Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Linux/UNIX/Open Source

SCO and Justice

  • Print
  • + Share This
The Santa Cruz Organization (SCO), which owns the UNIX copyrights, recently sued IBM claiming copyright infringements by (they claim) using SCO intellectual property in Linux. IBM refused to settle and instead said they'd take it to court. Hear what Linux pundit Nicholas Petreley has to say about the matter in this thoughtful column.
Like this article? We recommend

Two questions come to mind as I approach the topic of SCO and its ongoing anti-Linux jihad. Where do I start, and when will it all end?

I should start with the recent revelations about the so-called evidence against IBM. There is new information that at least some of the most important common source code between Linux and SCO UNIX actually originated with Sequent.

Is The Truth Relevant?

I hesitate to explore this new evidence about the evidence, because I'm not convinced any of it matters. Pardon the cynicism, but it is not without a foundation in personal experience. This suit is destined for a court of law. My personal experience as a defendant and as an expert witness have taught me to be cynical about the justice system. If these experiences (I will spare you the details) were isolated incidents, I might still be optimistic. But my opinions have also been shaped by historic court decisions that determined that if you're stupid enough to place a cup of hot coffee between your legs, the fast food restaurant that brewed the coffee must be held responsible.

So when I rotate around the source code and copyright issues to examine every side, I am reluctant to speculate about the outcome as if the truth matters. It usually doesn't. I know lawyers who recognize truth when they see it. I know some who might even take a stand on the truth outside the courtroom. But I have yet to meet a lawyer who actually leverages and respects the truth in a case. Lawyers tend to build their strategies based on how much money is involved, where the money is located, how much of that money can possibly be awarded in court decisions, and what they have to convince the court to believe in order to get the best portion of that money. Everything else, truth included, is negotiable or disposable. Anyone who reads the D.O.J. findings of fact must come face-to-face with this reality to understand why Microsoft is now once again on its worst behavior, unchecked by legal restraints.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account