3 September 2003 SCO Group is to step up its fight to make users pay for using the open source operating system Linux by sending out official invoices demanding payment. The invoices will be in the post before the end of the month.
The new tactic follows on from the sending of letters sent by SCO to 1,500 of the world’s largest companies demanding payment for their use of Linux. So far, only one company has paid up and that is rumoured to be either Microsoft or Sun Microsystems.
SCO has based its campaign on its claim that Linux contains intellectual property copied from SCO’s System V and UnixWare operating systems. SCO is also suing IBM for donating Unix code to Linux, which, it says, rightfully belong to SCO.
Under the terms of the 1985 Unix licensing agreement between the two companies, SCO says that all development of the Unix operating system undertaken by IBM belong to SCO, not IBM. However, IBM disputes that interpretation of the agreement.
SCO has revealed only small sections of Linux code that it claims are contentious, encouraging cynics to suggest that it started the campaign because its sales were falling and, more seriously, it risked running out of cash before the end of the year.
However, despite pouring cold water on SCO’s claims, major Linux distributors such as Red Hat and SuSE, as well as hardware vendors that sell servers with Linux pre-installed, have refused to offer customers indemnification should SCO succeed in winning its court cases.