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IBM asks for Linux ban on SCO

No, the SCO Group is the copyright violator, according to Big Blue's latest filing.

IBM asked a federal court to bar the SCO Group, a Linux adversary, from distributing any Linux software, in the latest filing in their ongoing legal battle.

In a motion for partial summary judgment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, IBM asks the court to rule in favor of its counterclaim alleging SCO has violated the terms of one of the most common licenses under which Linux software is distributed.

An IBM representative declined to comment beyond the text of the motion. An SCO representative said the company disputed IBM's allegations and would respond soon in court.

The motion says that by distributing Linux software governed by the GNU General Public License (GPL) while at the same time declaring the GPL invalid, SCO has forfeited the right to distribute Linux code, particularly code to which IBM has made contributions. SCO has been a harsh critic of the GPL, declaring it a violation of the U.S. Constitution in one legal document.

"SCO has, without permission, copied code from 16 discrete packages of copyrighted source code written by IBM for Linux and distributed those copies as part of its own Linux products," according to IBM's latest motion. "Although IBM's contributions to Linux are copyrighted, they are permitted to be copied, modified and distributed by other under the terms of the...GPL. However, SCO has renounced, disclaimed and breached the GPL, and therefore the GPL does not give SCO permission or a license to copy and distribute IBM's copyrighted works."

The motion asks for a partial ruling that SCO has violated IBM's Linux-related copyrights and a permanent injunction barring SCO from distributing allegedly infringing Linux code.

SCO rattled the technology world last year when it sued IBM, claiming the computing giant illegally incorporated into its Linux software some source code from the Unix operating system, which SCO claims to control. The case has since ballooned into a far-ranging attack on Linux, attracting legal attention from Linux companies Novell and Red Hat and the ire of Linux supporters worldwide.

SCO has since expanded the case to include several prominent corporate Linux users, including automaker DaimlerChrysler and retailer AutoZone.

SCO has suffered several setbacks lately in its multipronged legal attack. A judge discarded most of the DaimlerChrysler case, and legal expenses have cut into the company's profits .

While SCO now is primarily associated with the Unix operating system, the company has a history with Linux. Software based on the open-source operating system was the company's main business when it was known as Caldera Systems. The company began emphasizing Unix when it renamed itself SCO but continued to distribute Linux software for a time and still offers downloadable support files for existing owners of its OpenLinux server and workstation products.