Taking on Linux... and losing

Back in 2003 when I first started using Linux there arose within the Linux world the spectre of SCO. SCO, and its head, Darl McBride, announced to the world that it owned quite a lot of the Linux software code, and that it was going to court against IBM (and others) for distributing this code under the GPL.

In the world of business, this action was seen positively. Even The Economist wrote an article praising McBride's actions. Share prices of Linux-based corporations shrank as the danger of Linux being "contaminated" by unfree code led many to believe that lawsuits against users could be a possibility.

In the midst of this, the Linux people reacted strongly. "If we have your code" Linux developers said, "then tell us what it is and we'll remove it". SCO declined, arguing that to reveal it would reveal trade secrets. The case went to court and has been dragging on ever since.

That is, until now. The US court has definitively ruled that SCO does not own the copyright of Unix (and thus Linux). SCO's share price has dropped over 71%. Linux has essentially been declared free.

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