[Fsf-friends] HP says will indemnify customers on use of Linux

Soundara Rajan N.S searchlight@sancharnet.in
Thu Sep 25 18:09:12 IST 2003

HP says will indemnify customers on use of Linux
Reuters, 09.24.03, 12:32 PM ET
By Duncan Martell

   SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co. Wednesday said it would
   indemnify its customers who use the Linux operating system against
   potential legal troubles stemming from SCO Group Inc.'s ongoing
   lawsuit against International Business Machines Corp. alleging
   copyright infringement.

   "Today HP becomes the first major Linux vendor to offer ...
   indemnification from alleged copyright infringement," said Martin
   Fink, HP's vice president for Linux in a conference call with

   SCO, which claims its blueprint for Unix software is used illegally in
   versions of the free Linux operating system, Wednesday praised HP's
   decision to indemnify its customers against possible legal tangles
   using Linux.

   "Rather than deny the existence of substantial structural problems
   with Linux as many Open Source leaders have done, HP is acknowledging
   that issues exist and is attempting to be responsive to its customers'
   request for relief," SCO said in a statement.

   Many users and developers of Linux, which is called open source
   because it can be copied and modified freely, unlike proprietary
   software such as Unix and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, have rejected
   SCO's claims, saying SCO has yet to provide proof that their
   intellectual property is used in Linux.

   SCO, which owns the right to Unix, the networking software program
   upon which Linux is based, sued IBM for billions earlier this year for
   introducing Unix code into Linux. SCO is also going after companies to
   pay to use Linux or face litigation."

   So long as customers do not modify the Linux software code on systems
   that HP sells using Red Hat Inc.'s and closely held SuSe's and other
   Linux software, they will be indemnified, Fink said.

   Customers will be indemnified on systems that are purchased after Oct.
   1, Fink said.

   "We have not signed any Linux-specific agreement with SCO and have not
   exchanged any monies with respect to indemnification," Fink said.
   "We're giving the green light to customers on moving forward on their
   Linux deployment," Fink said, adding that it was up to the court to
   decide whether or not SCO's claims had any merit.
   Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service

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