|By Maureen O'Gara
|January 1, 2000 12:00 AM EST
(June 16, 2003) - The SCO Group today, as expected, asked a
federal court in Utah to enjoin IBM permanently from distributing
its proprietary Unix operating system AIX.
The move, if upheld, would effectively pull the plug on all AIX
With its license pulled, IBM is supposed to destroy or return all
software products, SCO said.
SCO has no alternative license scheme in mind to offer affected end
users and has told them to seek legal opinion and tease out the
implications of running unauthorized code, hopeful that the users
themselves will bring pressure to bear on IBM and ultimately bring
the company to book.
Because SCO is bypassing the usual route of seeking a temporary
injunction, its bid for an injunction won't be heard until its
billion-dollar trade secrets-breach of contract suit against IBM is
heard, which could take a year or two, SCO's own lawyers have
If SCO eventually gets its injunction, however, it maintains that it
could claim all of IBM's AIX-related revenues - hardware, services,
and software - from today forward.
SCO CEO Darl McBride believes IBM's Unix business is worth a "huge
number, multibillions of dollars" a year. He'll have a clearer
handle on exactly how much when the companies get into discovery.
McBride described SCO as "entering the end game" and as being ready
to start discovery. He denied that the company was in any way
temporizing by seeking a permanent injunction and said that no
matter whether it sought a permanent or a temporarily injunction,
the next step would be the same - discovery.
SCO's suit against IBM stems from its sensational claim that IBM
misappropriated IP from the Unix operating system that SCO now owns
and put it in Linux - in some cases line by line - to make it
enterprise-class in a hurry, destroying the economic value of Unix
and aggrandizing IBM's own new Linux business.
Sequent Computer, now owned by IBM, has been added to the suit,
McBride said. SCO has found a "truckload of code at the high end"
from Sequent, a Unix licensee, in Linux, he said.
SCO has also added the charge of export control violations to the
suit, McBride said, alleging that Linux - because it is open source
and freely available - is accessible to rogue nations such as North
Korea for use in weapons systems.
SCO threatened to cancel IBM's AIX license when it filed suit in
March, giving IBM 100 days to cease what SCO alleges are its
anticompetitive practices or face termination. IBM have effectively
ignored SCO, refusing to negotiate - or reportedly even talk much -
maintaining that its license is "perpetual" and "irrevocable."
The deadline on SCO's ultimatum fell due last Friday night at
midnight without IBM showing any signs of reforming. McBride said
that SCO, as heir to the original contracts IBM signed, is merely
enforcing the agreements as envisioned "20 years ago."
The suit threatens to levy a tax on Linux, an idea that is anathema
to the open source movement.
SCO has been showing the allegedly tainted code to industry analysts
and some press people under NDA. It is also believed to showing the
code to potential licensees.
For more on SCO's attempts to monetize Linux, see also these LinuxGramstories:
Clock Runs Out on SCO Ultimatum to IBM
Despite SCO, Open Source Needs Fixing
The Pirates of Penguinance; The Very Model of a SCO Executive
SCO's Price Tag
SCO Finds Smoking Gun
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