Indemnification Plans

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-10-27 Print this article Print

"No vendor today stands behind Linux with full IP indemnification. In fact, it is rare for open-source software to provide customers with any indemnification at all," Ballmer said. "We think Microsofts indemnification already is one of the best offered by the leading players in the industry for volume licensing customers, and were looking at ways to expand it to an even broader set of our customers. Its definitely something businesses want to think about as theyre building or expanding their IT infrastructure," he said. But Ballmers comments do not reflect the fact that Red Hat Inc., HP and Novell Inc. all have announced plans to protect their enterprise Linux customers. Red Hats Open Source Assurance Plan is designed to protect customers Linux investments and ensure that they are legally able to continue to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux without any interruption.
Novell, of Provo, Utah, set up a Linux Indemnification Program for its SuSE Enterprise Linux customers, under certain conditions, to protect against IP challenges to Linux and help reduce the barriers to Linux adoption in the enterprise.
HP in September announced that it will indemnify its customers against any legal liability from the use of Linux. Ballmer also used his e-mail to address the issue of migrating ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems from costly, proprietary Unix environments to Windows or other platforms. He cited another "independent, qualitative survey," this one from The META Group, of organizations that had recently completed a migration of their SAP or PeopleSoft ERP systems from a Unix environment to the Microsoft Windows Server platform. Ballmer said the survey found a reduction of more than 20 percent in the number of servers required when compared with Unix. "Windows is now a mainstream option for the vast majority of ERP projects," The META Group said. Ballmer concluded his e-mail by saying theres "no question that customers are benefiting today from a healthy, competitive IT industry. Competition requires companies to really focus in on what customers want and need. At the same time, customers have a clearer opportunity than ever before to evaluate choices." As organizations increasingly rely on IT to perform mission-critical functions, and with complexity presenting a growing challenge, choosing the right computing platform for the long term can make the difference between profit and loss, and between success and failure, he said. "And its pretty clear that the facts show that Windows provides a lower total cost of ownership than Linux. The number of security vulnerabilities is lower on Windows, and Windows responsiveness on security is better than Linux; and Microsoft provides uncapped IP indemnification of their products, while no such comprehensive offering is available for Linux or open source," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

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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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