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Linux lovers must wait until 2007 for SCO vs IBM showdown

Trial delayed for bit of Palmisano

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The SCO Group's quest for software IP righteousness looks set to linger on until at least 2007 after a judge pushed back the trial date for the company's battle with IBM.

A five-week jury trial will now begin on Feb. 26, 2007, as a result of a recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball. As the case hobbles to trial, SCO will now also have a chance to depose IBM's CEO Sam Palmisano in this dispute over whether or not bits of Unix owned by SCO illegally made their way into Linux thanks to IBM. The previous trial date, already delayed twice itself, was Nov 1.

"The court finds that Mr. Palmisano could have unique personal knowledge related to the claims in this action," the judge wrote. "Thus, IBM must produce Mr. Palmisano for a deposition. . . . Although SCO seeks a seven-hour deposition, the court imposes a limit of four hours, not including any breaks taken during the deposition. "

In addition, the judge denied SCO's bid to amend its complaint for a third time. The proposed change would have charged IBM with violating copyright agreements around its Project Monterey software by putting Unix System V Release 4 code into IBM's AIX OS for its Power chips. (Much more on Monterey is available here.)

"[T]he court finds that SCO has unduly delayed seeking leave to assert the proposed cause of action," the judge wrote. "It appears that SCO–or its predecessor either knew or should have known about the conduct at issue before it filed its original Complaint. Accordingly, the court declines to permit the filing of a Third Amended Complaint."

For those who have lost track, SCO originally filed suit against IBM way back in March of 2003, seeking billions in damages. Since then, lawsuits have gone out against Red Hat, Novell and Linux customers. SCO once claimed it would present clear evidence of IBM's misdeeds. The court, however, has chided the software maker for failing to produce much in the way of evidence at all.

Happy waiting. ®

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