Xinuos is known for their open-source operating systems (OpenServer) tailored for enterprises.

Out of the blue, it looks like they filed a copyright infringement and antitrust lawsuit against IBM and Red Hat in the United States District Court of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John Division.

Xinuos alleges that IBM illegally copied its server operating system’s source code and engaged with Red Hat to proceed with anti-competitive behavior in the industry.

Of course, this could be nothing or something that suddenly popped up considering IBM and Red Hat are both significant companies in the billion-dollar market.

Theft of Xenuos Software Code

In the press release for the lawsuit, the CEO of Xinuos mentions:

“While this case is about Xinuos and the theft of our intellectual property,” said Sean Snyder, President and CEO of Xinuos. “It is also about market manipulation that has harmed consumers, competitors, the open-source community, and innovation itself.”

Xinuos believes that IBM illegally stole their intellectual property that software code for products like UnixWare 7 and OpenServer 5 and 6, which were popular back in the day while IBM was going downhill.

Not just this, but they also say that IBM not only just stop with stealing the software code but also indulged in anti-competitive practices by partnering with Red Hat.

Of course, big tech companies getting involved with anti-competitive practice is not something surprising, but I’m not convinced if the biggest open-source company that has done a lot of good for the open-source community and the enterprise will be a part of such conspiracy?

They continue:

“First, IBM stole Xinuos’ intellectual property and used that stolen property to build and sell a product to compete with Xinuos itself. Second, stolen property in IBM’s hand, IBM and Red Hat illegally agreed to divide the relevant market and use their growing market powers to victimize consumers, innovative competitors, and innovation itself. Third, after IBM and Red Hat launched their conspiracy, IBM then acquired Red Hat to solidify and make permanent their scheme.”

Red Hat and IBM potentially promoted each other and divided the market to influence and dominate the Industry to eliminate innovative competitors.

Xinuos also mentions that IBM has been misleading its investors about the rights to use Xinuos’ source code. They also believe that IBM has represented that a third-party owns all the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights, and that this third-party has waived any infringement claim against IBM – which is simply not true.

Not just limited to the enterprise market, but IBM has also allegedly harmed the open-source community in general and pushed out competitors like Xinuos, specifically, their OpenServer 10 product, which is based on FreeBSD.

Closing Thoughts

Well, of course, everyone’s free to complain. However, in this case, it looks like Xinuos is just a successor to The SCO Group who’ve already failed with their lawsuits against IBM where they claimed that SCO Unix intellectual property had been incorporated into Linux in an unlawful and uncompensated manner.

Maybe they’re just desperate to keep their company afloat by making these claims? Who knows?

It will be interesting to see where the lawsuit heads this time. What do you think about these claims by Xinuos against IBM and Red Hat?


Ankush Das

A passionate technophile who also happens to be a Computer Science graduate. You will usually see cats dancing to the beautiful tunes sung by him.