Novell hails Linux, criticizes SCO

Novell officials at the 2003 LinuxWorld Conference & Expo on Tuesday hailed their company's commitment to Linux and even criticized The SCO Group for its attempts to extract licensing fees for use of the open source platform.

In addition to stressing the benefits of the company's Monday acquisition of open source software vendor Ximian Inc., Novell said the GroupWise collaboration platform will run entirely on Linux, including the client and server, in the first half of 2004.

But the most controversial statements during a joint Novell-Ximian press conference came at the tail end of the event, when Novell Chairman and CEO Jack Messman took a not-so-veiled shot at Unix vendor SCO, which is claiming that it owns the rights to Unix technologies in Linux and is therefore owed license fees by companies such as IBM Corp. SCO is suing IBM. Novell sold Unix copyrights to SCO in 1995, after Novell had acquired them from AT&T Corp. Novell in May said it never transferred the copyrights and patents of Unix System V when it sold the software to SCO in 1995.

"As you know, there is pending and threatened litigation. There have been a number of unsubstantiated claims of intellectual property violations," with SCO trying to collect license fees from Linux users, Messman said. "I think that there's a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) being thrown at Linux that might be considered helpful to (Unix), and I have to admire the steps Red Hat took yesterday," he added.

Red Hat has filed a complaint against SCO Group with the intention of showing that Red Hat technologies do not infringe on SCO's intellectual property and to hold SCO accountable for "unfair and deceptive actions." Red Hat announced that it has filed a lawsuit against SCO in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Novell Tuesday also said its eDirectory software is being supported on the Red Hat Linux AS and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 Linux distributions.

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