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Collateral Damage: Page 2 of 2

Fact is, the SCO suit, regardless of its substance, crimps Linux's uptake. If you're an enterprise considering moving part of your Windows or Unix environment to Linux, you're going to wait out this suit. If SCO wins its case, proving that IBM allowed some of the licensed Unix source code to be released to the Linux community, does that mean current Linux customers must somehow extract that "tainted" code or replace their systems? If IBM settles, will that clear the way for all current Linux variants?

These are questions the courts or the two vendors will answer over the next few weeks or months. More costly, however, is the long-term damage to Linux's momentum and credibility. Given SCO's ability to fling a wrench into open-source development, enterprises will ask themselves whether this model is stable after all. Despite the operating system's considerable advances in terms of scalability, performance and support, Linux still comes off like a renegade movement.

If SCO's intent was to pick up a little settlement money, it may succeed. But beware the collateral damage. It's one thing to do battle with one of your biggest partners; it's another to aggravate an entire computing movement.

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