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05.03.08

Week of SCO/Novell in Court Culminates in Novell ‘Pulling an SCO’

Posted in Action, Corel, Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SUN, UNIX at 2:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SCO

We do not typically cover any of the SCO trials, but for those who do, here are a few pointers and highlights from the past week.

Several articles heralded the beginning of this latest trial. These included:

1. Trial starts today in SCO lawsuit

More than four years after filing a lawsuit about alleged misuse of the Unix operating system, the SCO Group will get its days in court, beginning today in Salt Lake City.

2. SCO Novell Trial Starts Today

Somehow I don’t think so. SCO has managed to use the legal system to its advantage for years. Somehow it manages to appeal things, and somehow it keeps managing to find people to help bankroll its efforts.

3. Trial Starts Today in SCO Lawsuit over Unix Misuse

More than four years after filing a lawsuit about alleged misuse of the Unix operating system, the SCO Group will get its days in court, beginning today in Salt Lake City.

More comments from the local press:

Kimball’s ruling not only put SCO’s claims against IBM in jeopardy but also left it with a potential bill from Novell for Unix fees for as much as $37 million. The trial that begins Tuesday is to determine how much, if anything, The SCO Group owes Novell.

But Lee Hollaar, a professor of computer science at the University of Utah who teaches classes on intellectual property law, said last week the trial is a shadow of what the original case promised to become.

As expected, Groklaw was right at the centre of things, predicting how things would develop.

How the Trial Will Go, Beginning Tomorrow (SCO v. Novell)

The trial in SCO v. Novell — which has morphed into exclusively Novell’s counterclaims against SCO — begins tomorrow morning, and the parties have filed a Joint Pretrial Stipulation [PDF] and then an Amended one [PDF]. For purposes of this trial, Novell is the plaintiff and SCO the defendant, so Novell will be going first. Thanks to the Stipulation, we know how the trial is structured. Each side will limit itself to 10 hours. It’s 10 hours sort of like football, though, so don’t imagine it will all be over in, say, a long day or two days. A football team might have a minute left on the clock, but it takes a half hour to play it out. Similarly here, 10 hours each doesn’t count things like conferences with the judge at the bench and things like that.

Here is the opening when Novell is said to have turned the table on SCO.

Kimball will open a 4-day bench trial Tuesday to determine whether Novell is entitled to the $37 million it claims [from SCO].

Further coverage from Groklaw included all the necessary court documents. You can find all the details over there, along with heaps of comments.

Here is the interpretation from the local press, which may or may not be biased.

Lawyers for The SCO Group Inc. told a federal judge Tuesday that anything it might owe to Novell Inc. for improperly licensing an older version of the Unix computer operating system to other companies is minimal.

But Novell attorneys told U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball that the pre-1995 version of Unix to which it still holds the copyright, under an earlier ruling by the judge, was a substantial part of what SCO licensed in agreements with Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and other companies.

Mighty Wayne, whom I correspond with sometimes, has joined Ars Technica and recently began covering the SCO case as well. He lives nearby. For an article with some humour and fairly clear bias, consider this.

Novell grilled McBride for the better part of 10 minutes about “filling a form 10-K or 10-Q with the SEC that contained a false statement.” Novell’s counsel reiterated that two separate 10-Q forms filed by SCO did not include Sun or Microsoft revenue generated by UnixWare licenses. McBride adamantly denied any wrong doing, saying that the licenses were for the trunk of SCO intellectual property consisting of multiple brands, not the UnixWare product branch. This was the most hostile point of the day, with the council asking him the same question in several different ways. After two hours on the stand, McBride stepped down.

Watch the tags and the caption on the image.

It was claimed yesterday that Groklaw is being flooded by participation which includes SCO employees. Someone told me this by E-mail and pointed at some evidence (he has read Groklaw for years). Here are some transcripts Groklaw got hold of, thanks to various people who are physically there.

Brian Proffitt has this nice piece which includes a succinct description of the situation for those who are new to it.

SCO: You stole our code!
IBM: Did not!
SCO: Did so!
Novell: Hey, wait, who’s code?
SCO: Our code!
Novell: Nuh-uh! Ours!
SCO: No, it’s our code! Ours! Ours! Ours!
Grown-up Judge: It’s Novell’s.
Novell: Hah! Pay up!
SCO: We’re broke.
Novell, IBM, Red Hat, Rest of the World: What?!?!?

There are similar IRC-like sessions that put the SCO saga in context. Hilarious.

Now we come to the interesting parts.

Novell Corp. says SCO Group Inc. owes it nearly $20 million. SCO says it owes Novell virtually nothing.

Those two stances are the focus of a four-day trial that started Tuesday in federal court in Salt Lake City. The companies fighting over Lindon-based SCO’s licensure of certain technologies in 2003 and 2004 and how much Novell should get from that licensing.

After many hasty speculations [1, 2, 3] Novell has insisted that it is not the next SCO [1], but the following last article raises a brow.

Novell may expand its claims

Company says Unix also found in Microsoft, Sun Microsystems products

Issues at a trial involving The SCO Group Inc. and Novell Inc. threatened Wednesday to spill out once again into the wider software industry, with a Novell attorney indicating it might make claims against Microsoft and Sun Microsystems over Unix code in their products.

Novell presented letters it sent last year to Microsoft and Sun in which Novell said it did not believe that licensing agreements between those companies and The SCO Group were valid. As a result, the letters said, the two companies could be “exposed” to claims by Novell.

Don’t forget the many millions of dollars Microsoft is likely to pay Novell in the WordPerfect trial.

We shall soon find out how it all worked out.

Well, friends, the trial in Novell v. SCO is done. The judge will render a decision as soon as possible.

Whatever the outcome, SCO is irrelevant. Let’s just ensure Novell does not become as effective as SCO when it comes to FUDding Free software.

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