Novell Inc. has announced that it—not SCO Group—owns the Unix copyrights and patents that form the basis of SCO's $1 billion lawsuit against IBM. SCO claims Big Blue unlawfully allowed proprietary Unix computer code to be copied into the open-source operating system Linux. The controversy is important to ed tech because the outcome could affect the future of Linux, which has been growing in popularity for servers in schools, colleges, and government agencies.

The stakes in this increasingly baroque dispute could rise still higher. Linux has traditionally been viewed as an operating system strictly...

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