The strange, long-running battle between SCO and IBM, Novell, AutoZone,Red Hat, Daimler and who knows whom else seems to have finally come to an end. Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City today granted Novell’s motion for summary judgment on all remaining issues. Unless IBM, SCO’s original target, decides to pursue its remaining counterclaims, even though it has little hope of getting anything but moral satisfaction from the bankrupt SCO, this seems to be the end of the line for the case.
The saga began in 2003 when SCO, which claimed to be the owner of the UNIX operating system, filed a $1 billion (later raised to $5 billion) suit against IBM in which it claimed that IBM had illegally contributed SCO-owned code to the open source Linux project. A few months later, SCO sent letters demanding license payments from a number of large companies that used Linux and much litigation ensued.
Had SCO succeeded in its quest, it would have had very serious implications for Linux and for open source software in general. But the company never won a significant legal victory in the long battle. What was left of the IBM case was suspended in 2007 when SCO filed for protection under Chapter XI of the bankruptcy code, but the secondary case involving Novell, which in 2007 won a ruling that it, not SCO, owned the key UNIX copyrights, dragged on, and on.
If you are interested in the detailed history of the case, consult the Wikipedia articles here and here. If you are really a glutton for punishment, check out the archives of Groklaw, which has followed every twist and turn of the affair.