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Linux lab hires lawyers for Torvalds

The Open Source Development Lab will pay to represent Linus Torvalds, the Linux operating system founder who this week was subpoenaed in connection with a $3 billion suit against IBM.

The Open Source Development Lab will pay its law firm to represent Linus Torvalds, the Linux operating system founder and leader who this week was subpoenaed in connection with a $3 billion suit against IBM.

OSDL, a consortium set up to improve the open-source operating system, is Torvalds' employer. The lab is funded by IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Cisco Systems, Computer Associates International, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Nokia and many other significant computing industry companies.

"OSDL has agreed to fund legal representation for Torvalds and any other employees of the lab who may become involved in the litigation," the consortium said in a statement released Friday.


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SCO Group, owner of key Unix copyrights, sued IBM in March, alleging that Big Blue transferred technology from proprietary Unix to open-source Linux against the terms of its contract with SCO. The suit has expanded significantly: SCO now seeks at least $3 billion in damages and has launched a frontal assault on the General Public License (GPL) that governs Linux.

IBM has denied the allegations and launched its own countersuit, including four patent-infringement claims. Top Linux seller Red Hat has jumped into the fray with a suit of its own against SCO that seeks to put the matter to rest as quickly as possible.

SCO subpoenaed Torvalds and OSDL Chief Executive Stuart Cohen on Wednesday in the case. The two will be represented by the AterWynne law firm.

Also requested to provide legal information were John Horsley, general counsel of Torvalds' former employer Transmeta, and Richard Stallman, who is founder of the Free Software Foundation, creator of the GPL, and the man whose GNU's Not Unix project provided the intellectual and technological framework for Linux.

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