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'IT equivalent of Nigerian scam'

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An Australian Open Source group has filed a complaint with the country's competitition regulator over SCO's attempt to extract license fees from enterprise Linux users.

This week, the SCO Group said that Linux Kernel code 2.4 and the upcoming 2.6 was "tainted" with unauthorised Unix code owned by the company. It has written a letter to Fortune 1000 and Global 500 firms telling them to pay up or face the consequences. The move follows SCO's recent registration of US copyright over Unix System V source code.

Now Open Source Victoria wants the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to "investigate The SCO Group's activities in light of its unsubstantiated claims and extortive legal threats for money against possibly hundreds of thousands of Australians".

In that splendid Australian way, OSV is inventive with the invective, likening SCO's bid to make Linux users pay up as the "IT industry equivalent of a Nigerian scam or Internet extortion ploy".

According to OSV member Andrew Pam "anyone who claims that licence fees are required for Linux is deliberately misleading and confusing the public.

"OSV believes there that there may be a case to answer on the issue of 'misrepresentation of need', where an organisation is suggesting that people must make payments that in fact they are not obligated to."

OSV says that SCO's registration of copyright over legacy Unix System V Source code "in no way affects Linux".

SCO has yet to prove its claims of the "existence of any disputed source in the Linux codebase. Linux was written from scratch by a global community of free software volunteers and IT corporations," says OSV
member Con Zymaris.

"We believe that SCO will find it extremely difficult to cement their claims in court, and until they do, they are spreading fear to extract money from innocent users. We believe this is unethical and possibly illegal in Australia."

Australians can register their complaints with the ACCC here. ®

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