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Red Hat takes the fight to SCO

Linux "unjustly threatened"

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Red Hat has filed a complaint against SCO, hoping to protect Linux's good name.

Red Hat is asking for a judge to confirm that the company has not violated SCO's IP. In addition, Red Hat wants to hold SCO accountable for using "unfair and deceptive actions" in its crusade against the Linux community.

"We filed this complaint to stop SCO from making unsubstantiated and untrue public statements attacking Red Hat Linux and the integrity of the Open Source software development process," said Mark Webbink, General Counsel at Red Hat, in a statement.

In addition to its multi-billion dollar lawsuit against IBM, SCO has called on companies to pay for a license to use Linux or face the legal consequences. In so doing, SCO has characterized Linux users as a "tainted" group that can only be cleaned up by bowing to its IP demands. It's this kind of language that Red Hat dislikes.

Fellow open source backers agree with Red Hat's take here but use a bit more of an aggressive tone.

Speaking personally, he stressed, Ximian founder Miguel de Icaza said, "I know Mexican politics so I know when something's sketchy," he told The Register today. "I can recognize when someone's lying to you. Those guys have absolutely no case." Welcome to Novell, Miguel.

It has taken Red Hat some time to stand up to SCO's formidable legal team. One might have expected the leading Linux vendor to rush to the aid of its users with a bit more speed.

To make up for this lack of action, Red Hat has created the Open Source Now Fund. The Linux maker has dumped $1 million into the fund, which will cover legal expenses for companies under IP attack. In particular, the fund will help non-profits and companies developing software under the GPL.

"The collaborative process of Open Source software development which created the Linux operating system has been unjustly questioned and threatened," said Matthew Szulik, Chairman and CEO of Red Hat, in a statement.

SCO has fingered both customers and Linux vendors in its attack. The users, however, seem to have taken the brunt of the assault thus far. SCO has chided IBM and Red Hat for not providing Linux warranties but has sent thousands of warning letters to enterprise users. In addition, SCO has aimed most public statements at the user base.

A survey has found most Linux users to be unfazed by SCO's aggressive litigation.®

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