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Novell indemnifies Linux customers

SuSE buy completed

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Novell is to indemnify enterprise customers of SUSE Linux against legal action undertaken on IP grounds by "third parties" - i.e. SCO.

Which is nice, as the company only yesterday completed the purchase of SUSE, and so it has a helluva lot more accounts which could be affected by SCO's Linux jihad. Ts&Cs are here.

Novell is the most significant vendor to make such a pledge since HP bit the bullet in September. It is beginning to look like an awful amount of firepower is arraigned against SCO.

The OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) consoritum announced yesterday that it had already raised $3m towards a $10m pot to defend end-user companies and its most famous employee Linus Torvalds against copyright infringement suits threatened by SCO. Then there is the small matter of prosecuting its $3bn case against IBM, vastly bigger and richer - and defending vigorously. How can SCO afford to carry out all these legal threats?

Novell is the former owner of Unix, the operating system now owned by SCO. SCO alleges that IBM and others raided Unix software unlawfully, handing over chunks of code for use in the Linux kernel and sundry enterprise extensions. Novell says it has, courtesy of a licensing agreement with SCO, rights to authorise its customers to use that UNIX technology in their internal business operations. If correct, this will grant Novell's customers an additional measure of protection against SCO IP claims. The company's correspondence with SCO on the matter is here. ®

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