SCO Group Loses Discovery Battle Against IBM in Linux Lawsuit

SCO Group Loses Discovery Battle Against IBM in Linux Lawsuit

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The SCO Group Inc. failed on Friday to extract more documents on IBM Corp.'s business strategy for the Linux computer operating system.

Ruling from the bench, federal Magistrate Brooke Wells said SCO wasn't entitled to more memos, e-mails, programmer notes, work plans and strategy papers on IBM's conversion to Linux, the open-source system challenging Microsoft Corp.'s market dominance in network servers.

SCO of Lindon, Utah, formerly known as Caldera Systems Inc., was seeking more documents to prepare for a February 2007 trial accusing IBM of giving away proprietary Unix software code to developers of Linux.

SCO acquired rights to Unix, a long-established business system, through a series of corporate acquisitions and mergers. It claims IBM dumped some of that software code into Linux to make it more robust.

International Business Machines Corp. has denied the claim and said Friday SCO has all the information it needs for trial. IBM attorney David Marriott, however, offered to turn over some work files of 20 more Linux developers to be chosen by SCO.

IBM has contributed to Linux versions of Unix it says it owns outright, and which SCO claims borrows from its Unix rights. This disagreement goes to the heart of the case, which has gone on for nearly three years.

Marriott said SCO already has hundreds of millions of pages of software code and files from 216 IBM executives and developers.

He said SCO was seeking "every scrap of paper" from a company with 320,000 employees, asking for "everything under the sun."

One piece of evidence SCO sought was a 1999 internal report ordered by Sam Palmisano, now chairman and chief executive of IBM, that established IBM's decision to move away from proprietary systems and embrace Linux as the operating system of the future. Other companies also are moving to develop computer applications running on the Linux platform.

Wells ruled Friday that, contrary to SCO claims, IBM never intended to disclose sensitive files on its Linux strategy. She said such documents weren't covered in previous court orders and that IBM was justified in fighting additional demands.

"IBM has in fact complied with orders of the court," Wells said.

At SCO's request, Wells raised to 50 from 40 the number of officials of each company who must submit to pretrial depositions.

SCO says it has taken 18 depositions so far while IBM has taken 16. The depositions must be conducted by January, and Wells said she wouldn't extend that deadline.

Wells, meanwhile, scheduled a Dec. 20 hearing to settle other pretrial discovery disputes.


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(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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