Sometimes I think there must be a curse on UNIX, like there supposedly was on the tombs of some of the pharaohs of Egypt. If you stole any of the contents of the tombs, even though you might be tempted by the possibility of easy wealth, you ended up horribly dead or worse. Or like the curse on the city of Babylon, where anyone trying to rebuild the city would be doomed to failure.I think owning UNIX must be like that. Maybe it was supposed to stay free, and when AT&T decided to take everyone's freely donated work and “monetize” it, the curse began. Now it looks like it's on SCO. The invoice thing didn't work out well. The license program is on a slow boat to nowhere. The IBM trial is not helping, and Red Hat is breathing down their neck too. And now they have announced they want to collect money because of some missing copyright attributions on some really old BSD code. I see trouble ahead. Maybe they're like Sisyphus, and for some great cosmic wrong, SCO has been condemned to try one legal theory after another. Just as they near the top of the hill and are about to make a buck at last, down they fall and then have to start up the hill again, lugging a new and equally doomed legal theory. It's kind of heart-wrenching to watch. Let's take a look at the viability of their latest claim. [GrokLaw]
Whew! The post on Groklaw is long but it is informative. The short version is that BSD and AT&T made a voluntary settlement to include copyright statements on some files in question but the files would continue to be distributed under the GPL. The origin of much of the contested code was never resolved. It appears that the judge presiding over this case felt the copyright claim was very weak and that inserting copyright statements into the code was not required. I guess AT&T saw the writing on the wall and decided that their effort to monetize Unix was doomed to failure. It's too bad that SCO cannot learn from history.