Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Donald Meyer, Jeev Trika

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

SCO: Unix plus Linux equals trouble

UnitedLinux members are not insulated from future SCO lawsuits

(IDG News Service) — The SCO Group, arguably, isn't making many friends in the Linux camp these days. Last month it filed a US$1 billion lawsuit against IBM Corp. for allegedly misusing Unix code to bolster Linux efforts. SCO owns Unix System V code, which IBM had licensed to build AIX. SCO now acknowledges it may extend its legal activities to Linux distributors SuSE Linux AG and Red Hat Inc., and doesn't rule out action against users of the open source operating system.

The move wouldn't be so unusual if not for the fact that SCO is a founding member of UnitedLinux, a group of companies that have united to distribute Linux software worldwide.

Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, the SCO division in charge of managing and protecting the company's Unix intellectual property, spoke with IDGNS about SuSE, UnitedLinux, IBM and Linux users. His overall message is that Linux developers, distributors and customers are using code that doesn't belong to them and if they don't settle up with the Lindon, Utah, software company, they can expect to see their day in court.

Question: SuSE feels protected against any legal action you may consider because of contracts with SCO and with UnitedLinux in which you are a member. Do SuSE and other Linux distributors including Red Hat have reason to be worried?

Sontag: Regarding contracts we have with SuSE and UnitedLinux, I would unequivocally state that there is nothing in those contracts that provides them with any protection or shelter in the way they are characterizing this in the press. If I were them, I would not be making those kinds of statements.

Question: Are you planning any legal action against SuSE or Red Hat?

Sontag: We have no action planned at this time. Our focus is on the IBM lawsuit. This does not mean, however, that we will not initiate other actions to protect our intellectual property at a future point.

Question: You're a member of UnitedLinux. Would you say that your lawsuit has caused some friction within that group?

Sontag: Yes, there is some friction. But we've been doing our best to have open dialogs with the other participants and members in UnitedLinux. Darl McBride, the CEO (chief executive officer) of SCO, has had numerous conversations with the other CEOs within UnitedLinux. We've been doing everything we can to keep the dialogue open and are trying to work to conclusions that will be amicable for all the parties involved. We haven't come to a good conclusion yet. But we're always hopeful.

Question: Wouldn't you agree that your legal action is causing uncertainty in the Linux community and that this uncertainty is undermining the marketing efforts of UnitedLinux?

Sontag: There is definitely uncertainty and doubt. And there are problems identified within the Linux community. We were not the first ones to raise the intellectual property issue, but we certainly have a major issue now. Since digging into the lawsuit with IBM, we've become very aware of issues related to Linux and other areas.

Question: So what's your goal?

Chris Sontag

Sontag: Our hope is that we can bring this to a full conclusion so that everyone has a final understanding in terms of intellectual property issues.

Question: Some people are beginning to question if SCO isn't more focused on Unix these days than on Linux. Are you still committed to Linux?

Sontag: Our primary focus has always been on Unix. Our efforts related to Linux have been to provide choices and multiple solutions to our customers. This hasn't changed.

Question: Could you imagine pulling out of UnitedLinux if there is some continued friction in the group?

Sontag: We're evaluating all our initiatives related to Linux right now. We have no announcements to make regarding what we may or may not be doing at this point. But certainly we will have to reassess the businesses, opportunities and issues in the marketplace and make appropriate adjustments as we go along.

Question: So abandoning UnitedLinux is a possibility?

Sontag: I'd prefer to defer that question for now.

Question: What prompted you to initiate the IBM lawsuit when you did? Why now and not a year ago?

Sontag: We had started working on SCO source-related initiatives late last year. We began digging into a lot of issues and started having some concerns. Then we went to LinuxWorld early this year and heard statements from Steve Mills, a senior executive at IBM responsible for the company's overall software strategy. Basically, he said that IBM will exploit its expertise in AIX to bring Linux up to par with Unix and went on to say a lot of other things, like trying to help obliterate Unix. IBM is a licensee of Unix technology from SCO, originating back to contracts with AT&T Corp. So IBM's position became a big problem for us.

Question: IBM is a big company with deep pockets and plenty of political clout. Do you think you can win the case?

Sontag: We're very confident about the case. We believe we have significant evidence to present at the appropriate time in court.

Question: What is the next step?

Sontag: SCO made its initial filing. IBM was supposed to respond within 30 days. They requested an extension of 30 days, which we granted them. So after 60 days, they responded with basically nothing -- a very vanilla law school 101-type level response, which was rather surprising. This month, we will have meetings that will occur between attorneys on both sides and some scheduling hearings with the judge. Then we will move into phase of gathering documents, evidence and depositions from all parties we believe are appropriate to this lawsuit. The steps beyond that are up to the judge. [See, IBM responds to SCO's $1 billion complaint May 2.]

Question: Could this go on for months, even years?

Sontag: A complex legal issue like this could take years. However, we think we'll be able to have the issue expedited more quickly due to the damages that it is causing SCO. We also have contractual obligations to IBM related to our license of Unix System V source code, which IBM has used for AIX. We have the ability to withdraw or pull the AIX license on June 13, which should cause IBM to expedite this issue as well.

Question: What about SuSE and Red Hat customers and other Linux users? Could they face litigation or be impacted in any way?

Sontag: Certainly, as the evidence mounts, there could be concerns and issues for end customers. When you're talking about copyrighted materials or trade secrets being inappropriately obtained and released, even the recipients of that information have to have concerns.

More Stories By John Blau

John Blau is a Dusseldorf correspondent for the IDG News Service, a Linux.SYS-CON.com affiliate.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
will kranz 02/03/04 04:32:34 PM EST

I was searching for sco vs IBM suit info on Linux.
You have an interesting article, but your web site
keeps trying to send me big cookies which I resent.
I will not be back.
Server is: http://www3.sys-con.com/banners/linuxworld336.cfm

vardhman 11/27/03 01:31:30 PM EST

SCO seems to be doing nothing nowadays for making their Operation system or products better. I think they will finally start saying buy Microsoft Windows quit our Unix. They seem to be preparing for "Suing" all the time. I think they have turned up into a "suing company" from a unix company. Cant they think of doing some development work so that people buy their OS.
Threatening is not a solution. If their OS was worth so much as the Linux Kernel developers have to copy code from it, why should Linux be taking away their market of Unix?

Justin 11/27/03 07:53:29 AM EST

For a broader viewpoint on SCO's claims, and how little evidence they are able to produce, visit www.groklaw.com

For example, in their list of 'infringing' files, there are several that do not actually contain code...!

Justin.

Dilbert Dobbs 11/27/03 04:45:49 AM EST

At this point, in regard to all the letters SCO has sent out, this amounts to nothing but pure assertion on SCO's part at this time. Why would anyone in a company pay money to SCO just because they happen to assert something? Obviously most folks recognize this as Microsoft looks to be the only company that has struck a deal with SCO. No surprise there.

Until SCO can get a court ruling to back them up, they're just spouting pure assertion - and they've certainly not been willing to back their demands up with any kind of proof. On this basis their demands amount to pure hog wash - or perhaps a certain style of extortion.

@CloudExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
Enterprise networks are complex. Moreover, they were designed and deployed to meet a specific set of business requirements at a specific point in time. But, the adoption of cloud services, new business applications and intensifying security policies, among other factors, require IT organizations to continuously deploy configuration changes. Therefore, enterprises are looking for better ways to automate the management of their networks while still leveraging existing capabilities, optimizing perf...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
Cloud-based NCLC (No-code/low code) application builder platforms empower everyone in the organization to quickly build applications and executable processes that broaden access, deepen collaboration, and enhance transparency for all team members. Line of business owners (LOBO) and operations managers know best their part of the business and their processes. IT departments are beginning to leverage NCLC platforms to empower and enable LOBOs to lead the innovation, transform the organization, an...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...