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Doubletalk from SCO

May 19, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsIBMLinux

* SCO pulls Linux from portfolio

“It’s all about helping customers feel comfortable implementing Linux for business.” – Darl McBride, CEO, The SCO Group, in a 2002 interview with “MozillaQuest Magazine.”

“We believe that Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of Unix … We have also announced the suspension of our own Linux-related activities until the issues surrounding Linux intellectual … are better understood and properly resolved.” – McBride, in a letter sent to Linux customers last week. 

What a difference a year makes.

It certainly wasn’t The SCO Group’s intent to make businesses comfy with Linux last week. The announcement is the continuation of SCO’s legal challenge – to the tune of $1 billion – that IBM violated SCO’s Unix intellectual property. Specifically, SCO claims that IBM used its Unix-based AIX operating system to augment certain parts of the Linux kernel. To prove that it is serious about this, SCO decided to stop selling Linux, and warned everyone of potential liability in the use of commercial Linux operating systems.

By making its case in the press, SCO is probably hoping to accomplish two things: to abide by its own words, in order to give its charges stronger legs; and to spook IBM customers who are on the fence about Linux, in the hopes that Big Blue becomes panicked and writes out a settlement check.

It remains to be seen whether such a scenario plays out. Of the SCO action last week, one enterprise Linux user says it’s a non-issue.

“It isn’t going to keep us from using Linux,” says the IT executive from a Massachusetts software company. “This move is a necessary one on [SCO’s] part to show they really believe in their legal case, even if it means losing what little [Linux] business they had.”

But this is almost certain: regarding McBride’s comments last year, and last week, it appears that it’s really all about the Benjamin’s.