Red Hat Inc has launched a warranty to protect users of its Enterprise Linux operating system from legal threats made by SCO Group Inc, although it has not gone so far as to cover customers’ legal fees.
Red Hat said its new Open Source Assurance Program covers existing and future Red Hat customers who have a subscription to Enterprise Linux. The program includes an Intellectual Property Warranty that ensures that in the event that an infringement issue is identified in Red Hat Enterprise Linux software code, Red Hat will replace the infringing code.
The question of infringement has arisen following allegations by SCO that some of its Unix System V code has been copied into Linux. The company is suing IBM Corp for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets and is threatening to sue a business running Linux for copyright infringement.
Red Hat challenged SCO’s claims and in August 2003 launched a formal complaint against SCO, asking a Delaware court to compel the company to retract its claims that Linux is using Unix technologies illegally. It also launched a $1m legal defense fund for open source developers.
While other Linux supporters such as Hewlett-Packard Co, Novell Inc, and the Open Source Development Lab have launched plans to cover legal fees if customers are sued by SCO, Red Hat has not gone so far as to guarantee that it will meet customers’ legal costs.
The $1m Open Source Now Fund is now part of the Open Source Assurance Program, but Red Hat confirmed that it is not being extended to Red Hat’s customers. All the warranty means is that Red Hat Enterprise Linux users should not have to consider moving away from the software in the event of an infringement.
Red Hat’s vice president of business development, Bryan Sims, said the warranty is already provided to some of the company’s largest business customers and is now being extended to everyone. Red Hat customers have the security of a trusted partner to guarantee a resolution should there be an issue for continued use, he said.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire