Will SCO case make the finish line?

Summary:I suspect most readers of this blog hope the SCO Group gets thumped in its copyright suit with IBM. I'm on your side.

I suspect most readers of this blog hope the SCO Group gets thumped in its copyright suit with IBM. I'm on your side.

But if the case doesn't even make it through the discovery phase, where both sides seek to collect evidence from the other, that might also be bad news.

That's because a summary judgement after discovery, even one before trial, becomes a precedent. A case that ends before such a judgement is like a mistrial. It never happened.

So you should take no pleasure in what I must report.

The Canopy Group, which had been SCO's largest shareholder, suffered two suicides in its top ranks over the last month, including the daughter of Novell founder Ray Noorda. Canopy's position in SCO has transferred to former Canopy CEO Ralph Yarro, who now chairs the SCO board. The same Yarro, by the way, was fired by Canopy in December, accused of overpaying himself.

The other bad news is that SCO was late with its annual report, so late it risked complete de-listing from NASDAQ. And when the report came in, it read a lot like that bad report card you tried to hide from your parents. (OK, the one I hid. Every reader here was a paragon of integrity, even at age 8.)

The report showed a net loss of $23.3 million on revenue of $42.8 million. This compared to profits of $5.4 million and $79.2 million in revenue a year earlier.

Why the shortfall? It seems sales of licenses to Linux users totaled just $809,000, down from $25.8 million in 2003.

Back in February SCO signed a deal to cap its legal fees.

I hope the lawyers live up to their end of that deal. Assuming any documents IBM has yet to produce lack a smoking gun that leads to a trial, the end of discovery might end open source's trial by legal fire.

Topics: Open Source


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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