Red Hat Attacks, Sues SCO - Page 2

Red Hat also said it requested financial damages from SCO, which could be tripled according to Delawares Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Red Hat said it would seek a declarative judgment finding the company innocent of all potential copyright violations against SCO, and a permanent injunction against the company "from representing by any means whatsoever, directly or indirectly, or doing any other things calculated or likely to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive purchasers, business partners and/or investors into believing that Red Hat Linuxs products and/or the Linux products used by Red Hats customers and partners violates any of SCOs intellectual property or trade secret rights."

In a second letter between Red Hat and SCO, dated today and written by SCO chief executive Darl McBride to Red Hats Szulik, McBride expressed surprise that Red Hat had chosen to sue. "I must say that your decision to file legal action does not seem conducive to the long-term survivability of Linux," McBride wrote.

SCO did not release the intervening letters between the two companies.

As a corporation, Red Hat has the funds necessary to take on SCO, Szulik said, but other members of the open -source community may not. To assist them, Red Hat said it would create a legal defense fund, called "Open Source Now," to provide financial assistance to smaller companies that could be sued by SCO.

"We see it as a responsibility at a time when the economy and the tech economy is fundamentally challenged," Szulik said.

Red Hat initially donated one million dollars to the fund, and Szulik said he would ask members of SuSE and other Linux distributions to contribute.

However, Szulik said Red Hat would not indemnify its customers against possible SCO claims, claiming that the appropriate first step in the process was to file for injunctive relief.

Editors note: This story has been updated to include statements from SCO.