SCO Sues First Linux, Unix Users Related to IBM Lawsuit
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
The SCO Group, which is embroiled in a number of different lawsuits, which it says are aimed at protecting its intellectual property and copyrights related to the Unix operating system, last week sued two customers--one running Linux and one running Unix--for violating its rights by using AIX or Linux without proper licensing.
SCO has been threatening for months that it would take this action, which it believes it must do to protect its rights over the Unix platform. IBM, which is being sued by SCO for $5 billion for allegedly violating its Unix license by moving Unix source code into Linux, has said it did no such thing and that its AIX license is irrevocable. And Novell, which sold SCO the rights to Unix a number of years ago, says that it never sold SCO the copyrights to Unix, and has absolved IBM and the Linux community of any wrongdoing, should there have been any. SCO is attempting to use two levers to exert its power over Unix. One is taking on IBM directly in the courts, and the other is to take on the Linux community indirectly through its installed base. In January 2004, SCO sent 1,500 letters to Linux shops telling them that they could license SCO's Unix content that it asserts is lurking inside Linux for $750 per processor, and avoid potential legal battles. Thus far, only one company has admitted to the IP licensing, a small service provider called EV1Servers.Net, which said last week that it had bought the IP license.
On the Linux front, SCO's first target is automotive parts retailer AutoZone, which is being sued in federal court in Nevada for violating SCO's copyrights because it is using Linux in its data centers and stores. AutoZone is incorporated in Nevada even though it is for all practical purposes headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. SCO wants immediate injunctive relief to compel AutoZone from continuing to use Linux and is seeking damages in a trial by jury.
On the Unix front, SCO has chosen as its first AIX target none other than the car maker DaimlerChrysler. SCO sued DaimlerChrysler in Michigan state court this week. SCO has asked for the company to certify that its use of the Unix operating system is in accordance with the terms of the licensing that SCO offers to all Unix makers who have created Unixes based on the AT&T System V kernel, which it controls though acquisition. When SCO asked repeatedly for these certifications, DaimlerChrysler did not even reply. Hence, SCO decided to sue for an injunctive remedy in the courts through a jury by trial because DaimlerChrysler is violating the terms of its Unix license.