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SCO pulls AIX licence, calls for permanent ban

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Terminating IBM's AIX licence wasn't enough for the SCO Group on Monday. The company has asked for a permanent injunction blocking IBM from shipping AIX.

To steal a line from Bill Hicks, SCO's balls are so big, you would need a wheelbarrow to cart them about. The court has already ordered extra support for the witness stand.

SCO had warned IBM this day would come. The IP squad gave IBM 100 days to explain why bits of AIX kept popping up in Linux source code. With the deadline now passed, SCO has called for IBM to stop shipping anything that uses Unix System V source code, namely the AIX operating system.

Existing customers are to flush their copies of AIX, according to SCO.

Buster Gonads

This move was expected. It's the amendment to SCO's lawsuit that really calls for the wheelbarrow to be rolled out.

SCO wants IBM "to destroy or return all copies of Unix Systems V source code", to cough up more cash in damages tied to AIX server sales and to never use or ship AIX again.

IBM is telling its customers that everything is fine.

"IBM's Unix licence is irrevocable, perpetual and fully paid up," the company said in a statement. "It cannot be terminated.

"IBM will continue to ship, support and develop AIX, which represents years of IBM innovation, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and many patents."

IBM's composure is appreciated, but there are more than a few legal scholars out there that think SCO has a case.

Sun has taken delight in watching this IP battle play out. Scott McNealy, CEO at Sun, said the company paid $100 million to use Unix "free and clear".

Even though Sun is backing Linux now, it has tended to be very selective about the Unix technology it's willing to put into the public domain. There's no need for Linux to grow up too fast if you are in the Solaris camp.

Sun, however, has partnered with Red Hat, which should be a bit of a worry, since McNealy expects SCO to tackle Linux makers and users should it win a court battle against IBM.

"If SCO wins against IBM, they will go after people with smaller pockets," McNealy said, during JavaOne last week. Didn't Sun have remarkable timing with its decision to start promoting Solaris x86 right before the SCO/IBM war broke out?

Any concerned AIX users out there are urged to go to SCO's homepage and chant, "Relax, Worry-Free Software" until the nerves settle. Look past the box, toward the ocean and breathe deep. ®

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