Well my guilty pleasure in MonopolyNews is that I love the good soap opera we have here. Not only do we have a few eccentric characters, we have virtually nothing but eccentric CEOs and others doing inexplicable things just to entertain us (and maybe score a quick billion $$$).
Ok, before I talk about the real issues, lets just face the facts... if a burgler were to break into your house and steal everything, get caught, and hire Boies to defend himself, you'd have to be worried YOU were going to go to jail. Having said that, he lost Napster and he lost Gore and didn't finish off Microsoft, but it's a factor.
SCO's linux and GPL
SCO's case against IBM is actually hard to guage because it's about trade secrets and who know what was in the NDA between SCO and IBM? We don't. Maybe IBM screwed up? I doubt it, but maybe. On the other hand, what about the linux distributions. Well, one argument is that since SCO has shipped linux itself (both as Caldera, pre-SCO purchase, and as SCO after the name change), and done so under the GPL. Of course, this is why Boies has had SCO stop shipping Linux. Their argument will be they stopped shipping more or less when they found out about the problem, thus they will say they never willingly shipped their IP under the GPL. If they did ship their code under GPL, after all, they would not be able to ask for a fee even for patented IP, they would not be able to sue IBM, probably, because these are not trade secrets once they are distributed under GPL for all to see. As I say, they have dealt with this by stopping their sale of Linux.
HOWEVER: they have promised to indemnify their own linux customers. But this means their customers can use linux, which SCO says has their IP in it, under the GPL (the only legal way to legally ship linux). That means SCO has and is willingly distributing their code under GPL.
This trademark is owned by OpenGroup, the patents SCO hold re: Unix are expired, the source code of AT&T Unix is not in use. They are acting as if they own the concept Unix, so it's funny in a this-case-is-a-word-game sort of way that OpenGroup owns that trademark. It might be helpful if SCO lost the right to use "Unix".
When a company really thinks you are using their IP, the first thing is to get you to stop. They want that. They tell you how to stop, where the offending code is. SCO hasn't done this yet, but one would think they would do so right away. This makes SCO look like it doesn't want the IP protected, it wants the damages it hopes to collect protected. That may be understandable, but wrong headed, to get damages you have to inform Redhat, for example, so they can do something. Consider, if SCO was innocently shipping their own IP illegally, certainly Redhat is just as innocent and needs specific information. Given that information Redhat, if it believed the claim, would have to stop shipping linux until they could clean the code.
It's a war of words. I think the most interesting part is the relation to GPL as a viral license... really, it's proprietary IP that is viral, a few tiny lines of it might have slipped into the GPL and the whole OSS world is going to catch a cold. I think it'll recover, but there is no denying it's a viral attack. It unthinkable that GPL code would accidently be included into a commercial product, and if it was, that would probably be portrayed as a rogue employee, but that proprietary IP might slip into GPLed code, that's easier to imagine, and that is probably the real issue this should raise for us.