in the knowledge that the intellectual property police won't be knocking at their door.

Did you ever think that SCO's claims might have some merit, or did you recognise the house of cards from the very beginning? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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