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20 September 2007
The big trial over ownership of Linux has all but been resolved and it's clear that SCO has lost.
SCO challenged IBM in the courts claiming that code used in Linux was owned by them. They then demanded royalties over anyone that used Linux. As Linux is developed by the community and available for free, then this would have significant repercussions for the free operating system. As many suspected SCOs case was never going to win as it just had too many unanswered questions, and had also given the code away through the GPL, through Caldera Linux (later named SCO Linux).
The defeat for SCO is however even bigger than expected. The judge ruled that SCO did not even own the copyright for Unix (which was the basis for their copyright claim). The copyright is still owned by Novell, and only limited rights were transferred to SCO.
As a result the royalties they were able to extract from some companies, which they have already most likely already spent on their legal fees, is now owed to Novell. Since then SCO has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Although not before they gave a pay rise and bonus to Mr Tibbetts, the day before.
SCO have failed because instead of concentrating on improving their own product, they instead chose to pursue legal action against the competition, despite the fact that they had been helped by the code provided by the community.