SCO Unix's long, strange trip, unbelievably, continues

UnXis buys the rights to the SCO’s Unix assets sans the lawsuits

The story of SCO and Unix gets a little surreal after a while, but news this week that a Utah-based company bought the rights to the company's Unix assets, at least could be a positive for its beleaguered customers.

The company, UnXis, said the bankruptcy court that is in control of what's left of the SCO operation, approved the sale of "SCO's operating assets and intellectual property rights" to UnXis.  Under the sale terms, UnXis retains all customer contracts, the rights to the Unix and Unixware trademarks and installed base of over 32,000 customer contracts in 82 countries.

More on Unix history: Saving Unix one kernel at a time

According to UnXis the court's decision means it now owns "all intellectual property rights and assets related to SCO free and clear of any lawsuits or other obligations of the previous holders," clearing the way for the advancement the actual technology. Imagine that!

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, The new owners of Unix plan to pour an initial $5 million into the company to keep it operating and to rehire some of the people who have been laid off as SCO foundered in bankruptcy court.

It will be interesting to see what Novell, which is in the process of being sold to Attachmate thinks of all this but it hasn't made any public comment on the deal.

In case you don't remember the rest of SCO's long strange trip, from the IDG News Service: SCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008, though it has since continued to sell and service System V software. The company claims that the System V software on the block will be free of any bankruptcy-related liens or encumbrances. In 2003 SCO sued IBM for putatively contributing Unix code to the open-source Linux OS. IBM won that case, though the following year SCO sued Novell over the ownership rights of Unix. Although that case was decided in favor of Novell in 2010.

AT&T first released System V, an update of the Unix OS, in 1983. In 1993, AT&T sold the software to Novell. In 1995, Novell sold its Unix business unit to SCO, along with distribution rights to System V.  Worldwide software license revenue for SCO has dropped almost by half from 2007 to 2009, from $16 million in 2007 to $7 million in 2009, according to IDC estimates.

As usual, the Groklaw site has a roundup the latest SCO news, click here for that. 

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