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Remember when SCO used to be known as a big fish in the Unix OS pond, well respected and pretty much a pillar in this particular vendor community? No, neither do I. The image of a company that sought to claim IBM had somehow inappropriately contributed to Linux development, a bizarre tactical strategy to leverage some kind of financial settlement from Big Blue if you listen to many industry analysts, is the one that pops into my head every time I see the letters S, C and O now.

Not for much longer, I would imagine, considering that SCO was not in the healthiest of financial positions before the lawsuit (and hence the reason for it, many will argue) and the millions of dollars in legal fees it has accrued have really not helped at all. Nor did the federal judge ruling that Novel and not SCO is the legal owner of the Unix copyright, meaning that SCO owes Novell big bucks for those lucrative licensing deals it has reached with both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems in the past.

Currently under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, SCO would seem to be set to bail out of the Unix business altogether if filings published at Groklaw are anything to go by. The snazzy named 'Motion to Approve Emergency Motion of the Debtors for An Order (A) Approving Asset Purchase Agreement, (B) Establishing Sale and Bidding Procedures, and (C) Approving the Form and Manner of Notice of Sale' reveals that JGD Management Corp. (d/b/a York Capital Management) has made an offer to buy certain of its Unix assets for a total of $36 million.

Of course, the small matter that SCO already owes more than it can pay might be enough to prevent a judge from granting such a sell off.

Under the terms of the filings, SCO would be selling its assets and keeping its liabilities. "Is it as simple as it looks" Groklaw asks "that someone very much wants Linux to be kept under a perpetual, manufactured legal cloud and is willing to pay a lot of money to get it? Or simpler still: that SCO has no intention of exiting Chapter 11, or pursuing the litigation except in a pro forma sense, but can't say so until all the money is poofed?"

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