With Friday's deadline in the SCO Group's lawsuit come and gone, IBM faces an uncertain fate today, with UNIX copyright owner SCO threatening to rescind IBM's UNIX license, halting sales of IBM's UNIX-based AIX OS. SCO, as I'm sure you recall, sued IBM earlier this year, charging the company with illegally distributing stolen UNIX code in Linux, an open-source OS that closely resembles and works like UNIX. SCO says this action violates its UNIX license, and the company is seeking $1 billion in damages.
So what will SCO do today? Legal experts vary somewhat in their opinions, but the most popular opinion--and one that SCO admits to considering--involves revoking IBM's UNIX license and seeking a preliminary injunction that would prevent IBM from selling AIX until the case goes to court. On Friday, SCO spent the day conferring with its lawyers, and the company issued a statement noting that it will announce its plans today. "You should expect on \[June\] 16th, we will be taking appropriate steps to enforce the contract rights we have," SCO CEO Darl McBride said last week.
Many people in the Linux industry accuse SCO of attempting to profit through litigation, and those accusations certainly have some merit. Interestingly, SCO and IBM have discussed settlement terms, although those talks haven't resulted in an agreement. This fact is probably good news for the Linux community: If IBM caves to SCO's demands, that decision will pave the way for numerous other lawsuits against companies that implement and distribute Linux. Meanwhile, IBM has been contacting its AIX customers and ensuring them that the company will resolve this problem.