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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-19 Print this article Print

Other leading Linux vendors contend that they have not violated any intellectual property laws. "We feel pretty comfortable with the [UnitedLinux] agreement we have with SCO," said Joe Eckert, a spokesman for SuSE Linux AG, in New York. "We have yet to hear from SCO about exactly what these issues might be."

Leigh Day, a spokeswoman for Linux distributor Red Hat Inc., in Raleigh, N.C., agreed. "We have not seen any specific code referenced that we are supposed to be in violation of. We are certain we are not in violation of any intellectual property, and so this is a nonissue until we can see some of that," Day said.

SCOs Sontag said the company is considering ways to reveal the code issues it had identified. "We are sensitive of the fact we need to make some of this information available to make our case," he said.

Linux vendors are seeing little customer withdrawal as a result of the SCO litigation and threats. Day said Red Hat has seen no enterprise customer push-back, "so I dont know if that is why SCO is now taking their threats directly to the largest Linux customers."

SuSE also has not seen any fallout from its enterprise customers as a result of SCOs actions, Eckert said.

"SCOs moves wont affect our operating system decisions, but I think SCOs actions are an attempt to become relevant and profitable again through the court system," said a Linux programmer in the IS department at a medical center in Ashland, Ky., which runs Linux-based servers.

Jason Perlow, a Linux consultant and president of Argonaut Systems Corp., in Tenafly, N.J., also is not worried. Even if SCOs moves resulted in the death of the UnitedLinux consortium, "the SuSE and Red Hat distributions are actually in very good shape. In the end, there will probably only be two true enterprise Linux distributions: SuSE and Red Hat," Perlow said.

Sontag said SCO reserves the right to enforce its intellectual property rights where violations occur. "We have no specific remedy at this point," he said. "We just want Linux users to be aware of the large intellectual property issues with Linux, and we are recommending that they seek the opinion of legal counsel."

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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