Finding the right level

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-11-10 Print this article Print

of indemnification"> Microsoft officials also quote from an independent report on indemnification recently published by The Yankee Group, in which senior analyst Laura DiDio said: "To date, IBM, HP, Novell, Red Hat and other Linux vendors offer only limited indemnification against intellectual property legal claims with exceedingly low liability caps—or no protection against third-party legal claims at all—leaving companies with the risk of high-cost litigation." But HP, Novell and Red Hat all have announced plans to protect their enterprise Linux customers. For example, 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. Al Gillen, the research director for system software at IDC, also cautioned that IP indemnification is important and companies should ask their providers to be specific about the coverage they offer. "Customers should recognize that this coverage is not automatic, and if provided, will be spelled out by a corporate policy or licensing or use terms of use agreements," he said. This year alone, Microsoft Corp. has paid out more than $3 billion to settle legal disputes around IP with long-time rivals like Sun, multimedia anti-piracy company InterTrust Technologies Corp., Linspire (formerly Lindows) and British cell-phone maker Sendo Holdings plc., among others. Microsofts recent suit with Eolas Technologies Inc. is an another example of the complex and real nature of IP issues in the industry today, Kaefer said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

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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