Developers and users should ignore the copyright lawsuit filed by the SCO Group against IBM and should continue to work with and deploy Linux without fear of the consequences, according to MontaVista Software Inc., a developer of embedded Linux software.
The SCO lawsuit, filed in March, alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and other illegal actions related to IBM's Linux business. The suit seeks at least US$1 billion in damages from IBM.
SCO has also warned commercial Linux users they may be liable for intellectual property violations that, it alleges, exist in the Linux source code.
In a statement Friday, MontaVista gave several reasons for users and developers not to be sidetracked by SCO's legal moves. These include:
-- the majority of opinion in the open source and business communities is that SCO is very unlikely to prevail in this lawsuit and has to date provided no real evidence to back up any of its claims.
-- SCO has never shown a single instance of copyright infringement by any Linux user, and most people examining the issues believe that no legitimate claims exist.
-- the technology in question is likely not protected anyway as detailed knowledge of the Unix OS has been available in libraries for 30 years and a full Unix specification was distributed by the U.S. government as part of the Posix standards.
-- even in the unlikely event that SCO eventually shows that either trade secrets or copyrighted material reside in Linux, there is no legal basis for them ever to charge individual developers for use of that code.
SCO's reasons for launching the lawsuit have more to do with business than technology, according to MontaVista, which is based in Sunnyvale, California.
"Many in the business and open source communities believe that the lawsuit was filed because SCO was otherwise unable to run a profitable business, and that the lawsuit is a thinly veiled attempt to be acquired," the company said in the statement.
MontaVista urged developers to continue as normal.
"Delay will slow your access to key technology and business innovation," the company said. "While SCO's actions may present a visible, short-term annoyance, we believe the risk of any outcome adverse to Linux is very low."