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MontaVista swats back at SCO

The company, a specialist in Linux-based software for embedded devices, advises customers not to pay anything to SCO for Linux licensing plans.

Open-source software maker MontaVista Software is advising customers not to pay any money to The SCO Group, which recently offered licensing plans that cover most versions of Linux.

In a statement posted on its Web site, MontaVista said SCO's claims are without merit and should not deter businesses from adopting Linux.

"While SCO's actions may present a visible, short-term annoyance, we believe the risk of any outcome adverse to Linux is very low and is nothing compared to the risk you face by staying with outmoded and proprietary embedded platform software," the statement said.

SCO representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SCO rattled the technology world early this year by filing a $3 billion lawsuit against IBM, claiming that the computing giant illegally incorporated into its Linux software source code from the Unix operating system that SCO controls. SCO further riled the Linux community by sending letters to 1,500 information technology managers, warning them that any use of Linux could expose them to intellectual property suits.

SCO tried to capitalize on its claims earlier this month, when it unveiled a licensing plan for businesses who wish to continue using Linux with SCO's blessing. Rates are comparatively steep--$1,399 to run Linux on a server with a single CPU and $32 to use it on an embedded non-PC gadget with computing power.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MontaVista specializes in selling Linux for embedded computing systems in consumer electronics devices, including mobile phones and set-top boxes. The company said in its statement that SCO's claims are particularly weak in relation to embedded devices.

"Even in the unlikely event that SCO eventually shows that either trade secrets or copyrighted material reside in Linux, there is no legal basis for them ever to charge individual OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for use of that code," the statement said.

SCO earlier this week revealed segments of allegedly infringing Linux code, prompting swift rebuttals from open-source backers.