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It’s going to happen. Sometime in 2008, SCO will finally stop thrashing on the floor and die. Will it be Novell draining it dry of its last financial resources in the U.S. District Court in Utah? Or, will it be the bankruptcy court in Delaware divvying up the last bits and pieces of the once proud Unix company?

Me? I’d bet on Novell doing SCO in at the District Court with a lead pipe. Ah, summary judgment. In any case, SCO’s death by suicide—what else would you call suing IBM and other Linux-using companies without proof, or as Novell has shown, without even actually owning Unix’s IP (intellectual property)?—will soon be done. That may be the end for SCO, but it will leave a lot of unanswered questions.

Those include: “What will Novell do with Unix?” I don’t know, but what I’d like them to do is to open-source as much of the code as they can. There’s still some goodness left in Unix that hasn’t been duplicated in Linux. For example, even generic Unix System 5 Release 5 can handle up to 32 processors and terabyte-sized files, and does extremely well at multi-path I/O.

I don’t think, though, we’ll see a completely open-source Unix. Ransom Love, the former CEO of Caldera/SCO, had intended on doing just that, but he found that Unix was filled with other companies’ copyrighted code. Getting permission to open-source the whole kit-and-kaboodle would probably be a very expensive job for relatively little value.

Since Novell is a Linux company, it makes perfect sense to me if they were to cherry-pick Unix for its best code and release it to the public. If they elect to go this route, I’d expect to see the first code appearing within a few months of SCO kicking the bucket.

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