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Hand over the code, judge tells IBM

SCO gets lots of source, plus a football lesson

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The SCO Group has secured a legal victory over IBM with a judge ordering IBM to reveal all of its versions of AIX and Dynix and documentation of any changes made to the software.

While SCO was granted this crucial part of its request, it lost out in a bid to see IBM's Configuration Management Version Control (CMVC) and Revision Controls System (RCS) - both of which are used to track alterations to IBM's software. Should IBM fail to provide all versions of AIX and Dynix by March 18, it will be forced to give SCO access to CMVC and RCS, said US Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.

"SCO has much to gain by showing that any so called homegrown code allegedly within the purview of the contract ended up in Linux," the judge wrote. "In equal respect, IBM's case will be strengthened tenfold if IBM can show that notwithstanding possible contract protections, homegrown code provided no basis for the code that IBM eventually contributed to Linux."

The judge also gave IBM a break with regard to the amount of programmer's notes it must provide to SCO. Instead of interviewing a whopping 7,200 individuals, IBM will only have to query the 3,000 people who made the most contributions and changes to AIX and Dynix. IBM must turn over all of the programmer's notes, design documents and white papers, along with contact information for these individuals.

The judge also postponed a decision on whether or not IBM will have to turn over documents from its top executives relating to the case.

Both SCO and IBM were warned to improve their behavior in this case.

"There have been abundant accusations of stonewalling in this case by both parties," the judge wrote. "While the court assumes the good faith of all litigants before it, the court, nevertheless, urges both sides to renew their efforts in cooperating with each other."

In a rather odd twist, the judge drifted off into a football history lesson. The judge, in a footnote, compared both SCO and IBM to "two-way" football players that used to work on both offense and defense.

"Although some modern players are considered 'two-way' players, few can match the legendary ironmen from football's past who often played on both offense and defense the entire game. Hall of Famer Mel Hein is the perfect example. This New York Giants' star was one of the most durable players in NFL history. He played 15 seasons going for 60 minutes a game without nearly any rest. Amazingly, he called for a timeout just once in his career. The timeout was used to repair his broken nose."

We're sure SCO and IBM will take that important lesson to heart.

The full decision is available here in PDF format. ®

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