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Frankly Speaking: Grokking SCO's Demise

By Frank Hayes
August 20, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - The SCO Groups $5 billion threat against Linux is effectively finished. On Friday, Aug. 10, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that SCO doesnt actually own the copyrights that it was using to threaten  and in some cases, sue  Linux users.

Of course, you already got that news, thanks to everyone from The Wall Street Journal to IT news sources.

And they all got it thanks to Groklaw.

It was the Web site that broke the news and posted the complete 102-page ruling; after that, it was picked up by mainstream media and trade press. In fact, its Groklaw that has covered every aspect of SCOs legal fights with Linux vendors IBM, Novell and Red Hat and Linux users Daimler­Chrysler and AutoZone ever since paralegal Pamela Jones started the site as a hobby in 2003.

Its Groklaw that has published every scrap of legal and technical information available on the cases  every brief, deposition and ruling, along with press releases, technical documentation and historical information.

Its Groklaws loose network of volunteers that has haunted the Utah courthouse, collecting paperwork, reporting on hearings and transcribing everything in sight.

Its that same crowd of volunteers that has picked apart arguments, dredged up old news stories and computer manuals, and generally followed the SCO lawsuits with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for rotisserie baseball or, well, Linux.

All that has made it easy for reporters, analysts and deep-thinkers keeping an eye on the lawsuits. We just filtered out the partisan crowd noise  no mistake, this is a pro-Linux crowd  and dug into that virtual mountain of legal documents. Everything was there, posted, transcribed, organized and searchable.

Thats why we all picked up the ruling from Groklaw.

And that treasure trove of documents is how we know now that SCO is stick-a-fork-in-it done.

See, those of us who have actually read our way through the SCO legal saga over the past four and a half years have already heard the claims and counterclaims in excruciating detail, walked them past legal eagles and made sense of the minutiae along the way.

So when Judge Kimball ruled this month that Novell, not SCO, owns the copyrights to Unix, we know he eliminated the basis for SCOs copyright claims against IBM, Red Hat and AutoZone, too. (DaimlerChrysler went to court in 2004 and demolished SCOs lawsuit against it with a different set of arguments.)

And when the judge ruled that Novell has the right to quash any lawsuits based on Unix licenses, we know he gutted what remained of SCOs legal threats.

We even have a good idea of how likely SCO is to successfully appeal. (The odds arent good.)

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