SCO: The party never ends

Like the bad actor in a Victorian melodrama, SCO refuses to lie down, and keeps coming back for more.

Litigation doesn't pay

The casual observer could be excused for believing that litigation and teams of lawyers were the largest part of technical innovation in the computing industries, such has been the part played by litigation and threats of litigation around patents, copyrights and trademarks during recent years.

Big money can be made for a relatively small outlay, and litigation that is predicated around the "ownership" of ideas, patents and copyrights requires minimal investment in staff, research, manufacture or the trading of hard goods.

If The SCO Group had pursued its primary business, of producing Linux and UNIX based software, distributed through SCO's existing channels, it may have continued to thrive. As it has transpired, SCO has drained its resources, and has fallen badly at the first hurdle of the litigation process, having failed to prove that it has sole ownership of copyrights to UNIX. Technically, this conclusion can be overturned by jury trial. But SCO has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and any future case depends on the discretion of the Chapter 11 Trustee whose job it is to make the best of SCO's assets for distribution among its shareholders.

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The second major issue of the SCO lawsuits has been rendered null and void. SCO has failed to demonstrate that there is copied code in the Linux kernel. Although IBM donated code to Linux this code is derivative work, not UNIX System V code, and IBM has proved that its earlier agreements with Novell give it ownership over "derivative works" and the right to donate any such code.

The Linux kernel is not under threat from any continuation of the case by a reinvigorated SCO or the Chapter 11 Trustee. The slow demise of SCO has been proof, if proof were needed, that litigation doesn't pay.

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