SCO in court again: Novell wants its $19,979,561.00

It's IT Blogwatch: in which Novell's countersuit against SCO has started, with bloggers highlighting hilarious, contradictory statements from SCO execs -- enjoy schadenfreude much? Not to mention the hidden Apple parody in Grand Theft Auto IV...

Wayne Richardson reports from Utah:

Last August, the nail was poised over SCO's coffin when Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Novell never relinquished the copyrights to UNIX, but nobody really knew when it would be driven home. The decision meant that SCO could be on the hook for as much as $20 million in unpaid royalties. Not long afterwards, SCO filed for bankruptcy, but that Chapter 11 filing was only able to delay the inevitable trial to determine how much Novell was owed. That long-awaited trial began this week. Last year, the court ruled that Novell owned the copyrights to original AT&T UNIX source code and derivatives, including SVRX (System V, Release X), and threw out the case. Now, the countersuit brought by Novell is being heard, and should be finished up this week ... SCO CEO Darl McBride ... directly contradicted what [SCO Snr. VP Chris Sontag] had previously testified ... Then came the real humdinger, and my jaw dropped when I heard the following come out of his mouth: "Linux is a copy of UNIX, there is no difference [between them]." more

Confused? Brian Proffitt explains:

Here's a summary of the past five years:
  • SCO: You stole our code!
  • IBM: Did not!
  • SCO: Did so!
  • Novell: Hey, wait, who's code?
  • SCO: Our code!
  • Novell: Nuh-uh! Ours!
  • SCO: No, it's our code! Ours! Ours! Ours!
  • Grown-up Judge: It's Novell's.
  • Novell: Hah! Pay up!
  • SCO: We're broke.
  • Novell, IBM, Red Hat, Rest of the World: What?!?!? more

Pamela Jones is exhausted, but enjoying every minute:

The trial ... has morphed into exclusively Novell's counterclaims against SCO ... SCO's filing is 54 pages, with some cases attached. Novell's is 21. I'm sure you can figure out why SCO's is longer ... SCO entered into 22 other SCOsource licenses, in addition to the Sun and Microsoft ones ... there is a sucker born every minute ... The pretense ... as I see it, is that by pointing to the SYS V code in UnixWare and pretending it didn't come from UNIX ... SCO can contend that it owes Novell nothing ... it's both trunk and branch. Hahahaha. Just like in nature ... how silly this argument is ... there are some filings in the SCO bankruptcy as well ... In short, everyone wants money from SCO ... Is this fun or what? more

Lewis A. Mettler adds his analysis:

Some big slices of crow pie are being served and are likely to be served going forward ... For the court this is quite simple. Or, at first it seems so ... the court could simply ask SCO to put the cash on the table and then the court could ask Novell to ratify or the money goes back to MS and SUN. But, alas, SCO is broke. And, certainly Judge Gross is unlikely to put that kind of money on the table in Judge Kimball's courtroom. If Judge Gross ever sees $20 million or so in cash on a table, he is going to decide who gets it. My guess remains that Judge Kimball decides that SCO did act outside their authority giving Novell the ability and option to void those licenses. And, since Novell is not obligated to decide on whether or not to ratify until it can be assured it will be paid the funds, Judge Kimball is also likely to decide the questionable dollar amount. That decision would then put the issue of a constructive trust, etc., into the hands of the bankruptcy judge. more

Sean Michael Kerner asks, "Will this finally spell the end for SCO?":

Somehow I don't think so. SCO has managed to use the legal system to its advantage for years. Somehow it manages to appeal things, and somehow it keeps managing to find people to help bankroll its efforts. This is however closer to the end-game than ever before, it will be very interesting to see as the trial goes on, exactly how close. more

Naturally, Slashdotters are having a field day:

Darl managed to sell quite a few shares between the time the lawsuit was announced and when the stock tanked. That is, during the time when he was telling the press about the "rocket scientists" who found the "millions of lines of code". more
He claimed that the licenses weren't SCOsource when the SEC filing said they were. He can't just say "oops. My bad. I didn't know what we were talking about." ... If a CEO takes the stand in a lawsuit without knowing the basic facts of the case, it's gross incompetence of a level that should be criminal. So either Darl is the world's biggest idiot of a CEO, or he perjured himself, or SCO lied in their SEC filing. more
[Darl] was also grilled over statements in their 10-Q that were, shall we say, at odds with what he was trying to say on the stand. Novell confronted him and he angrily accused them of calling him a liar. Their rejoinder was that he had just claimed that he told the truth on their 10-Q ... I'm surprised his pants didn't burst into flames. more
Wow. Just wow. "Are you calling me a liar!?!" is a common tactic used by bullies when caught lying. It works great when the bully is some sort of threat. It rarely works in court, where such tactics are well understood. No one is going to back down when Darl contradicts himself just because he puffs up his chest and looks threatening. This guy is in way over his head. more

And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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