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Gartner: SCO License Fees Would Hurt Linux Market

Jul 24, 2003, 18:00 (57 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by George J. Weiss)

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"On 21 July 2003, SCO announced it received U.S. copyright registrations for Unix System V source code. SCO claims that its IP rights from UnixWare cover the latest kernel version of Linux, v.2.4, which includes code important in symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) scaling. SCO said it will offer UnixWare licenses to enterprises that use Linux 2.4 and later and will not sue Linux customers for past copyright violations if they buy a UnixWare license.

"SCO claims that Linux 2.4 could not have achieved its SMP scaling capabilities without the illegal copying and misappropriation of its IP. In compensation, SCO expects Linux customers to negotiate a license agreement for the Unix binaries of UnixWare 7.1.3. SCO didn't specify a price, but Gartner estimates that a single unit license of UnixWare could cost from $500 to $700 per server, with discounts for volume deployments. The copyright registration follows SCO's May 2003 letter warning 1,500 firms using Linux that they could face legal action.

"If SCO's action succeeds against a few large enterprises, other enterprises could start to negotiate license agreements, creating hybrid open-source and proprietary software contracts..."

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