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IBM has thrown itself right into the middle of the legal trainwreck that is SCO with a countersuit seeking to protect its own IP.

In an almost comical turn of events, IBM is charging that SCO cannot claim bits of the Linux operating system are proprietary since SCO once sold a version of Linux under the GPL. IBM is also looking to secure its own IP by charging that SCO has infringed on four Big Blue patents. Last but not least, IBM claims that SCO disrupted IBM's server business by terminating its AIX license.

IBM has now joined Red Hat in the fight against SCO, and it's about time. Both companies had left their users to face SCO's legal threats and licensing proposals in this Unix/Linux spat. SCO has used IBM and Red Hat's lack of action as leverage in its push to have Linux users pay for the right to use their open source code. Now the two vendors are meeting the challenge head on.

These legal battles undermine any chance SCO has of seeing users pay $1,399 per CPU to use Linux. Unless one of the parties decides to settle, the legal action on all sides will take years to make its way through the courts. Why would any user pay SCO now for a sketchy IP claim that may well end up going IBM's way?

IBM's challenge on SCO breaking the GPL should be of particular note. When SCO started its legal action, it decided to pull its own version of Linux off the market. Apparently, it did not pull it fast enough for IBM's liking. ®

Related Stories

Linux developers ignoring SCO
SCO ready to clean out Linux users for $1399 per CPU
SCO staff join Linux protests
Red Hat takes the fight to SCO

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