Yesterday, UnixWare/OpenServer vendor Xinuos filed a lawsuit within the US Virgin Islands, alleging theft of mental property and monopolistic market collusion against joint defendants IBM and Red Hat.
If this seems like a well-recognized, well-worn story, it ought to. Xinuos is the corporate that bought the remnants of the SCO Group in 2011. The SCO Group, in flip, is an organization most well-known not for its precise merchandise however for its litigation against IBM and Linux. That litigation started in 2003—partially funded by a really completely different Microsoft, solely 5 years after the leak of the Halloween documents wherein Microsoft acknowledged the “long-term viability” of open supply software program and mentioned methods to choke it out of the market.
The substance of the unique lawsuit is SCO’s declare that IBM pulled proprietary code out of SCO Unix and inserted it into the Linux kernel. The subsequent 18 years haven’t been variety to SCO, which first filed for chapter in 2007 and then ultimately bought off its mental property (however not its litigation rights) to Xinuos, then named UnXis, in 2011.
Here’s a fast timeline:
- March 2003—SCO Group claims possession of AT&T Unix, that Linux is an unauthorized spinoff of AT&T Unix, and that IBM violated contractual obligations by distributing Linux
- May 2003—Novell publicly states that SCO doesn’t personal the AT&T Unix mental property in query, Novell does
- January 2004—Novell publicly indemnifies all Linux customers from lawsuits over AT&T Unix mental property. SCO responds by suing Novell
- July 2005—Novell countersues SCO, searching for damages in extra of SCO’s internet value
- August 2007—US federal Judge Kimball guidelines that Novell is the proprietor of the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights
- August 2009—US tenth Circuit Court of Appeals partially reverses Kimball’s judgment, permitting SCO to proceed pursuing possession of Unix copyrights
- June 2010—Jury returns a unanimous verdict affirming Novell’s possession of Unix copyrights
- July 2010—SCO appeals SCO v. Novell once more
- August 2011—Appeals court docket upholds the choice for Novell
The astute reader will word that though SCO v. Novell is dominated on, appealed, affirmed, appealed as soon as extra, and lastly affirmed in 2011, SCO v. IBM was nonetheless ongoing in 2011, when Xinuos (then UnXis) bought SCO’s mental property. That zombie lawsuit is—beggaring all perception—nonetheless operating at present… and now, a particularly comparable lawsuit joins it from Xinuos, whom you will bear in mind owns the rest of the SCO Group.
The new lawsuit alleges that IBM included unspecified code from the corporate’s UnixWare and OpenServer code into IBM’s personal AIX working system. It additionally alleges that IBM and Red Hat straight conspired—sooner or later; the lawsuit doesn’t present a timeline—to divide the complete Unix-like working system market up into giant enterprise alternatives for IBM and smaller alternatives for Red Hat, locking Xinuos out within the chilly:
First, IBM stole Xinuos’ mental property and used that stolen property to construct and promote a product to compete with Xinuos itself. Second, stolen property in IBM’s hand, IBM and Red Hat illegally agreed to divide the related market and use their rising market powers to victimize customers, modern rivals, and innovation itself. Third, after IBM and Red Hat launched their conspiracy, IBM then acquired Red Hat to solidify and make everlasting their scheme.
Xinuos expands upon the hurt it believes it has felt within the full lawsuit:
As a consequence of these actions, Xinuos has been excluded from key alternatives out there. For instance, regardless of Xinuos providing a FreeBSD-based working system with substantial industrial worth for enterprise customers, Xinuos was unable to garner as a lot monetary help or buyer curiosity in OpenServer 10 because it might and ought to have due to the market circumstances. Indeed, the market is so distorted that Xinuos has decided that over 70% fewer of its prospects are ready to license its new working system than would be out there in a functioning market. The foreclosing impact on Xinuos is felt by all rivals as nicely.
Even extra startlingly, the corporate claims that IBM is expressly out to destroy FreeBSD as a complete:
IBM’s technique with Red Hat has been expressly to destroy FreeBSD, upon which Xinuos’ most up-to-date improvements have been based mostly.
And it goes on to demand not merely damages, however the reversal of IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat fully:
The merger ought to be declared illegal in violation of no less than Section 7 of the Clayton Act, and IBM and Red Hat ought to be ordered to divest of one another and void all related agreements between them.
The “Factual Background” part finishes with this daring declaration, on web page 44 of Xinuos’ 57-page criticism:
The consequence has made it inconceivable for Xinuos to compete on honest phrases, and has foreclosed customers from entry to Xinuos’ high-quality merchandise. The consequence can also be a deeply dysfunctional market. High-value merchandise haven’t any means for penetration. Nascent rivals haven’t any alternative for progress. Prices are capturing upwards. Enough is sufficient. IBM and Red Hat have abused their management over the Unix/Linux working system marketplace for far too lengthy, and intervention is the one manner to repair what they’ve damaged.
It’s value noting that there’s completely no point out of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Ubuntu—both of which could leap to the thoughts of an inexpensive onlooker considering of “rivals” to Red Hat Enterprise Linux—wherever within the criticism, and no rationalization is given for the market progress these distributions have skilled.