One of the most bitter legal battles in the history of Linux may finally be effectively over, thanks to the utter bankruptcy of the SCO Group, which sued IBM more than a decade ago over claims that Linux improperly incorporated Unix code.
The case was opened in 2003, when SCO filed a $1B claim against IBM. The suit alleged that IBM had inserted some code from Unix, over which SCO claimed ownership, into the Linux kernel.
At the time of its appearance, the suit was interpreted by the open source community as a stunt to discredit Linux at a time when the operating system was seeing massive adoption within the enterprise. This was especially true because SCO warned major American companies that they might be liable for using Linux if it won the case. And reports that Microsoft was covertly behind the whole operation did not help.
Flash forward to 2016 and SCO has clearly lost by all practical measures. No one stopped using Linux because of legal concerns, and the SCO Group never came close to winning a judgment in its favor.
Now, however, the court may finally close the case officially. A court document from late last month obtained by Groklaw -- a now mostly defunct site that was formed in the early 2000s to cover legal news related to open source -- implies that the court has decided to end the case "given SCO's bankruptcy and its explanation that it has de minimis financial resources."
In other words, SCO is utterly bankrupt, and continuing to pursue the case at this point would be a waste of everyone's time and money.
This outcome may not be quite as sweet for open source fans as a ruling that totally dismisses SCO's claims. But it's certainly not a bad way to end one of the nastier legal battles that has affected the Linux community.