Now SCO threatens to sue ‘major’ Linux user

20 November 2003 SCO Group is going up a gear in its pursuit of licence fees for servers running the Linux operating system, revealing that it plans to launch legal action against a big enterprise user within the next three months.

SCO did not reveal if it has a particular organisation in mind, or whether it would withdraw the threat if it became more successful at securing licence fees from Linux users.


But the law firm representing SCO – Boies, Schiller &Flexner – said the plan was to pursue a test case that could lead to more lawsuits.

“It will be a significant user that has not paid licensing fees and so is using proprietary and protected material illegally,” said the managing partner of the firm, David Boies.

The threat follows a seemingly unsuccessful attempt by SCO earlier this year to compel 1,500 large organisations to pay licence fees for using Linux.

Licences for SCO’s UnixWare are up to £828 per server for Fortune 1000 companies. So far, only a handful of companies are believed to have paid up.

SCO, which is also suing IBM for allegedly stealing its secrets, claims that Linux contains code copied line-by-line from its System V version of Unix – the basis of its UnixWare operating system product.

Some critics have questioned the seriousness of SCO’s intent, dismissing this latest move as a headline-grabbing stunt.

However, SCO is to pay Boies, Schiller &Flexner and its other legal representatives $1 million in cash and about $8 million in shares. The revelation appeared to suggest that the law firm had a strong incentive to pursue – and win – a Linux legal case for SCO, since that would help keep SCO’s shares buoyant.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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