Novell Still Owns Unix Copyright

I can’t believe that this has been ongoing since 2002!  The short story is (from memory, which may be dubious at times):

SCO’s claims that it owns Unix (and parts of Linux based upon IBM, Sequent and other “donations” to the Linux-family) based upon contracts that may have transferred UNIX System V Release 4 intellectual property assets. The intellectual property rights for Unix came from Unix System Laboratories (USL) which was a division of AT&T. In 1993, USL sold all UNIX rights and assets to Novell (yes, the big 1990’s network operating system company famous for NetWare).  The sale from USL included copyrights, trademarks and active license contracts.  In 1995 some of these rights and assets (and some additional assets from Novell’s development work) was sold to the Santa Cruz Operation (the original SCO Unix). The Santa Cruz Operation had developed and sold an Intel-based UNIX until 2000. (SCO Unix was the follow-on from SCO Xenix – which was partially developed by none other than Microsoft). SCO resold its UNIX assets to Caldera, which later changed its name to SCO Group (Caldera also had its own distribution of Linux). Once Linux became popular, with IBM being a major backer of Linux (despite being committed to AIX, their version of Unix) the suites began. Anyway, SCO then sued Novell (and was counter-sued by Novell saying that they actually didn’t sell SCO the rights to Unix but just the right-to-use). SCO then sued DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone when they refused to sign licensing agreements with SCO to use Linux. Then ironically, Microsoft provided funding to SCO (indirectly) to help keep SCO going. I say ironically because the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that originated would be a boost to Microsoft’s Windows product line which didn’t have Unix code included – or did it? Microsoft licensed Unix code and Xenix was a Microsoft product which it sold to SCO… Hmmmm….

Well, maybe this wasn’t such a short story.

So, where we are today: After many trials (I wonder who got rich out of these, but I digress…) a jury in District Court of Utah trial between SCO Group and Novell issued a verdict. The jury confirmed that Novell’s ownership of the Unix copyrights, which SCO had said it owned during its attack on Linux.

Not that this really mattered. Linux has continued to grow. Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc has continued to grow. Oracle sells Unbreakable Linux and often talks about the value of Oracle database using RAC on Linux as the way to go. So much for killing Linux!

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