News SCO vs. IBM: Who owns Linux?


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As Groklaw records, this case kicked off in 2003. The dispute centres on “Project Monterey” a joint effort by SCO and IBM to build a unified UNIX capable of running on several different microprocessor architectures. SCO – at that time known as the Santa Cruz Organisation – sold versions of UNIX and tossed some of its source code into the Project Monterey mix, as did IBM. The parties signed a “joint development agreement” (JDA) to formalise the deal.

Monterey went pear-shaped because it was complex. Then Linux came along ate its lunch. But SCO alleged that IBM had no real interest in the project and just wanted to see what was inside its versions of UNIX. As IBM later contributed plenty of code to Linux, and used some SCO code in a test version of AIX, SCO and its many legal successors have tried for years to prove that Big Blue lifted its code. At stake, potentially, is omnizillions of dollars in damages given Linux now runs in the guts of a billion Android devices and who-knows-how-many other servers, cars, smart TVs and other widgets. Or lesser damages if AIX alone used SCO code.

SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again • The Register