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SCO Puts Unix Assets On the Block 217

Posted by timothy
from the neck-is-slender-executioner-very-skilled dept.
itwbennett writes "SCO Group announced Thursday that it plans to auction off most of its Unix assets, including 'certain UNIX system V software products and related services,' ITworld reports. 'This asset sale is an important step forward in ensuring business continuity for our customers around the world,' said Ken Nielsen, SCO chief financial officer, in a statement. 'Our goal is to ensure continued viability for SCO, its customers, employees and the Unix technology.' Interested parties must submit a bid for the assets by Oct. 5."
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SCO Puts Unix Assets On the Block

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  • I thought Novel owned Unix and only licensed it to SCO, and that was already settled. How can they sell Unix if they don't own it?

    • Re:Can they do that? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:52PM (#33603586) Journal

      They didn't say they own Unix, this time. They said they own Unix technologies and "certain UNIX system V software products and related services." Meaning, SCO Unix. Anyway, the news here is that they are officially not any sort of software or technology company anymore, they are now officially nothing more than a shambling, undead lawsuit factory. I suppose the one guy who still licenses anything SCO related will be happy they are selling his support contract to someone else.

      • Re:Can they do that? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:14PM (#33603918) Journal

        Spun wrote

        They didn't say they own Unix, this time.

        Press Release says

        Even as it continues to battle for Unix ownership in court, the SCO Group plans to auction off most all of its Unix assets, including "certain UNIX system V software products and related services,"

        Yes they are certainly still claiming ownership of Unix.

        A Judge enjoin them from selling anything while the lawsuits against them are adjudicated.

        • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:22PM (#33604002) Journal

          Gah! Really?!? You mean to tell me you actually read the article? My God, what has Slashdot come to? We do not read articles here. Here, we make uninformed and inflammatory comments about the poorly written and factually incorrect summary, mister.

          Seriously though, thanks for pointing that out. Ownership of the generic trade name "Unix" and copyright is something different from ownership of SCO Unix. But still, if the judge enjoined them from selling anything, I don't see how they can legally do this.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            I know I know. My Bad.

            I've been around almost as long as you, I should know better. Can I chalk it up to being a newbie??? ;)

          • Re:Can they do that? (Score:5, Informative)

            by ImprovOmega (744717) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @08:04PM (#33606118)

            Well, the Unix trademark is owned by The Open Group. You can't call your OS Unix without going through them. The argument SCO was trying to make was that AT&T sold the original Unix source tree copyrights to Novell (which did happen - Novell paid ~$300 million for it), but that then Novell turned around and sold the copyrights to SCO (which did *not* happen - the deal with SCO was for ~$50 million about 2-3 years after the AT&T deal). Instead, SCO actually bought rights to develop and market their own version of Unix (called Unixware) and access to a number of distribution channels, plus kickbacks for collecting Unix licensing revenues for Novell (SCO got 5% as an administrative fee).

            Of course, everything was cool until about 8 years after the original agreement, after the company changed hands about 3 times and new management took over. At which point Darl McBride and company started jumping up and down screaming "WE OWN UNIX!!" and suing/threatening to sue everyone and their mother. The nonsensical litigation dragged on for these past 7 years, with IBM and Novell being the primary players (Novell has judgments in their favor declaring that they do, in fact, own the Unix copyrights - SCO is appealing, naturally).

            At this point in our sad, sad story, SCO is in chapter 11 bankruptcy (and has been for over three years) with a trustee now running things. Because the lawyers are pre-paid through all litigation and appeals, it looks good on paper to continue the litigation lottery in hopes of getting some settlement to shut up. Of course, IBM has a point to prove, and the Unix copyrights are worth too much to Novell to suffer an adverse judgment, so SCO will get nothing there.

            Anyway, with that backstory told, my point is that the bankruptcy judge hasn't enjoined them from anything, in fact he's approved the terms of the auction. So there is no legal hurdle to prevent them from doing this. Though it is definitely a case of "caveat emptor" because the buyer may end up with a whole lot of nothing when all is said and done.

        • I've write "Linux system software products" for fun and provide "related services". Meaning I write little scripts and stuff and some of my friends try them out, and sometimes they ask me about them.

          Doesn't mean I own linux.
    • by mark72005 (1233572) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:53PM (#33603606)
      They're about to sue Linus Torvalds, after which they will own everything. (maniacal laughter)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JDmetro (1745882)
    • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:06PM (#33603806) Homepage Journal

      I think "it it plans to auction off most of its Unix assets" means they plan to sell off their O'Reilly books on eBay.

      .
      • May be I should get a bunch of investors to buy these assets and sue anyone using Linux.

        Wonder if there is money to be made there.

  • you cocksmoking teabaggers!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grub (11606)
      Sheesh, the mods have short memories and/or no sense of humour.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)

        yeah, or maybe a post comprised entirely of "you cocksmoking teabaggers" is just sort of trollish?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by cmiller173 (641510)
          The subject line "don't forget to pay your $699 license fee" is part of the post ... and the joke.
          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by bsDaemon (87307)

            Yeah, the post subject was the joke, and was mildly amusing. The post body could just as easily have been in any thread and still probably been off topic, if not trollish. Just sayin'.

  • $699 ! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:47PM (#33603524)

    Do unto others ...

  • by smartin (942) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:48PM (#33603530)

    They could use a decent operating system to sell

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mark72005 (1233572)
      Too bad Microsoft is infringing on no fewer than eleventy billion SCO patents too.

      We're finding places where, line by line, they have stolen code that we stole from someone else!
      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:31PM (#33604114) Journal

        No, Microsoft was a concerned enough corporate citizen that they were the FIRST to pay big money to acquire a license to said technology. That was even before SCO found the money to start all the lawsuits, ironically.

        • by Alien Being (18488) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @09:37PM (#33606608)

          I always read their willingness to pay differently than you.

          1. MS is so freaking huge that it would be stupid to not pay chump change for the "rights" to a major chunk of worldwide computing technology.

          2. By paying, they "legitimized" SCO's claims and thereby helped to put a big question mark on the viability of Linux.

          3. They were also backdooring money to SCO in furtherance of #2.

          You can spin it any way you want but it was never anything more than racketeering by SCO and MS.

    • They already did! (Score:3, Informative)

      by FranTaylor (164577)

      Xenix anyone?

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by guruevi (827432)

        Microsoft no longer owns Xenix, SCO does (no seriously). SCO Unix is Xenix. I guess they could buy it back but what good will that do them? They got rid of it for a reason.

        • I never said they currently own it, I said they bought it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mrbill1234 (715607)

          SCO Unix is not Xenix. SCO UNIX was based on System V R3 - Xenix was based on - Xenix :-)

          Xenix came from Microsoft. It originally ran on the 8086, then the 80286, then a 32-bit version was released.

          SCO UNIX only ran on a 32-bit processor (386 and above).

          Xenix was a pretty nice OS - available WAY before any other UNIX like OS ran on commodity hardware. You could easly run 16 serial terminals on a 286. Running 4 terminals on an 8086 was also no problem at all.

          Of course, this was all when SCO was "The San

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Eunuchswear (210685)

          Microsoft no longer owns Xenix, SCO does (no seriously). SCO Unix is Xenix.

          You gotta love slashdot mods: "informative" my ass.

          SCO Unix is not Xenix. SCO Unix is not even Xenix compatible.

          Here's what happened:

          1. Microsoft write their first Operating system, a 16 bit version of Unix for the 8086, called Xenix because at that point you weren't allowed to call it Unix unless you were AT&T.
          2. SCO buy a license to Xenix and make some 286 versions of it.
          3. AT&T and Interactive port Unix SVR3 to the 386
          4. SCO ports Xe
    • by Enry (630) <.enry. .at. .wayga.net.> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:06PM (#33603800) Journal

      I see you're not familiar with Xenix [wikipedia.org].

    • by kimvette (919543)

      SCO Unix used to be Microsoft Xenix.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Greyfox (87712)
      Wow. Hmm, if I had to choose between using SCO UNIX or MS Windows, that would be a tough call. I've had to use SCO UNIX on a few projects and just despised the system. Of course, most of that was being cockblocked by missing system components that SCO wanted another $1500 for. By the time you finish getting SCO UNIX fixed up to the point where it's usable (strictly from a user-interface perspective) you may as well have just installed Linux anyway. At least then you'll have a decent packaging system.

      I gue

  • Let's bid on it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:48PM (#33603536) Homepage

    Maybe we could all get together and chip in a buck or two to buy the assets, then open-source the whole thing.

    How does that sound?

    • Im game, I would put a few bucks forward for it.

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#33603956)
      I'll put in twenty bucks, but only if the deal includes me giving Darl McBride a swift kick in the nuts.
    • by JamesP (688957)

      I would pay just to have the pleasure of firing McBride and the lawyers

      Too bad they're gone

    • by TopSpin (753)

      I'm up for this. More if necessary.

      Some of this UNIX stuff has been ricocheting around the US legal system, such as it is, for decades now. SCO v Linux et al wasn't the first eruption of this nonsense. Time to retire it.

    • Sounds great. Where's the pot so I can contribute a few dollars? Would the FSF be the ones to do this, or who?

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Like a colossal waste of money.

      Seriously, SCO Unix earned itself a reputation as being fantastically finicky for hardware support ages ago and hasn't had useful development in years. Unlike most commercial Unixes, it's never really had any cutting edge features (unless you consider "runs on x86 hardware" to be cutting edge, which it may have been twenty-odd years ago), so it's hard to imagine what the world might gain from such a thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bing Tsher E (943915)

        Unlike most commercial Unixes, it's never really had any cutting edge features (unless you consider "runs on x86 hardware" to be cutting edge, which it may have been twenty-odd years ago)

        Well, 30 years ago Microsoft Xenix supported five users concurrently on an 8086 processor with 512K of RAM. The users connected to serial ports on the box and used dumb terminals. It's a somewhat impressive accomplishment. I still have one of them, an Altos 586.

    • by Aggrajag (716041)
      Sure why not. I would love to open source Unixware if it is on sale, that is.
    • Re:Let's bid on it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drfreak (303147) <dtarskyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 16, 2010 @07:59PM (#33606088)

      I'm not a SCO Unix guru by any stretch of the imagination, but having used it casually for years I don't see anything in it of value which does not already exist in Linux or the BSDs.

      I think Darl McBride had the same thought. In choosing litigation over innovation, to quote the guardian of the Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "He chose poorly."

      • Re:Let's bid on it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday September 17, 2010 @07:41AM (#33609342) Homepage

        There *is* a business model there, though. SCO Unix sucks by today's standards but is widely used in a number of vertical markets. All of them are ripe for replacement with Linux. Buying the assets and creating an "official" migration path to Linux, supporting and maintaining current users, and turning it into a service company could likely be a decent money maker. SCO was making money before they set out on these ludicrous lawsuits. Their revenue was declining as they refused to embrace Linux, but, well, that's the key, right?

    • by rnturn (11092)

      ... is probably a bunch of old crap that's on QIC-02 tapes.

      I still have bad memories of having to use SCO back in the mid/late-90s. When I left that job, I left the SCO manuals -- that I bought on my own dime -- in the bottom drawer of my desk. I couldn't bear having any evidence of having used that atrocity of a UNIX; didn't want anyone to know I'd been exposed to it. They might ask me to work with it again.

  • First Bid! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skjellifetti (561341) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:49PM (#33603546) Journal
    $0. SCO doesn't have any Unix assets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ByteSlicer (735276)
      Someone should buy it for $699.
    • If someone doesn't mod you up in a timely fashion, SCO will sue them for violating their license agreement.
    • Sadly, there are "Unix" assets. SCO Xenix 1 and 2 and /386 and some other stuff are licensed Unix ports. Not that they work very well. They don't own Unix (as seen in trial by jury, despite SCO's denial), but indeed, they have some licenses. Not that they're worth a plug nickel, but maybe someone might do something with them. Anyone but Larry Ellison.

  • by Zeek40 (1017978) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:53PM (#33603604)
    Would anyone like to buy the rights to OS/2 products systems and services from me?
  • $1.73 million (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:56PM (#33603640)
    $1.73 million buys the whole company. http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SCOXQ.PK [yahoo.com]
    • by haruchai (17472)

      What a waste of $1.73 million that would be. It would be more productive to spend all that money and manure and dump it on the lawn of their HQ.
      That's about the only way to get something to grow out of that patent shill mill.

      • by cjb658 (1235986)

        What a waste of $1.73 million that would be. It would be more productive to spend all that money and manure and dump it on the lawn of their HQ.
        That's about the only way to get something to grow out of that patent shill mill.

        I have an idea. I work right next to SCO. Their wireless network uses WEP.

        I'm serious.

    • I'll give you three dolla and fiddy cent for it.
  • What assets? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @03:58PM (#33603682)
    Unless by "assets" you mean "little asses", I don't think SCO has any. Besides which, can't Novell confiscate assets as part of the settlement of it's lawsuit? Seems to me there are a lot of interested parties that would request the judge freeze any sale of assets.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Because this is Bankruptcy Court, specifically Delaware BK court, and the BK judge in question has pretty much let SCOXQ do whatever the hell they want.

      • by adamstew (909658)

        Novell could bid, and then since that money would be then sent (via the bankruptcy court) to SCO's creditors, they would just get some of it back.

        • by sconeu (64226)

          Except that *no* money has gone to the creditors, except for creditors that happen to be law firms working for SCOXQ.

  • by suso (153703) *

    $title =~ s/[eintux]//g

  • Huh? WTF?

  • Auction? (Score:5, Funny)

    by multipartmixed (163409) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:02PM (#33603722) Homepage

    I bid 50 quatloos on the newcomer!

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:02PM (#33603732) Homepage Journal

    A smoldering hole in the ground, watched by many for signs of activity leading to great destruction. Usually produces little more than some noise and gas.

  • Propagation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carrier lost (222597) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:06PM (#33603804) Homepage

    Maybe Paul Allen [techdirt.com] will buy them.

  • What are the chances that more zits will appear as a result of this sale?

    • SCOX - A pimple on the ass of capitalism

      that's gotta be in a dictionary somewheres. What a great phrase!
  • ...suing the pants off of anyone who mentioned the word "unix" didn't really work as a viable business model, did it? Ass clowns...
  • ill trade you some Linux ISOs for those SCO assets, you'll have to download them yourself though.
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:15PM (#33603932) Homepage

    Absolutely amazing. They haven't had a modern up-to-date system in ages, it turns out they didn't even own what they claimed to own. They got rid of the only people who had any hope of maintaining anything technically back in the '90s and they tried to defraud everyone in reach. And yet, all these years later the corpse is still twitching.

    It's like the end of the horror movie when the monster shows some vague sign of life just as the credits roll.

    • I was wondering:

      What have they actually sold recently?

      Who bought it?

      What of their property is still in use anymore?
      • by sjames (1099)

        As far as I can tell, nothing at all. They pretty much jettisoned everything and everyone that wasn't directly in support of their failed lawsuits years ago.

        The last trace of development capability got spun off in 2001 as Tarantella [wikipedia.org].

        The last time I saw SCO Unix in the '90s it still looked, felt, and acted like it did in the mid '80s. Using it was like taking a trip back in time. If it is still in use at all, it is as a POS system in a company with it's head thoroughly buried in the sand. Most of them made t

      • by jimicus (737525)

        What of their property is still in use anymore?

        There's probably a SCO box still sitting around somewhere, but I'd be surprised if there were many left doing anything terribly important. I daresay buying hardware that might actually have a chance of being supported to replace failed kit would be an exercise in futility.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Just wondering: When, exactly, will the credits stop rolling? This corpse has had so many silver bullets pumped into it that it's getting assessed by mineral developers.
  • "I'll buy that for a dollar!"
  • 'This asset sale is an important step forward in ensuring business continuity for our customers around the world,' said Ken Nielsen, SCO chief financial officer, in a statement.

    In other news, SCO still has customers. Not only that, customers around the world. I think that's the real story here.

    • No, I am sure he was misquoted.
    • by v1 (525388)

      In other news, SCO still has customers.

      I'm still in awe of the powers of positive thinking that all three of them are capable of...

  • System V source code (Score:3, Interesting)

    by plcurechax (247883) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @04:57PM (#33604444) Homepage

    I take it this does not include a complete set of System V (Release 4.2 or 5) source code does it?

    Having never seen any AT&T Unix code newer than the reprint of Lions' A commentary on the Unix Operating System, (based on V6 - 1975) and the "ancient" Unix source from The Unix Heritage Society [tuhs.org].

    It would be purely academic and novelty, but it would be of geeky interest to have access to System V's source code.

  • ...our customers around the world.

    I can see the jokes already, but folks, SCO does have customers, and technically they are around the world.

    Why, just this morning Darl hopped on his Lear jet, and while flying to South America, he booted up their amazing secret new OS, OpenHole. Simultaneously, while riding a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Magnitogorsk, the able CFO Ken also booted up OpenHole.

    Listen, SCO has a track record of accurate statements, and they are living up to that reputation tod

  • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday September 16, 2010 @05:23PM (#33604702) Homepage Journal

    ...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

  • by trb (8509)
    Isn't this kind of like buying a dead guy's shoes?

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