Writings on technology and society from Wellington, New Zealand

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A victory for open source

SCO has lost its legal battle to charge people for using other people’s work. You can read all about it at Groklaw. Briefly, SCO asserted that a) it owned Unix, b) Linux was illegally copied from Unix, and c) everyone using Linux therefore owed it licence fees. A few companies paid – most just ignored the demands. SCO sued some major Linux users including IBM, then Novell stood up and said we own Unix, SCO doesn’t, and we have no problem at all with Linux. SCO sued Novell and has just lost. It will therefore lose to IBM and the others in very short order as the basis of its claim has been overturned. SCO will be liable for the licence fees it has already collected, and possibly damages, not to mention huge legal fees. A longer and better description of the whole process is on Wikipedia.

This is important because SCO’s whole legal challenge has been seen as a deliberate and cynical attempt to scare people off open source. Proprietary software companies (you know who I mean) have been portraying the SCO action as a reason not to use Linux, after all, they say, how can you be sure you won’t be sued? They can’t do that any more.

posted by colin at 11:57 am  

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