Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

SCO Threatens to Press IP Claims on Linux

SCO Threatens to Press IP Claims on Linux

Informed sources, who would only talk on the guarantee of anonymity, say SCO has been proposing to charge users $96 per CPU for a so-called one-time System 5 for Linux software license to protect their systems from SCO-enforced patent issues if they ante up as soon as demand is made. The fee would go up to $149 per CPU if SCO had to wait through a so-called 99-day "amnesty period" for its money. Users of SCO Linux would get a free System 5 license. They would also have the free right to run SCO Unix apps on Linux.

Sources say the scheme, which pretty much sounds like a protection racket - we won't sue if you pay - isn't engraved in stone but an undated weeks-old draft SCO press release that details the plan and was read to us has been quietly making the rounds. At press time, we got word that a major player, believed to be IBM, thought it had dissuaded SCO from going through with the idea.

A usually reliable source swears a SCO executive told him that SCO has hired the redoubtable David Boies, who prosecuted the Microsoft antitrust case for the Justice Department, to press infringement claims not against users but against the other Linux distributions. Presumably this means Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and maybe even SCO's United Linux partners SuSE, TurboLinux, and Conectiva.

It is unclear whether SCO envisioned the free System 5 license it's been proposing to bundle with SCO Linux extending to its United Linux partners or simply saw it as a SCO differentiator.

SCO would base any claims it makes on the Unix patents and copyrights that it acquired when it took over the Santa Cruz Operation. Its press release claims it "owns much of the core Unix IP" and that it has the right to enforce it.

The Santa Cruz Operation of course bought Unix from Novell, which in turn got it from AT&T. Unix was written at Bell Labs when Bell Labs was still part of the phone company. It is unclear whether the alleged IP is unassailable and that valid patents or copyrights actually exist or that the Unix libraries are actually in Linux. Reportedly there has been a lot of patent research going on in the Linux community lately and there are supposedly serious doubts SCO has much of anything.

SCO CEO Darl McBride was in England or en route home and did not return calls. Other SCO execs declined to comment; neither would Red Hat, SuSE nor major ISVs also familiar with the situation.

SCO's director of marketing communications Blake Stowell finally found a phone and confirmed that SCO was talking to Boies, described in the press release as SCO's "IP advisor," about how best to monetize its IP, but denied that it had retained him yet or that its plans were fixed.

Stowell also denied that SCO would target other Linux distributions, basically suggesting that it would be suicide for SCO to do such a thing. "Microsoft would love to see that happen," he said. Instead Stowell suggested that SCO would take out after other unidentified operating systems that drive something from Unix and hinted that that might mean Microsoft itself since Boies was involved.

Potential SCO targets said patent demands and encumbrances are explicitly outlawed by the GPL, the touchstone of the open source/Linux movement, and any move by SCO against the Linux distributions would make SCO a pariah. They claim the protection scheme itself would be the end of SCO. The open source community regards patents with haughty distain. Naturally there are fears that accounts on the Linux threshold will be spooked if SCO, which is playing on known IP concerns, starts making demands.

The situation is fraught with irony considering that open source people have figured it would be cash-rich Microsoft that took out after them brandishing its patent portfolio, not one of their own.

Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik publicly fretted about his worries that Microsoft will eventually take Linux to court for patent infringement at a Linux gathering only a month ago (CSN No 479).

Red Hat says it is so concerned - despite the fact that it's against patents and signed a petition to the European Union urging the EU not to adopt software patents - that it has "reluctantly" taken the "defensive position" of assembling its own patent portfolio. To mitigate its intellectual inconsistency, it says its patents can be used for free for any GPL work. Licenses, however, would be required for any closed, proprietary use.

SCO, on the other hand, needs the money. Its tiny Linux business is a disaster and there's little doubt that the company, founded by ex-Novell CEO Ray Noorda, would be out on the street by now if it weren't for the Unix operating systems it got from Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, Boies' track record since the Microsoft case hasn't been anything to write home about. He wasn't able to save either Al Gore or Napster and actually a lot of the tar he managed to dip Microsoft in rubbed off with Microsoft's subsequent appeal and settlement with the DOJ.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.