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SCO Loses 643

An anonymous reader writes "The one summary judgement that puts a stick into SCO's spokes has just come down. The judge in the epic SCO case has ruled that SCO doesn't own the Unix copyrights. With that one decision, a whole bunch of other decisions will fall like dominoes. As PJ says, 'That's Aaaaall, Folks! ... All right, all you Doubting Thomases. I double dog dare you to complain about the US court system now. I told you if you would just be patient, I had confidence in the system's ability to sort this out in the end. But we must say thank you to Novell and especially to its legal team for the incredible work they have done. I know it's not technically over and there will be more to slog through, but they won what matters most, and it's been a plum pleasin' pleasure watching you work. The entire FOSS community thanks you for your skill and all the hard work and thanks go to Novell for being willing to see this through."
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SCO Loses

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  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:53PM (#20189359) Homepage Journal
    All right, all you Doubting Thomases. I double dog dare you to complain about the US court system now. I told you if you would just be patient, I had confidence in the system's ability to sort this out in the end.

    Uhm, the reason they lost is because they picked a fight with players who had billions of dollars, and a very well-established team of expensive lawyers, ready to fight.

    They were Germany picking a fight with Russia.

    Most people who get sued unfairly don't have that luxury.
  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:55PM (#20189393) Journal
    I told you if you would just be patient, I had confidence in the system's ability to sort this out in the end.

    How many BILLIONS of dollars in lawyers fees, thousands of hours of (taxpayer-funded) court costs, and millions of manpower hours has this farce wasted all to come up with the "right" outcome, that SCO has absolutely no basis for this fiaSCO?

    Sorry, I can't call this "sort[ed] out in the end" unless Glen gets to personally pull the trigger with Darl standing against the wall. And every stockholder in SCO, IBM, Novell, Redhat, and every open source developer, and several others, get to piss on the corpse.
  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:55PM (#20189397)
    Can we finally get the criminal case against Darl McBride and the rest of the execs rolling?
    Otherwise, they'll just move on to another company, to do mostly the same.
  • WW1 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Starteck81 ( 917280 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:56PM (#20189413)
    From the article summary is sounds like the software equivalent of winning world war one.
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:57PM (#20189423)
    "Uhm, the reason they lost is because they picked a fight with players who had billions of dollars"

    No. They lost because they were _wrong_.

    They had funding from Microsoft and Sun to go through with this (the "licenses" SCO sold them in 2003).

    What we're all waiting for now is when Yarro, Anderer and McBride go to jail.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @05:59PM (#20189459) Journal
    Since this was backed by MS and SUN (who has since sold the stocks that they got for their 20 million investment; the 1 million dollar investment was for the USB work; and now, SUN disavows this), it was never really intended to be won. I think that it was meant to slow down linux and to see what paths were possible for MS. Now MS has a path and they are on it.
  • by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:04PM (#20189541)
    No. They lost because they were _wrong_.

    While this is true, I think it's also fair to say that a big reason that IBM got to show that SCO was wrong was because IBM has truckloads of money.

    If SCO had sued me instead, SCO wouldn't have lost because they were wrong, because I wouldn't have had the money to show that they were wrong. I would have had to find a lawyer willing to work pro bono.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:08PM (#20189599) Homepage Journal
    "Sorry, I can't call this "sort[ed] out in the end" unless Glen gets to personally pull the trigger with Darl standing against the wall. And every stockholder in SCO, IBM, Novell, Redhat, and every open source developer, and several others, get to piss on the corpse."

    Dude have some perspective please. Darl didn't rape or murder anyone. Heck he might have actually believed that Linux was ripping off SCO's IP. I am glad they lost maybe even overjoyed. Wishing that level of physical harm over what is just a business deal is just wrong.
  • Re:For once.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:10PM (#20189615)
    Wha? Lots of things are set in stone. Nearly nothing is overturned, ever, so trial court decisions and findings are nearly always set in stone, when they deal with facts.

    This dealt with facts. SCO did not own UNIX. A review court would have to find the trial court abused its discretion in doing this. I don't think anyone believes that court actually would.
  • Re:More (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vthokie69 ( 549779 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:18PM (#20189713)
    When SCO files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:22PM (#20189789) Journal
    Heck [Darl] might have actually believed that Linux was ripping off SCO's IP.

    I figure he probably did believe that.

    And by the time the discovery rammed home to him that his yes-men should have said no and he didn't have a leg to stand on, it was too late for him to back out. To say "oops" and throw in the towel would have collapsed what was left of SCO - and brought the investors down on him for "breach of fiduciary duty".

    This way he can say "I tried!".
  • Re:Hurrah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:25PM (#20189829)
    "What more be said?"

    Um, I don't owe $699 and I get to throw stones at McBride like he said we could if SCO was wrong?

    And does anybody remember Seth? A poster here on /. when all this started that went on and on how SCO was so right? Seth, were are you now? Got anything to say?
  • Re:WW1 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nossie ( 753694 ) <(IanHarvie) (at) (4Development.Net)> on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:26PM (#20189843)
    humour aside, I think WWII with Microsoft is just round the corner :-\
  • Goodness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Silent sound ( 960334 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:37PM (#20189987)
    I still remember the morning I looked on slashdot and saw the original announcement that SCO was filing copyright claims against Linux. It's amazing how long how this has been going on, and how much has changed since then (and not just what's changed in SCO's ever-shifting claims!-- that first morning I seem to remember most of the discussion was speculation on what exactly it was that SCO claimed was stolen from them. Years later and I still don't think we ever really found out). The start of this case was so long ago it was like an entirely different world. This case has been going on longer than the Iraq war. This started so long ago that at the time Slashdot was still known for hating Microsoft rather than salivating over the XBox.

    This in mind, while it's wonderful that the system showed SCO wrong in the end, I have trouble seeing this really as a loss for SCO. They managed to continue their claims for a good five years-- a significant fraction of the lifetime of Linux itself-- without ever showing a whit of substance to those claims. SCO will die now that their case is lost, but they might have died years sooner and possibly poorer if not for this lawsuit gambit keeping them on life support. Microsoft managed to fund this through weird proxies without one single bit of consequences for themselves, and unlike SCO they will live on.

    Linux has now weathered its first major court challenge, but the media coverage of Linux's successes in this case has never quite matched up in amount to the withering and credulous coverage of the baseless PR accusations of Darl McBride's heyday-- though we won in the end, the case may well be a net PR loss. Meanwhile, I don't think Linux is as viable as a movement as it was at the beginning of this case. This for all I know has nothing to do with the SCO case itself, but it seems like five years ago people still thought Linux on the desktop had a future, now I don't hear anyone talking about that anymore. Five years ago linux seemed to be going places, whereas now Linux's situation seems largely static, little progressed from where it was five years ago. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I don't really feel good right now thinking about how this entire debacle has gone.

    I guess my main response is kudos to PJ of Groklaw for her amazing and tireless journalism throughout this case. I'd be curious to ask PJ what her plans are as to what she's going to do next. In the short term maybe she should write a book about this entire thing.
  • by Iphtashu Fitz ( 263795 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:43PM (#20190051)
    While Novell owns the copyrights they are still in that pesky exclusive contract for SCO to administer the licensing

    IANAL, and I don't know all the gory details of the contract, but here's a thought: Since this finding now affirms that SCO owes Novell the license fees for the SVRX licenses sold to Microsoft and Sun (whatever that percentage is) I believe it brings SCO very close to bankruptcy. If SCO is unable to come up with these fees then Novell could use that as grounds for termination of the whole contract. Heck, the contract may have an escape clause for Novell if SCO fails to stand up to its side of the agreement, and this decision could be enough for Novell to terminate immediately.
  • Appreciation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @06:58PM (#20190201)
    I think we owe PJ and the groklaw community a round of applause.

    I'm sure /. shares some of its audience with groklaw, and I'll be happy to raise a glass to the folks who applied the open source philosophy to legal research and came up trumps. They've done us a huge favour and done us proud.

    I don't know how much IBM got from PJ and the groklaw community, but I'm sure they added perspectives the IBM team wouldn't have had time to research themselves.

    Thanks guys and girls :)

    Griblik (Groklaw lurker ;)
  • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@y a h o o . com> on Friday August 10, 2007 @07:27PM (#20190533)
    While this is true, I think it's also fair to say that a big reason that IBM got to show that SCO was wrong was because IBM has truckloads of money.

    Except they didn't lose to IBM. They lost to Novell. The IBM case is still in court, although it will now be a lot easier for IBM to win. It's unclear how SCO can even keep that case going, as the entire premise of it is now blown away. When you don't own the copyright to something, it's pretty pointless to sue somebody for copyright infringement. (Or any of their other claims.)

    I actually hope the IBM case does get settled one way or another, because it's a real test of the GPL. The Novell case was a simple question of who "owned" Unix. It looks like the IBM case might fade away now, though, which means still no major test of the GPL in US court.

    But the point is they didn't lose because they didn't have financial parity. This was basically MS and Sun vs. Novell, by proxy. If anything, SCO had the financial advantage.
  • Easy one! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @07:38PM (#20190633) Homepage Journal
    All right, all you Doubting Thomases. I double dog dare you to complain about the US court system now.

    Easy: How many years has this taken? What ever happened to our Constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial?

    If it just comes down to who owns the copyrights, why the hell wasn't that discovered during the preliminaries? Why did this case ever come to trial? Why wasn't it dismissed out of hand right at the start?

    In fact, one can argue that, as has happened before, Microsoft/SCO won in a very real sense: They demonstrated that they can take you to court on bogus claims, never present any evidence against you, and make you pay millions of dollars over several years. The main reason they "lost" was that they took on a group that included IBM, who has very deep pockets. If it had been most of us fighting them alone, we would have been bankrupt long ago, and thus unable to continue the court battle.

    This was a successful demonstration of how people with money can use the court system to drag their opponents down and impose huge expenses on them. Many managers in many companies understand this, and have learned the intended lesson: If you want to avoid such court proceedings that drag on for years, you should just buy the stuff sold by the big guys. Stay away from the stuff sold by the little guys, and you'll be safe from the flocks of lawyers.

    It's a lesson that needs reinforcing every few years.
  • Re:For once.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toxic666 ( 529648 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @07:53PM (#20190773)
    I've been following this one since groklaw started. I'm still reading the ruling and it's like four years of groklaw and Novell debunking SCO. This is a potent ruling and he just set up IBM to write the PSJ ruling he intends to issue in that case, too.

    I was interested in his use of the term "subject to conversion" with respect to the MS and Sun deals. There are two remedies for conversion: return of the property or damages. Novell claimed damages, but I wonder if Judge K opened the door for Novell to demand return of the property (the SVRX licenses Sun and MS got) as a method of opening the documents behind those deals up to discovery in suits by Novell against Sun and MS.

    Whatever, this judge was disgusted by what he saw and ruled about as forcefully as possible.
  • by TFoo ( 678732 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:03PM (#20190875)
    > Heck he might have actually believed that Linux was ripping off SCO's IP. No, really he didn't. Don't fall into that trap: having an open mind does NOT mean you never hold people accountable. Not everybody in the world is good, and in this case it is clear that Darl (and others) were trying to game the system for their own benefit. That said, shooting Darl is clearly not right. But he definitely needs to pay a significant personal penalty for this.
  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (esahcd)> on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:08PM (#20190923) Journal
    Huh? What's this got to do with Microsoft? And why on earth would a developer -- by definition a geek -- be upset that SCO's little sleaze-fest is nearing its end? I work for Microsoft and I was pumping my fist in the air when I read this. So chill out with the vitriol and the constant "ZOMGOMGOMG everything's a microsoft conspiracy!"
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:14PM (#20190977)
    How about toilet paper??
  • Re:Easy one! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:18PM (#20191017)
    It WAS thrown out "right at the start". These trials are exceedingly complex. There is a process to follow. They involve contracts regarding software worth (at one time) hundreds of millions of dollars, containing hundreds of millions of lines of code, and involving dozens of claims and counter-claims.

    How long do you think it "should" take to resolve such cases? An hour? The judge just sits down and makes something up?

    The purposes of law and justice could not be served any more quickly. You have to go through the process. That is why we are a nation of laws, and not men. That's what "rule of law" means.

    It would have been nice to have it over with sooner. It would also be nice to simple execute all pedophiles on sight. However, either of these "niceties" would result in vast injustice.
  • by Timmy D Programmer ( 704067 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:35PM (#20191129) Journal
    Just imagine how long this case would have taken if SCO actually had a leg to stand on.
  • Re:Goodness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:45PM (#20191183)
    Sort of. Microsoft was using this as a stalling tactic, hoping that by now Europe would have accepted software patents and that they could use that as the new FUD hammer to hammer Open Source with. That hasn't worked out the way they wanted, and it looks like the US is the only major market where that FUD will work. An important market, certainly.

    But if all the other major markets - Europe, China and the rest of Asia, and the rest of the Americas - don't recognize software patents, then they'll have to compete on other merits in those markets. Against free software. In the long run, under the pressure of globalization, US companies will get tired of being forced to pay the Microsoft tax and will demand the repeal of software patents so that they can have the same cheap alternatives that their global competition has. It may take a decade or two, but the writing is on the wall if Europe and the rest hold firm.
  • Re:More (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pendersempai ( 625351 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:47PM (#20191199)
    In my experience working at big law firms as a summer associate for two summers now (I am a law student), big litigation only truly ends when the parties settle. Shy of that, it has a half life; the amount of activity asymptotically approaches zero but never quite seems to get there. There always seems to be another series of issues that spring out of every issue that is decided.

    Of course, nearly all parties will settle when it gets to that point. Eventually, fighting what's left is no longer worth the cost of the lawyers.
  • PJ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darth Cider ( 320236 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:17PM (#20191341)
    The SCO case would have been under everyone's radar if not for the amazing work of PJ and contributors to groklaw, who no doubt also encouraged the defense team. The outcome was obvious from the beginning, though. SCO knew that, and that's what's worrisome. The end result of this pitiful case is that a lot of anti-FOSS attorneys have learned how to assess "the cost of doing business," a la Microsoft and its antitrust skirmishes, so the victory is not what it seems. The really serious minds like PJ and the fab folks at groklaw know that already, too, so this victory counts more as a call to action--an example of how action works--than a legal victory.

    The SCO case launched in 2003. In Moore's-law-years, that's three generations of CPUs. It's a Google IPO, an Apple shift to Intel, assorted consolidations of telcos and other big-board-game inscrutability. What's happened with Open Source? Firefox numbers increasing. Software patents getting a re-examination. (Cory Doctorow announcing a switch to Ubuntu? Uhsowhat.) But what's really changed?
    br? I hope that the programmers who write code know that they are doing all the work. They're the heroes. With the attention going to big-name brouhahas and guys with easy money, it's gotta be said that the lonesome hacker is the real world-changer.
  • re Business (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jelizondo ( 183861 ) <> on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:19PM (#20191349)

    If recent history is proof of anything, Darl will end being CEO of some other company, probably a larger one.

    Bob Nardelli ran Home Depot into the ground, got more than $260 million dollars for walking out and now runs Chrysler

    You see, now he is an experienced CEO

  • by watchingeyes ( 1097855 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:34PM (#20191455) Homepage
    if sco actually had a leg to stand on, they would have actually pursued their case and tried to resolve it quickly to win their damages. The entire reason the case took this long is because SCO never had a leg to stand on.
  • Re:Easy one! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:07PM (#20191671) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I'd agree with pretty much everything you wrote. And I'd say that it supports my point: A big corporation (or a little one with backing from a big one) can take anyone to court and bankrupt them with legal expenses, even if there was no merit to their claims.

    If Novell hadn't had some big-guy backing, they would be the ones now bankrupt rather than SCO. This fact isn't lost on a lot of managers. It is a good part of what has supported IBM's and Microsoft's dominance in the computer market. "Nobody ever got fired for buying ..." We can also add "Nobody ever got sued for buying ..." Business folks everywhere understand this, and it's a lot of why even the ones who understand that IBM and MS stuff is mostly crap will still buy it, because it's the safest thing for their careers.

    Even though SCO (and their supporter Microsoft) have just had a major legal setback, they have already "won" this one in the sense that matters economically. They've shown that they can haul you and me into court on bogus charges, and make us spend millions of dollars defending ourselves. Whether they actually win the court case isn't important; what's important is that they can drag it out for years without even presenting evidence, and run up the legal bills to more than most small companies' net worth. The legal system strongly supports this situation. You and I have no defense other than to sell ourselves to a company that's big enough to defend us in court.

    (That's unless you happen to be a multi-billionaire yourself, in which case forget I said anything. ;-)
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday August 10, 2007 @10:08PM (#20191683) Homepage Journal
    Not gonna happen - Novell themselves distributed Linux under the GPL.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @11:57PM (#20192391)

    And they havn't been put up against a wall and shot either. Nor should they be.

    One of the angriest, most bitter people I've ever worked with lost the majority of his retirement, well over a quarter million dollars, when Worldcom had their little "issue". The guy was about 45-50 years old, and it *really* fucked up his plans for retirement.

    Now I agree with you, but there are some people who very strongly disagree.

  • ABOUT TIME! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @12:38AM (#20192657) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me, or does it seem that SCOX (and to a lesser extent, Microsoft) have milked this for all it's worth for the last five years? I have to say, five years of FUD for this result seems a net win for MS and SCOX. What needs to happen is for the major players in this should be made to feel a bit of pain. Like five years in the pokey for constant lies, constant evasions, and stock price manipulation.

    I've looked over the filings for this suit since it began. I simply can't color a situation where someone of average intelligence, with access to the documents, could conclude that SCOX or Calderia had a leg to stand on. This means that this whole situation was began on the premise of facts not in evidence, conveayances not documented as required by law, and assumptions that could never be made given the facts.

    In other words, not only is there no "there" there, there never was, and it is completely documented and no other reasonable conclusion could be drawn by any sane individual. This was a smoke screen from beginning to end, it was known that the instant suit was brought for reasons other than equity, and that the plaintif always knew no other reasonable conclusion could be found. Or, if you prefer, this was a "Hail Mary" lawsuit, brough not on the merits, but because it was dimly possible that a favorable jury would find for the plaintif despite the preponderance of facts known to both parties that such would be an unjust finding.

    More bluntly still, SCOX hoped to use Jeddi Mind Magic and cause a jury to conclude that "these are not the bots you are looking for". Boise et al went along for the ride and the 34 million dollars in upfront legal fees.

    At the least, Boise should lose their fee in this case. If justace were to be served, Kevin McBride (Darl's brother) and Boise should be disbarred. Perverted justice and shyster actions should bring strong retribution to those that engage in them. The law isn't for those that would seek to twist it to perverted ends. It is for honest people, with honest disagreements, honestly brought to the bar for resolution. SCOX, the McBrides, and Boise don't seem to have played honestly in this case, and Boise in particular seems to like to "game" the system.

    Justice isn't a game. And those that try to twist it should be punished in a way that leaves scars. And a strong aversion to ever trying to do it again.

  • by toxic666 ( 529648 ) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @01:25AM (#20192869)
    Two words: avoid appeal.

    Kimball knew he was up against BSF, masters at gaming the system. Those statements were in his denial of IBM's initial PSJ motions, which he declined only because discovery was not finished. That discovery was not finished was due to BSF's masterful motion practice.

    One ruling in February 2005 does not a case make. While it seems apparent he had a decision in mind at that time, he followed procedure to assure his ruling would be safe from appeal.

    Don't blame the judge, blame the lawyers (BSF).
  • by roca ( 43122 ) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @04:41AM (#20193693) Homepage
    The intentions of rank-and-file Microsoft employees are mostly irrelevant, because Microsoft's course is determined by executives.

    Employees need to evaluate how the company they serve wields the power they generate; if it's less than ethical, they should find a more ethical employer. Talented software developers have the luxury of taking the high road with negligible material risk. Those who just take the money and ignore what they are supporting are, in fact, evil.

    (Hey, Google's hiring!)
  • Re:Hurrah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paving-slab ( 893290 ) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @05:52AM (#20193923)
    It's not so confusing. Microsoft are simply better players than SCO or Novell. Ever heard the phrase "Divide and conquer"?

    Now that this debacle is over Microsoft are at it again with their patent deals.
  • by ancientt ( 569920 ) <> on Saturday August 11, 2007 @11:02PM (#20199849) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't help but think of an excerpt:

    "I know it, 'e knows it, th'gentleman knows it, y'knows it yerself, th'dogs in th' alleys knows it, th'babes in th'woods knows it, th'man in th'moon knows it, th'tooth fairy knows it, th'owl an' the pussycat knows it, th'Queen knows it, th'constables knows it, ever'body knows it."

    Alas, my mouth had a mind of its own.

    "Can't be proved!" I cried. The next moment, I flinched with dismay.

    The whole crowd around the table were hissing me down.

    "Prove it?" demanded O'Doul. His face was pale with outrage. "Prove it?"

    "What's proof got t'do with it?" demanded Flannery. "What d'ye think this is, y' mangy cur, some kind o' court o' law?"

    Flannery tottered to his feet, waving his alepot about. "This is not a court o' law, y'little guttersnipe! This 'ere is th'ancient an' venerable Bar 'o Troughly Justice!"

    "Verges on outright lawyering," muttered O'Doul, glaring at me balefully.

    -- From The Philosophical Strangler

  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @09:59PM (#20207461) Homepage

    If you wanna complain about Microsoft then talk to me about things like Desqview, or FoxBase, or Magellan or New Wave.
    How about the Halloween Documents?

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.