The SCO Group's attack on Linux has been weakened following a key legal ruling in its case against Novell.
A US judge has ruled that Novell, and not SCO, owns copyrights over Unix. The Utah court judge said Novell is the owner of Unix and UnixWare copyrights, and threw out SCO's charges of slander and breach of contract.
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In addition, the judge said a portion of licensing revenue SCO received from Sun and Microsoft for software use should be paid to Novell. This weakens the position of loss-making SCO even further.
In an even bigger blow, the judge said that because Novell is the owner of the Unix copyrights, it can order SCO to end its ongoing legal attacks on IBM and others over Linux distribution.
SCO started its legal battle against IBM in 2003, claiming it had wrongly contributed Unix code in the development of Linux. It sued Novell in 2004 over Unix rights.
SCO said it may appeal the decision. If the judgement prevails, Linux users will be in a stronger legal position if any action is taken against them for using the open-source OS.
More on the judgement can be viewed on the Groklaw open-source legal website.