Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thank you, Novell

It's been over a week since Judge Stewart ruled for Novell and against The SCO Group (or tSCOG, as it's known). The court had already concluded in August 2007 that Novell was the "owner of the UNIX and UnixWare Copyrights." Judge Stewart went farther by stating:
The Court finds that Novell had the authority under Section 4.16(b) of the APA to direct SCO to waive its claims against these SVRX licensees, that Novell had the authority to waive such claims on SCO's behalf, and that SCO was obligated to recognize such waivers.
In other words all existing lawsuits that tSCOG had filed against IBM et. el. were not only pointless because Novell owned the Unix copyrights, but because Novell did own the copyrights, Novell had the right to shut down all litigation started by tSCOG, and tSCOG was obligated to comply.

But the final paragraph in the ruling bears quoting:
Further, the Court finds that SCO's claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing fails because Novell acted in good faith according to a reasonable interpretation of the contract language. A breach of the implied covenant requires "objectively unreasonable conduct, regardless of the actor's motive." Here, the Court finds that Novell's conduct was objectively reasonable, considering its actions and the language of the APA. The Court finds that Novell's actions were motivated to protect its own interests and those of the open source community and were not taken because of influence by IBM or any ill-will toward SCO.
In the end it was Novell standing and persevering against tSCOG's inept lies about who owned the Unix copyrights that brought tSCOG's billion-dollar house of cards tumbling down. All the effort and money Novell expended, in spite of being unfairly maligned (and continuing to be maligned in certain quarters) for their "traitorous" cross-patent agreement with Microsoft in 2006. If this doesn't prove Novell's credentials as a real proponent and defender of open source, I don't know what will.

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