The next big Linux controversy

Tuesday, 22 July 2003, 2:48 AM EST

Linux resellers are not especially eager to tackle the question, but they know it lurks just over the horizon, thanks to the filing of the SCO-IBM lawsuit earlier this year. Ever since then, chief information officers have been reading that they could be vulnerable to future litigation for using open-source software.

None of this has escaped the attention of Microsoft and other like-minded suppliers of proprietary software. They are making sure customers know all about the protection plans they offer in the event that a company winds up in this sort of legal bind.

But when it comes to the indemnification question, the Linux crowd is ducking the issue. Not SuSE Linux, not Red Hat--not even IBM, the biggest Linux reseller of them all--says it plans to extend an indemnification umbrella to its customers.

"It's one of those things we revisit, but at this juncture, we haven't seen a need to make changes with regard to that," said Mark Webbink, Red Hat's general counsel.

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