Red Hat has become the latest company to offer an indemnification scheme for its users against possible legal action, and is promising to amend any copyright-infringing Linux code.
The Linux software provider joins Hewlett Packard and Novell in offering an indemnification scheme. The Open Source Development Lab is also creating a $10m Linux legal defence fund.
The moves come in response to claims by SCO Group that its intellectual property has been added to Linux without its consent. The firm wants Linux users to buy a licence and is threatening legal action if they do not.
Red Hat's Open Source Assurance Programme will apply to all current and future Red Hat Enterprise Linux licence holders, and includes a legal fund.
The company has also added an intellectual property warranty ensuring that, if any Red Hat Enterprise Linux code is found to infringe copyright, the company will replace it.
Bryan Sims, vice president of business development at Red Hat, said in a statement: "Enterprise platform deployments are key investments that should be protected.
"Customers [now] have the security of a trusted partner to guarantee a resolution should there be an issue for continued use."
The scheme wraps in Red Hat's Open Source Now Fund created last August to assist companies with legal expenses from any case arising out of developing code under the GNU General Purpose Licence.
But speaking to vnunet.com last week, SCOsource vice president Chris Sontag was scathing about the HP and Novell indemnification schemes.
"Neither of them have any intellectual property basis. They are saying 'we will stand up and provide legal services for you if you are sued over intellectual property issues over Linux,'" he explained.
"But there are lots of qualifications and limitations and you have to pay extra money to get the indemnification. They are also capped. So their umbrella is very fragile in what it's protecting."
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