THE SCO caseis said to be coming to its very end as monetary issues are being settled. “Blank Rome is owed some money for representing SCO Chapter 11 trustee, Edward Cahn, and it would like to be paid,” notes Pamela Jones, “now that SCO has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead. I know. It’s not called SCO any more. So, TSG, then, but it will always be “SCO” to me. Mr. Cahn has asked to be the trustee in Chapter 7, but that hasn’t been decided yet, and so meanwhile, here come the bills, going back to December of 2011 and ending July 31, 2012.
“If you recall, Cahn represented to the court that SCO now has only $145,352.00 in hand left. If you add up the new interim bills and expenses from Blank Rome, calculated at 80% of the actual bills and 100% of the costs which is how interim bills get paid, it comes to $34,601.78. And so the sand is running out of the hourglass, grain by grain, and this story is not yet at the very end. So even though I don’t usually predict outcomes, I think it’s safe to say that at this rate, barring the unlikely, Ralph Yarro and friends aren’t going to get their $2 million loan repaid by SCO. Ever. Only in their dreams.”
THE history of SCO has been that of a dying company since Techrights started coverage on the subject. SCO taught us about Microsoft’s fights against Linux by proxy, among other things (more on that later today).
SJVN claims that SCO is really dead now. As he puts it in his blog: “SCO has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-company. With apologies to Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch, SCO, the company behind a series of foolish anti-Linux lawsuits, is finally really and truly dead.
“SCO, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since the fall of 2007, has now gone into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The difference is that in chapter 11 there is some plan, albeit not very rational in SCO’s case, that the company can eventually return to normal business. In Chapter 7, all that’s left is to close and padlock the doors and then sell the furniture.”
Sean also suspects that this is the very end of SCO. He writes: “Two years ago, I wrote that SCO was (mostly) dead. Back in 2010, Novell won the critical ruling against SCO (once famously referred to as the ‘Smoking Crack Organization’ by Linus Torvalds), asserting the Novell and not SCO own the trademarks to Unix.
“At the time Groklaw declared: Stewart Rules: Novell Wins! CASE CLOSED!
“Fast forward two years, SCO is still kinda/sorta around, but not for much longer. Groklaw (love PJ!) has reported that SCO has now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is essentially a liquidation bankruptcy as opposed to Chapter 11 which is a reorganization effort.”
Brian Proffitt speaks as though SCO is already just history and recalls what it all meant for the present. “Looking back,” he writes, “it was one hell of a gamble by SCO. As a strategy, it was admittedly not a bad idea (in a soulless corporate sort of way): claim copyright infringement of their Unix code within Linux and start setting up licensing agreements with anyone and everyone running Linux on their servers.”
Wiredsays that SCO “filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a step beyond the more common Chapter 11 bankruptcy status. It’s not the end of the road for the much-hated company, but it’s close.
Christine Hall says that “SCO Never Can Say Goodbye” and to quote part of her analysis: “I’d almost forgotten that SCO was still around until PJ at Groklaw reported the company was in the process of switching from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7. In bankruptcy talk that means the company’s stance has changed from we’re-going-to-come-out-of-this-alive to it’s-call-the-priest-for-last-rites-time. The trouble is, this is SCO, so you know it’s not going to be that simple. They’ll come up with some stupid request for the court that confounds logic, which they’ve done.”
Groklaw remains the source by which most bloggers seem to be evaluating SCO’s case. Hopefully, just hopefully, SCO can be left behind already. Attacks on Linux now take a different form that mostly relies on patents. █
“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”
Apple In the mean time is trying to ban yet more Android devices and as put by Sam Tuke (FSFE), “US patent protectionism is on a course for splendid isolation from international markets. Steady profits will continue to flow east regardless.”
Here is a fine example of how patents harm the public very directly; this link, “Samsung Galaxy Nexus banned in US”, was sent to me even by a friend who is not into technology (he is an avid Galaxy user and so is his girlfriend). The public is generally affected everywhere it is located and the news made it into the corporate press, too. “The story is also on slashdot,” wrote a reader of ours. “Here is comment from slashdot,” he added:
I work for Google and I’ve seen how my colleagues have consistently worked long hours to innovate and create new features. The Galaxy Nexus is an amazing phone. It’s thin, and light, and doesn’t even have any hardware buttons on the front at all – yet Apple still are not happy. If you can’t see why you’re blind.
Apples goal is not to get competitors to “design around” their patents. This has happened several times already, the Samsung Galaxy 3 has even been called out by tech review sites for having a “lawyer approved design” (it’s not rectangular, it does not have slide to unlock, etc). Apple keep coming, with newer and even more stupid patents, because their goal is not individuality, it is the utter destruction of all competitors. Steve Jobs himself said that in words so clear nobody can re-interpret them.
What’s more, it’s very hard to make an Android phone that doesn’t share design elements with the iPhone these days, because Apple has copied Android many times in the past few years, for example, its notifications tray is identical to the design that first shipped in Android 1.0, and inferior to the one shipping in Jellybean. Android 1.0 also shipped with a universal search box and pluggable API for it, it shipped with suspend
Apple has posted the $2.6m bond requested by the courts when they won an injunction against Samsung to halt Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales in the US. What does this mean? It means the injunction has now officially started, and if Samsung doesn’t immediately sales, they could be sanctioned for contempt.
Android has had CPTN members (Novell’s patents in the hands of Oracle, Apple, and Microsoft) go after it, but as we showed here before, they also use proxies like Nokia and MOSAID to fuel up the litigation frenzy. Red Hat apparently paid MOSAID, so just like SCO after it was openly paid by Microsoft, MOSAID can now go and assault other parties with identical claims, unless Red Hat signed a GPL-compatible deal (they won’t tell, which is a bad sign). In a post titled “Solaris, SCO, Linux, Open Source and Red Hat Summit” it gets pointed out that Oracle and SCO are still getting a seat in FOSS conferences, despite their bad behaviour:
Apparently it is still a (small) concern. I did the best I could to explain that SCO is now a zombie (they still exist, but does anyone take them seriously?) and of course every major enteprise Linux vendor provide indemnification. But still, simple truth is it was a concern and a question that led to some conversation.
Sometimes Microsoft buys such a seat too, despite attacking FOSS. They wish to remove the sting from FOSS by attacking it while pretending to be an ally. It is quite priceless when Apple fans point to Apple’s “open source” PR-esque page. █
You know how those pushing the alleged “safety” of Mono back in the day, despite it being patent-encumbered, used to try to minimize the danger by arguing that Microsoft would never sue end users over patent infringement, because there’d be no meaningful financial return? The argument went that Mono was safe, because no rational actor would sue individuals, only deep pockets.
Guess what? Someone has just sued some end users over alleged patent infringement.
Courthouse News had the news first that EveryMD has filed a lawsuit [PDF] alleging patent infringement against Facebook end users, specifically Facebook users who have business accounts, naming Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich as defendants, after Facebook refused to pay a royalty for EveryMD’s patents. The complaint also names as defendants “Does 1-1000″, which it defines as “each a presently unidentified one of an estimated 4,000,000 additional Facebook business account holders that are subject to the jurisdiction of this court.”
Shades of SCO Group, who sued business end users of Linux, like DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone, for alleged copyright infringement after IBM refused to pay them off. They were asking $699 for anyone using a server in the enterprise that ran Linux. EveryMD is asking business accounts on Facebook to pay $500, their “reduced” price. If the group is large enough, $500 each comes to the same as one lump sum from a deep pockets company, I guess is the rationale.
Let’s not forget that Microsoft contributed funds to SCO when it was fighting against Linux. Microsoft is a troll by proxy, always using other companies to do its battles. And right now, as TechDirt puts it, “Patent Aggressor Microsoft Files EU Complaint Against Google/Motorola For Charging Too Much To License Patents”. To quote:
It’s difficult not to look cynically at Microsoft’s latest move to file an antitrust complaint in the EU over Motorola’s patent royalty rates, and think about just how obnoxiously hypocritical Microsoft is being as a company on this particular issue. First off, Microsoft has become a pretty significant patent aggressor over the past few years, filing lawsuits and pressuring companies to pay up. It’s also been a huge fan of patent FUD — especially against open source competitors. Most people assume that Microsoft was the main player behind SCO’s quixotic (but costly and distracting) legal battle against Linux. Then, of course, every so often Microsoft officials insist that Linux infringes on a bunch of its patents, but it never wants to make clear which ones. More recently, of course, Microsoft has been demanding license fees for its patents from a variety of companies making use of Android — to the point that some have argued Microsoft makes more off each Android installation than each Microsoft Phone installation.
Microsoft pretends to be a victim, as we noted the other day. TechDirt adds: “Of course, Microsoft’s almost gleeful blog post about its complaint ignores all of this reality and history, and tries to position it as if Motorola and Google are trying to “kill” web and mobile video by charging too high a royalty rate. Frankly, for anyone who knows anything about Microsoft’s patent practices over the past few years, they’ll see through this and recognize how laughable Microsoft’s claims are.” Microsoft is said to have filed other complaints against Google, but it denies it. Microsoft usually hires proxies to file complaints against Google. In some cases, the agencies are exactly the same, as we witnessed before.
Groklaw has meanwhile provided updates on the Oracle vs. Google case [1, 2]. We believe this case to be a favour from Larry Ellison to his best friend, Steve Jobs. We have already explained and have shown shy. █
Summary: A few items of news about Novell/SUSE and SCO
THE OPENSUSE project is very weak at this point; in fact, it’s so weak that Linux news hardly covers it anymore. Many of of its key people left.
There are those who make OpenSUSE spins, but these are one-man efforts such as this one. To quote:
In case any of you like another spin with other desktops, I ll be happy to make them. If you visit the susestudio site, you ‘ll notice its not that difficult to make a spin, all you need is some basic knowledge of the Linux programs and libraries, and which ones to choose to make a good system, not a bloated one.
This is something I’ve wanted to do since the day I became community manager for openSUSE. I’ve always believed that the budget I had in SUSE should be used for the openSUSE community. Initially, that meant that I moved money from the sponsoring of conferences to supporting openSUSE people going to conferences as well as providing them with goodies like DVD’s, openSUSE beer, flyers and t-shirts.
Basically, SUSE promotion as “gifts”; it’s almost like a bribe.
SCO and IBM have reached a stipulation [PDF] on how to go forward on reactivating the Utah litigation, and SCO has filed it in Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Assuming it’s signed by the judge, the Hon. Kevin Gross, in time for the April 23rd hearing now scheduled in Utah District Court in Salt Lake City before the Hon. Dee Benson on SCO’s laughable motion to let only *it* go ahead and IBM not, I’d say it’s game on. They’ve agreed IBM can proceed with its defenses and counterclaims. It was IBM that suggested in its opposition to SCO’s motion that the best way forward was to ask the Bankruptcy Court to lift the stay on *both* parties, which is what the stipulation agrees to.
It was almost 5 years ago that SCO filed for bankruptcy protection and about a year since Novell was sold. Should we keep on top of all that? What about SUSE? █
Summary: Bad signs appear as Attachmate puts SUSE aside but continues to ‘hoard’ UNIX rights, dissociating one’s importance to the other
ATTACHMATE has been ensuring that it can maintain its status as a proprietary software company. Executives who were committed to a different agenda were mostly removed, expelled, or simply left. Mono developers were fired without exception and SUSE was relocated and relegated to Germany, where developers are now dependent on funding from Microsoft. What is actually left in Attachmate which is “open source”? Even Vibe was axed as we had predicted all along; it was in part based on Free software from Google (Wave).
“Novell’s board of directors adopted a resolution approving the sale, which specifically mentioned the copyrights were to be retained by Novell,” the judges said in the opinion.
This was the second time the appeals court ruled on this case. In the first appeal it reversed a lower-court ruling in Novell’s favor and sent the case back. After a two-week trial, the jury ruled Novell owned the copyrights. SCO appealed.
A spokeswoman for Linden, Utah-based SCO, Chantell Ferrin, didn’t immediately reply to messages seeking comment.
There is also a derailed analysis behind an apparent paywall at Lexology. We are still not sure what Attachmate will do with these copyrights. It is not as though the company has any commitment to Free software or to UNIX. Given the amount of time and money Novell has invested in this case, it is rather unlikely that UNIX will just be left there to rot and bring no revenue to Attachmate, even if through a sale. Unlike Novell, Attachmate has no need to keep up appearance and keep UNIX away from enemies of Linux. Will these be sold to IBM maybe? Or perhaps to some foe of Red Hat? This is a question that has generally bothered us since 2007 and we wrote about it many times before. We must pay attention to Attachmate’s actions and statements. █
Summary: Apple adopts SCO-like tactics against Linux and rebuttals are posted to show Apple’s nerve
NOT so long before Android was born, Rubin had escaped Microsoft's destructive hand (Rubin is like the Torvalds of Android) and Apple is currently trying to spin what Android really is, pretty much in the same way SCO tried to spin what Linux was, claiming fraudulently (without evidence) that Linux had been derived from its (actually Novell’s) UNIX. As a little reminder, the SCO case seems to be just about over:
Legal experts at Groklaw said that, technically, SCO can ask the US Supreme Court to hear a further appeal, but the specialists expect that such a motion would most likely be rejected without a hearing by the US Supreme Court.
Those who keep an eye on an anti-Android lobbyists will notice a new pattern of FUD. Apple is trying to claim that Android started or was conceived at Apple and the best rebuttal we’ve found so far can be found here. It says:
Apple which lost its case against Android in Europe seems to be getting desperate. Anti-Android propaganda machine now wants the press to believe that Android started at Apple. Why? Just because Andy Rubin, Android creator, once worked at Apple.
The claim is laughable as Andy was a low-level engineer at Apple between 1989-1992, with seemingly no access to the core projects. That was the time when Apple did not even have a clear future, let alone having any concept of the iPhone or the iPad.
It’s sounds more ludicrous because even if there is remotest of the remote possibility that Apple was even thinking of any such device in 1989 it would be extremely secretive about it and someone as low as Andy would never have access to it.
Big companies don’t work the way these propagandists want us to think. Do you think ever engineer at Microsoft gets access to the entire code of Windows 7? No. They get to see only one or two unrelated parts of it. It’s like working at Boeing and all you get to see is a nut. You can’t get inspiration of 747 from a nut, or can you?
Just like SCO, Apple is losing to Linux, so we expect to see many lies being spread. We sure need to counter those. Muktware does a decent job. █
A federal appeals court has upheld a jury verdict and a lower court ruling in a trial that found Novell Inc. — not The SCO Group — owned the copyrights to the Unix computer software operating system before 1995.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s verdict from last year in a lawsuit filed by SCO in 2004 as part of its broader efforts to sue IBM over alleged use of Unix code as a model for parts of the rival Linux operating system.
The court upheld the verdict against SCO, saying “ample evidence in the record supported the jury’s verdict and Novell’s position.” It also upheld rulings in Novell’s favor by U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart, who presided over the trial.
This is all very nice. However, to lose sight of the fact that Novell is now being used by Attachmate (via SUSE) to pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux regardless of copyrights would not be wise. The main problem has shifted along with Microsoft’s strategy.
The Register joined YouTube on the 9th of May (2011) and it reminds of us those ads disguised as “content” which it did back in the days for Novell and Microsoft A day or so ago it uploaded this video which characteristically spins a patent deal as collaboration. Viewer should beware and see if they can spot the spin. Novell is not the “good guy”. Like in many wars, both sides can be “bad guys”, ass Zinn (a former bombardier) once explained. █