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SCO Group

SCO Group, formerly called Caldera Systems, is a corporation that was initially associated with the Linux and open source movement and manufactured workstation and server Linux distributions. After acquiring some rights to the UNIX mark and the SCO UNIX product line, it initiated a lawsuit against IBM in 2003, alleging that IBM had contributed code owned by the SCO Group to the Linux kernel.

Caldera Systems, based in Utah, was founded in 1998 by Ransom Love[?], and received start-up funding from Ray Noorda[?]. Its main product was Caldera Linux, a Linux distribution mainly targeted at business customers and containing some proprietary additions. In 2000, Caldera acquired several UNIX properties from the Santa Cruz Operation, including SCO UNIX, a proprietary operating system for PCs that would be expected to compete directly with Linux. In 2002, Caldera joined with SuSE Linux, Turbolinux and Conectiva to form United Linux in an attempt to standardize Linux distributions. Later that year, Ransom Love left the company. Caldera's management recognized that the majority of its profits were coming from the legacy SCO flavor of UNIX, and renamed the company to SCO Group. (The company is not related to the Santa Cruz Operation, now called Tarantella.)

In January of 2003, SCO retained lawyer David Boies, announcing that they would be investigating infringement on their intellectual property pertaining to their ownership of UNIX. On March 7, CEO Darl McBride announced that they were suing IBM over its contributions to Linux, claiming that IBM stole UNIX trade secrets and gave them to Linux kernel developers. See the article SCO v. IBM Linux lawsuit for more details on this. As a result of this lawsuit, SuSe Linux has publicly stated that they are reevaluating their ties to SCO. The stock price of SCO has increased over 1500% since filing the suit.

In May 2003, the SCO Group claimed they sent letters to 1,500 of the world's largest corporations, including the Fortune 500[?] companies, alleging that the use of Linux may infringe a copyright they hold on the original UNIX source code. They claim that the Linux kernel, the core of the operating system contains copyrighted SCO source code.

Today, the SCO Group seems to be having much financial difficulty. Some analysts claim that its lawsuit with IBM and its aggressive campaign against Linux stems from this difficulty. The SCO Group denies that it is attacking Linux, citing the fact that they produced their own distribution of Linux.

The Canopy Group[?] owns 46% of the SCO Group; the two corporations share several executives.


  • "We believe that Linux infringes on our UNIX intellectual property and other rights. We intend to aggressively protect and enforce these rights. Consistent with this effort, on March 7, we initiated legal action against IBM for alleged unfair competition and breach of contract with respect to our UNIX rights. This case is pending in Utah Federal District Court. ... For the reasons explained above, we have also announced the suspension of our own Linux-related activities until the issues surrounding Linux intellectual property and the attendant risks are better understood and properly resolved."

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