Germans fine SCO for Linux claims

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Germans fine SCO for Linux claims

The SCO Group is to appeal against a €10,000 (£6,360) fine for violating a German court's ruling that it must cease claiming that the Linux source code violates its intellectual property.

The fine comes nearly three months after a regional court in Munich issued the court order in response to a suit brought by the non-profit Linux conference organisation, LinuxTag and IT consulting firm Tarent.

The two groups sought the injunction to prevent SCO from making claims about intellectual property violations in Linux without presenting any evidence, according to LinuxTag spokesman Andreas Gebhard.

In March, SCO launched a $3bn (£1.91bn) lawsuit against IBM, claiming the computer maker had inappropriately contributed code to the Linux operating system. SCO has also claimed that Linux contains code that was copied line for line from its Unix System V source code, as well as "obfuscated" code that is almost identical to that in System V.

SCO has been criticised for not revealing evidence of Linux source code violations. When the company did reveal two portions of allegedly illegal code at its SCO Forum user conference two weeks ago, they were quickly dissected by the Linux community, which claimed that both portions were legal.

Since the Munich court ruling, SCO has been ordered not to say in Germany that the Linux source code contains intellectual property violations, Gebhard said. "They are not allowed to say this in Germany because this is not true. They cannot justify this," he said.

In early June, SCO shut down its German website in an effort to remove all offending material.

However, the company had neglected to remove a document entitled, "Letter to SCO's Partners" from its Sco.de website, according to a SCO spokesman. It was this page that led to the €10,000 fine, he added.

SCO has since removed the offending page, but a similar page can be found on SCO's US website at http://www.sco.com/scosource/letter_to_partners.html.

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service

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