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LinuxTag: SCO Must Desist Unfair Competitive Practices

May 27, 2003, 13:00 (24 Talkback[s])

Lawyers representing the LinuxTag association have given notice to SCO Group GmbH to desist from unfair competitive practiices. The notice, dated Friday, May 23, maintains that SCO Group is sowing uncertainty among the community of GNU/Linux users, developers and suppliers. "SCO needs to stop claiming that the standard Linux kernel violates its copyrights, or they need to lay the evidence for their claim on the table," said LinuxTag's Michael Kleinhenz.

The association demanded that the German SCO subsidiary retract its claims regarding ownership of Linux kernel code by this Friday, May 30, or make its evidence public. "SCO must not be allowed to damage its competitors by unsubstantiated claims, to intimidate their customers, and to inflict lasting damage on the reputation of GNU/Linux as an open platform," Kleinhenz added.

Until a few weeks ago, SCO itself distributed the Linux kernel GNU General Public License (GPL) as a member of the UnitedLinux alliance. Thus even if SCO owns parts of the Linux kernel, it has made them into Free Software by distributing them under the GPL.

"This situation illustrates the superiority of the Free Software licensing model: If a software manufacturer withdraws from the development of GPL software, its contributions that were published under the the GPL up to that time remain available to users," said Jürgen Siepmann, attorney and founding member of LinuxTag. Till Jaeger, Director of the Institute for Legal Aspects of Free and Open Source Software, agrees: "Companies see this as an important pillar of investment security."

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