Linux Vendors Rally Around SCOs Targets

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-05

Linux Vendors Rally Around SCOs Targets

Linux vendors as well as leaders of the open-source community have dismissed The SCO Group Inc.s latest lawsuits against two Linux users as a last ditch attempt by the Lindon, Utah, company to save itself.

They are also all committed to banding together to fight the company in these and any future lawsuits, and do not believe there will be any slowdown in corporate Linux adoption.

Eric Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative, on Wednesday published a letter of support to Steve Odland, president and CEO of AutoZone, on his Web site, in which he said the Linux community and the wider open-source software movement "regret that you have become the latest victim in the campaign of barratry, fraud, and stock-kiting that SCO has been waging. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that you have in fact just made a great many friends.

"We urge you to fight this lawsuit with every effort you can muster. Its the right thing to do by AutoZones shareholders, and more generally as well. Thoughtful people everywhere are seeing in meritless IP lawsuits an increasing drag on innovation and economic health. AutoZone can both serve its own interests and do good by helping make such parasitic tactics generally unprofitable.

"Well be with you—and that we includes a lot of expertise on the technical, legal, and historical issues bound up in SCOs lawsuit. If there is any assistance that I personally or the Open Source Initiative can reasonably provide, please do not hesitate to ask," Raymond said.

Stuart Cohen, CEO of the Open Source Development Labs in Beaverton, Ore., told eWEEK he was surprised that SCO actually sued a Linux user at this time. "We didnt think they would sue a user until they had resolved the copyright issues with Novell [Inc.]. Quite frankly, when we announced our Legal Defense Fund, we thought that would stop them from going after a user. And when they announced their lawsuit with Novell, we really thought that would absolutely stop them until they got that resolved," he said.

For more on the Novell lawsuit, read "SCO vs. Novell Unix Case Heats Up."

Cohen doubts the actual filing of these user lawsuits will have any effect on the adoption of Linux going forward, particularly given the recent indemnification announcements from Hewlett-Packard Co., Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc. and the establishment of the Legal Defense Fund.

Next page: Countering fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Countering FUD

The OSDL is actively working to counter the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) being spread by SCO through the lawsuits, and also has a Customer Advisory Council in the United States, with representatives from some 20 Fortune 500 companies, as well as a similar council in Europe. The OSDL recently ran an executive education session in Japan.

"I will tell you that in none of those meetings that have taken place in the last 60 days is there any indication of a slowdown of Linux interest or adoption," he said, adding that the community is already rallying around AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler. "I have called them both and offered our assistance through the Legal Defense Fund," Cohen said.

Peter Eck, vice president of marketing for BakBone Software Inc., of San Diego, a provider of data backup and restore software and which recently helped form the Linux Advantage initiative, agreed, saying that, to date, no decision has been made on SCOs claims by any court of law.

"Its clear that, in spite of SCOs lawsuit, Linux adoption by our customers has continued unabated. From BakBones perspective, we dont see how this latest legal maneuver will change that," he said.

For its part, Linux and open-source vendor Red Hat said it is unfortunate that SCO has now decided to sue and attack its own customers. As far as Red Hat customers are concerned, the company continues to work with them to provide them with a warranty in case any issues are found, spokeswoman Leigh Day told eWEEK.

Read "Red Hat to Protect Linux Customers."

"We still look forward to the time when we can bring this matter formally to court, within the U.S. justice system," she said, adding that neither AutoZone nor DaimlerChrysler are Red Hat clients.

While AutoZone had been a Red Hat customers "years ago, they have never been a Red Hat Enterprise Linux customer. We still remain confident that our solutions are not infringing on the valid intellectual property of others," Day said.

Linus Torvalds, the founder of the open-source Linux operating system, also had harsh words for SCO. "It looks like SCO is suing their own old customers, most likely because they know they have nothing that is actually Linux-related even though they desperately try to make it seem that way," he said.

The AutoZone name had come up before: In the IBM lawsuit, SCO claimed that AutoZone was using SCO shared libraries improperly. "That was debunked pretty publicly in Groklaw. Going by past performance this is likely just another smoke screen. More lies to cover up the old lies," Torvalds told eWEEK.

Check out eWEEK.coms Linux & Open Source Center at for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Be sure to add our Linux news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Rocket Fuel