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Novell Offers Linux Users Legal Indemnity

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the linux-indemnity-is-the-new-black dept.

Caldera 271

Anonymous Coward writes "Novell today said it intends to indemnify its enterprise Linux users against possible legal action by The SCO Group and/or others. According to eWeek Novell's new Linux Indemnification Program is designed to provide its SUSE Enterprise Linux customers with protection against intellectual-property challenges to Linux and to help reduce the barriers to Linux adoption in the enterprise. Under the terms of the program, Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner."

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Old News (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958435)

Read this on Yahoo! News a few hours ago. Welcome to Slashdot, ever the relevant news rehasher.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958451)

Actually, I read this on SLASHDOT a few hours ago.

Other indemnities (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958466)

Yes there was a story a few hours ago [slashdot.org] about IBM and Intel offering some sort of indemnity, which SCO criticized [slashdot.org] . This story covers Novell.

If you claim that a few hours' delay is unacceptable, consider that the legal system typically doesn't move nearly as fast as technology.

Not indemnities (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958610)

IBM and Intel (as part of OSDN) offered 10 million dollars for use by end users for legal expenses. That's not indemnification. Indemnification is taking liability for another party and is something businesses don't like to do and is not really relevent since end users wouldn't have liability from simply running Linux unless they had patent infringing code in the kernel -- and SCO only own one patent, and that is not even relevent to the IBM lawsuit.

Re:Old News (1, Flamebait)

Alan Hicks (660661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958476)

Read this on Yahoo! News a few hours ago. Welcome to Slashdot, ever the relevant news rehasher.

Oh give me a break. So if you're not the first group to break a story you are rehashing it? Aren't all news outlets guilty of that? If a news site only put out news that no one else had covered already, you'd have to visit every single news site to get the most up to date coverage. No, Slashdot doesn't report a lot of things before other people do; that's not its purpose. Its purpose is to be a news site that reports on the most relevant stuff for nerds, and offer those same nerds a place to voice their concerns among one another, or just general rant and rave. It does this good, do stop your bitching. No one's making you come here you know?

Re:Old News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958575)

OK Gothmolly, if you want to read some news that hasn't been published in the major news outlets yet today, check out the latest Amazon news [amazon.com] . These new books are exciting, let me tell you.

Re:Old News (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958704)

Oh my god, do not click on that link!!! That site is definitely not Amazon even though the link says it is. Somebody somehow hacked Amazon and inserted a link going to the most disgusting web site I've ever seen! You don't even want to know what I saw there.

GNAA confirms: Novell is dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958442)

GNAA / Google confirms: Linux is dying.
By GNAA Staff

Here you have it: it's official; Google confirms: Desktop Linux is dying.

Now, you might be thinking this is just another cut & paste troll based on the typical *BSD is dying bullshit.
It isn't.
As you might have know, your favorite search engine, Google [google.com] , has been running a little statistics service, called "Zeitgeist [google.com] ".
Since about a year ago, they started providing statistics of the operating systems used to access their search engine worldwide.
I will let the numbers speak for themselves:

Operating Systems Accessing Google in January 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in March 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in April 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in May 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in June 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in July 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in August 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in September 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in November 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in December 2002 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in January 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in February 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in April 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in May 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in June 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in July 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in August 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in September 2003 [google.com]
Operating Systems Accessing Google in November 2003 [google.com]

If you've looked at even a few of these links, you don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict Desktop Linux's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Desktop Linux faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Linux on Desktop because Linux is dying. Things are looking very bad for Linux on Desktop. As many of us are already aware, Linux on Desktop continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

According to Google Zeitgeist [google.com] , there are about 80% of Internet Explorer 6 [microsoft.com] users. The only platform supporting Internet Explorer 6 is, of course, Microsoft Windows. These statistics are consistent with the earlier presented graphs of the operating systems used to access Google, with the Windows family consistently taking the top 3 ranks. Out of remaining 20%, the split is even between MSIE 5.5, MSIE 5.0, both Windows-only browsers. Netscape 5.x (including Mozilla) counts for only a measly 5% of browsers used to access Google. As you can see from the graph, this sample was calculated starting from March 2001 until September 2003.

Linux "leaders" will have you believe that Linux is gaining market share. However, according to Google [google.com] , "Linux" was never a top 10 search word at *any time* since Google began tracking search statistics. This can only mean one thing: Linux is dying.

All major surveys show that Linux on Desktop is something never meant to happen. Repeatedly, reputable organizations review Desktop Linux offerings, and consistently [osnews.com] give [com.com] it [com.com] unacceptable [yahoo.com] scores, compared to even Apple [apple.com] 's MacOS X [apple.com] , which is actually based on the "claimed to by dying long time ago" *BSD. If you paid attention to the operating systems used to access Google graphs earlier, you will notice that MacOS has consistently scored higher percentages than Linux. Infact, the obscure "other" category, which we assume is embedded systems, PDA's, cellular phones, etc, has at times ranked Higher [google.com] than even Mac OS - and of course, Linux.

In almost 2 years worth of statistics, Linux [linux.com] has NEVER outranked even such a truly "dying" OS as Mac OS, and infact, never raised above the 1% mark. When Windows XP [microsoft.com] was released, Google searches for Linux drastically decreased [google.com] . This clearly demonstrates that Linux on Desktop is, for all practical purposes, dead.

Fact: Desktop Linux is dead.

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Re:GNAA confirms: Novell is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Logicdisorder (686635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958566)

I think this is a bit of an over statment really. I heard that the linux desktop was dead about 2 years ago and yet there are people out there still putting money into making it work. If people are putting money in then they must have a plan in place to recover the cost. This is not the .com days, people/companies do not just give money away anymore. Granted the info you have shown does not paint a good picture but when you hear of big company's looking at using Linux as a desktop E.g Telstra and IBM then these people must see that there is a future in the Linux desktop. Plus the fact the Novell has just drop a shit load of money into getting Linux companies then they must have a pretty good buiness plan to make it work and the people to get it done. From my point of view I think Steve over at Apple should pull his head out of his ass and get OSX running on X86 hardware and then jump into bed with IBM and Novell. Apple have a Unix Desktop that works, it is easy to use, there are company creating software for OSX and it does not have the problems that Windows has had with Virus and security.

Re:GNAA confirms: Novell is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958660)

I'll take it you either didn't read the rest of the post or you don't know what the GNAA is.

Well, I guess there's one other option, too.

Re:GNAA confirms: Novell is dying (-1, Offtopic)

Logicdisorder (686635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958782)

well I click on the wrong thread I think. Cause once i posted it and saw the topic I knew i have made a mistake. Oh well shit happens

does it seem like.. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958446)


Novell is using this as a chance to get support contracts thrown in with this protection?

Re:does it seem like.. (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958521)

And you think they bought SuSE because ...?

Re:does it seem like.. (5, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958596)

And you think they bought SuSE because ...?

I would agree. Its ironic. Everyone is talking roses about them because even Novell says they are smoking crack. Then they put their money where their mouth is and offers protection for their customers (they can't offer protection for NON customers, there is no contract to protect, duh).

And now everyone is comparing them to MS.

It doesn't strengthen SCOs case, it demonstrates that SCO doesn't have one. They just called SCO's bluff because they can, for free. Indemnifying customers of legal action against SCO is like offering life insurance for your pet rock: There is little fear you will ever need to exercise the right and collect on it.

If they make some money, too, great. Since they just invested $210 million in open source software, I hope they make a wad.

Re:does it seem like.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958713)

Very well put. You beat me to this one. What the hell is the problem with these people. Someone stands up to SCO and now there taking advantage. Oh and to the parent, no they are not getting a sipport contract thrown in with the indemnification. They are getting indemnification thrown in with the support contract.

I bet they were in on it with SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958703)

It was all a conspiracy to sell support contracts :)

And what if.... (0)

LohRhyda (243119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958448)

And what if I decide to find my infamy in being non compliant?

Okay, but... (1)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958452)

What are the odds of McBride and co. actually winning a lawsuit against Linux users, especially with IBM and the geek community firmly entrenched against SCO?

The indemnification idea is a last resort.

Re:Okay, but... (5, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958495)

The indemnification issue is not about indemnification itself. It's a smart, tactical play to encourage corporate Linux users not to cave and buy "licenses" from SCO.

This move deprives SCO of its *only* positive cashflow.

only cash flow ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958631)

What about the money from Bill Gates that comes via his wife's roundabout purchases of SCO stock which SCO insiders are selling ?

Re:only cash flow ? (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958720)

What about the money from Bill Gates that comes via his wife's roundabout purchases of SCO stock which SCO insiders are selling ?
URL?

Only support subscribers (4, Informative)

thorgil (455385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958456)

The promise is only about new SUSE support subscribers.

Re:Only support subscribers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958585)

The article writeup says as much. I didn't even RTFA, in classic /. style and I know this much.

After all, the submitter said it and it made it past the editors.. So it must be true ! ;-)

Re:Only support subscribers (1)

Jacob0531 (740869) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958685)

Still a win/win for businesses. SUSE markets indemnification to businesses giving them that warm-fuzzy feeling they so need when purchasing products. This only provides more credibility in the enterprise workplace for Linux. Of course, home users realize the fluff of the case at hand and couldn't care less. However, they are unlikely to purchase a support contract anyway. Jacob

Ha! (1)

abrotman (323016) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958459)

take that and shove it Darl!

missiles armed (-1)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958461)


target: SCO

radiation suits ready.

waiting for launch command.


Re:missiles armed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958586)

oh hush up will you, you're not funny.

Everybody gets to make a buck off of SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958467)

They're like a virus.

Uh oh, I can hear the fingers typing now... (4, Interesting)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958471)

Let me guess:

Novell's trying to cash in on SCO's bad manners!

Well, you can't indemnify someone without contract of some sort, and buying and installign software with a EULA that has that clause would be a good way to do it.

But in all fairness I officially downgrade Novell from an alert level of Double Plus Good to Plus Good. The SCO alert level remains fixed at Double Plus Ungood. Verner's is still tasty. Further news as events warrant.

-Adam

dupe (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958473)

I read this on SLASHDOT a few hours ago. Good going.

ARGGHHH... (0, Troll)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958475)

WHYY?! This is stupid.

Re:ARGGHHH... (4, Interesting)

cadfael (103180) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958549)

Unfortunately, for the same reason that the folks over at SCO keep on yakking...public perception. At this time, there is less than a small chance that the SCO lawsuit will bear fruit as it exists now, but the folks driving the bus keep on spouting. The result? The price stays high, goes higher, doesn't drop as much as it could. When other PR comes to light, they suffer. At this moment, in after hours trading, they are down $1.32. All the stories linked to the pages where I get the SCO price are about indemnification and the OSDL defence fund. Investors on a stock like this can read the review and be rattled. Thus, the PR here will probably be countered tomorrow with more PR from SCO.

Re:ARGGHHH... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958599)

"This is stupid."
As are CEOs and investors.
We may know SCO is just trying to make a quick stock buck by claiming ownership of everything under the sun and threatening everyone, but they don't. They see a copyright infringment claim and some file names that are just gibberish to them, and they panic.

This is the pat on the head an reassuring voice that says all will be well. As long as they go with SUSE atleast.

Re:ARGGHHH... (3, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958690)

Because there's an ARMY of PHBs in suits who think that Linux is 'interesting, but just a toy' and this is 'big trouble, they stole SCO code!'

Do you think a guy who's title is 'Vendor Risk Manager' is going to tell his boss to buy -LINUX- right now, with all the conflicting press?

This way Novell makes a buck, and the PHBs can 'safely' deploy. Everybody wins. We even get greater circulation of OUR product in the end!

it looks like they're only looking for sales (5, Insightful)

dogas (312359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958480)

so it starts January 13th? otherwise you have to buy an 'upgrade package'?

they're just trying to make a sale. It would be better if they offered this protection to all of their customers, rather than forcing companies to buy an 'upgrade', that will most likely prove worthless anyhow,

Re:it looks like they're only looking for sales (2, Insightful)

Frisky070802 (591229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958618)

Yeah, this could backfire if existing customers are sufficiently affronted by this approach. At least, I know how pissed off I'd be if I bought last week!

Yo! (-1, Troll)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958483)

What about the pirate copy of 9.0 pro I got off ebay for $8 and passed out 100+ copies of to friends and family?? That ought to qualify as Enterprise level eh?

Re:Yo! (0, Offtopic)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958558)

No, really, I'm serious!!

Re:Yo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958652)

If you post again like that, say, a dozen times more, you'll lose your +2 bonus and you'll drop below my threshold. Please continue ...

wonder who will keep investing in SCO? (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958484)


Jeez, at some point, do you think that M$ dirty tactics will hurt it in that realm of enterprise business where handshakes still matter?

I think I speak for everybody when I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958540)

what the hell are you talking about?

What a surprise (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958497)

Under the terms of the program, Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SuSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner

In other words, Novell bought any old Linux distro to make money out of people's fears of SCO (or rathe, fear of having to deal with the SCO annoyance). Some surprise ...

Re:What a surprise (4, Interesting)

rendler (141135) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958579)

What happens if SCO wins? No one at the moment can say that they won't. If that happens Novell stands to loose A LOT of money from the indemnification alone. No business, especially not one as big as Novell would do something like this just to get a few extra upgrade sales from a few of their customers.

Re:What a surprise (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958627)

What happens if SCO wins?

Since I am not a lawyer, and I don't even claim to fully understand what SCO wants/says, I will therefore assume that if big names such as IBM, Novell and HP decide to put their reputation and money against SCO, they probably have legions of very qualified lawyers that say SCO doesn't stand a chance, or such a small chance that it's a safe bet to invest money in anti-SCO tactics.

If SCO wins? (4, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958725)

Since SCO is essentially a sublicensee of Unix from Novell, then if SCO wins, Novell pays itself, minus a small cut to SCO. Sounds pretty much win-win for Novell to me...

Re:What a surprise (1)

marshall_j (643520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958592)

Novell brought Suse for $210Million. [eweek.com]
That's a lot of upgrades!

does it apply to all linux? (1)

srinivas_rc (737431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958499)

If any one company provides security directly, it means all linux versions are safe to purchase. Isn't it?

0f c0u453 (2, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958615)

I would assume the security changes will get folded into the next version of the kernel, so yes, of course.

Re:does it apply to all linux? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958671)

If any one company provides security directly, it means all linux versions are safe to purchase. Isn't it?

No. Do you mean that a successful defense by Novell of a suit against one of their customers can be leveraged by non-customers? Maybe, but what if SCO doesn't sue an indemnified Novell customer first, but instead sues a non-customer? Novell has not indemnified them, so this announcement cannot make it safe, if it wasn't before.

On a different note, doesn't purchasing indemnification remove some of the benefit of using Open Source Linux? I have heard that, for example, with HP's indemnification offer, your protection is voided if you modify your Linux (at the source level) in any way. You have to use what they provide. You may or may not be able to recompile your kernel in order to change some settings, but any patches must be acquired through the official distribution channels. This is obvious because they cannot offer indemnification for something over which they have no control (patches they haven't approved).

For some companies, this will be fine, and they can trust that Novell or HP will provide up-to-date software, security and bug fixes, etc. to meet their needs. But the true freedom and control that is supposed to be a benefit of Free Software is reduced.

Just asking (2)

aufecht (163961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958501)

Correct if I am wrong, but doesn't such an action just legitimize the claims of the SCO group? Or, does it just mean that in the unlikely even that SCO actually win this lawsuit that Novell will absorb the costs of it's customers Linux deployments, as far as liscensing?

Re:Just asking (2, Insightful)

jacobdp (698004) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958554)

Correct if I am wrong, but doesn't such an action just legitimize the claims of the SCO group?

Actually, it refutes some of them.

SCO has said "if you're so sure your code doesn't infringe on our IP, why aren't you indemnifying customers?" Novell is now doing just that and, in a way, standing up for the community as well as saying "nanny nanny boo boo" to SCO.

Article Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958522)

Novell to Offer Linux Indemnification Program
By Peter Galli
January 12, 2004


Novell Inc. has decided to follow Hewlett-Packard Co.'s lead and indemnify its enterprise Linux customers against possible legal action by The SCO Group and/or others.

Novell is expected to announce its Linux Indemnification Program late on Monday, sources close to the company told eWEEK. A Novell spokesman would not confirm this, adding that the company does not comment on speculation.

The new indemnification program is designed to provide its SuSE Enterprise Linux customers with protection against intellectual-property challenges to Linux and to help reduce the barriers to Linux adoption in the enterprise.

Under the terms of the program, Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SuSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner.

Customers will also have to accept the program terms and conditions, including caps and other limitations imposed, the sources said.

Novell is also planning a program for those enterprise Linux users who are not currently Novell SuSE Linux users. The program, which will be announced later, will help them become Novell SuSE Linux customers and qualify for the indemnification.

Novell's Linux indemnification move follows its recent acquisitions of open source developer Ximian Inc. and SuSE Linux. Novell announced in August that it had acquired Ximian and in November said it had offered to buy SuSE Linux for $210 million.

Novell executives are also expected to announce on Monday that the SuSE deal has been completed. That will mean that SuSE's Linux distributions join the Novell family of products and allow Novell to offer customers a complete Linux-solution stack and global technical Linux support.

The company's indemnification move today also follows that of HP, which in September announced that it would indemnify its customers against any legal liability from the use of Linux.

Click here to read more about Hewlett-Packard's Linux indemnification program. [eweek.com]

At that time Martin Fink, a vice president at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard, said the company would indemnify new customers who buy Linux from HP, agree not to make unauthorized changes to the source code and sign a standard support contract.

The need to indemnify enterprise Linux users follows legal action by SCO against IBM for allegedly incorporating parts of proprietary Unix code into Linux. SCO holds the rights to Unix.

In November, SCO CEO Darl McBride threatened to sue enterprise Linux users within 90 days for copyright infringement.

Novell executives are also on Monday expected to release additional information on the contractual and intellectual property rights it holds because of its former ownership of Unix and UnixWare.

To read more about Novell's claims to Unix, click here. [eweek.com]

The company is expected to announce that it has the rights to license Unix technology pursuant to a Technology License Agreement between SCO and Novell, including Novell's right to authorize its customers to use that Unix technology in their internal business operations.

It also claims to have the rights to take action on behalf of SCO under legacy Unix SVRX licenses pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement between SCO and Novell.

Smart move, Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958523)

smart move, even though it's a bit of a gamble (much as you guys like to assume it's a sure thing that SCO is going to outright lose this.. YNAFL - you're not all frikken lawyers, you know.
So here they are, one of the few vendors offering indemnity in this time of uncertainty, ripe market eh? And they get contracts out of this, so even if they get screwed, they'll have this cash to fall back on. Nice.

Re:Smart move, Novell (1)

FiskeBoller (536819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958803)

It is a very smart move. Recall that Indemnification is one of those boogey words SCO and Microsoft bantered about to strike FUD into the hearts of corporate executives. Novell just took the air out of their FUD balloons.

In other words... (3, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958534)

Novell: Me too!

Sure why not. What SCO's chances of winning past IBM, Redhat and the rest to actually sue a SUSE user? Isn't think like selling "The Moon landing on your head" insurance?

Re:In other words... (2, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958641)

Heh, "The Moon landing on your head." Ah, that's classic. I mean, that could never happen in a billion years... ... right?

Re:In other words... (3, Insightful)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958760)

Novell: Me too!

Funny. I read it exactly the other way around. The way it looks to me is Novell is saying, "Don't worry about it. If you got your Linux from us, we got you covered like a jimmy-hat."

I'd like it more if Novell said, "NOT ON MY WATCH!" but I'll take this.

Indemnity is sign of an already-successful attack (5, Interesting)

phr1 (211689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958538)

If SCO (and imagine Microsoft doing the same thing later on) have managed to create enough FUD for users to be afraid of using free software unless identified by some company, that already undermines the goals of free software pretty badly. Being able to download, modify, and redistribute software with the author's permission isn't all that attractive if SCO has made you feel threatened by legal hassles for doing it. You no longer get the freedom from bureaucracy, hassles, per-seat fees, and so forth that the free software developers labored to bring you.

We shouldn't celebrate just because indemnification is available and say it solves the problem. That SCO has created demand for such indemnification is already a big problem. And of course companies offering indemnification have a vested interest in creating more such demand. They're not doing anything bad by offering it, but neither is it completely in the interests of free software for everyone to jump on it. It's more complicated than that and we have to keep the issues clear.

typo (1)

phr1 (211689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958570)

Meant "indemnified", not "identified" in above message. Doh.

Re:Indemnity is sign of an already-successful atta (3, Interesting)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958634)


If indemnification makes people more likely to adopt open source software in the short term, it is a good thing. Yes, it will suck for smaller software companies that can not afford indemnification, but as more companies realize that open source is not as scary as Microsoft wants them to believe, its usage will pick up dramatically. For large companies, the savings in software licensing fees could pay for all the legal representation they need to defend their open source usage and distribution. Once the SCO case falls apart and potential copycats realize that extorting money out of free software users is harder than it appeared at first, such lawsuits, along with the fear of being sued, will drop off.

Re:Indemnity is sign of an already-successful atta (1)

phr1 (211689) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958743)

If indemnification makes people more likely to adopt open source software in the short term, it is a good thing.

Why do you say that? If they think they're asking for lawsuits unless they write some company a check for every copy of the program they use, how is it different from using proprietary software?

Re:Indemnity is sign of an already-successful atta (1)

Surazal (729) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958665)

I don't think this is the end of the world. While I, too, would love to live in a perfect world, sometimes extra protection is a nice "feature" that comes bundled with the product.

Also, keep in mind this does not affect Linux users, per se. It affects Novell customers. There's a great deal of overlap, to be sure, but I think it's a company's right to take the extra step to protect customers from legal B.S. like this.

Unfortunate this has to happen? Maybe. Indemnification (I think) usually involves contracts, agreed to by both parties (like one company buying another company's product), so it really doesn't affect the license issue.

Re:Indemnity is sign of an already-successful atta (4, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958694)

We shouldn't celebrate just because indemnification is available and say it solves the problem.

I don't think we need to look at this situation in that particular light...

SCO tried going off on yet another FUD tangent (presumeably since as of today, their legal case should cease to exist) by pointing the finger at various Linux-related companies, asking why, if so confident in SCO's lack of a case, they didn't offer to indemnify their clients.

Novel has yet again spiked the ball back, and taken up SCO's challenge.

IMO, the entire situation has gone from legal harassment to playground pissing-contests. "You sound sooooo sure your dog can beat up my dog, why won't you bet on it, you little pussy?". Nothing more, nothing less. In this case, Novel responded by tossing in a quarter and letting its rottweiler off the leash to play with SCO's toy poodle.

Re:Indemnity is sign of an already-successful atta (4, Informative)

LinuxMacWin (79859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958695)

It is not that Novell suddenly decided to indemnify because of FUD. If you read the article, it says that Novell expects to complete its purchase of SUSE Linux today. If Novell did not own SUSE earlier, it could not have offered the indemnity.

"Novell executives are also expected to announce on Monday that the SuSE deal has been completed. That will mean that SuSE's Linux distributions join the Novell family of products and allow Novell to offer customers a complete Linux-solution stack and global technical Linux support."

However, I understand your concern for the FUD maybe becoming successful, and maybe one of the reasons for indemnity.

it seems (4, Insightful)

toddhunter (659837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958541)

That everyone now is using SCO to cash in a little. No doubt Novell, IBM et al have made these funds knowing full well that SCO will never see any of that money because they will never really challenge anyone in court if they can help it.
Meanwhile, these companies get free good publicity.

Re:it seems (2, Interesting)

plierhead (570797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958657)

No doubt Novell, IBM et al have made these funds knowing full well that SCO will never see any of that money because they will never really challenge anyone in court if they can help it.

IBM and Novell want to see this SCO bullshit hit the courts as soon as possible. What they don't want is this albatross hanging around the necks of their linux business. Up until now, SCO could just sit there and let the FUD fester - now IBM and Novell have neutralised the FUD.

The key to understanding all of these corporate moves is always to put yourself in the shoes of the person who has to answer the questions from the god-like beings in the boardroom. YOu can tell them until you're blue in the face that SCO's antics are bullshit - all they think about is the risk of THEM being sued because someone talked them into using that crazy commie software.

Now you can say to them "Don't worry, IBM will lend us their lawyers if it does come to a fight".

The turd that is SCO has been dislodged and is starting its long slow slide down the crapper.

what next? -2 not funny at all (0, Offtopic)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958542)

So now Novelle is offering indemnity to theur Linux customers? What next a colony on the moon?

Re:what next? -2 not funny at all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958748)

So now Novelle is offering indemnity to theur Linux customers? What next a colony on the moon?

You attending your dyslexia therapy sessions more regularly perhaps?

Novell wins either way (4, Interesting)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958548)

Am I wrong, or would 95% of each $699 SCO license fee go to Novell, since they retain ownership of Sys V UNIX?

Theres something fishy going on with SCO and Novell, with Novell coming out of this smelling like roses - I have to wonder if this whole SCO sham is simply a way to boost Novell's image as ' a good guy' at the expense of a company that was insignificant and dying anyway (SCO).

Anyone else finding it difficult to understand these dealings?

Re:Novell wins either way (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958728)

Anyone else finding it difficult to understand these dealings?

If it smells like poo and looks like poo, it could be fruit flan disguised as poo, but more likely it's just poo.

Re:Novell wins either way (2, Insightful)

snol (175626) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958755)

Assuming you're right, then why the hell would they want to indemnify their subscribers so they won't buy licenses? Call me naive but I don't think Novell has that kind of control over SCO.

Re:Novell wins either way (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958804)

The payments to Novell are from licensees at the time of the transfer agreement. SCO gets 100% of new license revenue, which would include licensing of Linux.

Didn't SCO get a court order to.... (5, Informative)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958567)

Was not a court order for SCO to present their "evidence" supposed to have come due today 1/12/04?

If so will not this issue be dieing soon..?

( assuming they really do not have a claim )

Steve

Re:Didn't SCO get a court order to.... (5, Informative)

futuramarama (687115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958758)

As usual, check Groklaw [groklaw.com] for the lastest.

Seems that SCO did indeed submit (so we wait while IBM reads it).

Now its their turn to put a motion to compel discovery, asking for all modifications ever made by IBM to the System V source code.

It seems that if SCO doesn't give in (and its unlikely they will), they can drag this out for quite some time.

Forbes take on this news (4, Interesting)

Camel Pilot (78781) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958600)

You gotta love how Forbes always get it wrong. This Forbes article [forbes.com] by Reed Stevenson

quotes

SCO also warned companies that they must pay to use Linux, which is based on the proprietary Unix operating system, or face litigation.


Emphasis mine of course.

Where does Forbes hire their journalist from? The local high school.

Re:Forbes take on this news (1)

rlillard (571012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958651)

It all depends on what the meaning of the word "based" is.

It sure as hell wan't based on VMS? (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958756)

What's you point?

Re:Forbes take on this news (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958759)

Well, Linux does have a lot in common with Unix. This is the main reason it has become so popular. I think its accurate to say that Unix is the basis for the creation of Linux, but that does not mean that SCO has a case against Linux users. You might infer that from reading the article, but otherwise, this seems to be one of the more balanced Reuters/Forbes articles I have seen about this issue. I still pity any poor loser who has bought SCO stock based on Forbes articles.

Novell (4, Funny)

stefanmi (699755) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958611)

CO: No one will indemnify users against us because they know that we're right! There's no defense against our cliams! later... SCO: Novell is indemnifying users against us because they know we're right! So, let me get this straight... According to SCO, Novell is voluntarily indemnifying users because it knows that by doing so it will end up paying out big cash to SCO to make reparations for using SCO's code? Sure. Makes sense to me. (Can you spot the sarcasm?) That's some really SCO'ed up logic for you!

appropriate anagrams? (1)

ubiquitin (28396) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958621)

Got Linux = Tux Lingo

So I Teach - I Hate SCO

Re:appropriate anagrams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958791)

You actually pay Slashdot for the privilege of posting idiocies like that?

SCO Terrorist Effect (4, Insightful)

ChowyChow (149961) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958624)

Nearly all the posts on Slashdot so far point to Novell and say that they're trying to cash in on SCO.

While it seems that Novell is feeding the fear of users, they're really not. It simply says that Novell is willing to spend big $$$ in legal fees to fend off SCO just as IBM is. However, they are doing this volentarily in order to make extra sales. This helps Linux/open source. Notice that they are not charging extra ($600) for this service.

Think of SCO as the terrorists of Linux. Novell is offering protection, just as if some airline started carrying on board guards. Whether or not you think it's useful, its there for those companies who are not buying into Linux because of SCO's allegations.

Re:SCO Terrorist Effect (5, Interesting)

zurab (188064) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958718)

Think of SCO as the terrorists of Linux. Novell is offering protection ...


So ... either pay Novell the "protection" or SCO will "blow up" your workplace? I am a SuSE user but, quite frankly, this indemnification business is getting too messy. Nobody that I know of has started becoming scared of SCO or paying their license fees, or ditched Linux. If Novell believes SCO is making false accusations, they can follow RedHat and simply sue SCO right there in Utah! They now own SuSE and they have every right to shut SCO up.

morons respond to illegal aliens refusal to be (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958628)

used buy felonious corepirate nazis on the upcoming moon/mars/bars shot with the won-eyed girl, should she be able to produce the previously requested health documentation.

we can see your problem with being forced to travel in the wrong direction in the georgewellian fuddite time machine, but refusing the mars/bars shot, is like saying know thanks to complete freedumb, & some quality face time with the won-eyed girl, should her paypers arrive?

there's probully more to this than has been revealed so far?

consult with/trust in yOUR creators... transportation is not a problem.

turnbulltax, illegal alien edition, selling out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958659)

is anywon surprised?

Risky Business (1)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958635)

It's as risky as...well...eating a melon with a spoon.

Business move... (3, Insightful)

AndyFewt (694753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958644)

If you have had a hand in development of Unix, now own suse and know probably where most of the source code came from in unix (development history too).. wouldnt you make this move and hopefully cash in on some sales.

People might see that Novell have been part of unix development, add that to the current copyright dispute with SCO and that Novell do have some rights. This could swing it for those companies wanting to use linux but dont want the risk. They might go with suse now, get some legal protection and have the perception that novell knows SCO's claims are utter BS and have now covered you from any lawsuit SCO may or may not file.

Just a thought.

Re:Business move... (1)

AndyFewt (694753) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958670)

I forgot to mention.. now with the OSDN legal fund this move by Novell might be a bit late.. Some businesses might now see that they have the option of possible OSDN protection or buy a distro with support and protection..

I smell conspiracy! (5, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958645)

Under the terms of the program, Novell will offer indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Enterprise Linux 8 after January 13, 2004, upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a Novell channel partner

Wow. I smell a great conspiracy theory here. SCO's actually the puppet of Novell etc, to get businesses to buy Linux distros from vendors who will indemnify them from the big bully SCO.

I'd discuss my theory more, but I just heard a click on my telephone line and that sounds like a black helicopter nearing the house!

Looks like (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958658)

Looks like SCO got their wish.... wonder what their FUD tomorrow will be.

Re:Looks like (2, Insightful)

rlillard (571012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958769)

This fight is best fought with legal defense pools such as recently established. Indemnification is what SCO wants, because it narrows their focus to the indemnifiers. It would be better to force SCO to fight these actions one at at time rather that aggregate the users for them.

Novell has a different agenda. It appears to me they are simply trying to buy support contracts.

I am reminded of the story of Brer Rabbit (SCO) and Brer Fox (Novell).

"Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox," says Brer Rabbit, says he, "But please do not fling me in that briar patch, " says he.

SCO Stock (1)

ElliotLee (713376) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958668)

With Novell supporting SCO, do they have a case? What about those who said that SCO was screwed and it was only a matter of time until they went bankrupt?

litigous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7958674)

litigous bastards [sco.com]

if you read the last SCO story today, you'd understand the purpose of the above link. You could also try "miserable failure [google.com] " for a small hint.

All I can say is... (-1, Offtopic)

Baron MoEbiOuS (694801) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958675)

in yur arse SCO !

You scratch mine, I'll scratch yours (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958700)

So, dish it to me if I'm wrong, but all this is a bead bargain: Novel offering indemnity to those who *upgrade* for their supported SuSE package.

While on the face, I can say this snubs the homebrew community, it does make practical business sense... to a very narrow degree... assuming that Marketing accounts for the Enterprise to heed their offer first while the homebrew crowd trickles in over the next 12 months.

I suggest the /. community just accept this without crying foul. If only for support of a kindred spirit as Novell who is no new comer to the *nix sector. Granted, they should indemnify all SuSE users, in a pefect world... but this is not the SIMS, this is the dark scary world of legalese and double talk. A battered and insecure corp such as Novell could do far worse here.

SCO Unix stole Linux source code (1)

ElliotLee (713376) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958714)

736, line 234)? Gengar56: depends on

Lesser of two evils... (2, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958775)

I think understanding this whole IBM / Novel thing from a business perspective, it is inescapable that we are asked to choose the lesser of two evils, but at least in this case the decision is not a hard one. Keep in mind that IBM and Novel are not really friends of Open Source unless it benefits them in a business sense. This does not mean we should not support them in this case, because it benefits us too. But just keep in mind, down the road they may bite us.

Whatever's comming out of the court room (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958798)

must be laughable. Why else would there be all these indemnification announcements today? I figure Novell knows some things we don't (yet). I'm looking forward to the end of SCO.

Novell, SCO and indemnification (3, Interesting)

mrscott (548097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958799)

SCO has been saying for quite a while that companies should indemnify their users if everything thinks that SCO doesn't really have a case. Novell did it, albeit with some catches, which I think are completely reasonable. While Novell has been lauded as of late as the good guy (which I still think they are), it's important to remember that they are still a business, just spent a whole lot of money buying Ximian and SuSE and need to make money to keep going. Yeah - Linux is "free" and all that, but when a company like Novell puts their support behind it, there IS going to be a cost.

What has gotten into Novell!? (5, Funny)

Fefe (6964) | more than 10 years ago | (#7958802)

They have now missed over a dozen opportunities to do something very stupid! Has someone removed the alien face huggers there or what is happening here?

This would have never happened with the old Novell we all loved to loathe.

I find this deeply disturbing. Stupidity does not simply go away just like that. Where is my tinfoil hat again?
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