Software giant Novell has become the latest firm to provide cash support for its Linux customers against legal claims of copyright infringements.
It said it will defend its customers against potential threats by SCO Group Inc., and other third parties.
SCO, early distributors of the Linux operating system, has been threatening to sue Linux users since last year. Another group called Open Source Development Labs, said it had managed to raise $3m for a fund to cover the cost of defending users and distributors of the operating system. While Intel and IBM said they had contributed to the pot, OSDL said it wanted to attract $7m more.
The legal wrangling is over ownership of some of the key elements of the 30-year-old Unix operating system from which Linux was created. SCO has claimed to own parts of the code, and has argued that developers and distributors of Linux have violated copyright.
Linux is developed by a global community of programmers, unlike Unix or Microsoft Windows, and distributed with no or minimal cost, which makes it particularly attractive to developing nations and smaller organizations.
SCO has already taken action against IBM, and has sent out warnings to organizations using Linux.