SCO Australia launches Linux licences, downplays legal threat

SCO Australia launches Linux licences, downplays legal threat

Summary: The SCO Group is initially soft-pedalling threats of lawsuits against Australian and New Zealand companies who use Linux as it starts marketing licences here to secure revenue for use of the open source software.SCO's Australian and New Zealand regional general manager, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, told ZDNet Australia   "in no way will I be threatening users with lawsuits" during the sale process, which kicks off this week.

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TOPICS: Open Source, Linux
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The SCO Group is initially soft-pedalling threats of lawsuits against Australian and New Zealand companies who use Linux as it starts marketing licences here to secure revenue for use of the open source software.

SCO's Australian and New Zealand regional general manager, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, told ZDNet Australia   "in no way will I be threatening users with lawsuits" during the sale process, which kicks off this week.

However, O' Shaughnessy also warned that "SCO reserves its right to pursue legal redress as a last resort in resolving copyright infringement [issues]".

O'Shaughnessy's remarks came after the senior vice president and general manager of SCOsource, the company's intellectual property arm, Chris Sontag, warned in the U.K. last week that the vendor was poised to launch legal action against a number of companies worldwide for alleged intellectual property breaches involving Linux.

Sontag said "I would expect within the next few weeks we will have a number of Linux end-users who we will have identified and taken legal action (against)".

However, O'Shaughnessy confirmed that "at this time there will be no legal action against users in Australia and New Zealand".

The SCO Group launched its licensing program in the U.S. last year after claiming Linux breached its Unix System V intellectual property.

The company's claims have been rejected and bitterly vilified by open source advocates worldwide, with Melbourne-based Open Source Victoria a particularly strident critic locally.

O'Shaughnessy made the remarks as the vendor this morning announced the immediate pricing and availability of licences -- which the company says permits the use of its intellectual property, in binary form only, as contained in Linux distributions -- for the local market.

According to the vendor, "by purchasing the licence, customers are properly compensating SCO for the Unix source code, derivative Unix code and other Unix-related intellectual property and copyrights owned by SCO as it is currently found in Linux".

O'Shaughnessy said companies who purchase one-off, in-perpetuity licences will pay AU$999 per server processor and AU$285 per desktop processor. The licence is also being offered to embedded device manufacturers who use Linux to run their devices.

He added that an annual subscription version of the licences was in the works, but pricing was yet to be confirmed.

O'Shaughnessy said the licence would be made available to selected channel partners in the near future. He will this week be briefing two partners in Australia -- Tardis and MPA Systems and two in New Zealand -- MPA (no relation to MPA Systems) and Base 10 Technology -- over the licences.

Tech heavyweight Telstra, a strong proponent of Linux and open source software, declined to comment on the issue when approached by ZDNet Australia   last week.

Matt Loney contributed to this report

Topics: Open Source, Linux

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5 comments
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  • Will someone put a lid on this upstart little company. Im getting sick of hearing them whine.
    I don't want your code SCO, so you can stick your license. If you prove that there is SCO code in my Linux box I'll take to it with an axe!
    Die you scumbag monopoly wannabe!

    Tarrith
    anonymous
  • Novell trumps SCO!

    The latest news comes from Novell, which has documents which show that it, and not SCO is the IP owner for Unix:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20040115161155820

    So, even _if_ (and that's a big if) there is any Unix IP in Linux, then SCO have no rights to request money from you or any Linux user.
    anonymous
  • The SCO group (not the original Santa Cruz Operation , but a Linux distribution company that was renamed from its original name of "Caldera") has been totally unwilling to identify with specifity, (or in other words the source code files and line numbers in the linux code) what intellectual property they claim to own. They have only given vague names of the technology they claim is theirs. Not allowing linux developers to mitigate damages is not looked on well by american courts.

    Those names so far , are RCU, SMP and JFS. The first two acronyms (RCU and SMP) are used in multi-processor systems. If you have a single processor system, (and I would estimate that 99.9% of all computers in an office fit in this category) then you do not , and can not, run this code. And as such , you don't need to pay the SCO group one cent, as they are offering a "run time" licence for it.

    JFS is a filesystem to store files in (like FAT or NTFS used by windows). All I can say is that noone has told me ever, that they use it.

    The copyrights they claim to own are contested by Novell (to whom SCO group must pay 95% of all licence sales , as Novell are the recognised owners of the UNIX IP. SCO have no other source of income now aside from unix licence sales , and it seems that they have not been paying Novell recently) , so it would be unwise to pay anything to SCO while things are in this state. Novell has applied for , and received, copyrights for the same IP that SCO did.

    You can contact your local linux user group , Linux Australia, or (if you're in victoria) Open Source Victoria for more information about why you don't need to pay SCO a cent, www.groklaw.net is also a good source of information.
    anonymous
  • SCO without proving anything yet will try to collect money from people/companies that bought Linux Systems LEGALLY...

    I'm not a lawyer but atleast i know what's right and what's wrong... and i think SCO is doing something that is obviously wrong here...

    Is there any one with proper authority watching the moves of this company?

    CNS :)
    anonymous
  • Good point raised by anonymous about the possiblity of SCO extracting money under deception...

    If, say, I do pay any licence fee requested of me, than SCO are found by the courts to be making claims that are invalid, can I then take what's left of SCO to the cleaners for deception?
    anonymous