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The SCO Suit Spills Into Search

By - January 11, 2004

Google is well known as a poster child for Linux – it’s got clusters of some 10,000 Linux machines happily cranking out hundreds of millions of searches a day. SCO is well known to be a sore loser in the Unix OS wars – it’s suing IBM, claiming Linux (which IBM is pushing hard) violates their intellectual property rights. Folks have speculate for weeks that perhaps SCO would go after Google, given its high profile and imminent IPO. Google would capitulate, the reasoning went, since they’d prefer to pay off SCO and insure a big IPO payday, rather than screw up an offering with a messy legal battle over some of the most important technology they use.

Well, Rueters is reporting that the other shoe has dropped, if somewhat softly. In the story, which has been commented on widely in the Linux/blog world, a company representative says that “SCO has had ‘intermittent, low-level discussions’ with Google, which is well-known for harnessing Linux technology to run its popular search service.” Some wags say that means SCO called Google, asked the receptionist for money, and were hung up on.

Now, I am no expert on the SCO suit – it smells wrong to me – but I’d count on the opinions of Larry Lessig. He says the suit is crap. If and how Google responds will be important. I’d wager they’ll simply ignore it as long as the suit is only against IBM. If SCO sues Google, I imagine the company will join IBM and fight hard. That feels like the right thing to do.

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