The plight of the trapped Linux user

comment In a new twist to the SCO Group's plot, the company now says it will invoice customers running or developing applications using Linux.

COMMENTARY--Have you been able to follow the SCO Group's labyrinthine plot?

Yes, it takes more than understanding of the intricacies surrounding legal mumbo-jumbo to decipher $CO's real agenda. But you can rest assured Darl McBride and his band of lawyers have Linux users' interest at heart.

A case in point? The postal budget.

Well, in the interest of the user (but of course), SCO is now preparing to invoice customers running or developing applications using Linux. I can't imagine how many meetings it took but just look at the furious pace at which the expenditure for stamps and envelopes were approved!

"Invoices will be dispatched in the next weeks or months," a company spokesperson told ComputerWire on Monday.

Recipients will include the 1,500 enterprises which were served warning letters by SCO in May.

For those still unsure if your company is liable, here's a quick recap of SCO's licensing FAQ:

Does everyone who uses Linux need a SCO Unix IP License for Linux? End users running Linux 2.4 or later versions for commercial purposes need a SCO IP licence.

What is the definition of a client vs a server system? How do I know which licence to purchase? A Linux (Client) Desktop system is a single user computer workstation running Linux. It may provide personal productivity applications, Web browsers and other client interfaces (eg, mail, calendering, instant messaging, etc). It may not host services for clients on other systems.

A Linux server system is one that hosts services for clients on other system. It may have one or more users and one or more CPUs. Each CPU on the server must be licensed.

I am running Linux on POS devices, not as a server operating system. Does SCO have an IP License for POS devices? Yes. Licenses for POS devices are considered embedded devices. These licenses are available directly from SCO, via contract. Contact your SCO sales representative for more information.

If I am running SCO Linux or Caldera OpenLinux do I need to obtain a SCO IP License for Linux? Yes.

Why isn’t SCO making the IP License for Linux available through its normal distribution channels? SCO plans to make the licenses available through the channel as soon as channel partners can be trained and educated.

What is the cost of the licence? The promotional fee for the client (desktop) licence is US$199 (AU$303) while server licenses are:

  • US$699 (AU$1,063) for one CPU
  • US$1,149 (AU$1,747) for two CPUs
  • US$2,499 (AU$3,800) for four CPUs
  • US$4,999 (AU$7,603) for eight CPUs
  • US$749 (AU$1,139) for an additional single CPU
  • The promotional licence fee for embedded devices is US$32 (AU$49) per device.

    Strangely enough, the FAQ does not state when the promotional period ends nor does it detail full pricing thereafter but SCO executives have said the introductory period ends on Oct. 15 and a single unit server price will double to US$1,399 (AU$2,128).

    At the moment, SCO is focusing on commercial users and this bodes well for Asia-Pacific since large Linux installations in the region are mainly in educational institutions...for now, at least. But when you look at the entire trail of events, one can't help but wonder--is this just a clumsy execution of an 11th hour plan or perhaps a smokescreen for a hidden SCO agenda?