A U.S. District Court judge in Salt Lake City Utah has ordered Microsoft Corporation to turn over at least part of the Windows 95 source code to Linux vendor Caldera, which also owns the rights to an ancient MS-DOS competitor. The story only gets more complicated from here: Depending on who you listen to, Microsoft may have to give up all of the source code, not just parts of it. That's Caldera's understanding of the ruling, but Microsoft says that only the DOS-specific portions apply.

And the ruling isn't limited to Windows 95. It also includes the source code for MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, and various beta versions of Windows. A judged ruled in February that Microsoft had to turn over the source, but it never complied. Now, Caldera has filed a motion to force Microsoft to comply with the judge's order and the company is billing the ruling as a major coup, with "Lawsuit information" a major hyperlink on its home page.

"I don't know why Caldera would portray this as a major victory," said Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan. "We are turning over only specific files, which represent only a tiny fraction of the millions of lines of code in Windows 95."

Besides, there isn't exactly a booming market for DR-DOS, the former DOS competitor. Caldera bought the floundering product three years ago and filed suit with Microsoft in 1996. The trial, which centers around--no surprise here--Microsoft's anti-competitive tactics in the DOS era, goes to trial in November