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SCO suspends Linux sales, Torvalds reacts

Litigation-happy SCO drops another bombshell on the open-source community

(LinuxWorld) — SCO's latest bombshell came today when the troubled firm announced they are suspending further sales of its own version of Linux.

In a letter to SCO partners, CEO and President Darl McBride said the company is "alerting commercial users to the fact that legal liability for the use of Linux by businesses may extend to end users."

McBride said the reason for the suspension of the sale of SCO's version of Linux was because "SCO has found compelling evidence that the Linux operating system contains unauthorized SCO UNIX intellectual property."

Linus Torvalds, father of the Linux kernel and leader of the open-source project that has captured the imagination of the entire IT world, had this reaction when I asked if he had a comment on the latest SCO news:

Not much of a comment. I'd personally just like to know what they claim infringes, since they themselves seem to be quite confused about it (at one point they said that it wasn't the kernel but something else, and at another point they said it was).

I suspect they noticed that as long as they distribute Linux, they are themselves bound by the GPL. Which (among other things) clearly states that you can't limit recipients rights, including the right to further distribute it (without any limitations further down the chain either).

So by distributing Linux they possibly made their own case weaker — anybody who gets _any_ distribution from them (even very indirectly), they cannot limit without themselves being in violation of the GPL.

And I suspect some SCO lawyer just woke up to this fact and realized that they haven't made money any other way, and if their main cash cow is going to be litigation, they'd better avoid doing anything that makes their case any weaker than it already is.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

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