SCO-Linux controversies

On SCO against Linux between 2003 and 2010 led court processes of the SCO Group against IBM and other companies are understood, where it was about the allegation that source code, supposedly own the rights to the SCO, that was unlawfully copied into the Linux kernel. The courts noted, however, that the copyright on SCO Unix never - had acquired and the lawsuits eventually recorded as unfounded, whereupon SCO objected - as claimed. In addition, none of the alleged plagiarism in Unix Linux source code could be found. As a result, the SCO Group went into bankruptcy and is currently a trustee (as of September 2009) administered.


The since the early 1990s popular Linux operating system is basically free software and may be modified and distributed by anyone. With the increasing spread it was supported by more and more companies, culminating in an announcement IBM to invest around one billion dollars in Linux.

IBM, which has its own Unix called AIX in the portfolio, the commitment to the native operating system in favor of Linux went back more and more. A short time later, the first voices from the camp of SCO have been raised that questioned whether Linux could develop by itself so, or if there is not copyrighted source code had been included, would have to be licensed.

Almost all operating systems based on Linux kernel called Linux use beside the GNU core utilities from the GNU operating system. GNU stands for GNU 's Not Unix. The name was chosen because the operating system should be unixoid, but differs from Unix by being free software and contains no code of Unix. The Free Software Foundation, which manages the GNU project, is confident of being able to prove the copyright to GNU. After SCO could browse copyright infringement on GNU and the Linux kernel, the company management decided to attack only the Linux kernel legally.

In the following, the resulting events are now listed.

Chronological order of events

Spring 2003

  • The SCO Group is suing IBM for breach alleged rights that SCO will have to Unix, and calls for $ 1 billion dollars in damages, claiming the SMP code (multi processor ) code in Linux infringes the copyrights of SCO. However, this code is derived for the most part of kernel developers at Red Hat and Intel are working. Compared to the employers of these developers no claims have been filed to date. IBM denied the claim with the argument, SCO would try to hinder the work of the open source community and to slow down.
  • Tarantella, the former " Santa Cruz Operation (SCO ) " and former owner of the Unix business, which was sold to Caldera / SCO, does not participate in this lawsuit. Furthermore, SCO has announced to extend the action for infringement of Unix copyrights to various Linux distributors.
  • In Germany, according to a warning by the LinuxTag eV before the Bremen Regional Court against the company for an injunction before, after the SCO the claim must not be repeated. Otherwise, there is an administrative fine in the amount of 250,000 €.

Summer 2003

  • IBM had to destroy it by the use of code from AIX with the aim of Unix, the source code of SCO abused and violated the agreement with SCO. For this reason, SCO would deprive all rights to the use of source code based on the Unix System V to IBM.
  • Eben Moglen, Professor of Law and Legal History at the Law School of Columbia University, as well as advisor to the Free Software Foundation, rejects the allegations of SCO. In the document it is noted that SCO has previously filed suit against neither users nor published information about which code may violate the rights of SCO.
  • SCO introduces the prices for the so-called Intellectual Property License for Linux. A server license is intended to October 15, $ 699 (after 1399 U.S. dollars) per processor, a desktop system cost U.S. $ 199. Evidence for the claim that code are migrated from the Unix kernel to Linux, SCO appealed against does not prior to today.
  • Red Hat, a Linux distributor, is prosecuting the expression of SCO, Red Hat products have sold, the protected source code would contain of Unix. According to Mark Webbing, the lawyer of Red Hat, you want to keep with this step SCO from continuing false allegations against Red Hat Linux set up.
  • IBM defends himself and filed a suit against SCO. SCO is violating the GNU General Public License (GPL ) and four IBM patents have hurt. It is, SCO Linux myself, which is under the GPL, distributed and relinquished copyrights on Linux code.
  • SCO responds to the lawsuit filed by IBM, it was just an attempt to distract from IBM's wrong Linux business model, and calls on IBM to solve the problems and abandon the GPL. From the patent accusation SCO is surprising because IBM has never raised any claims.
  • The open source activist Bruce Perens warns at LinuxWorld in San Francisco before the legal consequences that arise for companies that are responsive to the Linux license from SCO. However, a greater danger than SCO would software patents, they would have been in Europe just before the adoption.
  • According to software manufacturers Aduva in which Intel and IBM are among the main investors, the latest version of the software developer Onstage contains a function to detect and remove the controversial SCO Code in Red Hat or SuSE distributions. This raises the question of how Aduva has managed to replace the SMP system in the kernel, although SCO has not even introduced the controversial lines of code to the public.
  • SCO issued a press release, after one of the 500 largest corporations in one of the Linux licenses to have bought. To which company it is, however, SCO is not known.
  • The Free Software Foundation (FSF ) post a patch to the GNU Compiler Collection developer Mark Mitchell, which includes an information text in which it is threatened to withdraw support for SCO's software in the coming versions.
  • SCO terminates the contract, by the IBM subsidiary Sequent from Unix System V was allowed to manufacture and sell derivative software, on the grounds that this code has been used in violation of the agreement in Linux.
  • SCO's chief attorney Mark Heise explains that the GNU General Public License ( GPL) is invalid. The GPL is to contradict the U.S. legislation on copyright, according to the software buyers only as making a backup copy is permitted. This would override the GPL.
  • From the Open Source Development Labs ( OSDL ), a paper is published with questions and answers about the legal dispute. Its author Lawrence Rosen is legal advisor of the Open Source Initiative ( OSI) and expert on technology and copyright law. He confirmed that SCO may request money from Linux users. But he also puts it, that this is not a long time means that you have to pay this as well.
  • Bill Gates notes during a conference call with analysts that Linux should not be a new operating system, but a UNIX derivative. He believes it is impossible that Linux contains no source code of Unix or Microsoft. Real innovations for a stable and secure system should be able to just Microsoft offer.
  • SCO attorney Mark Heise had told the Wall Street Journal claims that the GNU GPL, under which Linux is, is invalid because it would violate the U.S. federal law (see August 14 ). The designated Eben Moglen as frivolous argument and unprofessional nonsense. This would not only invalid but the GPL or any other open source license such as the Apache, BSD, LGPL. But the shared-source license from Microsoft as well as the methods of this company for the distribution of the operating system Windows would be contrary to the law.
  • As part of the SCO Forum stolen code is presented supposedly. Here, a fragment from UNIX code and Linux code viewers were shown containing same comments. However, the code is taken from the file sys / sys / malloc.c from Unix version 3 and should already have been written in 1973 by Dennis M. Ritchie and Ken Thompson, who worked at AT & T at that time. He has been asked several times under the BSD license. The first release under a Non Disclosure Agreement is intended, according to Bruce Perens even have already taken place in 1977. The Unix Systems Labs ( ATT ) had the site published in 1979 under a BSD -like license. Also Caldera International, the code has been released. Bill Broderic, Director of License Services signed a license can be changed according to the sources of the Unix Releases V1 -7 and 32V and distributed in binary form without license charges Caldera are necessary.
  • The developers of Samba describe the procedure of SCO as hypocrisy after next insults and attacks against open source on the SCO Forum, the new version of SCO Open Server Legend was presented. It is designed to support Java and to connect to Windows computers using the open source program Samba, which is under the GPL.
  • SCO announces against the Computer Business Review 's intention that they wanted to take action against a company that AIX, Dynix and Linux used to set an example.
  • After the assessment of Linus Torvalds of the presented code shows only an uninteresting algorithm for memory management, which is about 30 years old, was written by Ken Thompson and comes from the original UNIX source code and BSD. Furthermore, the code has been removed due to its ugliness even before the publication by SCO from the Linux kernel. He encourages the efforts of the scene to get an insight into the offending sources of SCO to ensure that the legal concerns, code fragments can be removed.
  • The District Court of Munich I imposed against the SCO Group GmbH an administrative fine in the amount of 10,000 euros, accusing the company from negligent conduct in the operation of the company website. On the allegation was to read that end users who use the software Linux, for breaches of intellectual property of SCO can be held liable even after the injunction. Not paid the SCO Group, Managing Director Hans Bayer threatens a detention order of 10 days.

Fall 2003

  • According to reports from Australian media, the American company SCO now plans but no further business to sue for license violations.
  • From the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Linux users are encouraged to submit written protest to the Representatives of the U.S. Congress against SCO for extortion.
  • Linus Torvalds replied to the open letter from SCO boss Darl McBride and expressed his happiness over the fact that SCO as Linux developers believe is accurate, Open Source [ was ] stable and legally. However, he rejects business advice from a company that seems to be all the money comes from a Linux IPO squandered, and plays with the U.S. legal system lottery. Negotiations with McBride he rejects also, since there is still no evidence of the allegations SCOs.
  • The company wants to protect users of HP products with a support contract from legal action by SCO and assume the cost of defense.
  • IBM SCO sued for breach of copyright by Linux. Since SCO Linux even after the breach of the GPL ( by demanding royalties) continue pastimes, the company violated the copyright.
  • In the opinion of the SCO -free Linux operating system is a "vehicle for the destruction of proprietary operating system software."

Winter 2003/2004

  • He has a denial of service attack against SCO to the destination. SCO claims that the worm came from the open source space, and would have been used to blackmail the company.
  • Between Univention and SCO, a comparison is completed, the SCO forbids it under threat of punishment, make the claim in Germany that Linux contains the intellectual property of SCO.

Spring 2004

  • SCO files a lawsuit against a large Linux users. Instead, as expected, to take a size from the IT industry, the self-proclaimed biggest auto parts supplier in the U.S., AutoZone, confronted with the complaint by the SCO sees.
  • SCO files a lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler. DaimlerChrysler was licensed in 1996 Unix systems from SCO 's predecessor AT & T for car development. SCO accuses Daimler Chrysler claims to have no evidence that the software contracts have been complied with. According to the license agreement, Daimler Chrysler would have to attend at the request of the SCO contract lawful use.
  • The investor Royal Bank of Canada increases from the investment made ​​in SCO. Thus one of the two major investors from the participation to the now quite troubled SCO is exited. Baystar Capital thus becomes the determining investor.

Summer 2004

  • The venture capitalists Baystar Capital announces that it is withdrawing from the investment SCO. Thus, the main donor of SCO gets out, who had previously urged the most direct continuation of the process.
  • The lawsuit against the American auto parts dealer Autozone is set by the competent judge until the end of the IBM process on hold when SCO can not prove that this is extremely damaging to business. In addition, it becomes known that Gregory Blepp, has hitherto consultant located in licensing, the company and accepted a new job at another company.

Winter 2004/2005

  • The lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler is rejected by the competent judge. However, SCO has the opportunity to file the lawsuit again.
  • SCO calls for more code from IBM, which would have to be seen. The Adjudicator Brooke Wells is taking the requested, and ordered that IBM must pass to SCO the code of all produced versions of AIX and Dynix. An application for insight into all version control systems but initially rejected.
  • IBM also calls insights into extensive stocks of SCO code. This requirement is unreasonable SCO, the judge gives her but instead.
  • IBM wants to learn from Hewlett Packard and Intel, the role of SCO in porting Unix to the Merced processor then called (later Itanium ) played.

Spring 2005

  • SCO requires more insight into the hardware design plans from IBM. The aim is to changes in the hardware design to changes in the software design to close back. In this application SCO attacks the meantime dropped thesis again that IBM had tons of copied lines of code in Linux. Also throws SCO IBM before that IBM had broken into the servers of SCO to make Linux source code as its own, which was used only for customers of SCO.
  • An accounting wrangling, the annual report 2004 for the U.S. regulatory authority delays SEC. Then, the share of SCO from ticker symbol Scox in SCOXE was changed, indicating that the stock is in danger of delisting.
  • A dispute over misappropriation of funds between the Canopy Group and among other things, Ralph Yarro ensures that all SCO shares of Canopy Group go to Ralph Yarro that is so new majority owner of SCO.
  • SCO, the GPL had invalidated released a new server product that has a wide range of free software. This runs SCO a two-pronged way in which the license under which the software product is its own part, is declared to be invalid.
  • For a presentation of the quarterly figures of SCO is clear that the company's businesses go bad. Sales fell year on year from 11.4 million U.S. dollars to 8.9 million dollars. The losses have been expanded and now add up to 2.96 million U.S. dollars. In comparison, SCO had indicated losses of 2.49 million U.S. dollars last year.
  • In a conference call SCO boss Darl McBride the information page Groklaw vigorously attacks and makes the assertion that Pamela Jones, the manager of the side, was a fake identity. He announces that SCO would like to pursue this and will announce who will be the alleged mastermind.
  • SCO announced in a statement that all missing documents for the annual report now available to the supervisory authority. Thus, the share of SCO is performed again under the symbol Scox.
  • Adjudicator Wells has a protest of IBM approved, after which it would be too much to ask, if IBM would have to publish data on all 3,000 developers. Under the amended Regulation IBM now has only issue notes and observations as well as the White Papers of the most important 100 developers. For more information, SCO must specify detailed justifications.
  • At IBM, more than 400 employees have compiled the documents requested by the SCO in a time of over 4,700 hours and asked SCO available. SCO has received thus placed above 80 GB source code is available, SCO employees can now browse the.
  • SCO spokesman Blake Stowell announces that his company will soon publish details of the announced research around Groklaw. Groklaw is therefore not an objective news site, but directed only against SCO.

Summer 2005

  • At the presentation of the quarterly figures SCO announces that the business with Linux licenses slightly increasing. The income amounted to $ 30,000 compared to $ 11,000 last year. In contrast, SCO admits, however, that the profits were lower from revenue with the offers UnixWare and OpenServer. While still 8.415 million U.S. dollars had been taken in the same quarter last year, it's this quarter only 7.838 million U.S. dollars. This results in a quarterly balance sheet is calculated with a loss of 1.96 million U.S. dollars. In the same period of the previous year had been 14.7 million U.S. dollars.
  • At the presentation of the quarterly figures SCO indicates a profit of $ 779,100, which comes from the sale of Trolltech 's shares. With this sale falls the last link between the Norwegian open source developers and SCO.
  • SCO is in a conference call to discuss quarterly results known, is left to the trial of Autozone probably fall because Autozone by switching to Red Hat Linux now do not use any offending code more.
  • The trial on the rights to the UNIX code between Novell and SCO the evidence has begun. The judge Dale Kimball had earlier on Monday rejected the application from Novell to close the case with regard to the purchase agreement from 1995 immediately. The reasons stated were that the evidence was the right place for such arguments and not a request for termination of the proceedings.
  • The judge Dale Kimball attempt by SCO to introduce a third action line against IBM, rejected. This is an attempt by SCO to interpret the use of AIX when so-called Project Monterey as a license fracture failed. The reason for the request is based largely on the argument of IBM, SCO after very well by this use knew, and have supported this with several explanations. Accordingly, the claim was, in the opinion of Kimball just an attempt to delay the process further.
  • Furthermore, Kimball has set the date for trial on February 26, 2007. This means that all preliminary investigations and entries must be completed by 17 March 2006.
  • In the publication, July 5, SCO sees despite obvious defeat still result in a victory, as the IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano in New York must state what IBM had been strictly denied. The judge agreed to the request, the session time for questioning but shortened from 7 to 4 hours.
  • The share of SCO continues to fall, as the venture capitalists Baystar has dissolved, which still has a large block of shares in SCO. Parts of these blocks of shares may also be sold in tranches.
  • In the course of preliminary investigation documents have been published, the SCO heavy burden. From an e -mail from 2002 show that the witness Michael Davidson knew early on that in no SCO Linux code was to be found. Published on Groklaw E -mail has been forwarded for the attention of Darl McBride; whether he has actually read, is not known. From the contents of the e- mail stating that the Foreign observers Bob Schwartz was specifically tasked to identify copyright concern code in Linux. However, the work was unsuccessful, it could be found no code that is under SCO licenses. This is for Darl McBride is a danger that, if the e-mail ever reached him, has knowingly placed false claims, which would have consequences on the trial of IBM.
  • In a countersuit Novell SCO alleges that have broken twice a contract for the sale of UnixWare. In addition, Novell SCO alleges libel and slander, as the company claim the copyrights to Unix unlawfully. The same allegations had been made ​​against Novell in a suit last year, Novell SCO the abschmetterte.

Fall 2005

  • This process, led by the Coroner David Nuffer, can not be delayed by SCO, since no source code has to be consulted. Should the process be successful for Novell, SCO against IBM, the process would be invalid. In parallel, the demand SCO, IBM had all developments in the ( non-existing) Linux kernel passed 2.7.

Winter 2005/2006

  • SCO rises charges against competitors Suse Linux. In the distribution of Suse Linux code to be contained by SCO. Observers believe SCO try with this strategy, the case against Novell delay. This could be in connection with United Linux, in the development of the SCO Caldera predecessor was involved, as a boomerang.

Winter 2006/2007

  • SCO must put up with another defeat. The last accusation was, IBM would have destroyed the evidence of alleged infringements of intellectual property and thus made the argument for SCO impossible. However, the court did not take the representatives from this reproach. The allegations in Linux would SCO source code plug, more and more implausible, and, according to Novell to SCO are already close to insolvency.

Spring 2007

  • Novell can prove with documents that the copyright was not sold aware of Unix to have collateral in the event that the former SCO goes bankrupt. And the action of the SCO by testimonies of lawyers and to the attached documents is practically pointless.

Summer 2007

  • The 29th Civil Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Munich has in the second instance from a lawsuit filed by The SCO Group GmbH against the Linux supporters Andreas Kuckartz. Andreas Kuckartz may therefore publicly and also to business partners of The SCO Group GmbH and Others the suspicion expressed that SCO commits crimes such as price manipulation and fraud process.
  • Since Novell has the rights of UNIX never be sold to SCO and SCO acquired only a license to use which, a court has now come to the conclusion that the action of SCO is devoid of purpose and Novell still owns the rights to UNIX.
  • According to SCO, the process has not been fully verified by the legal system. For this reason, SCO has filed an appeal against the judgment.

Fall 2007

  • The software company SCO is insolvent. This was announced by the company on 14 September 2007 in Lindon (Utah County), in the U.S. state of Utah, is known. Bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, a section of the bankruptcy law of the United States, sought.
  • Before the competent bankruptcy court in Delaware Novell requested the setting of the bankruptcy proceedings against SCO. Similarly, the bankruptcy protection should be lifted to allow the appeal process between SCO and Novell continues.

Winter 2007/2008

  • The process to make the rights to UNIX and the outstanding royalties from SCO to Novell was continued, which came to a halt by the threat of insolvency. As it was not clear what rights SCO UNIX has actually a continuation of the process is necessary to bring the bankruptcy proceedings to a close.
  • After the SCO Group has already filed for bankruptcy in September 2007, the SCO Group includes the Nasdaq now finally on the stock market trade.

Spring 2008

  • The standing under the U.S. Bankruptcy SCO Group introduces a business model that provides for a separation of development / production of the previous SCO Group. Thus, the previously filed complaints with the SCO Group to remain and the production activities are bundled in a self-employed and thus independent company.
  • This sum arises, in the opinion of Novell, SCO from licensing deals with Microsoft, Sun and other companies and was therefore to be paid by SCO to Novell.

Summer 2008

  • The SCO Group has their reorganization plans only imagine if the court has passed a judgment on the amount of the sum in dispute, the SCO has to pay to Novell.
  • The competent court has the SCO Group ordered to pay 2,547,817 dollars royalties to Novell.

Fall 2008

  • The court in Las Vegas raises after an input of SCO, the suspension of the procedure, which was launched with a lawsuit by SCO against AutoZone in March 2004, December 31, 2008, thus allowing a continuation of the proceedings from January 2009.

Winter 2008/2009

  • Because the closed method is clear that Novell has not sold the copyrights to UNIX, when it sold the UNIX development of SCO. This provides Novell shares in revenue, which scored SCO in its Unix license business.
  • The software company SCO lodges an appeal against the final judgment, which was promulgated in the process between SCO and Novell 's rights to Unix.
  • The software company SCO failed to provide the required by the bankruptcy court business plan of reorganization to the claims of creditors.

Spring 2009

  • The competent bankruptcy supervision applied for a waiver of creditor protection to distribute the remaining assets to the creditors. The reason leads to the bankruptcy oversight that no reasonable prospect that the SCO Group can ensure an orderly and debt-free business.

Summer 2009

  • Literally at the last minute, the SCO Group presents a new investor who wants to enter with fresh capital, so that all claims of creditors are satisfied.
  • According to the judgment of the bankruptcy court, the previous SCO management is replaced and an appointed bankruptcy trustee carries on the business of the SCO Group.
  • The Court of Appeal confirmed that the SCO Group has to pay $ 2.5 million royalties to Novell. However, the question whether a sale of the Unix distribution rights from Novell to SCO also includes the copyright to Unix to renegotiate.

Fall 2009

Spring 2010

  • SCO stated that the jury had the copyright issue that came up through the contract with Novell, misunderstood and consequently calls for the judiciary to to set aside the judgment or, alternatively, introducing a new process.

Summer 2010

  • Federal Judge Jack Stewart has the input from SCO to open a new process, rejected. The previous decision of the jury court was correct and understandable, whether by Novell of the UNIX copyright owner. The case is now complete, according to Judge Jack Stewart.

Summer 2011

  • The 10th Federal Court in Utah at the headquarters of SCO has confirmed the judgment of 10 June 2010. SCO would indeed have to insert the possibility of appeal, but unlikely according to Groklaw.

Summer 2013

  • The U.S. Federal District Court in Utah has a resume request from SCO, with respect to the procedure completed in 2007 against IBM upheld. According to Groklaw two claims are to be negotiated, which will continue to function without the rights to UNIX on. IBM has the possibility of contradiction, to achieve a shortened procedure.