HP says will indemnify customers on use of Linux
Reuters, 09.24.03, 12:32 PM ET
By Duncan Martell
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co. Wednesday said it would
indemnify its customers who use the Linux operating system against
potential legal troubles stemming from SCO Group Inc.'s ongoing
lawsuit against International Business Machines Corp. alleging
"Today HP becomes the first major Linux vendor to offer ...
indemnification from alleged copyright infringement," said Martin
Fink, HP's vice president for Linux in a conference call with
SCO, which claims its blueprint for Unix software is used illegally in
versions of the free Linux operating system, Wednesday praised HP's
decision to indemnify its customers against possible legal tangles
"Rather than deny the existence of substantial structural problems
with Linux as many Open Source leaders have done, HP is acknowledging
that issues exist and is attempting to be responsive to its customers'
request for relief," SCO said in a statement.
Many users and developers of Linux, which is called open source
because it can be copied and modified freely, unlike proprietary
software such as Unix and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, have rejected
SCO's claims, saying SCO has yet to provide proof that their
intellectual property is used in Linux.
SCO, which owns the right to Unix, the networking software program
upon which Linux is based, sued IBM for billions earlier this year for
introducing Unix code into Linux. SCO is also going after companies to
pay to use Linux or face litigation."
So long as customers do not modify the Linux software code on systems
that HP sells using Red Hat Inc.'s and closely held SuSe's and other
Linux software, they will be indemnified, Fink said.
Customers will be indemnified on systems that are purchased after Oct.
1, Fink said.
"We have not signed any Linux-specific agreement with SCO and have not
exchanged any monies with respect to indemnification," Fink said.
"We're giving the green light to customers on moving forward on their
Linux deployment," Fink said, adding that it was up to the court to
decide whether or not SCO's claims had any merit.
Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service
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