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NewsForge: HP Says It Isn't In Cahoots with SCO on 'IP Indemnification Program'

Sep 24, 2003, 21:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)

"If you obtain Linux through HP, even if it's on one of its low-cost PCs that ship with 'Mandrake light,' HP will indemnify you against any suits SCO might file against you--if SCO decides you are violating its IP rights by running Linux without a license from them. SCO claims HP is validating its claim that it owns at least some Linux code by doing this. HP's boss Linux guy, Martin Fink, says this isn't so. And there's a catch to the indemnification offer: You aren't allowed to freely modify your source code and still be covered by HP's warm & fuzzy legal security blanket.

"Fink claims 'only one in 10,000' users ever modify source code, and that if you get your binaries--for any distribution--through HP and use it on HP hardware, you're covered. If you buy a new HP unit that comes with Linux and install that same version of Linux on that old HP laptop you have in the shed, you're still covered. (However, if you install it on your Toshiba laptop, you're not.)

"During a conference call at noon today, Fink said they'd check modifications 'on a case-by-case basis.' I specifically asked him about removing the OpenOffice.org splash screen, a fairly typical modification, and he was unable or unwilling to tell me whether this simple change in two lines of code would or would not remove indemnification, and he did not tell me where or how to find out..."

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