Jul 10, 2003
While this is mainly a support forum for cPanel customers, I thought this particular news topic might be of interest to enough members to warrant posting.

FreeBSD anyone? :p

Original can be found at Wired News.

SCO: Buy License, Avoid Suit
By Michelle Delio
10:47 AM Jul. 21, 2003 PT

The SCO Group said Monday it is offering commercial Linux users a license that will protect them from forthcoming legal action by the software maker.

The company also said in a statement that all commercial Linux users are software pirates.

"Since the year 2001 commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated Unix software owned by SCO," said Chris Sontag, SCO senior vice president.

"While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully paid-for way."

SCO also said Monday that it has received U.S. copyright registrations of Unix System V source code, allowing it to pursue legal enforcement of Unix copyright.

During a conference call on Monday, SCO chief exec Darl McBride said that there was no way to "fix" Linux by simply removing a few chunks of code that SCO claims violate its copyrights.

According to McBride, virtually every bit of code that allows Linux kernel 2.4 (or later) to function as an enterprise class, scalable operating system was derived directly or indirectly from Unix System V. SCO obtained rights to System V from Novell.

"Take away the code in question and you're left with Linux 2.2," McBride said.

SCO plans to contact commerical users of Linux starting this week to explain the issues and offer businesses a chance to purchase a license from SCO, according to McBride.

Companies purchasing SCO's new Linux UnixWare license will not be charged with "past, present or future" copyright violations associated with use of Linux kernel version 2.4.x and later. The license covers use of Linux in a run-only, binary format.

Pricing of the license has not yet been determined, McBride said, but it will be based on number of users and number of servers running Linux. The terms will be similar to SCO's existing UnixWare license 7.1.3.

"SCO intends to use every means possible to protect the company's Unix source code and to enforce its copyrights," SCO legal counsel David Boies, of the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, said during the conference call.

Monday's call marked the first time that Boies directly participated in one of SCO's half-dozen or so press briefings on this issue.

"What started as a contract case, involving people we have business relationships with, has now broadened to a copyright case involving people we may not have relationships with," Boies said. "We do intend to pursue this, but we intend to pursue it carefully and judiciously."

Once a company is notified that it may be violating copyrights, and if it then continues to use Linux without buying a SCO license to do so, it may open itself up for further legal damages, as a "willful copyright violator," Boies said.

"We would prefer licensing to litigation," McBride added.

The company did not completely rule out further action in the future against those who use Linux in a non-corporate setting, but said for the time being it intends to focus on those who "profit from Linux use."

Boies also stated that there is no need to resolve SCO's pending legal case against IBM before proceeding with the copyright cases it may choose to pursue against unlicensed corporate Linux users.

"For several months, SCO has focused primarily on IBM's alleged Unix contract violations and misappropriation of UNIX source code," McBride said. "Today, we're stating that the alleged actions of IBM and others have caused customers to use a tainted product at SCO's expense."

In March, SCO filed a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM, charging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.

The lawsuit claims that IBM set out to destroy Linux by inserting SCO-owned code from Unix V into the Linux Kernel. IBM did this, SCO charges, to enhance Big Blue's own Linux business.

Further lawsuits against other Linux distributors are "a possibility," Sontag said in March, but he added that SCO "believes the majority of our licensees are appropriately upholding their licenses."

Since then, however, SCO has raised its claims for damages against IBM to more than $3 billion. In June, SCO said that it had filed a permanent injunction seeking to bar IBM from distributing or selling the AIX Unix operating system, which IBM licenses from SCO.

IBM has vehemently and repeatedly denied SCO's charges,

Programmers and legal experts say that a majority of commercial Linux users probably will pass on buying a UnixWare license but some larger corporations might opt to buy a license simply to ensure that they don't become involved in a costly legal wrangle.

"It's like spam," said attorney Frank Barkin. "If you get even a 1 percent response to your offer, you're ahead of the game." Support Ticket Number:


Jul 10, 2003
I think I'll sit on the side lines with my popcorn, thanks... :D Support Ticket Number: