30 May 2003 SCO Group CEO Darl McBride has indicated that the company will sue Linux creator Linus Torvalds if it does not get its way over its Unix intellectual property lawsuit.
In an interview on American television, McBride reiterated his contested claim that SCO owns the Unix intellectual property.
That had followed a stinging public rebuke from Novell CEO Jack Messman, who asserted that Novell never sold any of the Unix intellectual property — neither patents, nor copyrights — when it sold the UnixWare operating system to SCO in 1995.
“We talked to those guys, but there was never one comment at any time that, ‘Hey, we want to buy copyrights from you,” McBride told CBS Marketwatch. “It was very clear in our minds that we already purchased that,” he added.
However, Messman is equally clear that the legal documents covering the 1995 sale of UnixWare to SCO do not cover either patents or copyrights. Messman’s claim would appear to be reinforced by US Patent Office documents.
Messman had also demanded that McBride ‘put up or shut up’ and publicly reveal the lines of code that he claimed have been copied straight from UnixWare and System V, on which UnixWare is based, into Linux.
McBride rounded off his television performance by adding that the company was considering a lawsuit against Linus Torvalds as well as IBM, a threat that was greeted with widespread derision.
McBride later claimed that his comments about Torvalds had been “overstated”, although in a later interview with CNet News, he did not rule out the possibility. “Virtually we see no reason why that would ever happen… We’re not trying to go down that path,” said McBride.
But Torvalds was sanguine about the threat of legal action: “I don’t see what [SCO] would expect to gain from suing me, but they don’t seem to be acting very rationally,” he told CNet.