Open Source Development Labs is to pay the legal fees for Linux creator Linus Torvalds and other lab employees who have been ensnared in a lawsuit between IBM and The SCO Group.
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Last week, Torvalds, who is a fellow of the open-source consortium, was subpoenaed along with OSDL chief executive officer Stuart Cohen, to hand over documents related to the suit.
IBM and Unix developer SCO are sparring over allegations that IBM misappropriated trade secrets and undertook other illegal action to destroy the economic value of Unix to benefit its Linux services unit.
SCO sued IBM for $1bn over the claims last March, and IBM has since countersued, claiming that SCO violated its Unix licence and infringed upon IBM patents.
The two companies are now in the midst of a costly legal battle and both sides have issued a wave of subpoenas in an effort to shore up evidence for their individual claims.
OSDL said it has "agreed to fund legal representation for Torvalds and any other employee of the lab who may be involved in the litigation."
Its members include Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Intel, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell and SuSE Linux.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service