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24 July 2009, 12:34

SCO vs. Linux: The trail leads to Japan

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In the dispute over bankruptcy-threatened SCO Group's legal claims, the company has submitted testimonyPDF in which it confirms having paid $100,000 to investor Steven Norris. According to the testimony, the money didn't actually come from Germany, but rather from its non-debtor Japanese subsidiary. The gift of personal funds from SCO boss Darl McBride is also mentioned. The payments to which IBM lawyers are objecting represent, according to the deposition, a baseless, sham argument, saying that "IBM and Novell are interested only in putting SCO out of business so it canot pursue its legal claims against them." SCO is in dispute with Novell and IBM over the copyright to Unix and over code allegedly illegally copied from Unix into Linux to which SCO claims it has copyright.

According to SCO, Steven Norris, who heads a group of investors which hopes to rescue SCO from liquidation, received $100,000 for a study he carried out for SCO Japan on emerging markets in Brazil, Russia, India, China, the Middle East and Africa. The company also states that $100,000 was paid from SCO boss Darl McBride's personal funds as payment for Norris' efforts to put together a group of investors to back SCO. It sees the fact that of all its creditors only Novell and IBM have complained about Norris' role and challenged the contracts being drawn up to transfer software development to Unixis, as significant. SCO pugnaciously declares that, "In stark contrast [to the other creditors], IBM and Novell are out for themselves and seek only to avoid the consequences of their wrongful exploitation of the Unix computer code for the benefit of their Linux-related business. It is telling that with one possible minor exception, no other creditor has filed an objection to the sale."

Whether the $200,000 paid to investor Steven Norris and his business partner Mark Robbins really are as insignificant as SCO claims will be determined this Monday, when the decisive bankruptcy court hearing opens in Delaware. The chairing judge has already announced that he will decide within two days of the hearings whether the SCO Group will be liquidated under Chapter 7 of American bankruptcy legislation.

(Detlef Borchers)


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