Linux group checks SCO fine print

The group set up to represent New Zealand's Linux community, the Open Source Society, is seeking legal advice over SCO's Linux licensing scheme, which the company last week extended to New Zealand.

The group set up to represent New Zealand’s Linux community, the Open Source Society, is seeking legal advice over SCO's Linux licensing scheme, which the company last week extended to New Zealand.

But the society and large local users see no reason to pay the licensing fee SCO is claiming.

Utah-based SCO claims to own intellectual property that makes up part of the Linux open source operating system and has announced the "availability" of its intellectual property licence in New Zealand and Australia. Desktop users are expected to pay $A285 ex GST per processor while servers will be licensed at $A999 ex GST per processor.

NZOSS president Peter Harrison says the society believes the licence is invalid, and despite being asked to explain which parts of the code are copyright, SCO has been unable or unwilling to do so.

"We asked in November for it to disclose which parts do infringe on copyright, but the only reply we had was that the licence would be forthcoming and that buying that would mitigate any infringement."

Harrison says that's not good enough, as SCO is asking users to pay up without explaining what the money is buying.

"We've asked to see a copy of this new licence and will be getting a lawyer to look over it."

Two of the country's largest Linux users are not about to reach for their chequebooks either.

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