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19 October 2009, 17:39

SCO vs. Linux: SCO trustee fires SCO boss Darl McBride

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Edward Cahn, the SCO Group's Chapter 11 trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court, on Friday dismissed former SCO boss Darl McBride. This is according to an SCO press release, currently available as an SEC document only, and which is not listed on the company's own Press Releases page.

According to the press release, McBride had his employment terminated on 16th October, although a compulsory statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission gives the date of McBride's dismissal as 14th October. Both sources cite the elimination of the positions of President and CEO as the reason for McBride's dismissal. The reports note that the remaining management team will continue to work closely with the Chapter 11 trustee, who is to present a new restructuring plan. According to the compulsory SEC statement, the company is continuing to look for investors and is looking to sell non-core parts of the business.

The press release is more forthcoming, describing this as a clear signal that SCO is looking to continue to pursue its various lawsuits under the stewardship of the Chapter 11 trustee, "The company is also looking to raise additional funding and sell non-core assets to bolster working capital. These actions will allow the Trustee to preserve cash and the value of the business while enabling the Company to proceed with asset sales, pursue litigation against, among others, IBM and Novell, and to continue supporting SCO's loyal UNIX customer base."

SCO, which is operating under Chapter 11 of US insolvency legislation, has been involved in a series of lawsuits against IBM and Novell over a period of several years. The IBM suit concerns UNIX code or procedures and concepts adopted from UNIX which are said to have illegally found their way into Linux variants. IBM programmers are accused of having committed the as-yet-unproven copyright infringements. In the Novell case, the two parties are in dispute over the copyright to UNIX and the payment of licensing fees which SCO owes to Novell. Whilst the court has found in Novell's favour on the question of licensing fees, the dispute over copyright has been referred to a higher court. In late August, an appeals court found the details of the contract to be sufficiently complicated that a jury, rather than a single judge, should decide the facts of the case.

A former Novell manager, Darl McBride moved to Caldera Systems, Novell's Linux spin off, in 2002. Caldera acquired Novell's UNIX distribution rights and the SCO UNIX distribution from Santa Cruz Operations, which was in the process of being dissolved. The company was then renamed SCO Group. Under McBride's stewardship, the company made headlines for its aggressive UNIX campaign which culminated in the demand that every company using Linux should purchase an IP license from SCO. The campaign was accompanied by a soaring SCO share price. The boom was short-lived. SCO shares are now worth one penny, and the company has been forced to file for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of US insolvency legislation. In a hearing before the bankruptcy court McBride recently claimed that he was in negotiations with four potential purchasers over the future of the SCO Group.

A summary of events, including a chronological list of articles from The H, following the dispute between SCO and IBM, Novell and the open source community over alleged Linux kernel copyright infringement can be found in "SCO vs. Linux: The story so far ".


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