May 31, 2003

SCO-IBM Vs Timeline Inc-Microsoft : Better off with Linux

NZheretic writes, "If you are concerned over the treat of lawsuits over intellectual
property then you are actually in a better legal position using
GPL'ed Linux than using Microsoft's products.
While SCO has yet to provide any publicly available substantial
evidence in their case against IBM and Linux, Timeline Inc has
already won a US
Washington Court of Appeal judgment against Microsoft
in
another contract dispute.

Unlike companies like Oracle Corporation and others, Microsoft
chose a cheaper option when licensing Timeline Inc's Data base
technology. That license puts developers and users of Microsoft
SQL Server,Office and other Microsoft product at
risk
of being sued by Timeline Inc for violation of Timeline Inc
patents
.

Microsoft's products do not provide users and developers an
absolute safe haven from the threat from lawsuits based on
violations of intellectual property. Microsoft's EULA provide the
developer and end user with no protection against threat from
current or future intellectual property lawsuits.

"However, since the SCO Group has knowingly sold and distributed
the GPL licensed Linux kernel and other components,
it must by the
terms of the GPL license
, provide all those who receive the
code from them an implicit license to use any intellectual
property, patents or trade secrets which SCO owns and is used by
the GPL'ed source code. That implicit license to that SCO
intellectual property is also granted to anybody who subsequently
receives the GPL source.

"The GPL only grants the right, for reasons of intellectual
property infringement or contractual obligations, to stop
distributing the GPL'e binaries and source code if the
conditions are imposed upon you by a third party. Since SCO
claims ownership the intellectual property in question, it must
grant all subsequent recipients of the GPL licensed source code
SCO has distributed and any GPL'ed derivative, the same implicit
licence and right to SCO's intellectual property the code imposes
upon.

"SCO has acknowledged deals with Suse and Lindows to distribute
SCO's intellectual property in GPL'ed Linux, but the GPL
license does not grant anyone or any organization the right to
append extra terms and conditions upon the recipients of the GPL
licensed source code
.

"It is very easy to effectively fold the current development
branches of the Linux kernel and any other GPL'ed code back into
SCO's distributed GPL'ed sources. This would grant the same
implicit license for the infringed SCO intellectual property to
the all the current development.

"You are in a better legal position using the GPL'ed Linux platform
and other GPL'ed software, than you are using Microsoft's or any
other closed source software."

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