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LinuxWorld: Analysis: SCO's Case Against IBM Stands on Shaky Ground

Mar 19, 2003, 01:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Cappel)


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"SCO's complaint consists of 136 averments--i.e., statements of fact--that form the basis of SCO's four main claims (called causes of action in the legal trade) against IBM. Every statement in a complaint is supposed to be truthful, and I think this is where SCO starts to run into trouble. If I were an advisor to IBM's legal team, I'd suggest looking closely at three suppositions that support almost all of SCO's arguments. Knocking any of the following would, I believe, all but destroy SCO's case.

"Averment 96: 'IBM's AIX contributions' (to Linux) consisted of the improper extraction, use, and dissemination of SCO'S UNIX source code and libraries, and unauthorized misuse of UNIX methods, concepts, and know-how.

"AT&T started development of Unix in 1969. AT&T and IBM signed an agreement in 1985 that gave IBM access to the source code for Unix. IBM agreed to keep the source code confidential. In 1992, AT&T sold Unix to Novell, which later sold Unix to SCO.

"SCO assumes IBM released SCO's proprietary information to the Linux community. This should be easy for SCO to prove. All SCO need do is use the Unix program 'diff' on its code and the code IBM released. If the code is the same, SCO has its smoking gun. However, Unix has such a rich and diverse heritage that such evidence may not show anything..."

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