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Why Should Sun Stop at Novell - Why Not Buy SCO Too?

Why Should Sun Stop at Novell - Why Not Buy SCO Too?

  • LinuxWorld, San Francisco: Who'll Buy Novell First, Sun or IBM?

    So Sun president Jonathan Schwartz, apropos of nothing, up and tells the Wall Street Journal - in time to make the edition that hits the newsstands the morning LinuxWorld Conference & Expo opens - that Sun has been thinking about buying Novell.

    He said Sun wasn't negotiating with Novell, but it's been thinking about acquiring it because it would disrupt IBM's strategy of boxing in Red Hat - so Red Hat won't become another ungovernable Microsoft impudently competing more and more with IBM's own products - by throwing more of its business to Novell satellite SUSE, a wedding IBM paid for.

    Well, either what we've got here is a stink bomb or a trial balloon.

    In a blog attributed to Jonathan, he writes, "Whoever controls Novell controls the operating system on which IBM's future depends" and Sun, which has any number of scores to settle with IBM, would run over its grandmother to be in that position.

    If Sun's right, all it would take for it to buy Novell is upwards of $2.6 billion and a catfight that makes Oracle and PeopleSoft look like, well, pussycats.

    But why stop at Novell?

    If Sun really wants to torture IBM, it would buy Novell first, then SCO, and press SCO's $5 billion suit against IBM.

    And all that would take is the balls to fly in the face of political correctness. Sun has always claimed it's got big cajones.

    It may also have good reasons.

    See, rumor has it that Sun has its own bone to pick with IBM over IBM's use of SCO IP.

    Supposedly IBM used the SCO SVRV code that it illicitly got from its aborted Project Monterey alliance with SCO to shore up its SVR3-based AIX system, bring its functionality into "affinity" with Solaris and rustle Sun's customers.

    Such a thing could easily set off Sun CEO Scott McNealy, who's reportedly on pretty good terms with SCO CEO Darl McBride.

    There is, after all, no love lost between Sun and Linux. Sun's current object is to replace Linux with Solaris x86 and Sun, like Microsoft, has paid SCO millions for certain mysterious Unix IP rights.

    SCO may be able to convince Sun its IP claims aren't as farfetched as the open source community contends and if resources get tight at SCO because of its legal fees, Sun could prove to be SCO's ace in the hole.

    SCO currently believes that even the little evidence IBM has turned over so far - only seven of the 232 versions of AIX and Dynix it's under court order to cough up - has tightened the noose around IBM's neck and that once the court forces IBM to disgorge the rest of the discovery SCO wants - like internal e-mail - IBM will be dead in the water.

    SCO's evidence is currently under seal, but it's likely the company will amend its suit for a third time in the next month or so and outline whatever it's got on IBM.

    SCO evidently hopes to be spared some of IBM's legal posturing because IBM's own documents reportedly refer to AIX as derivative work based on Unix System V. The SCO-IBM fight is all about SCO's right to control how derivative work can be used.

  • More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

    Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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    Most Recent Comments
    Frederick Schmidt 08/09/04 12:39:04 AM EDT

    I do think Schwartz has it right - IBM is really stuck if novell falls into someone else's hands. Red Hat is coming up their tail pipe, and IBM has zero control. Looks like they repeated their microsoft mistake - AGAIN!!!

    A person 08/08/04 09:02:43 PM EDT

    Its so great to see rightwing hatetrash posted in response to tech news.

    But about the actual article. I worked at IBM on project Monterey. A bunch of SCO people worked with us on it too. Of course all those poor folks were subsequently booted when the company was farmed off to the current pack of vultures, but at the time it was a close partnership. Only reason things didn't work out was that the Intel Itanium was garbage.

    Sun won't buy SCO unless they want to voluntarily inherit an unlimited amount of bad karma and jump down a rabbithole of disaster. Novell is basically worthless. And come to think of it, Maureen O'Gara is a muckraking nitwit for even posting "news" like this. Trying to get someone to quote your awesome newsletter as a "source" Maureen?

    Smithy 08/07/04 02:37:30 PM EDT

    Cowardly creep from moveon.org : "bin laden is not in america, so therefore can not be "the most hated man in america".
    Rubbish! You don't have to live in America to be the most hated man in America!
    Hitler was more hated by Americans at one time than anyone else, and he never lived in this country before, as far as I can determine! Same thing with , Stalin, Gaddafi and even Saddam Hussein at some time in history.
    The most hated man in America is the man Americans hate the most, and where I come from, Bin Laden takes first prize, closely followed by your psycho pal Michael Moore, the fat, ugly, smelly white man!
    How me even ONE single recognized poll that says George Bush and Darl McBride are the most hated people in America. Just one!

    Pathetic, cowardly, Bush-hating silme ball : And I would probably have to agree that bush is the most hated man in america "
    You would think that wouldn't you, you and every other Al Qaeda operative and terrorist out there.
    After all 10 out of 10 terrorists want anyone but Bush as American president, because Bush has done more against Islamic terrorists than any American president in history!

    Terrorists simply love John Kerry, and his extremist, hard line anti-American, 20 year voting record in the US Senate, so much so that Kerry couldn't even mention his record in the US Senate during his acceptance speech! No surprise there!

    Another thing, down in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and every single southern state, George Bush continues to be far more popular than Slick Willie Clinton ever was, including Clinton's own home state of Arkansas, where they know him better than anywhere else.

    Yet another thing, I'll back President Bush's popularity against any of the loony left crazies that keep spewing out hate any day.
    Hopefully we can get Fox News Channel to run a proper poll pitting George Bush against the leftwing nuts like Fat Michael Moore, Al Frankenstein and see who is more hated in this country.
    I'll back President Bush against these clowns any day, any time!

    GenderBender 08/06/04 02:15:54 PM EDT

    Actually the writer (Maureen O'Gara) is a "she" not a "he" - just for the record :)

    Saravanan 08/06/04 01:24:23 PM EDT

    The writer must be new to this field. Let him write on some other things.