OSDL to pay for Torvalds' lawyers

Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) said last Friday that it will pay the legal fees for Linux creator Linus Torvalds and other lab employees who have been ensnared in a lawsuit between IBM and The SCO Group.

Torvalds, who is a fellow of the open source consortium, was subpoenaed Wednesday, along with OSDL Chief Executive Officer Stuart Cohen and others, to hand over documents related to the suit.

IBM and Unix developer SCO are currently sparring over allegations that IBM misappropriated trade secrets and undertook other illegal action to destroy the economic value of Unix in order to benefit its Linux services unit. SCO sued IBM for US$1 billion over the claims last March, and IBM has since countersued, claiming that SCO violated its Unix license and infringed upon IBM patents.

The two companies are now in the midst of a costly legal battle and both sides have issued a wave of subpoenas recently in an effort to shore up evidence for their individual claims.

OSDL said Friday that it has "agreed to fund legal representation for Torvalds and any other employee of the Lab who may be involved in the litigation."

OSDL's members include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Intel, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell and SuSE Linux AG.

An IBM representative in the U.K. declined to comment further on the subpoenas last week, saying only that they were part of the court process.

OSDL is represented by the law firm AterWynne LLP, in Portland, Oregon.

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