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The SCO Group: Their future is all used up


By: Scott Bradner


The SCO Group got bad news last week.  Not an unusual event but I wish the need for such events would finally go away for good.


I've now been writing about The SCO Group for five years - - how time does fly when you have someone to despise.  In my first column about The SCO Group's decision go into the lawsuit business rather than having to do all the hard work of making a product that someone might want to buy I thought that someone would just buy the slime off.  (Slime for sale -  I was wrong - I guess there is some truth to the punch line of the old joke "there are just some things a lawyer won't do."  I guess that IBM's lawyers could not stomach the idea of rewarding such repulsive behavior. 


Just to be clear, it is not inherently repulsive to sue if your intellectual property has been infringed upon - there are perfectly legitimate cases where someone in business finds out that someone else is using technology that they have patents or copyrights on.  Things get uglier when the group suing is not trying to do anything with the technology other than sue.  But what The SCO Group tried to do is indeed repulsive - not the suing IBM for lots of money part but the attempt to wipe out open source software for a buck part.  Claiming that anyone using Linux was violating SCO copyright and not telling anyone what the violations were so they could be corrected (if indeed there were any - in the end SCO puked up a hairball of accusations that would not choke a mouse) -- that was repulsive.


The latest news was generally predictable from the last court decision that gave The SCO Group the bad news (for them anyway) that the basic underpinning of their suit against IBM (and charge against Linux) was faulty - they did not happen to own the copyrights they were suing over.  (SCO Group: Mini-Me trying to be Darth Vader -  The same judge has now ruled that The SCO Group owes Novell $2.5 million for some software licenses.


The SCO Group is already in bankruptcy but their leadership (if thatŐs the right concept) is still dreaming of somehow reaping the big bucks though the court system  (See Groklaw's detailed and careful coverage of this sordid tail for much more information - - go, pj go)  Maybe it is those dreams of undeserved, and now unlikely, riches that keeps them going but I sure wish they  would just finish fading away.


When I read Groklaw's report on the latest court decision a bit of a scene from the movie A Touch of Evil came to mind.  If you have not seen it, A Touch of Evil ( ) is perhaps the best film noir crime movie (assuming you see the 1998 recut version).  There is also a very good song by country singer Tom Russell with the same name and theme.


Yes, the movie title is more than a bit appropriate for The SCO Group but it was the scene that came to mind. In the scene Orson Wells walks into a whorehouse and asks Marlene Dietrich to read his future


              Wells: Read my future for me.

              Dietrich: You haven't got any.

              Wells: Hmm? What do you mean?

              Dietrich: Your future's all used up.


The SCO Group's future is all used up - when will they finally realize this and stop being a news topic?


disclaimer: Considering Harvard's past, there is a lot of future in the University still, but the university has not commented on The SCO Group or the movie so the above review and wish are mine.