back to article SCO keeps dying, and dying, and dying

The undead entity formerly known as SCO but lately doing business as The TSG Group – if you can call bleeding away cash on legal fees a business – has filed a motion in a Delaware court to convert its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to Chapter 7, Groklaw reports. Under US law, Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to restructure …


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  1. Peter 39

    now for the inquiry

    It's time for there to be a judicial inquiry into the actions of the Trustee - very unusual to say the least.

    And also into the way the case was originally brought and pursued - some executives should be looking at jail time as a result.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: now for the inquiry

      They don't hold judicial inquires in the States. Also Chapter 11 Trustee's are allowed to do anything they like so long as the bankruptcy judge rubber stamps it. In this case the Chapter 11 Trustee is a retired judge, and has basically been given carte blanche to do whatever he wants (funny handshakes in the courtroom prehaps) including taking huge fees from TSG's estate.

      1. Whitter

        Re: now for the inquiry

        Judges should be charged with malfeasance / neglegence in such cases.

        Of course, that would never happen: turkeys / Christmas etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: now for the inquiry

      At least BSF got completely screwed over. With their fixed fee to see the litigation to the end they must have spent millions. Hopefully this and the Oracle debacle will steer them away from IT Patent and Copyright litigation in the future.

      It's good to see the lawyers truly be the losers for once.

  2. Herby

    Why not...

    Make up a company to spend $1 to buy the "remaining assets" (whatever they might be) and donate them to "public domain".

    I'd contribute a couple of cents to the project.

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why not...

      I'm in. Probably paying over the odds but what the hell, it's nearly Friday...

    2. Christoph

      Re: Why not...

      A mob of peasants with torches and pitchforks marching on the castle to finally get rid of the vampire?

      Anyone up for starting the crowd funding of Project Pitchfork?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Why not...

        "A mob of peasants with torches and pitchforks marching on the castle to finally get rid of the vampire?"

        Wrong monster, we're dealing with a high level troll here, not a vampire! So forget the stake, it has no heart!

        Hmm, a headshot'll take out a zombie, but that won't work here either, no brain!

        Likewise, treating it like a werewolf and using silver won't won't work, in fact, that would backfire as it'd simply grab the silver and crow about a new source of funding!

        The best option is to keep treating it like the troll it is, keep the light of day on it! The problem is that it's such a shady beast, it's taking forever for it to die! (Hmm, cold iron works on trolls too. So quick! somebody cut power to it's server!)

        I'll be getting my coat now.

    3. Daf L

      Re: Why not...

      Unfortunately all you'd be buying is a LOT of debt. Their only asset is a court case and a couple of broken office chairs.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Why not...

        > Unfortunately all you'd be buying is a LOT of debt.

        I don't think you can buy the debt. It would be repudiated, with the shareholders/stakeholders having to apply the red marker to the asset side of their balance sheet. Which would be appropriate.

        One could still sell the office chair and the floppy with the "We Own Everything" slideshow on it for a fiver.

  3. jake Silver badge


    Thirteen years after SCO was relevant (outside of legacy systems, of course), the Lawyers are finally going to lose their cash-cow. Bad luck, cowboys. Pardon me while I play a little sad tune on the world's smallest violin.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      world's smallest violin

      I'm accompanying you on my tiny silent piano

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: world's smallest violin

        Oh no... for a moment there I misheard and thought we had a tiny pianist in the house...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still don't know why they started

    But I do know redmond financed them, and I suspect it made it easier for redmond to cash in on licensing deals with peddlers of linux-based devices. Something for the tin-foil hats to busy themselves with.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: I still don't know why they started

      "But I do know redmond financed them....." It's a bit more complex than that. Despite having gone through a lawsuit with Novell over UNIX, Sun paid up for a SCO license without a murmur when they thought it meant SCO was going to kill Linux for them. Sun tried to hide the payment details and their active backing of SCO. The companies that stood up to SCO in court were Novell, Red Hat and IBM (who were directly accused of copying into Linux), with hp telling SCO that if they threatened hp's Linux or hp-ux customers then hp would fund them all in court. SCO decided it didn't have a good enough case to upset hp but went ahead with the Linux companies and IBM, the latter being SCO's biggest mistake.

      Microsoft referred an investment company called Bay Star to SCO, leading to SCO getting $106m of Bay Star cash being invested (I think Royal Bank of Canada was another investor), but no money came directly from M$. M$ did take out a SCO license as insurance, but paid a lot less than Sun and didn't try to hide the details like Sun did.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I still don't know why they started

        I still don't get that bit. "Here lads, I've got a great idea! Let's sue IBM."

        The correct response is not "Yes!". Approved procedure is to lob an avalanche of rotten fruit across the boardroom table. Or to force said executive to consult a pshrink. Or both.

        Exhibit A, IBM, the company that fought the Department of Justice to a standstill over accusations of anti-competitive practises for decades - when Microsoft folded in under 10 years. Losers! A company which has more lawyers than you could shake a stick at. Their best attack-lawyers probably employ ordinary, $500 an hour, lawyers just to put a nice shine on their shoes each morning. Talk about asking for trouble.

        However, it's not over yet. While there's a twitching corpse, there's hope.

        I also refer the honourable gentleman to my answer of June 2010 where I predicted that it was premature to announce the death of SCO then. There's always someone who ignores all the warnings and decides to explore the ancient tomb, and re-awaken the curse...

        1. Tom 13

          Re: when Microsoft folded in under 10 years.

          I've always regarded the MS case as a continuation of the IBM case. Essentially MS inherited what was left of the IBM monopoly when the DoJ was done. That they lasted even 10 years is further testament to the power IBM once had.

      2. Tom 13

        @Matt Bryant

        Okay, so they did a good job of laundering it and in a couple of instances used their protection money shake down to do the laundering, but as far as the Public is concerned, it was Micro$hafting money wot done it.

        And in this case they deserve the moniker.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Re: @Matt Bryant

          "Okay, so they did a good job of laundering it and in a couple of instances used their protection money shake down to do the laundering...." Yes, let's not let silly things like known facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory, eh? M$ paid the chickenfeed amount of $6m in a one-off licence payment, and that's it. Whilst it was good for them to keep Linux users on their toes, it was not and has never been shown to be some grand and active M$ conspiracy. M$ already allegedly has enough patents to kill Linux if they need to, they prefer to make money out of Linux instead, as shown by the FAT licensing/extortion scheme. If you have some proof otherwise then please provide it for the rest of us to consider.

          1. LaeMing

            No one.

            "No one gets bankrupted for suing IBM."

            Oh wait!

  5. Charles Manning

    Fruitless? I think not!

    The huge expenditure on legal fees was very fruitful from the perspective of the SCO CEO Darl McBride and his family.

    SCO's lawyer is Kevin McBride: Darl's brother. The job is only done when the last SCO penny has been diverted into the family coffers.

  6. Franklin

    Wha...I don't...uh...

    Who, in this day and age, still thinks that SCO's weird ongoing insistence that it has a legal leg to stand on could possibly have even the remotest chance of having any value whatsoever? I'm gobsmacked. After all this time, the bankruptchy trustee still has even the slightest doubt that any attempt to continue down this road will do anything more than waste money?

  7. Medium Dave

    I've seen this film...

    We need to keep shooting until we run out of bullets, then chop its head off, then set fire to what's left.

    We then go straight to the car and drive off without saying anything stupid like "Is it really dead?" or "I didn't think we'd make it"...

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: I've seen this film...

      The film I'm thinking of is "Carrie". Sorry if that thought gives you nightmares too.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Can *any* judge fall for this s**t?

    "Yes we hat transferred nearly every penny of shareholders cash to my brothers legal practice, and been told the case is rubbish, but we believe we can *still* find some Linux services vendor we can "license" (extort) it to"

    Or slightly less amusingly

    <profanity filter off>

    Die, you fucker, die.

    </profanity filter off>

    thumbs down for these "trustees" wanting to continue.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    I do hope that those SCO employees staging a protest in front of SCO headquarters yelling "IT WAS LINUX WOT STOLE OUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!!" back in 2000 or so got what they deserve for being Daryl's useful idiots. If not a lengthy stint in a "The Road" scenario, at least a lengthy stay in the dole queue.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They were being propped up...

    SCO should have been deader than a dodo more than a decade ago. The only reason they survived is because the Military Industrial complex feared and rightly so that their game of stealing good ideas called the Patent system would be destroyed by the Open Source movement.

    They propped up SCO as a means of sewing doubt and preventing more users from adopting linux.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the evil M$ were behind this too.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: They were being propped up...

      Wasn't M$ quite openly putting money into SCO?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Military Industrial complex

      <--- can you hear the sound of these hovering above your house from the basement hideout?

      Nothing so grand as the "Man" at work here - just a small, not so secret conspiracy of powerful and soulless capitalists

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: They were being propped up...

      So both paranoid *and* ignorant of the relevant history.

      1. LaeMing

        Re: So both paranoid *and* ignorant of the relevant history.

        The two are usually found together aren't they?

  11. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The massive problem we have with SCO..

    .. is that these people have now more or less written the manual for legal harassment.

    If this affair attracts no reasonable sanctions I fear we will see a repeat of this sort of crap because SCO got away with what looks plain vanilla abuse of the legal system to me. Which means it'll happen again.

  12. bobtins

    sco != santa cruz operation

    I worked at the Santa Cruz Operation in the early 90's, but I cringe whenever I see SCO in the news for lawsuits over Linux. They are not the same--if you are confused see Wikipedia for illumination:

    After I left, Caldera (another Unix vendor in Utah) bought the Unix part of Santa Cruz Operation, started calling itself "SCO" and soon began to drag that name into the ground with the infamous series of ludicrous suits against IBM and other Linux vendors. Utah != Santa Cruz in more ways that just geography.

    SCO (the original) did some substantial work on Unix for x86's and filled a gap that existed in the 90's with a decent multiuser system with commercial support that could run on commodity hardware. After Linux started hitting its stride, there wasn't as much point. It was pretty fun being able to hack Unix in the laid-back environment of Santa Cruz--there were some pretty hard-core developers who I miss working with. It's too bad that company doesn't really exist anymore--but as for the current bearer of the SCO name, good riddance.

    1. George of the Jungle

      Re: sco != santa cruz operation

      I also worked for the Santa Cruz Operation in the early 90's, and it was a very different place then. We had one of the early SMP x86 Unix architectures available as an option also (I worked with some of the hardware vendors on this stuff).

      I'm hoping the SCO/TSG zombie finally gets put down this time.

    2. Fred Goldstein

      Re: sco != santa cruz operation

      The Santa Cruz Operation, IIRC, started out as a branch ofice of Vidar, a telephone equipment company owned in the late 1970s by TRW. Vidar delivered the first digital CO telephone switch to the US market, but quickly faded. Their Santa Cruz operation, though, spun off and went int the Unix business. That was the "original" SCO.

      Caldera started in Utah as a Linux distributor; it was originally owned by Ray Noorda, founder of Novell, and his family (Canopy Group). But Caldera Linux didn't do terribly well. They bought Unixware from SCO along with the SCO name. Then Darl launched his idiotic scheme.

      The rest of SCO, back in Santa Cruz, was renamed Tarantella after its other product. That ended up inside Oracle.

  13. Colin Miller

    Have we finally scattered its ashes widespread enough that it can't resurrect itself at the merest drop of blood?

    1. Nigel 11

      No. Not until its patents and copyrights are all in the hands of some organisation that is committed for all time to do no evil with them, such as the OSF. (Or better still in the case of patents, expired).

  14. AndrueC Silver badge

    I worked on a project developed for both SCO Unix and SCO Xenix for a time in the late 80s.

    My therapist says I'm making good progress.

    The project also ran on AIX(*). They all had just enough differences to be similar and yet not quite the same. AIX had a curious attitude to null pointers if I remember correctly.

    (*)It was a windowed app so 'AIX and panes' :)

    1. Tom 13

      @AndrueC: That was work for a different SCO

      and you are exempted from the criticism here.

      Yes, some of us are old enough to remember the group to which you refer, and the more honorable organization they were, and that they are completely unrelated to the current SCO. Their theft of the name is numbered amongst their crimes.

      1. Dave Mundt

        Re: @AndrueC: That was work for a different SCO

        Yep, I actually bought a copy of SCO Xenix ($1200.00 or so) and ran it for several years until Linux got its sea legs. It was a VERY good OS, put out by an excellent company. However, alas, like all good things, Santa Cruz Org. came to and end, and, the scavengers that dragged its corpse off did not even have the honorable character to devour it and let it go. Rather, like a bad version of "Weekend at Bernies", they propped the body up, and, claimed it was king.

        A sad fate for a good company and some quite good software.

        pleasant dreams

        Dave Mundt

        1. Colin Brett

          @Dave Mundt

          "Yep, I actually bought a copy of SCO Xenix ($1200.00 or so) and ran it for several years until Linux got its sea legs."

          Wasn't Xenix a Microsoft OS? At least originally. They sold it to SCO in the late 80s.


          PS: I hope this doesn't feed the "MS backed SCO's lawsuits" crowd because, as Matt Bryant points out, there is no proof that MS funded SCO's legal actions. Apologies in advance if this goes nuclear, hence the icon.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Colin Brett (was: @Dave Mundt_

            "Wasn't Xenix a Microsoft OS?"

            No. Xenix was actually licensed by Microsoft from AT&T in the late 1970s. From what I remember it was the standard PDP11 Version 7 Unix source code, un-modified by Microsoft. SCO ported it to the IBM PC's 8086/8088 architecture in roughly 1983. Most of us yawned ... although looking back, it was a pretty good hack by SCO[1]!

            Before SCO's port was released, there was a TRS-68000 version, a Zilog Z8001 port, and an Altos 8086 version (not necessarily in that order). Microsoft didn't write any of them, rather the third-party companies in question did the coding. Seems to me I once saw an Apple Lisa running Xenix, not certain who did that port. Can anyone jog my memory?

            For more on my take on *real* SCO, see these posts:





          2. lambda_beta

            MS and SCO

            "On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means. Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real. BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft, but that no money for it came directly from them. In addition to the Baystar involvement, Microsoft paid SCO $6M (USD) in May 2003 for a license to "Unix and Unix-related patents", despite the lack of Unix-related patents owned by SCO. This deal was widely seen in the press as a boost to SCO's finances which would help SCO with its lawsuit against IBM."

            This was and still is seen, as MS atempt to crush or at least slow down open source.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

              Re: MS and SCO

              ".....Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means...." I think you'll find that a bunch of paranoid penguinistas that desperately wanted to blame the whole thing on M$ took the evidence of outside investment as somehow being a grandiose M$ plot. The fact simple fact remains that the only direct M$ payment was the $6m for a license, much less than Sun coughed up. All the other investors, just like Bay Star, made the decision to invest in SCO. Other Linux users that had a clue saw through this desperate conspiracy junket long ago. I don't doubt that M$ were quite happy to see Linux get threatened, but it was more a case of M$ taking advantage of SCO's con scheme rather than actively running the con. Now please put your tinfoil hat away and try doing some thinking for yourself.

              1. lambda_beta

                Re: MS and SCO

                To answer your comment and opinion ('paranoid penguinistas that desperately wanted to blame the whole thing on M$ took the evidence of outside investment as somehow being a grandiose M$ plot.') with a fact from 2001:

                'Microsoft CEO and incontinent over-stater of facts Steve Ballmer said that "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches," during a commercial spot masquerading as a media interview with the Chicago Sun-Times Friday.' ---


                I guess MS thought that Linux software was some kind of medical problem.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                  Re: Re: MS and SCO

                  Great, you can repeat a quote! Next week maybe you can ask your teacher to show you how to use it in context. A general quote "revealing" how M$ views Linux is in no way evidence that M$ hatched or even directly supported the SCO con. All you did was just provide yourself as an example of the embittered penguinistas I mentioned.

                  1. lambda_beta

                    Re: MS and SCO

                    I guess quotes and facts are out of your realm, and argumentum ad hominem is the only thing you can provide (you can look on wikipedia for a translation). It's really not worth the effort to continue this discussion.

                    Have fun with windows 8!

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

                      Re: Re: MS and SCO

                      "I guess quotes and facts are out of your realm...." Seeing as I posted facts and exposed the lack of them linked to your claims in your posts, I would have to say that it is you that is subject to paranoia rather than lucid thought. I would further suggest your lack of desire to pursue the issue is more proof that you actually cannot substantiate your accusations. This is my surprised face, honest!

                      "....Have fun with windows 8!" And yet more failure to even read prior posts, otherwise you would have seen that I also use Linux, both on the desktop and server. It's just that I don't wear blinkers when I do, unlike yourself. Your childish prattle is an embarrassment to those of us that strive to convince our companies that Linux is a practical and serious OS.

  15. Martin 37

    Learned from GNU ...

    If, as the article says, they are now The TSG Group, they have learned the recursive acronym trick at least, on the basis that TSG is The SCO Group.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Learned from GNU ...


      TSG != recursive acronym

      It would need to be called TTG ("The TTG Group") for that to be true


  16. Christian Berger

    Corporation suicide?

    Isn't that one of the early example of a corporation committing suicide? I mean today that is quite common with companies like Kodak or Nokia, but back then it was new for a company to simply start acting insane.

    Now the question is, society does not tolerate suicide when it comes to persons. If you announce your suicide you will be taken to a mental hospital. Now if a company decides to commit suicide, should we intervene?

    1. Nigel 11
      Black Helicopters


      I think there's an obvious problem. It's much the same as the observation that anyone who says he wants to be president of the USA has declared himself unfit for that role (that's the polite version. "Should be summarily executed" Is another one).

      It's a bigger problem with governments, in any case. Limited companies can and do "die", and their still-useful parts usually get recycled. Government, on the other hand ....

  17. system11

    Could they please hurry up? We bought in the party hats years ago and they've gathered a layer of dust.

  18. Oliver 7

    SCO is dead?

    Let me reach into my little bag of care...

    ...oh dear, it appears to be empty.

  19. yossarianuk

    A warning to patent trolls - this could happen to you.

    If there is an justice Microsoft will be next. The SCO jolly against Linux was after all funded by MS....

  20. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Re: yossarianuk

    "...The SCO jolly against Linux was after all funded by MS...." Yes, becasue Bay Star and M$ are one and the same. Oh, wait a sec - no they're not! An neither is the Royal Bank of Canada. Massively blinkered fail to comprehend what is presented on the Wiki page in question.

    1. yossarianuk

      Re: yossarianuk

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: yossarianuk

        OK, this may be real hard for you, but I want you to read the first line of that article you linked too and just try to comprehend what it means:

        "FINANCE COMPANY BayStar said it invested $50 million in SCO after Microsoft recommended the company to them....." Got that? Bay Star invested the money. Microsoft did not. Microsoft may have suggested the investment to Bay Star but it was not Microsoft's money or their decision. It was Bay Star that went away, did due diligence and decided to pour $50m down the drain.

        Now, it may be an idea to get an adult to read the above to you and go over the longer words, just to make sure you finally get a clue.

  21. John Tserkezis

    And a boo hoo goes to...

    ...all the poor suckers who bought into the Linux insurance against litigation schemes that poped up.

    1. yossarianuk

      Re: And a boo hoo goes to...

      Yes im really sad for them.

      It's like the people who signed up early for their ID cards...

      A sucker is born every minute.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cut me teeth on SCO.....

    I was laughed at in an interview when I said most of my Unix experience was on SCO.....

    ......but when it was found that there was a SCO box in each police station in the country that needed virtualised then guess who was turned to do do it (or to write procedures to let other people do it!)

    Shame, I liked Openserver as an OS back in the day....... shame it was wreaked my management.

  23. TangoCharlie

    It's not over yet...

    UnXi, the company that has bought the SCO assets (UNIXWARE and OpenServer) still insist that their offerings are "unencumbered" UNIX, and even has the open letter from Darl stating that all Linuxes have stolen their intellectual property!! It would appear that the "new" company might be under the impression that they inherited the rights to Unix when they bought SCO's assets. They obviously haven't been reading Groklaw! Everyone on the planet knows that Novell retained the Unix rights through the SCO saga, and has now passed them onto The Open Group. So prepare for a new court case with UnXi ! As an aside, I'm no trademark guru, but the "X" in UnXi's logo looks suspiciously like the "X" in MacOS X. Time for Apple's lawyers to get involved? ;)

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