back to article IBM, Red Hat face copyright, antitrust lawsuit from SCO Group successor Xinuos

Xinuos, formed around SCO Group assets a decade ago under the name UnXis and at the time disavowing any interest in continuing SCO's long-running Linux litigation, today sued IBM and Red Hat for alleged copyright and antitrust law violations. "First, IBM stole Xinuos' intellectual property and used that stolen property to …

  1. Jeroen Braamhaar

    Ah shit ...

    ... here we go again.

    Break out the popcorn.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Ah shit ...

      I think the proper phrase is:

      Oh no, not again.

      Although, I guess the flowers will not grow on this one (sorry Douglas).

      1. gobaskof

        Re: Ah shit ...

        "Oh no, not again." indeed. Who is sitting around wondering what to do with their life and thinks: "You know what why don't I invest millions in buying the IP off SCO and continuing a soul destroying court battle for another decade or two". Even if they win, could it ever be worth it?

        1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

          Re: Ah shit ...

          Obviously they think it is worth it. Their mistake is thinking there is a chance of success.

          1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

            Re: Ah shit ...

            I suspect they're not in it to win it, but rather are being sponsored by someone who wants to muddy the waters a bit.

            I couldn't possibly guess who. Or rather, I wouldn't want to, because lawyers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ah shit ...

              If you mean Microsoft then that is very unlikely. MS are pretty heavily involved in the Linux ecosystem these days and they are running a lot of Linux servers in azure. They even have a partnership with Red Hat that provides support services for RHEL on Azure through Microsoft paper.

          2. TVU Silver badge

            Re: Ah shit ...

            "Their mistake is thinking there is a chance of success"

            Indeed, and I hope that this current incarnation SCO patent troll entity is legally finished off once and for all, never to return.

            On a wider point, the US legal system really needs to take action against all these vexatious patent trolls of one form or another.

            1. Jonathan Richards 1

              Re: Ah shit ...

              Here we go again, again. SCO v IBM is not and never has been about patents.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Ah shit ...

          OBVIOUSLY you are not a l[aw]yer

      2. UCAP Silver badge

        Re: Ah shit ...

        I tend to refer to these situations as a "Pot of Petunias" moment. Its surprising how many people I don't have to explain it to!

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Ah shit ...

      Come on....SOU-nix? April 1st?

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ah shit ...

      I'm reminded of the Larry Miller line: "This milk's sour! Maybe it'll be good tomorrow."

  2. Vizesnyolcas

    Yeah, of course, it is April 1.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Not an April Fool

      It's still March 31 here.


      1. Mike Lewis

        Re: Not an April Fool

        Do try to keep up.

      2. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: Not an April Fool

        The trouble is that a lot of these stories are NOT April Fools.

  3. Vizesnyolcas

    Yeah, of course. It is April 1.

  4. analyzer


    So we can just hop over to Groklaw and change the name from SCO yes?

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    Who is funding Xinuos ?

    Going to law is expensive. They are unlikely to win (see what happened last time), but they might unsettle some who will buy other products.

    So: where is the money coming from ? Who stands to gain by companies avoiding Linux ?

    PS: anyone know where Pamela is these days ?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Who is funding Xinuos ?

      I hope she's having a great time - she bloody deserves it. I was devastated when she walked away but not in the lease surprised. Budahs would have been carried away screaming long before she walked.

    2. FuzzyTheBear

      Re: Who is funding Xinuos ?

      The Lady with a capital L deserves my admiration and i truly hope that she is happy ... dancing in her red dress :) Those who were reading at the time and most of us did , will remember. Whereever she is , i hope to God she's the happiest person on earth.

  6. whitepines

    What are the chances this was revived just before the upcoming Oracle vs. Google ruling, in case APIs are in fact considered copyrightable in the Land of the Unfree?

    Cheap shot, but short of copyright reform (20 years like patents would be reasonable) it would be highly effective in killing Linux inside the United States. Wonder if there are any connections to Microsoft in this case, as in pay for Windows and accept Microsoft spying T&C if you want to use Linux?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Let’s run through the defences again:

      1 - SCO don’t own the copyright to Unix. Novell does (now Micro Focus, or possibly SuSE depending on how the reorganisation was structured)

      2 - The code in question wasn’t copied from Unix, both parties copied it from FreeBSD, which is legal

      3 - SCO published Caldera Linux under the GPL, so any offending code has permission to be used

      SCO failed at point 1, so we never got to hear points 2 & 3 in court, because they were irrelevant.

      But still valid, should they somehow manage to overcome point 1

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        I think Micro Focus still owns the UNIX copyright. It would have been odd to transfer it to SUSE, since Linux and GNU are not UNIX-branded. (The UNIX trademark and corresponding branding are controlled by The Open Group, of course.) But we don't seem to talk about the UNIX copyright much.

        OpenServer 10, a Xinuos invention, is based on FreeBSD; but SCO OpenServer was based on System V, with other bits later incorporated from UnixWare. For this complaint to be meaningful, it has to be about SCO products prior to the formation of Xinuos.

        The article says this new complaint cites both OpenServer and UnixWare, so UnixWare is dragged in anyway. UnixWare is the direct heir of SVR4. So we're really talking about an AT&T UNIX heritage here, not BSD.

        None of which changes the fact that the whole case is rubbish, of course.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        both parties copied it from FreeBSD, which is legal

        I wish this had gotten more attention.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      I must confess the idea that Linux becomes illegal in the US appeals to me in the same way brexit appeals to certain brits. Nihilism is not dead, just energised.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        please remind me

        who's vaccine roll out is more advanced, the UK or the EU?

        You lost the vote, get over it! Maybe you could start a self help website and invite all the Hilary 2016 whiners too

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It all makes sense now.

          The vaccine rollout was to ensure the survival of all the old farts that voted for brexit.

          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Re: It all makes sense now.

            You mean the same old (retired or unemployed) farts that now they have fucked up the jobs market (once covid is over) will refuse to get off their fat xenophobic[1] arses and help rebuild the country. And all the things that will be suggested to fix it, such as re-introducing free movement of people -- which according to Barnier's famous staircase chart is the SINGLE thing that will make our economy so much better and re-open so many doors -- will be opposed by these sofa-sitting 'experts'.

            [1] I was going to use a word beginning with R but this means the same thing.

            1. CoolKoon

              Re: It all makes sense now.

              Well, "xenophobic" and "racist" actually don't mean the same thing in this case, because AFAIK most of the hate (besides the institutions of the EU) has been aimed at Eastern European immigrants, who don't belong to a different race.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: please remind me

          I made this comment back in November 2019...

          I am starting to think that Brexit has become a subset of Godwin's Law:

          "If an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Brexit".

          Brexit is done, I've lost my right to live and work in the EU, and the NHS is receiving the £350million per week that Boris promised.

          Guys, move on dammit!!!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: please remind me

            Well, NHSTest&Trace (the Dido Harding-led outfit) is receiving roughly £350M per week (£350M x 52 is £18.2B, not too far off from 2020's budget of £22B, or 2021's of £17B). It's just not the "NHS" (the one with all the hospitals and nurses) some people were expecting.

            So even the bus was accurate. Another promise kept.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: please remind me

              It is not the NHS at all. It is Public Health England, which is a different department.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: please remind me

              But Test & Trace doesn't work.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I've lost my right to live and work in the EU

            No you haven't. Currently working in the EU with 34 other nationalities at a company with fewer than 200 employees

        3. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: please remind me

          Malta's vaccine roll-out is about the same as ours, maybe a tiny bit behind us [1], but way ahead of the rest of the EU.

          They didn't participate in the EU scheme and did their own thing. We could have done that too as members.

          [1] Way ahead on second doses, way behind on first doses, very slightly behind on overall doses.

        4. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: please remind me

          Covid response it a regional / national concern.

          When you get your vaccine passport you'll find its the UK one you carry that restricts your ability to work in the EU.

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        The best bits about "Linux becoming illegal in the US" would be turning off Google, Facebook and Amazon, Azure, Apple cloud.

        Most of the Internet would go dark, wifi routers turned off, banks would have to close up shop, many cars would not go, and of course how would we send a message to Mars to tell the rover not to fly that chopper?

        It's probably an interesting question what _would_ work if all Linux boxen were turned off in the States.

        Perhaps a six shooter? provided you have a silver dollar to purchase bullets and the gun shop's doorbell is still working.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      I'm already farmiliar with FreeBSD

      I smell a POSSIBLE BUSINESS VENTURE [converting Linux systems to FreeBSD]

      Also NetBSD, OpenBSD, others. The BSD kernel has its own copyrights and whatnot and was sanitized DECADES ago. In fact, maybe SCO et al had copyright violations of BSD CODE !!!

      (wouldn't THAT be a nice twist of fate?)

      icon, because, FreeBSD

      1. CoolKoon

        "converting Linux systems to FreeBSD" - Yuck...

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The zombie rises again

    Somebody nuke this from orbit, please.

    It's obviously the only way to be sure.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: The zombie rises again

      As they say you cant kill an idea. I do hope Open Source is the stake that keeps going into whatever shite remake, reboot, re-envisioning of this horror flick any other idiot comes up with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The zombie rises again

        So this is what they mean when they say you can't kill UNIX.

        1. Mage

          you can't kill UNIX

          sudo kill -a

          Probably not?


          rm -r *

          I've forgotten, though I'm old enough to remember MS selling Xenix for the 286 in the 1980s (rather more floppies to install than DOS and CDs were later) and the rather rare MS only OS/2 of 1989 which I encountered 1st hand in the 1990s.

          We had a machine that loaded AT&T UNIX from tape.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: you can't kill UNIX

            kill has no -a option.

            1. Stoneshop

              Re: you can't kill UNIX

              It does, on OpenSUSE.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: you can't kill UNIX

                OpenSUSE's not UNIX.

              2. bombastic bob Silver badge

                Re: you can't kill UNIX

                yeah well the options for POSIX utilities occasionally get distro-specific enhancements, and there are differences between BSD and GNU versions as well. Big whoop.

                icon, because, facepalm

    2. Ian 55

      Re: The zombie rises again

      "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: The zombie rises again

        Then all the telephone sanitizers....

    3. CoolKoon

      Re: The zombie rises again

      "It's obviously the only way to be sure." - No. The only way to fix this mess would be to fix 'murica's utterly broken DMCA that's full of loopholes and which almost openly encourages legal extortion, racketeering and corporate bullying. And fixing that would have the pleasant side effect of discouraging bogus copyright claims as well.

  8. Shadow Systems

    "Vexacious Litigant".

    Two words & the SCO zombie crumbles to dust. If "they" can't keep litigating no matter what new name they're working under, the suit hits an immoveable force & nobody can pick up that ball to keep playing.

    Otherwise you just wait for the legal team prosecuting this to arrive in court, gather them up, & fling them into space where they'll go into cryogenic hibernation as they cross the Light Aeons before reaching Vogon & being eaten as snacks.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "Vexacious Litigant".

      FRCP Title III, Rule 11 ... They just haven't managed to piss off the right judge yet. Their good luck can't last forever.

    2. Stoneshop

      Re: "Vexacious Litigant".

      Reading up on David Boies, he's some very high-falutin' lawyer who's been on the right side in US vs. Microsoft, and some rather wrong sides in quite a few others, although even swine like Harvey Weinstein have the right to representation in court. And to most lawyers, morally right or wrong is secondary to working on a case that brings in money, especially ones that do so by the truckload. Winning or losing is also lower on the list, although losing too many and your reputation will suffer, which tends to put a damper on bringing in new high-profile cases.

      His behaviour in the previous installments of SCO vs OpponentOfChoice can probably be summed up as

      - repeatedly shooting his feet

      - machinegunning his knees with gay abandon after his pedal department ceased to offer any sort of target

      - deploying a groin-pointed Gatling but running out of funds to buy ammo before having a chance to pull the trigger.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Vampires are real!

    Did they not sharpen the stake properly last time?

    Please IBM/RedHat, make sure you finish the job properly this time.

    My instant reaction was that this has to be an April Fool; then I read diodesign's comment... I'm still trying to find my jaw after it dropped to the floor....

    If PJ hears the call and gets back in the saddle for one last time, it really will feel like time has suddenly jumped back nearly two decades. It will be fun finding out what (or who) is behind this seemingly insane plan!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Vampires? Nah Zombies...

      I guess that the trustee that was appointed well over a decade ago has run out of excuses for their continued milking of funds from somewhere and needs to justify their existence once more.

      Zombies rising from graves spring to mind here. Not vampires as the SCO body was drained around 2009.

      Please, please, please IBM nuke this thing properly this time.

      As for PJ... if you do read this then please come back. The depth of your research into the nuances of every move that the likes of Darl McBride made was enlightening especially to those of us who were not lawyers. I see much of what you pioneered in the daily musings of Glenn Kirschner (Justice Matters on youtube)

      Long live Tux!

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Vampires are real!

      Last time... The SCO group (TSG!=SCO) ran up debts, spent all the cash and just before getting fined into oblivion filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court noticed that TSG could carry on collecting Novell's roylties on Novell's behalf and keep Novell's money instead of handing it all over to Novell and receiving commission back as the contract stated. The way to proceed was obvious: appoint a trustee to handle TSG's obligations (create a complete creditors list) by spending Novell's money contracting out the work to the judge's law firm. To pay the rest of the new legal fees the trustee sold the Golden Gate Bridge TSG's intellectual poverty to some dupes called UnXis (now Xinuos).

      UnXis/Xinuos failed the next required step: fool David Boies again into litigating their case in return for jam tomorrow. Xinuos have to spend their own money on this (unless they can find some really dumb investors to burn) and do not have Novell's royalty steam to hand over to the next bankruptcy judge. This could be the final decade of TSG litigation.

  10. Andy Landy


    don't forget to audit your thetans this fish day!

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Xinuos

      "IBM stole our intellectual property, which came from outer space and was trapped in a volcano for millennia."

  11. Old Used Programmer

    Call in....

    ...the Nazgul. Again. And throw in MoFo as well, for good measure.

  12. Neoc

    Not april fools

    Tag clearly says " Wed 31 Mar 2021 // 20:48 UTC" - it's from the USA, so almost a day behind from Antipodes.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SCO ...

    ... more resurrections than Dr Who's the Master.

  14. Dwarf

    Makes you wonder

    If this is true and not a silly 1st April thing, then why would IBM have not brought up the dead company and parked it somewhere deep in a vault never to see the light again. That would stop it going round and round again.

  15. steelpillow Silver badge

    BWahaha! The power!

    Where is Pamela Jones when we need her now?

  16. MacroRodent

    Guess: looking for settlement

    It is a last attempt to wring some money out of stale assets. They hope IBM grows tired of these zombies, and buys them out, or settles for a fat sum. It will probably not succeed. (IANAL etc.)

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Guess: looking for settlement

      Three-fifty and a kick in the nuts.

      After which I will gleefully deploy a wide range of power tools to take care of this abomination.

  17. Plest Silver badge

    SOU-nix! Ah, you almost had me....

    ...I was about to go into a rant but looked at the date!

    You need to try harder next year!

    1. hammarbtyp

      Re: SOU-nix! Ah, you almost had me....

      Sadly the difference between a good April fool joke and corporate stupidity is a narrow one.

      Unfortunately in the case it appears to be true Corporate stupidity, the business version of someone coming up with the words "I've got a cunning plan" before charging the machine guns disguised as a pantomime horse.

      Alternatively it is just a sign of desperation in the hope to ring out a bit of cash to support a failing business model, basically corporate blackmail, the kind the US legal system seem to pimp so well. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), they will quickly find those photos purportedly showing the partys In flagrante delicto, are actually some grainy polaroid's taken at their step mums hen party

  18. Wenlocke

    Obligatory Quote

    Not long ago, the Black Gate of Armonk swung open.

    The lights went out, my skin crawled, and dogs began to howl.

    I asked my neighbor what it was and he said, "Those are the Nazgul. Once, they were human. Now, they are IBM's lawyers."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obligatory Quote

      Okay, the dimwits amongst us need an explanation for this, given that IBM defended Linux.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Obligatory Quote

        It's an old nickname that probably predates Linux. IBM were dominant in a way they aren't any more, and their legal tactics were reputedly unpleasant

        1. Wenlocke

          Re: Obligatory Quote

          This. Their legal team had a scary reputation.

  19. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    All we need now

    All we need now is for Darl McBride to be appointed to the Xinious and the thing will be complete.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jarndyce v Jarndyce.....

    Yup......."Bleak House" all over again.......bleak, that is, for the litigants!!!!

  21. Mage

    AT&T's Unix and UnixWare


    Elephant in the room is that AT&T pinched the ownership from the universities. That's why BSD and GNU exists.

    Redhat is now IBM. IBM is expert on litigation and IP. This will run till Xinuos is broke.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: AT&T's Unix and UnixWare

      Um. UNIX was invented and initially written at Bell Labs, which was or later became the research arm of AT&T.

      AT&T at the time was prevented from selling computer systems, but they were allowed to license and provide UNIX for media costs and with source code to educational establishments, provided the source code was not used for teaching purposes (but the systems could). My University (Durham, England) was running it in 1978 when I first went there, and I believe that they had had it for a year or more.

      At the time, there was quite free movement of staff between Bell Labs. and several US Universities, which is how it cam to be running in Berkeley. Berkeley was full of clever bods who produced modifications to the Bell. Labs. code and gave it to other Bell Labs UNIX licensees, again for free (BSD 1 through 2.9). UNIX was very collaborative back then, and a lot of technology was made available to others, almost like GNU/Linux later became Eventually, there was so many changes that they shipped complete distribution tapes rather than patches, and also ported it to the VAX (and other ports went to Interdata and others). This became BSD 3.

      Some BSD code (like the VM system, fast filesystem, vi and some networking code) made it's way back into AT&T System 3 and System 5, as well as various research versions of AT&T UNIX (such as Edition 8 and beyond), although AT&T had their own cut on networking that was not TCP/IP. When I used R&D UNIX 5.2.3 (which looked a lot more like SVR3 rather than SVR2, including a virtual memory system) in 1986, the IP stack add-on came from Wollongong in Australia, and was officially licensed.

      So it is completely untrue that AT&T nicked UNIX from the universities. Early UNIX history is well documented, and I suggest you do some reading.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: AT&T's Unix and UnixWare

        A good summary.

        One more thing: there was some sharing of the Unix sources under "letter agreements" before AT&T legal set up official licensing. Tapes were passed to helpful folks at universities under the simplest of agreements. AT&T's fear was not the loss of their intellectual property, but the wrath of the Justice Department, as they weren't allowed to be in the computer business.

  22. jeffty

    Checked the date hoping this was an April Fools...

    ... clearly not.

    How this is still rumbling on is beyond comprehension.

  23. TDog


    Amazing how many of us remember her still. Groklaw was enthralling; it introduced me to names in the US (in)Justice department I never would even have heard off, let alone admired.

    Miss you too, PJ.

  24. David Harper 1

    Look! An undead SCO lawsuit!

    With apologies to Jack Sparrow.

    Sorry, apologies to *Captain* Jack Sparrow.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a bloody waste of time, effort, and money

    Regardless of the merits, a defence must be prepared.

  26. FrankAlphaXII

    Surely this is a joke, but its not

    What year is it? And hell, I thought it was an April Fool's article myself until I double checked the date.

    Its funny, one of the first articles I ever read on El Reg was on SCO vs The World.

    Its the same stupid song and dance that's been going on for 20 something years now. And pretty much nothing's changed since the last time they tried this except that Zombie SCO has another new name, this is like their third or fourth one. Same tired bullshit claims. And again, just like last I pointed out last time, its funny (and telling) that they're not suing other commercial UNIX vendors like HPE for HP-UX or Oracle for Solaris.

    A definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By that definition, Zombie SCO is clearly insane.

  27. rcxb Silver badge


    Perfect tech news story for April 1st.

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    so ridiculous

    Continuing these charges is so ridiculous -- in the previous case, it came out that SCO only had source code control and corporate records going back 5 or 10 years, they simply found code that was both in UNIXWare etc. and AIX and Linux with no record of how it got there and drew their own conclusions, which IBM thoroughly destroyed. IBM had records (both source code control and contracts) going back to the early 1980s, showing that the AIX code that was also in UNIXWare was licensed over to IBM in the 1980s under a perpetual irrevocable license. The code that SCO claimed was copied into Linux was actually copied from Linux into UNIXWare etc. in an effort to provide a Linux-compatible ABI so Linux binaries could be run in UNIXWare.




    It is just like identity theft, there is a chain of ownership and what people are doing is blatantly ignoring the obvious chain of ownership.

    Best Wishes,

    Mandy Rice Davies

    1. Wzrd1 Silver badge


      Indeed, the courts decided that SCO Unix and derivatives like UnixWare were owned by Novell, which was purchased by the UK based Micro Focus.

      That's like me suing a neighbor a block away for stealing my petunias, which were purchased by my neighbor, planted on that neighbor's property and cared for by that neighbor.

  30. Wzrd1 Silver badge

    Color me confused, but

    Given that the courts decided that Novell owned the rights to SCO Unix and by derivation, UnixWare, how can they lay a claim on that which they do not own?

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