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Lloyd's underwriters to cover legal risks arising from open-source use

Lloyd’s of London syndicates are poised to underwrite the use of open source software by users who are worried about being sued by proprietary software makers claiming their software patents have been violated.

Lloyd’s of London syndicates are poised to underwrite the use of open source software by users who are worried about being sued by proprietary software makers claiming their software patents have been violated.

Proprietary software company SCO has already started legal cases against rival open-source software suppliers and Linux users, after claiming its patented code was wrongly used in the development of Linux.

Microsoft has also warned users that using open-source solutions leaves them open to being sued, although it has not brought any of its own actions.

US-based insurance firm Open Source Risk Management (OSRM) is arranging insurance for Linux users via brokers. The risk will be underwritten by several Lloyd’s syndicates, said OSRM.

OSRM said the soon-to-be-available insurance will cover the use of the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and scripting languages Perl, PHP and Python. Other open-source solutions may be added in the future.

The cover will span all versions of Linux. At the moment, the likes of Novell and Red Hat offer Linux indemnification for their own Linux distributions.

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