Why did Novell give away the name Unix and why did it settle the case against BSDI and UCB?
Because Ray Noorda was losing his mind:
"The company also confirmed published reports that Mr. Noorda was suffering from memory lapses. It said that an executive search was under way and that Mr. Noorda was expected to stay on as chairman, focusing principally on strategic issues."
It would seem that losing one's mind was a popular pastime at Novell. You need look no further than the testimony of Bob Frankenberg. Duff Thompson. Ty Mattingly. Ed Chatlos. Even David Bradford has had memory problems of late.
Is there something odd about the air in Utah? Good thing for Novell that Tor, Allison, and Jim live in California.
Ty Mattingly, Day 5 kind of gives us a flavor for what was going on inside Novell's head in those days:
"... but more importantly for Novell was to try and get a common UNIX platform out there on Intel so that there was a viable alternative to what MICROSOFT was offering that was eroding NetWare away aggressively ... there would have been nothing better for Novell than if SCO had been very successful with this UNIX business that they had acquired in successfully unifying the entire industry around their UNIX offering on X86 architecture. If they could have done that, that would have eroded our revenue streams here from this SVRX old royalties. But in the greater STRATEGIC contest, that would have been a FANTASTIC TRADEOFF for Novell."
Basically, Ty was admitting that Novell was a complete failure at doing anything useful with UNIX, and it was grasping at straws by giving away UNIX with the hope that others could succeed where it had failed.
Not exactly the strategy that will lead to the purchase of a Hawaiian Island.