As LinuxWorld Expo gets under way, Red Hat launched an Open Source Assurance Program designed to offer some protection for customers if they get hit with a copyright infringement case from the SCO Group. As part of the program, Red Hat promised that it will extend to all current and future subscription customers an Intellectual Property Warranty, which would replace potentially infringing code and, more significantly, assistance with customers' legal expenses associated with any potential litigation, the company said on Tuesday.
Red Hat, the leading Linux provider, has been under increasing pressure to offer customers litigation assistance following moves by Novell and Hewlett-Packard to offer their respective customers legal protection and the recent creation of a legal defense fund by the Open Source Development Lab, Intel and IBM.
Unix company SCO, Lindon, Utah, which filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against IBM inst March, insists that it intends to file a major copyright infingement case against a big Linux customer by the end of February. That suit would challenge both existing copyright law and the General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is developed.
Red Hat's IP warranty, unveiled on Tuesday morning, basically ensures that customers can continue to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux and related solutions without interruption regardless of the legal proceedings, a Red Hat spokeswoman said. The warranty is available for customers with registered subscription to Red Hat Enterprise Linux or related solutions, the Raleigh, N.C., company said.
The Open Source Now Fund, also announced Tuesday, is part of the Open Source Assurance program. Red Hat currently has $1 million in the fund, which covers legal fees if someone encounters a lawsuit, a spokeswoman said.