Users, analysts, resellers and rival vendors have blasted SCO after the vendor suspended its Linux distribution pending the resolution of the intellectual property issues surrounding the operating system.
The company has claimed that it owns intellectual property contained within all commercial distributions of Linux, including the kernel itself.
SCO is so confident of its claims that it has stopped sales "until attendant risks with Linux are better understood".
In March SCO began a lawsuit alleging that IBM was misappropriating its Unix code.
And on Monday it sent letters to 1,500 international Linux users warning them that they may be liable for using SCO's code.
President and chief executive Darl McBride warned that "legal liability may arise ... [which] may also rest with the end user".
Dan Kusnetsky, vice president of systems software research at analyst IDC, stated that SCO's actions had destroyed its position in the Linux and Unix communities.
"These are acts of desperation by a company whose revenue stream doesn't satisfy [the board of directors] and it is casting around for money - any money," he said.
"By attacking IBM it put its hardware allies on notice that they may be next. By attacking IBM over Unix intellectual property, and implying that it might have implications with Linux, it has put Linux suppliers on notice."
And Martin Armitage, senior vice president of Unilever's global information organisation said of SCO: "They will simply be excommunicated from the open source community."
Mark de Visser, vice president of marketing at Linux vendor Red Hat, called SCO's actions "desperation".
He stressed that its claims were without foundation because the code was released under the General Public License, giving other companies the right to use it.
"We've had our lawyers look at this and we think SCO has no case at all," he declared.
Richard Last, managing director of IBM Linux-based systems reseller Digica, said: "I really don't know what [SCO] is playing at. It's wasting money."
Gary Barnett, principal consultant at Ovum, added: "It's not going to win the case. If there was any real chance of it winning, the case would go away. I still think SCO wants to be bought by someone."
Even if SCO is successful, it is unlikely to stop Linux, according to Barnett.
"If there is some of their intellectual property in Linux, that is relatively easily fixed by the Linux community," he said.
"Linux might have to take a step back, but the large number of smart people will figure out a way of getting round it."
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