SCO gets $100 million to carry on its inane quest

SCO Group, Inc. has been a petty annoyance for many years. Now it's getting big money to continue its foolish quest.

When will SCO die? Once and for all, die? It has had no business for years, yet investors keep squandering money down the SCO rat hole in an attempt to wring legal settlements from the one-time software maker turned ambulance-chasing-law-firm.

This week SCO got its biggest investment of all: $100 million from private equity firm Stephen Norris Capital Partners and partners in the Middle East. $100 million for a company with no real assets, including viable intellectual property, as noted open-source legal expert Mark Radcliffe notes:

The announcement is puzzling because SCO's principal assets were its UNIX rights (the scope of which are unclear). Yet, a court decision in August rejected all of SCO's claims to enforce copyrights in Linux that it claimed to own. The court rejected both SCO's contract claims for breach of the UNIX license agreements against existing UNIX licensees, such as IBM, and for copyright infringement of UNIX copyright by users of Linux (the court found that Novell owned the copyright in UNIX software and had not assigned it to SCO.

And yet, as Ars Technica notes, SCO is using the money to go after Novell for the rights which a US court clearly rejected:

A memorandum of understanding that outlines the terms of the tentative agreement notes that "the reorganized SCO will pursue the Novell/IBM Litigation and other pending litigation claims aggressively," and that "an early and favorable resolution" of the litigation is one of the primary goals of the business plan.

This is beyond silly. No one throws away $100 million lightly. The private equity firm must surely believe SCO has a good case. But it may well be the only group on the planet, outside of SCO, that does.

In sum, just because someone has money doesn't mean a brain comes with it. Stephen Norris and crew may want to invest that $100 million in a company that is actually leveraging open source to grow the industry, rather than one that is hoping to pillage the fetid scraps of a tired, old legal argument. A fool and his money....

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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