SuSE cites contract as protection from SCO

SuSE Linux isn't losing any sleep over a legal battle brewing between IBM and the SCO Group, which has accused the U.S. hardware and software company of, among other things, copying Unix source code into the open-source Linux operating system. But SCO, which owns the copyright to Unix, has been losing money and could surprise the German Linux distributor with an unexpected wake-up call to round some up.

"SuSE and its customers have nothing to worry about because the company has a contractual agreement with SCO within the framework of the United Linux initiative," said Christian Egle, a spokesman at SuSE. "Although we have agreed to keep details of the contract confidential, we can say today with assurance that neither SuSE nor its customers need to be concerned about facing any demands from SCO. That's how we read the contract."

Whether SCO reads the text the same way remains to be seen.

SuSE hired over a dozen SCO programmers when the two companies, together with Brazil's Conectiva and Japan's Turbolinux, formed the UnitedLinux consortium.

To date, SCO's legal action is concentrated on a US$1 billion lawsuit alleging that IBM misappropriated Unix trade secrets by copying code into Linux.

IBM has denied any wrongdoing and filed a response claiming just that to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

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