SCO selling Linux licenses online

The controversial software company quietly begins taking orders from companies that want to use Linux with its blessing. Meanwhile, SCO's main Web site is still offline due to MyDoom attacks.

David Becker Staff Writer, CNET News.com
David Becker
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David Becker
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Controversial software seller the SCO Group has launched an online-ordering site for companies that want to use the open-source Linux operating system with SCO's blessing.

The Web site debuted quietly last week. It enables companies that use Linux to purchase a license that covers SCO's Unix System V, portions of which SCO claims were illegally incorporated into the source code of Linux.

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Full licenses cost $699 per server central processing unit (CPU) or $199 for a desktop PC that runs Linux. An annual license costs $149 per server CPU or $49 per desktop PC.

SCO rattled the technology world last year, when it sued IBM, claiming that the computing giant illegally incorporated source code from the Unix operating system, which SCO controls, into Linux software. The case has since ballooned into a far-ranging attack on Linux, attracting legal attention from Linux leader Red Hat and the ire of Linux supporters worldwide.

SCO began selling Unix licenses last year for companies that wish to continue using Linux with SCO's consent. The company backed off a plan to bill Linux users but recently expanded the licensing terms to include overseas Linux users.

SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said the online ordering site was launched to make compliance easier for companies SCO hasn't contacted individually. "We want to make the licenses more accessible to any business that's interested," he said.

SCO has declined to reveal how many businesses have purchased Linux licenses, but the activity is believed to be minimal, as businesses wait for the IBM case to be resolved and rely on legal indeminfication offers from major Linux sellers.

Meanwhile, SCO was still using its alternate Web address Monday as it waited for denial-of-service attacks the MyDoom virus instigated to stop. MyDoom attacks crippled SCO's regular site on Feb. 1. The virus is programmed to stop the attacks on Feb. 12, but infected PCs with incorrectly set dates were still causing trouble last week.

MyDoom hits had waned by 90 percent as of the weekend, Stowell said, "but that 10 percent is still more than our server could handle."