IBM Files 10 Counterclaims Against SCO

By Bill Claybrook

August 12, 2003

Last week IBM filed 10 counterclaims against SCO Group, including one that alleges SCO made false statements about its right to revoke IBM's right to use AIX. The legal filing is worth a read. IBM's lawyers do an excellent job of pointing out that SCO has distributed a number of Linux products such as SCO Linux Server, SCO OpenLinux Server, and SCO OpenLinux WorkStation, under General Public License (GPL). SCO supported the covenants of the license for eight years.

IBM claims that by distributing Linux products under GPL, SCO agreed not to assert - and was prohibited from asserting - certain proprietary rights, including the right to collect license fees over any source code distributed under the terms of the GPL. SCO has included open source code contributions from IBM in the Linux products that it distributed under GPL.

IBM also notes that SCO has failed to build a Linux business, that it's having trouble with its current Unix business, and that it has shifted its business model to litigation. IBM claims that SCO devised and executed a plan to create the false perception that it holds rights to Unix that permit it to control not only Unix technology but also Linux technology.

IBM claims that it asked SCO to detail what IBM has done to violate its agreements with SCO. According to public quotes cited by IBM, SCO has steadfastly declined to tell IBM and has publicly said that it does not want IBM to know. IBM says that SCO has artificially inflated its stock prices and has injured IBM and the open source movement of which it was a member for many years.

In other SCO developments, today SCO announced that a Fortune 500 firm has agreed to purchase its "proprietary Linux licenses" for the machines on which it has deployed Linux, and that many others are inquiring about the license. The firm was not named nor was there any indication as to how many licenses it purchased. Could it have been Microsoft? They must have at least one machine running Linux in Redmond.

 4:00 ET

Copyright 2003