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Novell offers SCO last drink at System V saloon

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The SCO Group's weakening claims to UNIX System V - the lynchpin of its case against IBM and by extension Linux - now look to be put to the test. A large part of SCO's case is based on the obligations of System V licensees. SCO says that derivative works and enhancements belong to SCO. Novell and IBM respectfully disagree. It's important because SCO says that the enhancements were later incorporated into Linux. No one disagrees about that fact, but the case hinges on whether SCO has the right to stop them. Since many of the dozens of System V licenses were signed in the 1980s, this covers an awful lot of code, including of course the multi-processor code that Sequent subsequently wrote. (IBM and the Linux community are still demanding that SCO show proof, but that's another matter. They may not even need to).

Yesterday Novell wrote to SCO telling them that the two parties' 1995 agreement didn't handcuff Sequent, which took out a System V license ten years previously.

As we reported on Tuesday, Novell had given SCO until yesterday to "waive any purported right" to make Sequent, or IBM (which acquired Sequent in 1999) follow SCO's terms.

Specifically, " Novell directed 'SCO to waive any purported right SCO may claim to require Sequent (or IBM as its successor) to treat Sequent Code as subject to the confidentiality obligations or use restrictions of Sequent's SVRX license.' The letter defined Sequent Code as code developed by Sequent, or licensed by Sequent from a third party, which Sequent incorporated in its UNIX variant but which itself does not contain proprietary UNIX code supplied by AT&T under the license agreements between AT&T and Sequent."

As expected, SCO failed to produce the evidence and Novell duly waived Sequent's rights on SCO's behalf.

"So how do you like that?" writes Novell attorney Joe LaSala in invisible ink on the latest missive, released by Novell today. (You may need invisible spectacles to read this portion of the text, but the intent is there for all to see.) ®

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