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Red Hat fires back at SCO

Aug 04, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsIBMLinux

The LinuxWorld Conference & Expo started off with a bang on Monday when leading Linux distributor Red Hat announced that it had filed a formal complaint against The SCO Group in an effort to “hold SCO accountable for its unfair and deceptive actions.”

The complaint, which opens yet another chapter in the legal battle over Linux, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Delaware. In it, Red Hat says that its technologies do not infringe on any intellectual property of SCO and that SCO is simply attempting “to create an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and doubt about Linux” in order to hurt the Linux market. Red Hat seeks a permanent injunction against SCO to keep it from making such allegations.   

Earlier this year, SCO filed a $1 billion lawsuit against IBM claiming that Big Blue had misappropriated proprietary Unix code for use in Linux. SCO also says that it has sent letters to about 1,500 Linux customers warning them that they might be violating intellectual property rights by using Linux.

Last month, SCO announced that it had received copyrights for the Unix System V source code, giving it “broad legal rights against end users with respect to infringing use of Linux”. The company called on Linux customers to buy UnixWare licenses from SCO as a means of protecting themselves from future litigation.

“We filed this complaint to stop SCO from making unsubstantiated and untrue public statements attacking Red Hat Linux and the integrity of the Open Source software development process,” Mark Webbink, General Counsel at Red Hat said in a statement.

Red Hat made the announcement during the opening day of LinuxWorld in San Francisco. It also announced that it had established the Open Source Now Fund to cover legal expenses associated with defending infringement claims that might be leveled against companies or other organizations developing software under the GNU General Public License license. Red Hat pledged $1 million to the effort.

“The collaborative process of Open Source software development, which created the Linux operating system has been unjustly questioned and threatened,” Matthew Szulik, chairman and CEO of Red Hat, said in a statement. “In its role as industry leader, Red Hat has a responsibility to ensure the legal rights of users are protected.”