Hewlett Packard is the first major company to offer indemnification for its Linux-using customers from any legal action that SCO might take. Other companies, such as Lindows.com and Sun have offered protection, but based on agreements that they have with SCO. HP has not paid any Linux licensing fees to SCO.
HP to Imdemnify its Linux Customers
Submitted by TonyB 2003-09-24 Legal 17 Comments
SCO is spinning this as a victory for them, however I see it as a major defeat. If HP had any doubts about the legality of the Linux code they couldn’t do this because it would be taking on billions of dollars in legal fees and settlements for themselves as well as tens of billions of dollars in legal fees and settlements for protected customers. They are therefore willing to make the equivalent of a $100 billion gamble. That says a lot about how much they think of SCO’s claim on Linux’s infringement of their IP.
Hopefully this will be one of the beginnings of the ends of this monster.
PS. A great site for updates on this information is http://www.groklaw.com/
There are probably millions of people on this planet who could be in a far better position to help each other with their problems, were it not for the kind of people running SCO right now.
I ask the same quetion here as I have on LWN: What is McBride doing to help the homeless, the indigent, the disabled? Nothing.
What are Linus and his supporters doing toward that end? I’d say quite a lot, because organizations which work directly with such people can save a lot of money without any strings attached.
SCOX (The SCO group) is down to 17.65 a loss of 1.24 (6.56%) since this morning (Currently 1:30 Eastern)
I agree with you on this. Marketing is everything, sadly.
I’m just waiting for the same outcry that Sun’s indemnification of users caused.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was none.
SCOX (The SCO group) is down to 17.65 a loss of 1.24 (6.56%) since this morning (Currently 1:30 Eastern)
Well the price development of the SCOX stock has only little to do with the news around this subject. There is a certain group of investors that want to play with the unthinkable and SCOX is their paper.
OK guys, go after HP the same way you did Sun.
All Sun did was buy some drivers to beef up their Solaris X-86 rather than write their own.
Must be a bummer for McNealy. McNealy hasn’t stopped saying that for the last six months. HPQ has put a stop to that as of today by offering to indemnify Linux users.
Scox is trying to spin the indemnification thing both ways.
From one side of his mouth McBride is saying: “IBM refusing to indemnify it’s customers against scox, is proof that scox has a case.”
From the other side of his mouth, McBride is saying: “HPQ offering to indemnify it’s customers against scox, is proof that scox has a case.”
Not sure McBride can have it both ways.
I don’t quite get your reasoning. If HP saw a real IP problem, they would stop selling Linux and probably would NOT indemnify their customers. They are only going to identify customers if, in their view, the cost of indemnifying their customers is less than what they are making off of Linux. This actually shows HP’s confidence that Linux doe NOT have IP problems. HP sees a marketing problem. Some customers are scared of being sued, so they are indemnifying them. Sun, on the other hand, has provided indirect support of SCO’s allegations by citing it as a reason to buy Solaris.
I think SCO’s FUD would fail even in the absence of indemnification by HP. This indemnification, however, accelerates the process. Watch what SCO does next. If they sue an HP customer, HP will litigate the issue, and, in my view, win quickly (dismissal before discovery or trial for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted). If they don’t sue any HP customers, potential Linux users will justifiably believe that SCO doesn’t have a case against Linux end-users.
“This and the recent Sun announcement clearly signal the corporate takeover and possible death of Linux.”
A death is coming, but it’s not necessarily the death of Linux. If Linux dies, however, it will be nothing: Linux is only the first, very tiny, wave upon the eroding beach.
..although FreeBSD was earlier….
..in any event, there won’t be “corporate takeovers” for too much longer now.
Not that people won’t still do evil; it’ll just be more Aquarian evil. Probably the likes of what we now know of as “spam.”
“Business” it may be, but it’s going to no longer be “as usual.”
HP must have UNIX licenses similar to Sun’s. They would be a composite of DEC, Compaq and HP. So HP can probably indemnify their Linux/UNIX hardware and users the same way Sun can.
I doubt HP would indemnify if they didn’t see a problem with Linux IP. Seems like alot of work if it wasn’t any big deal.
Looks like HP has joined the buy me or you get sued crowd.
Red Hat looks like the big Linux looser in all this. Probably was one of SCO’s goals in the first place. Take Red Hat’s business, but I doubt that will happen.
>>I doubt HP would indemnify if they didn’t see a problem with Linux IP. Seems like alot of work if it wasn’t any big deal. <<
Are you sure you don’t mean “did” instead of “didn’t” ? Of HP would not indemnifiy if there was a problem with Linux IP. If there was a problem with Linux IP HP could go broke paying legal fees. It’s not a actual “big deal” but it could be a percieved “big deal.” Scox doesn’t actually have the right to sue linux end users, but scox keeps saying that they do.
Remember: scox doesn’t need a real case to file a lawsuit, and few people want to bother with a lawsuit, whether scox has a real case or not. Also, most people don’t follow this case that closely, most people don’t know if scox can actually sue end users or not. In other words: just because end users are nervouse does *not* indicate that scox has a case.
>>Looks like HP has joined the buy me or you get sued crowd. <<
No quite. Unlike sunw, hpq does not seem to be issuing a series of press releases designed to scare people away from using linux. hpq does not seem to be saying “only hpq is legal.” In fact, hpq has always maintained that there is nothing illegal about any linux. For example: hpq commented that they are not paying any linux license fees to scox.
tarpon bill wrote:
“HP must have UNIX licenses similar to Sun’s.”
False assumption. SCO has said on the record that Sun has a more expansive Unix license than anyone else. Sun got this license back when Novell owned AT&T’s original Unix intellectual property.
“They would be a composite of DEC, Compaq and HP.”
“So HP can probably indemnify their Linux/UNIX hardware and users the same way Sun can.”
False statement, being based on a false predicate.
“I doubt HP would indemnify if they didn’t see a problem with Linux IP.”
Unfounded supposition. Completely ridiculous reasoning. If HP thought there was a real problem with Linux IP, indemnification would constitute writing a blank check to SCO.
“Seems like alot of work if it wasn’t any big deal.”
HP’s indemnification advances their marketing interests.
“Looks like HP has joined the buy me or you get sued crowd.”
Completely unfounded statement. Indemnification says that HP will defend customers if they are sued, and nothing else.
“Red Hat looks like the big Linux looser in all this.”
Completely unfounded conclusion. Red Hat, instead of indemnification, has sued SCO for declaratory relief. SCO’s response to this suit is, among other things, a statement that they are not planning to sue Red Hat. Who’s winning this argument? Hint: It’s not SCO.
“Probably was one of SCO’s goals in the first place. Take Red Hat’s business, but I doubt that will happen.”
I agree with this last statement.
“HP is not acknowledging anything related to SCO’s actions. The validity of that is for the courts to decide.”
How can one dismiss SCO’s allegations and at the same time buy into McBride’s argument about indemnification ?
Maybe MacNealy, Fiorina and others have been treated with more respect than they actually deserve. What I see is a bunch of opportunists who would turn left and cry wolf, then turn right and say there is no danger at all. This attitude would be expected from some street corner merchants, not from big corporations like HP and Sun.
Twenty years ago, those big Unix vendors couldn’t work together. The situation hasn’t changed a bit today. The difference is that now, they’ve decided that the best place where they must be is in a swamp, along with the least influential vendor of all : SCO.
I’m getting really sick of hearing all these companies suddenly offering “indemnification” for licensing issues that have not been proven at all. Assuming SCO is blowing hot air, or even if they are on the up and up to a limited degree, it’s already been proven that some if not all of that “matching code” is BSD licensed, all of these companies are going to end up having to live down what has become an incredible PR disaster for those jumping on the bandwagon of extortion. “Buy our products and you are immune!” Immune to WHAT? Not a single instance of SCO’s claims have been proven! If anything, some of the source code has been DISPROVEN to violate copyright law. If SCO goes after users the court will dismiss the lawsuits because of the good-faith argument that has vast amounts of case history. The reverse is that Linux users that were targetted can legally launch harrasment suits against SCO. There is NOTHING to indemnify!
So Lindows and Sun have “agreements with SCO” over this FUD? It’s no huge loss really, I haven’t recommended Sun Microsystems to anyone since the mid 90s. Lindows I couldn’t care less about. But now I will add HP to companies to boycott because they are spreading FUD. HP has been declining in quality of it’s products recently anyway, this just puts the final nail on the coffin.
Even should there be real code copyright infringement, the code will be removed and replaced on a line by line basis. SCO might own a little bit of code, but they do not own anything created by 3rd parties despite SYS 5 being the OS they were developed on. There is always more than one way to write code, and Linux will survive no matter what. There is way too much community force behind Linux for it to be affected by this FUD for anything longer than an eyeblink.
But why are so many people upset with HP over this? To be honest, if I owned HP hardware/software, I would consider this to be a classy move.
Although the chance that SCOs case will ever hold up in court is slim, there COULD be something that infringes on copyright (I don’t personally believe this, but let’s pretend for a minute).
Now, HP has come along and has stated that any clients that have purchase HP hardware and Linux from HP will be protected SHOULD litigation happen at the user level.
They have basically acted as a shield for their clients.
If I remember correctly, Dell blatently stated they would NOT do this.
Again, it’s marketing, but, it’s also classy. If I was interested in rolling out a Linux platform, and had to choose between a company that would protect me, and a company that wouldn’t… who would I choose?
It’s not about FUD, SCO is doing this on their own, it’s about customer loyalty and protecting those that keep you in business.