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June 9, 2003

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German Courts Order SCO-Caldera to Stop Anti-Linux FUD

German Penguins Launch Successful Counter-Attack in SCO v Linux War

By Mike Angelo -- 9 June 2003 (C) -- Page 3

SCO-Caldera Could Find Itself in a Nightmare of Anti-SCO Lawsuits

Article Index

SCO-Caldera v. IBM:

SCO Clears Linux Kernel but Implicates Red Hat and SuSE

IBM Files Answer to SCO's Caldera v IBM Complaint

IBM Response to SCO-Caldera Complaint Is Outrageous!

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community:

Summary and Conclusion

SCO-Caldera's CEO Darl McBride started attacking the GNU/Linux community last summer, shortly after he took that job from Ransome Love. It appeared to be more of an attack on Red Hat Linux, so the GNU/Linux community sat back and did nothing.

Over the winter, apparently McBride festered in his lack of love for Linux. Then in early January 2003, Maureen O'Gara broke a story that McBride was looking into SCO-Caldera's intellectual properties (IP) portfolio to see what he could exploit there.

A few weeks later, McBride announced the formation a new SCO-Caldera project, SCOsource, which would protect and enforce SCO-Caldera IP. Initially, McBride's SCOsource project did not directly attack the GNU/Linux community. Rather it sought to protect SCO-Caldera's UnixWare libraries. This appeared to be a legitimate exercise of copyright protection and enforcement. So, the GNU/Linux community sat back and did nothing.

Then in March, McBride's SCO filed its now infamous Caldera v IBM lawsuit. What made that Caldera v IBM lawsuit so controversial was that in its Complaint, SCO-Caldera needlessly and viciously attacked and insulted the Linux kernel, GNU/Linux operating system, Linux distribution, and many other free software developers. Nevertheless, the GNU/Linux development community sat back and did nothing.

So, McBride kept pushing -- all the way up to 12 May 2003 when he sent his letter to several thousand companies, stating in part:

Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of UNIX . . . We have evidence that portions of UNIX System V software code have been copied into Linux . . . legal liability that may arise from the Linux development process may also rest with the end user . . . We intend to aggressively protect and enforce these rights . . . we are prepared to take all actions necessary to stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property or other rights.

That was the last straw for the German GNU/Linux community. Those hard-working people were sick of being pushed around and insulted by McBride and SCO-Caldera. So, they started a counter-attack against SCO-Caldera and McBride.

Several German Linux companies and organizations sent dissuasions, letters asking SCO to sign a declaration that SCO-Caldera would stop making its controversial and unfounded claims against Linux and the Linux community. When SCO-Caldera and McBride failed to comply with the dissuasions and sign the requested declaration, the German Linux community turned the tables on SCO-Caldera and McBride.

Two German companies, Univention and Tarent went to the German courts, and obtained court orders telling SCO-Caldera and McBride to shut-up -- or face some pretty hefty fines and/or jail time for failing to shut-up.

It's rather interesting that although McBride and SCO-Caldera started this anti-Linux war, it is the German GNU/Linux community that has won the first round of court battles in the SCO-Caldera v GNU/Linux war -- preliminary injunctions ordering SCO-Caldera and McBride to shut-up until such time as they can prove their anti-Linux allegations and claims. And so far, McBride and SCO-Caldera have failed to do that.

Will the GNU/Linux communities in other nations follow the German GNU/Linux community's lead, join with it, and take SCO-Caldera to court too? Time will tell.

The game is afoot and the battle is joined.

Stay tuned.

(Editor's Note: John Holroyd, Demos Technosis Ltd, made the translations from German to English unless otherwise noted and he contributed to the research for this story. Peter Ganten's comments were written in English by Peter.)

<---- Back to Page 2

English Translation of the Univention v SCO Court Order

Bremen Regional Court

File reference nr. 12-0-247/03

Univention GmbH,

Bremen ...


SCO Group GmbH,

Homburg ...


1. The defendant of the [provisional / temporary] injunction Court Order - Because of the urgency of the hearing and the report - is forbidden to [dissent / dispute], each case of the offence carries a fine of up to 250,000.00 Euros, or as a substitute, detention of the Managing Directors (CEO) of the defendant could be imposed.

It is forbidden to circulate the idea that the Linux Operating System illegitimately acquired and contains the Intellectual Property of SCO UNIX and/or that the end users of LINUX can be made liable for [copyright / patent] infringements against SCO's intellectual Properties.

2. The defendant is made liable for the costs of the proceedings

3.The costs of the hearing are determined at 50,000.00 Euros

Bremen, the 28th of May 2003

Regional Court. Chambers for Commercial Matters

Update Note: 10 June 2003

The original German text for item 3 is III. Der verfahrenswert wird auf 50,000 E festgesetzt" The literal translation is somewhat confusing. A non-literal, functional translation would be more in the form of 3. The damages to Univention are determined at 50,000 Euros.

Peter Ganten mentions that the Bremen Court did not make an actual determination of the damages that SCO's anti-Linux statements has caused to UniVention. Rather, this amount is arbitrary and just something the Court had to put in the preliminary injunction Order. The actual money damages to Univention from SCO's conduct could be determined in a later hearing.


English Translation of the Univention 30 May 2003 Announcement

The Bremen enterprise, Univention, obtained a provisional court order against the SCO Group GmbH in the Bremen regional court..

The order forbids SCO from maintaining that, "the Linux operating systems illegitimately acquired and contains intellectual property of SCO Unix and/or that the end users of Linux can be made liable for [copyright/patent] infringement.

The German SCO office faces a fine of up to 250.000 euro for each offense if it continues with its claims.

Univention had previously warned the SCO Group because of anti-competitive behavior. The Homburg based enterprise (SCO) let the period for objections elapse.

"We were therefore forced to obtain the order", said Peter H. Ganten, CEO of Univention and one of the authors of the Debian standard work "Debian GNU/LINUX".

"SCO's unproven statements, that Linux hurts [copyright/patent] rights of the Unix enterprise, upsets the public and harms the image of Linux. So we have had to resist."

The provisional order against the SCO Group is, according to opinion of the enterprise, an important step in several weeks of smoldering controversy in the computer industry regarding Linux.

SCO Group had sued IBM at the beginning of March for a billion US dollars of damages, because they claim that IBM's Linux programmers availed themselves of the code of SCO's version of Unix. SCO has so far failed to provide any evidence to back up this statement.

Please see the first two parts of our series about SCO-Caldera's IP claims plus its intentions to enforce and license its intellectual property rights.

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: Part 2, Under the Iceberg's Tip


Linux and the GNU Project, By Richard Stallman

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries

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