SCO Reacts to Novell's Indemnification

Tuesday, January 13 2004 @ 12:52 PM EST

Contributed by: PJ

After nagging and whining for almost a year about the need for Linux vendors to offer indemnification, Darl McBride offers this reaction to Novell's announcement that it is now offering indemnification for enterprise SuSE:

"We believe Novell's indemnification announcement is significant for a couple of reasons. By announcing the program they are acknowledging the problems with Linux. Through the restrictions and the limitations on the program, they are showing their unwillingness to bet very much on their position."

There needs to be an award for whatever this quality is. It's uniquely Darl, no doubt about it. The fact that it's so unattractive should not blind us to its worthiness as something so outstandingly beyond the usual it should be recognized with an award as an example of... what is it, exactly? Gall seems too small a word.

First he claimed lack of indemnification indicated that no one dared to offer it, proving there were "problems" in Linux. Now offering it proves there are "problems" in Linux and the limitations, which are of course standard in any indemnification, prove no one dares to offer much. Just breathtaking. Speaking of indemnification, does SCO offer indemnification for its products? I'd like to see what they offer up on their web site. Wait, there is more.

On their site, taking their cue presumably from Novell's release earlier of its correspondence with SCO on Novell's web site, now SCO has put up the various agreements they had with Novell, which Groklaw already has made available on our Legal Docs page as well as in the chronological SCO Archives. They also direct folks to a Novell press release, which they claim supports their Amendment 2 giving them IP rights. The SCO statement quotes part of one sentence from the Novell press release:

"In June 2003, Novell publicly confirmed with a press release, available on Novell's Web site at, that amendment 2 to the asset purchase agreement 'appears to support SCO's claim that ownership of certain copyrights for UNIX did transfer to SCO in 1996.'"

Here's the rest of what that press release says, the part SCO left out:

"To Novell's knowledge, this amendment is not present in Novell's files. The amendment appears to support SCO's claim that ownership of certain copyrights for UNIX did transfer to SCO in 1996. The amendment does not address ownership of patents, however, which clearly remain with Novell.

"Novell reiterates its request to SCO to address the fundamental issue Novell raised in its May 28 letter: SCO's still unsubstantiated claims against the Linux community."

That just is not the same thing at all. I am amazed SCO would use this as "proof" that they got the copyrights. Nevertheless, McBride's statement reiterates that SCO owns copyrights, etc. and Darl adds that they still plan to come after "infringers" down to the end user level:

"'Based on the asset purchase agreement, amendments, press releases and other publicly available documents, SCO has rights to all UNIX and UnixWare source code, legal claims, contractual rights, including copyrights, necessary to protect its intellectual property,' said Darl McBride, president and CEO, The SCO Group, Inc. 'Indemnification programs or legal defense funds won't change the fact that SCO's intellectual property is being found in Linux. SCO is willing to enforce our copyright claims down to the end user level and in the coming days and weeks, we will make this evident in our actions.'"

Isn't that endearing? If Dark Darl ever wonders at 2 AM why the whole world appears to be now uniting against him, methinks he should read his statements in today's SCO press release.