SCO ready to hit Australian Linux users

SCO ready to hit Australian Linux users

Summary: The SCO Group is expanding its legal campaign against Linux users around the globe

Australia's corporate community will get their first real taste of the SCO Group's campaign for compensation for alleged intellectual property breaches involving Linux before the end of the first quarter.

The SCO Group's Australian and New Zealand boss, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, told ZDNet Australia late on Friday afternoon that he was preparing to fly to London to finalise the vendor's strategies for securing licence agreements with large commercial users of Linux in Australia.

He said the point at which the licence would be available to Australian and New Zealand users was "very, very close". Pressed for a firm date, he confirmed that it would be before the end of this year's first quarter.

A number of Australia's larger organisations, including telecommunications heavyweight Telstra, are deploying Linux throughout their operations, while Air New Zealand is another keen user.

O'Shaughnessy's trip coincides with the running next week in Adelaide of one of Australia's highest-profile Linux events, 2004, at which the SCO Group's long-running campaign is likely to be a hot topic.

The local managing director was unable to confirm which of the SCO Group's senior executive team would be at the meeting in London, but said they would be "big hitters".

O'Shaughnessy confirmed the terms and conditions outlined in the licenses would be very similar to those offered to US-based companies, with the pricing adjusted only to accommodate variations in currency values.

SCO's US headquarters announced in July last year its plan to allow companies using Linux to avoid litigation over alleged breaches involving its Unix intellectual property by acquiring a licence from the vendor.

The program tries to compel users to pay $699 (£382) for a one-processor Linux server, with the amount rising relative to the power of the system, as well as $199 per Linux desktop.

However, SCO in the US toughened its stance towards the end of the year, warning it intended to sue large-scale Linux users for copyright infringement. The company plans to start filing lawsuits within the next few months, targeting large companies that have significant Linux installations. The initial round of lawsuits was expected to be filed against 1,500 companies.

SCO also sent out in mid-December last year around 3,000 letters to companies, universities and other organisations that licensed Unix, typically from AT&T, widening its attempts to secure revenue.

Asked whether he had any message for delegates to 2004, O'Shaughnessy said SCO was determined to protect its intellectual property and ensure that any misappropriation was dealt with.

"We're serious," he said.

He also confirmed he had not heard any further news from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over a complaint from Linux activist group Open Source Victoria.

Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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  • We're still waiting for The SCO Group to clearly indicate what "intellectual property" they are trying to license. They do not own the Linux or UNIX trademarks or any relevant patents, and their copyright is disputed by Novell. Anyone who pays license fees before these issues have been addressed in court is throwing money away and probably also increasing the risk of legal action.
  • Novell still owns Unix. Why did this article leave out the fact that ownership of the Unix code in question (essentially the cornerstone of SCO's strategy) is being challenged by Novell? Aside from that, we STILL haven't seen any proof of Unix code in Linux. Anybody who coughs up protection money to these liars should be taken out back and shot - just for being stupid.

  • I have had a pleasure of talking to Kieran over the phone in the early days of this whole fiasco. I have told him that I wanted a few more details about this new "licence for Linux" that they were selling.

    First I wanted the explanation about GPL and if the kernel was still licensed under it. At first he said yes, of course. OK, I said, then I can distribute and modify it freely. No, Kieran replied, you need out licence. Then I persisted and said that it cannot be both. At that point he changed his mind and said that the kernel is not completely under the GPL (although you could download it from SCO's FTP site at that point, licensed GPL) and that you have to have their licence for their IP in the kernel. He said they laid no claim on anything else. OK then, now I wanted to know from Kieran what exactly is infringing so I could remove that and then distribute the rest. He then promptly hung up the phone... So convincing.

    Oh and BTW, he was the one answering the phone at SCO Sydney. Great power to be reckoned with - a company in which the boss manages the phones.

    Please... Kieran better find a real job quick smart.