HP to Protect Customers From Linux Claims

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-09-24 Print this article Print

HP says it will protect its customers from the SCO Group's intellectual property claims if the software is running on HP equipment.

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Wednesday threw its hat into the ring over whether Linux contains unlawful Unix code, saying it would indemnify its customers against any legal liability from the use of Linux. The SCO Group, which holds the rights to the Unix operating system, claims that Linux is an unauthorized derivative of Linux and sued IBM earlier this year for more than $3 billion.
In a conference call with the media, Martin Fink, a vice president at HP, said the company will indemnify new customers who buy Linux from HP, agree not to make unauthorized changes to the source code and sign a standard support contract.
Current HP Linux customers who have not altered their Linux distribution and who signed an amended contract will also be protected by HP, he said. The move is interesting as SCO CEO Darl McBride has repeatedly said his company has no intention of taking action against either Sun Microsystems Inc. or HP for breach of their Unix licenses, saying they have both adhered to the terms of those agreements, unlike IBM. But SCO earlier this year warned individual business Linux users that they faced legal liability for using Linux and then, at its SCO Forum event in Las Vegas last month, said it intended to sue them. SCO then also rolled out a licensing plan that it said would protect Linux users from legal liability. HP was one of the largest sponsors of the SCO Forum, which enraged members of the open-source community, but later withdrew from giving a keynote or any other address at the event. HP, which sells Windows, Linux and its own brand of Unix, HP-UX, sells a large number of Linux-based systems. The move is designed to ensure that customers continue to move forward with their Linux plans. Next page: SCO: Announcement validates its claims.

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 www.eweek.com.


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