Red Hat drags SCO to court

CIOL Bureau
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SEATTLE: Linux distributor Red Hat Inc., has filed a formal complaint against the SCO Group Inc., claiming that parts of its software code is being used illegally in Linux software. The complaint has been filed in the federal court in the state of Delaware.


Red Hat, a leading distributor of the free Linux operating system, said that it has also created a fund to cover the legal expenses of companies developing Linux and pledged $1 million to the fund.

SCO sent shock waves through the Linux community earlier this year when it sued IBM for billions of dollars, claiming that that world's largest computer company had distributed parts of SCO's Unix software code into Linux.

SCO also sent letters to 1,500 large companies using Linux and warned them that they may be held liable for using any version of Linux that contains SCO's software code.

Linux, unlike proprietary software such as Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, can be copied and modified freely, making it popular among companies seeking to lower technology costs.


Red Hat, which provides update services for companies using Linux for business tasks such as managing networks and handling financial transactions, said it is seeking to reassure customers that they won't be legally or financially liable for using Linux.

"Red Hat has a responsibility to ensure the legal rights of users are protected," said Red Hat Chief Executive Matthew Szulik.

Red Hat said that its new fund of $1 million would "cover legal expenses associated with infringement claims brought against companies developing software" under the open-source licensing rules.

SCO disputed Red Hat's complaint and said that it would take legal action in response to Red Hat's filing. "Of course, we will prepare our legal response as required by your complaint," SCO Chief Executive Darl McBride wrote in a letter dated on Monday that was made available by SCO's public relations firm.

"Be advised that our response will likely include counterclaims for copyright infringement and conspiracy," McBride wrote in the letter.

SCO shares, which fell sharply in Monday trade, recovered before the Nasdaq close to end at $12.08, down 8.8 percent from Friday. Shares in Red Hat fell 3.8 percent to $6.65, also on the Nasdaq.

© Reuters