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IBM and SuSE Linux have got security certification for Linux from the US Government, writes Robin Bloor of Bloor Research. Acquiring certification, under a Pentagon certification program entitled Common Criteria, is costly and time consuming, but IBM and SuSE put in the money and the time.

The certification applies only to the SuSe version of Linux, but Red Hat is likely to follow suit. The certification will act as a further validation of Linux for deployment on servers, both in government and in the private sector. Microsoft gained certification for Windows 2000 under the same program a while ago.

Meanwhile Red Hat has filed a lawsuit against SCO, accusing it of making inaccurate statements about Red Hat infringing SCO's rights to Unix. SCO has refused to publicly identify the offending code, offering only to show portions of it in private under strict non-disclosure terms. SCO is accusing IBM of donating the code and/or violating SCO intellectual property in a separate lawsuit, asking for $3 billion in damages. It won't be surprising if further lawsuits follow. SuSe has yet to be drawn into the fray and some commentators from the Open Source community have suggested that SCO's attempt to sell licenses to Linux users violates the Open Source GPL under which Linux is distributed.

Meanwhile Novell has moved further into Linux territory by acquiring Boston based Ximian, the creators of Gnome, a Linux desktop alternative to the Windows interface. Ximian also developed Mono an environment designed to enable applications developed using Microsoft .NET to run on Linux, Unix and other operating systems. Apart from Linux product, Ximian provides Novell with a seasoned group of Linux developers and hence will assist Novell in its strategic move to embrace Linux.

Another straw in the (European) wind is that Red Hat is entering into an agreement with Bull, once a major computer manufacturer, but now more of a services and IT infrastructure company. Bull will become a preferred reseller for Red Hat Enterprise Linux solutions and will delivering and deploy Red Hat solutions to European customers.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the SCO legal attack is not diminishing the growth of Linux, although depending on the legal facts of the matter, it may rescue SCO from commercial oblivion. Someone has to be right or wrong in this and eventually some settlement will emerge.

However it will happen in legal timescales which in such cases are measured in years, and by which time the industry will look much different than it does now. If you followed the Microsoft antitrust case then you'll remember that while the courts deliberated the industry moved on, and although Microsoft was found guilty on a number of points, it made little difference to Microsoft's commercial momentum.

It looks like Linux will continue to grow and the writs will continue to flow.

© IT-Analysis.com

Reducing security risks from open source software

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