back to article Novell owns Unix copyrights after all

The SCO Group today took a major shot to the groin, when a judge confirmed that Novell still owns the Unix operating system copyrights. US District Judge Dale Kimball issued a decision that spent 100 pages working its way through the various claims and counterclaims presented by SCO and Novell over the years, concerning Unix …


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  1. Ole Juul

    Last hurrah

    I see SCOs stock went up 6 cents before closing today. Things will probably look different in the morning! I'm no investment expert, but I imagine that the best bet for investors is to sell stocks as souveniers on Ebay.

  2. Jason Harvey


    SCO shot itself... and now is on it's death bed

  3. Kevin Eastman

    Maybe too early to party yet

    This is in the US remember, there can still be years of appeals before this is all said and done, unless SCO goes bankrupt first.

  4. Morely Dotes

    Justice still lives!

    Rot in Hell, SCO, you scummy whores of Microsoft.

  5. Lexx Greatrex

    I won't be mourning at the funeral

    So that's one long standing travesty that worked out for the better. Now all we need to do is get M$ to follow Novell's lead and join the Open Invention Network... yeah ok, one miracle at a time...

  6. davcefai


    Oh Dear! I still haven't paid them their extortion money for running Linux.

  7. !!11oneeleven



  8. Tibb the Cat

    Novell backed by Microsoft next?

    Here's the worry. If I've understood the case correctly, Microsoft were helping to finance SCO's case by paying them licencing fees? Now in the last year or so, M$ have also been cosying up to Novell, with agreements over payments and interoperability. Now that Novell clearly own the copyrights to Unix, whats to stop M$ backing Novell in a joint extortion attack on the Linux community, especially given M$ recent patent claim statements?

  9. Richard Hebert


    We been partying since round 4 30 pm here yesterday.

    Anyone who followed the saga are quite happy to see

    the beginning of the end of this ordeal.Novell certainly

    have an interest in not killing the cash cow at this moment

    but frankly i wont shed tears seeing SCO go under.

    I wonder how hard the companies that bought SCOSource

    licences ( 699 $ ) are kicking themselves in the bu**

    ( head hurting here .. needs aspirin .. or another bottle of Moet )

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can anyone explain to me what a Checkbook is? Is it a book in which you would keep a list of checks you have done?

    Many Thanks,

    A N Englishman.

  11. Richard Kay

    jail for con artists significantly delayed by legal process

    A con artist allegedly once "sold" the Eiffel Tower to an US tourist. I wonder how many years of appeals it will take before the US courts lock up the SCO executives for similar acts of trying to sell notable works of engineering they didn't own in the first place.

  12. Tibb the Cat


    Sorry that "payments and interoperability" should have read "patents and interoparability"

  13. Brett Brennan

    And now, the Rest of the Story...

    As Paul Harvey would say "and now, the Rest of the Story".

    This clearly illuminates, as Tibb the Cat notes above, the reason why "M$ have also been cosying [sic] up to Novell". It would be interesting to find out if Microsoft "discovered" something about the time of it's overture to Novell and decided it was time for some "insurance" in case SCO lost.

    And now, the Rest of the Story.

    A quick examination of the genealogy of Unix - which Novell now "officially" owns a passel of rights to - gives a direct lineal decent back to AT&T Bell Labs. Unix was "officially" announced to the world in the July-August 1978 edition of "The Bell Systems Technical Journal" (the so-called "Blue Book"), where most of the original man(1) pages were published and the key concepts were detailed by Thompson, Ritchie, Kernigan and the like, as well as contributed articles from some folks at this place called UC Berkely. This document (which I have a copy of somewhere in storage out in the Mojave desert (es verdad!)) clearly establishes the core premises of Unix and all the key systems and features as well as establishing the parentage of System 7, System III and BSD.

    And it does so, unambiguously, four years before Microsoft was formed.

    So, it would seem, the *REAL* reason that Microsoft has struck the deal with Novell is *NOT* to reinforce its "threat" to kill Open Source, but, rather, to hedge the possibility of Novell "turning the worm" against Microsoft for possible incursions against what would be patent violations incorporated in Microsoft products from M$ inception.

    "And now you know The Rest of the Story.

    Paul Harvey, saying good DAY?"

    Now, to be fair, back in the 1970's *EVERYONE* was playing fast and loose with IP from many, many sources. That was - and IS - the nature of innovation. No one that was developing system software at that time was worrying about patents (remember, there WERE no software patents then!) or even copyrights, per se. We were all just trying to solve problems to get our products - mostly embedded systems and development platforms - out the door. Even AT&T was very lax in enforcing its licenses on Unix - Unix was free to academic users (as long as they returned their research results to the "Unix community" (read: AT&T) (was this the first GPL?) ) but cost a uniform US$50,000 for "commercial" users. The mantra was "develop something useful, and the license would be waived for the contribution". Which, in most cases, it was.

    I could go on for hours, but this covers the points for Ashlee's article. I hope it helps some.

  14. Gerry



    one might understand your comment only if you were a "new reader". Those that have been closely following the case will know at least two things:

    it's never been established that there is any UNIX code in Linux

    Novell have not only been content to release whatever it is they do own under GPLv2 they are talking up releasing under GPLv3

    What we _are_ going to have to endure is a load of BS about whether there is any infringing - but we're not telling you what - patented stuff in Linux (oh, and by the way Novell is part of OIN, together with IBM and Google) in parallel with attempts to "enclose the commons" with DRM and embedding proprietary formats.


  15. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Novell have their own Linux product

    Novell bought Suse and have released Linux themselves. So they would be suing themselves.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UNIX != Linux

    'nuff said

  17. Antoinette Lacroix

    SCO is as good as dead . .

    . . and IBMs case has become a piece of cake. But what about Solaris ?

  18. g e


    Note to self, install a SCOX ticker thingy on the laptop for Monday am...

    The SCO effect:

    To paraphrase the great Douglas Adams, some people will take this as positive proof of the existence of God. 'Oh I hadn't thought of that' says God and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

    Fiasco ends with....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The really sad thing is that Caldera Linux was, at the time, a very good distribution, certainly as good as Red Hat and Suse. Thanks to those arses at SCO it's gone.

    What a waste.

  20. Ole Juul

    Re: Subtitle

    @A N Englishman.

    "Can anyone explain to me what a Checkbook is? Is it a book in which you would keep a list of checks you have done?"

    It's American for cheque booque...

    which is where you keep cheques you haven't done :)

  21. Lexx Greatrex

    @Brett Brennan Nicely hypothesised!

    I like where your reasoning is leading, however there are a couple of possible gotchas in this: KDE, Gnome are Post Microsoft (PMS); It might be GNU tools; M$ marketing machinery may also be lumping Open Office into the bucket for propaganda purposes.

    I agree that hedging for M$ would be a sensible business strategy, especially since they have paid horrendous amounts of cash to both Novell and SCO.

    If you want my lame prediction... it would make sense for MSFT buy Novell.

  22. Steve

    So Farewell

    So farewell then SCO,

    We had forgotten all about you,

    Until you decided to sue us,

    That Darl McBride eh ? What a tosser.

  23. Simn Lovatt

    Check spelling of

    chequebook please :)

  24. Robert Hill

    Who cares now??

    The execs at SCO have all made enough money from the SCO stock to be set for life...and that is all they set out to do. Even if the company folds, even if it goes bankrupt because it can't pay doens't matter. They have succeeded in making a mint for themselves, and their lawyers.

    There personal assets are protected either by offshore accounts, or investment in Florida real estate, or the standard protection given to an incorporated company. Their lawyers legally "earned" their fees and so cannot be touched.

    The shell of SCO can now be thrown away as a child's plaything...the ilk have their millions. You take that as a victory? I sure don't...

  25. Pete James

    Spelling pedant

    Call me old-fashioned but I rather like English when it's spelt correctly. For example, chequebook. It's bad enough that this place is like the Grauniad at it's very worst these days, but sneaking in awful derivatives like checkbook will only have us fighting on the beaches etc etc.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Who cares now??

    I wouldn't say that Robert... I'm sure the precedents of MCI/WorldCom, Enron and the like can be used here.

  27. Shane Lusby

    Sco Watch

    Closed Friday at 1.56

    Opened Monday at 0.45

    Pretty soon the stock options will be slightly less valuable than the paper they are printed on at that rate :).

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    prior to the 1890s, the English spelling of check, was "check". It became "cheque" during one of the bouts of Francophilia we have, every other decade.

    "Autumn" is also a French import. Prior to Keats the English word for the season between summer and winter was "fall".

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: SCO or Caldera

    "The really sad thing is that Caldera Linux was, at the time, a very good distribution, certainly as good as Red Hat and Suse. Thanks to those arses at SCO it's gone.

    What a waste."

    If I remember correctly, it was actually Caldera that took over SCO, and then changed their name to match.

    The real SCO guys, ie the ones with talent, went off with the Tarantella product?

    So basically, current SCO is just Caldera dressed up... badly.

  30. Chris

    SCO Watch part deux

    Novell (NOVL) up ~5%

    IBM up 0.65%

    Clearly this judgement means more to Novell than IBM ;)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: SCO Watch part deux

    "Novell (NOVL) up ~5%

    IBM up 0.65%

    Clearly this judgement means more to Novell than IBM ;)"

    You forgot to mention SCO (SCOX) down ~70% (when I last looked) - to paraphrase Private Fraser in Dad's Army: "They're doooomed, they're dooooomed!". And about bloody time, too ...

  32. Daniel Snowden

    SCO Stock

    Check the SCO (SCOX on the NYSE) share price graph, compare closing (Friday) compared with opening (Today) - Looks like their shares jumped out of a plane, without a parachute. They've dropped from around $1.50 per share to around $0.50 (last time I checked)

    Cue the worlds smallest violin for Darl McBride.

  33. Dillon Pyron


    You mean NASDQ. Right at $.44, down 72% or so. Volume 6M, average volume 164K.

    If you understand anything about American gang culture, you know why I'm having a tear drop tattooed under my eye.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All SCO base are belong to OSS

    Good, SCO, the biggest jackass in the known universe, is on their way to destruction. They may send out a zig, but it will not float, because what goes around comes around.

    It's like the MV of that Wierd Al song, "I'll Sue Ya". They sue until they get rich, then they run into a truck carrying kitty litter. Hopefully they won't survive the crash in this one.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: spelling

    <prior to the 1890s, the English spelling of check, was "check">

    Yeah, it makes me laugh. Either language evolution is OK, in which case the Americans have as much right to suggest new spellings as we have, or else language evolution is wrong, in which case the Americans are usually right - a lot of "Americanisms" are closer to English (as it was some hundreds of years ago) than current English is.

    Still, I'm not tolerating "burro". English is about 60% badly-spoken French anyway, but Spanish is a separate language, and I'm not having it!

  36. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    "SCO" is not SCO

    the real SCO is now called Tarantella, the current "SCO" is actually Caldera gone wrong. They changed to SCO *because* of the lawsuit, as if the name change would give them more power.

    BTW, since when "cheque" is English? That's Spanish! Seems like the English language is getting as poisoned by Spanish like the Spanish language is. I remember laughing when a colleague and I found "gratis" in the English version of the GPL.

    Then again, there is no easy way to differentiate "free as in freedom" from "free as in beer". Oh, true ... "libre" is also out there in use ...

  37. Erlang Lacod

    company policy

    Dont you just hate it when what used to be a real technology company like SCO largely abandons the legitimate business of developing and selling its products and relies on dubious litigation over patents to bolster it's share price. This was never any more a true asset than some of Enron's notional reserves. Personally I would like to see the Sarbanes-Oxley rules applied to this kind of flim-flam carpetbagging.

    Novell on the other hand have kept true to their values, moving with the times through the loss of their Netware market, embracing open soure along the way. So long as they dont sell out to Micro$oft I cant think of a better repository for those Unix patents now other than the open source community itself.

  38. Ape TimeLord

    Spelling - cheque/check

    check (n.) Look up check at

    c.1314, from O.Fr. eschequier "a check at chess," from eschec, from V.L. *scaccus, from Ar. shah, from Pers. shah "king," the principal piece in a chess game (see shah). When the king is in check a player's choices are limited. Meaning widened from chess to general sense of "adverse event, sudden stoppage" and by c.1700 to "a token used to check against loss or theft" (surviving in hat check) and "a check against forgery or alteration," which gave the modern financial use of "bank check, money draft" (first recorded 1798), probably influenced by exchequeur. Check-up "careful examination" is 1921, Amer.Eng., on notion of a checklist of things to be examined.

    So it looks like cheque was the original?

  39. Eric Dennis

    It's about Time

    Thank God it's over. SCO tried to put the crush on Linux for far too long. Now it's time for them to pony up and get crushed themselves. WAY TO GO NOVELL!!!

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