In a widely predicted move, the SCO Group terminated the UNIX license for AIX maker IBM and filed with the US District Court of Utah a request for a permanent injunction that would require IBM to cease and desist all use and distribution of AIX and to destroy or return to SCO all copies of UNIX System V source code. SCO says it's exercising its "right of termination" granted under the original UNIX Software and Sublicensing Agreements between IBM and AT&T, which dates back to 1985; SCO is now the owner of the UNIX copyrights described in that agreement.
"The Software and Sublicensing Agreements and related agreements that SCO has with IBM includes clear provisions that deal with the protection of source code, derivative works and methods," said Mark J. Heise, an attorney representing SCO. "Through contributing AIX source code to Linux and using UNIX methods to accelerate and improve Linux as a free operating system, with the resulting destruction of UNIX, IBM has clearly demonstrated its misuse of UNIX source code and has violated the terms of its contract with SCO. SCO has the right to terminate IBM's right to use and distribute AIX. Today, AIX is an unauthorized derivative of the UNIX System V operating system source code and its users are, as of this date, using AIX without a valid basis to do so."
In addition to terminating IBM's UNIX license and seeking an injunction against the company, SCO is seeking unspecified damages from IBM's multibillion-dollar AIX business. "IBM has chosen to continue the actions that violate our source code and distribution agreements," said Darl McBride, SCO president and CEO. "Over the last several months, SCO has taken all of the steps outlined in the UNIX licensing agreements to protect its rights. Today, SCO is requesting that the court enforce its rights with a permanent injunction. IBM no longer has the authority to sell or distribute AIX and customers no longer have the right to use AIX software."
For its part, IBM seems unconcerned about SCO's actions. "IBM's UNIX license is irrevocable, perpetual, and fully paid up," the company wrote in a statement issued yesterday. "It cannot be terminated. This matter will eventually be resolved in the normal legal process. IBM will continue to ship, support, and develop AIX, which represents years of IBM innovation, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, and many patents. As always, IBM will stand behind our products and our customers."