SCO on Monday announced the name of a company that has paid for its intellectual property license for Linux. However, SCO suffered a setback in Germany.
For many months, officials of The SCO Group Inc. have asserted that companies were ready to sign its Linux intellectual-property license. SCO on Monday made public one of those names: a dedicated hosting firm.
The company said EV1Servers.Net, the dedicated hosting division of Houston-based Everyones Internet, had signed an intellectual-property-licensing agreement granting the firm the right to use Linux.
At the same time, Univention GmbH, a Bremen, Germany-based Linux reseller and integrator, announced it had reached an out of court settlement with SCOs German division, SCO Group GmbH. Under the terms of the agreement, SCO agreed to stop claims that Univentions Linux contains unauthorized SCO-owned Unix intellectual property and halt threats of legal actions against German Linux users.
SCO has claimed for months that companies signed up for a Linux license, but until today it declined to provide an example. Although SCO first stated last summer that Linux users must purchase a license, it took some months before customers could actually buy it. It wasnt until mid-January, that the company made its IP license easily accessible via its Web site.
Under EV1Servers.Net agreements terms, SCO will provide the hosting business with a site license that allows the use of SCO intellectual property in binary form on all Linux servers managed by EV1Servers.Net for each of its hosting facilities. According to SCO, the "site license allows EV1Servers.Net and its customers to continue running business operations on Linux servers without interruption or concern regarding SCO IP issues."
Blake Stowell, SCOs director of public relations, said that EV1Servers.Net had made the deal because its "CEO felt that there was uncertainty about Linuxs legal standing and they made a business decision to avoid any possible doubts about their use of Linux for both themselves and their customers."
Stowell added, "They didnt pay full retail price on each server, but the deal was still worth seven figures all together for SCO."
EV1Servers.Net, formerly RackShack.net, was founded in 2000 as a low-cost Web hosting business. According to NetCraft Ltd., the Bath, England-based Net performance and security firm, EV1Servers.Net is one of its top ten hosting providers.
EV1Servers.Net currently uses Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat 9 and Red Hat 7.2 for its thousands of Linux servers.
Red Hat Inc. spokesperson Leigh Day said that the Raleigh, N.C., company had "no comment" that a customer was paying SCO to use Red Hats Linux. Red Hat sued SCO in August, seeking pre-emptive relief against SCO, and against the IP claims that are the basis for SCOs Linux license.
However, that legal action wasnt enough assurance for Everyones Internet.
"The SCO agreement eliminates uncertainty from our clients hosting infrastructure," said Robert Marsh, CEO of Everyones Internet, in a statement. "Our current and future users now enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their websites and data are hosted on a SCO IP compliant platform. This agreement demonstrates EV1s commitment to providing customers with stable, long term solutions that they can depend on for their growth."
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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.