Wednesday, August 22, 2007

No it's not a copyright infringement, just a little confusion

Darl McBride of The SCO Group wants to let people know that everything's gonna be OK. EGBOK - proof that the universe revolves around Ken Minyard. But I digress.

Back to McBride:

A letter in an 8-K report attributed to McBride reassured customers that even though SCO is "disappointed" with Friday's ruling that Novell owns Unix copyrights -- rights that are at the heart of SCO's massive Linux lawsuit against IBM -- it won't affect SCO's ability to serve customers and develop new Unix products.

"This ruling has no impact on SCO's ability to continue to develop and support all versions of UnixWare and OpenServer as well as the recently announced OpenServer 6M and UnixWare 7M as well as our new mobility products," McBride said in the filing. "It has no impact on your ability to sell, service, support, and develop any of our Unix operating systems."

But the following, which appeared later in the InfoWorld article, caught my eye:

He said SCO will "continue to focus on driving the business forward," and plans to release its upcoming OpenServer MP3 and new mobile technologies as planned, according to the filing.

Wait a minute. MP3? Did he just say MP3? That launched me into an Alanis Morissette moment as I recalled this article from February:

Thursday's ruling that Microsoft owes $1.5 billion in damages for Windows' use of MP3-related patented technology prompts questions well beyond whether the software giant will take the money out of its checking or savings account.

Microsoft will undoubtedly try to have the verdict reduced or reversed. But if it stands, the court order also opens the door for Alcatel-Lucent to pursue damages from other companies that use MP3 music technology in their products....

The MP3 technology was developed in large part by people with Germany's Fraunhofer and AT&T's Bell Labs, which became part of Lucent when it was spun off in 1996. Alcatel and Lucent merged last year, becoming Alcatel-Lucent....

Microsoft did pay $16 million to license MP3-related patents from Fraunhofer, but Alcatel-Lucent is arguing that it has patented technology that was not part of Microsoft's license, a point Microsoft disputes.

Which got me to wondering - is SCO using a legally licensed version of MP3 in its products? And if not, is someone going to sue SCO for kajillions of dollars and make its life miserable?

But my "wondering" was all due to a misunderstanding. When SCO talks about MP3, they're not talking about MP3. Por ejemplo:

Maintenance Pack 3 is the latest recommended maintenance update for SCO UnixWare 7.1.4. With MP3, UnixWare 7.1.4 will now support the execution of native OpenServer 6 applications thus allowing the Single Certification of applications for both UnixWare 7.1.4 and OpenServer 6.

Ah, so SCO's talking about a MAINTENANCE PACK. Well, Alcatel Lucent doesn't have a corner on maintenance packs, so SCO should be safe.

Although I have to admit that this alternate use of MP3 is confusing.

Perhaps Jonathan Lee Riches has another lawsuit target.

No, not SCO. Riches can sue MP3 for being two different things at once.


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