As Tom Cary stated, HP is stepping up to the plate with its Linux-product indemnification program. Whether HP's Linux-product indemnification program is based upon some Unix license piggybacking notion, HP's risk analysis, or a sincere commitment to GNU-Linux, the other first-level Unix licensees should be pretty much in the same or similar circumstances as HP as to providing a Linux-product indemnification program.
Isn't it time the other first-level Unix licensees that claim to support GNU-Linux step up to the plate as HP has done? Should they not also, then, provide a comparable Linux-product indemnification program?
In some ways indemnification programs and Unix License piggybacking could be a sort of win-win situation. SCO is compensated for its Unix code that might be in the GNU-Linux operating system. Meanwhile Linux-product customers of Unix licensees that provide indemnification for possible SCO copyright enforcement actions are protected.
There is an interesting little, but important, sidebar to that. Some Unix licensees such as HP and IBM have perpetual Unix licenses. Thus, if they can piggyback their Linux products on top of their existing Unix licenses, SCO does not gain any additional revenues from such Unix license piggybacking. Yet, SCO has been compensated for any of its Unix code that might have seeped into GNU-Linux because SCO (and or its predecessors in title to Unix) were compensated when the perpetual Unix licenses were issued -- and paid for.
Thus, indemnified Linux-product users can use their Linux products without fear of reprisals from SCO. Moreover, SCO is justly compensated (which is what SCO says is all it wants for all this SCO v Linux stuff) either directly, or indirectly via its predecessors in title to Unix.
Of course, this particular scenario only happens if Unix-Linux piggybacking is viable.
Another scenario is one in which Linux products are indemnified by their distributors without any Unix license piggybacking. There too, indemnified Linux-product users can use their Linux products without fear of reprisals from SCO and SCO gets compensated. However, as Blake Stowell notes in such a scenario SCO gets direct and additional compensation because: SCO's position on this is that [indemnified] customers can either purchase a license now, or they can have [the Linux product distributor] pay for this license later. Either way, a license will have to be in place to properly compensate SCO for this intellectual property.
Hewlett Packard's offer to indemnify its Linux-product customers from SCO lawsuits certainly is attractive. Moreover, HP is using that indemnification offer to grab customers away from other Unix licensees and vendors such as SUN -- and perhaps even SCO also.
However, any person or organization relying on HP's indemnification offer ought to make its own risk assessments, particularly as to just how rock-solid is HP's indemnification promise. Our analysis here today is substantially handicapped because HP has not been fully forthcoming nor has HP made full disclosure of all the parameters of its indemnification program.
Nevertheless, Hewlett Packard's Linux-product indemnification program is creative, shows leadership, and shows a significant commitment to the GNU-Linux operating system.
Much of the SCO v IBM, Red Hat v SCO, and the in general SCO v Linux controversy involves the underlying architecture of the GNU/Linux operating system and Linux kernel structure plus Linux and Unix source code. Perhaps you would like to have a better understanding of some of this stuff so that you can have a better understanding of what all the SCO v Linux feud is all about.
If you already are generally familiar with Linux at an intermediate or advanced level and would like to know more about the underlying architecture of the GNU/Linux operating system and Linux kernel structure, you might want to check Linux Kernel Development, Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition, and The Linux Process Manager: The internals of scheduling, interrupts and signals.
If you are not generally familiar with Linux and would like to know more about the underlying architecture of the GNU/Linux operating system and Linux kernel structure, you might want to start with Red Hat Linux 9 Bible, Red Hat Linux 9 Professional Secrets, or Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed. These books are for intermediate to advanced readers.
Linux Kernel Development, Robert Love, ISBN: 0672325128, Sams. Price: $45.
Red Hat Linux 9 Bible, Christopher Negus, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-3938-8, $50
Red Hat Linux 9 Professional Secrets, Naba Barkakati, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-4133-1, $50
Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed, Bill Ball and Hoyt Duff, Sams, ISBN: 0672325888, $50
Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition, Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00213-0, $50
The Linux Process Manager: The internals of scheduling, interrupts and signals, By John O'Gorman, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-84771-9, $35
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