IBM does the Tarantella

Who remembers the Santa Cruz Operation? One of the coolest company names I ever came across since entering this business in 1990. Well many of us of course do remember the early-days Unix player whose founder – actually it was a father and son team – later faced a rather messy accusation from

a female employee concerning certain improprieties and I don’t want to go there any more than that.

So, the dad, Larry Michels, who passed away in late 1999, left the company to son Doug Michels.

Had you ever been to one of their shindigs at the University of Santa Cruz?

It was called the SCO Forum and by the fourth day and it’s time to head an hour north to San Francisco for the flight home you’ve finally remembered, which giant redwood to go left at and which sandy cliff you should climb to make it back to your dorm. In the movie Pulp Fiction, in one of the restaurant scenes, John Travolta is wearing an SCO Banana Slugs tee-shirt.

Yes, that is the school’s mascot.

Last week the SCO Group filed a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM, which observers believe is dangerous to IBM, the Linux community and even to SCO itself.

The SCO Group says IBM took advantage of its Unix license by making proprietary information public to Linux users.

SCO filed the suit in a district court in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday,

March 6. The filing notes IBM has attempted to weaken the value of Unix on Intel-based systems with the intention to grow its Linux business. SCO suggested that IBM’s donation of AIX Unix code to the open-source community contravenes its agreement with SCO, which possesses the Unix code that IBM AIX is based on.

IBM has called the charges baseless.

“”The complaint is full of bare allegations with no supporting facts,”” said SCO CEO Darl McBride.

SCO says IBM not only broke its licensing agreement for the Unix that’s used as part of IBM’s AIX operating system, but it also “”induced and encouraged others to breach their obligations to SCO.””

The companies had been in talks since late 2002 about the believed breach of contract, but have since “”reached an impasse,”” McBride said . “”We haven’t been able to work things out amicably.””

SCO licenses Unix to an estimated 30,000 companies, including IBM, but, “”many other companies out there have taken proper steps not to contaminate”” Linux with Unix, said Chris Sontag, senior vice-president of SCO’s SCOsource division.

SCOsource is a unit of the company that licenses and regulates SCO’s intellectual property. Sontag says SCO will take the suit “”all the way through until we get a complete and just legal outcome.””

SCO executives said the company is not attacking Linux or the open-source community and that the suit is aimed at IBM for intellectual property violations.

“”The contract requires that the Unix source code remain confidential, and

IBM knowingly engaged in a major campaign to ma

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