CyberTech Rambler

July 30, 2008

OpenSolaris in hot water? May be

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:14 pm

The biggest revelation in Judge Kimball final order on SCO vs Novell is that SUN did not get the immunity it thinks it got from SCO to open source Solaris, a.k.a. OpenSolaris. That makes SUN perhaps the biggest potential loser in the SCO vs Novell lawsuit. During the oral arguments we have hints that SUN might be the biggest potential loser, Judge Kimball annulment of the relevant sections of the SUN-SCO agreement seems to be the confirmation. My initial reaction was, what was SUN and its legal team doing???

It turns out, they are not that dumb. PJ of Groklaw highlights a paragraph in the judgement that says SCO will indemify SUN in all infringement cases brought against SUN. She then opined that since SCO is now pennyless, Novell would have a good reason to sue SUN as SUN will simply push the case for SCO to handle. Moreover, in my opinion, an even bigger hurdle is to have to go against SCO’s crafty legal teams with no gold at the end of the tunnel.

I do not think it is that done-and-dusted for SUN. The lawsuit, if Novell choose to file it, is against SUN. If SCO does not have the resources to indemnify SUN, SUN will still have to pick up the fight by default. And if SUN then turns around and sue SCO for non-performance of contractual duty, it has to jump through the same hoops that Novell will have to jump through if SCO picks up the fight for SUN.

Do I think Novell will sue SUN? I think SUN will have to part with some more money to satisfy Novell. I do not think a full blown lawsuit is in the making. For all we know, SUN may be already in secret talks with Novell which we are not privy to.

It will be correct to say OpenSolaris is at the mercy of Novell now. At present, I do not think Novell is going to sue. IMHO it has no apetide for it. If it did, there is a PR risk of undoing the kudos it earned from open source community for picking up the fight with SCO. It will not be as much as the MS-Novell agreement, but it will still cost Novell.  Had SUN was still the same beast it was when the SCO-SUN agreement was signed, Novell would had scored points instead. For good or for bad, SUN had changed. It still have to pay for its past misadventure with SCO, but the number of people that wants to see blood had dropped.

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