The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Smooth sailing for Linux seen

New Delhi, May 30: The implementation of open source software, Linux, will have no problems in India from litigation filed by SCO, the owner of the Unix operating system, and distributors of Linux that had suspended its sales and support of the Linux operating system.

SCO had created ripples in the Indian market when it suspended all its operations. However, government agencies, private firms and its competitor feel that it is a gimmick that will not affect the use of Linux in India.

According to P. S. Dhekne, head of computer division at Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, “It is case of pushing a product against a popular product. Linux is being seen as a threat by the proprietary software developers (like Microsoft and Unix). This has led to the growing resentment. But it will not have any impact in India, since there are many sales and support service providers for Linux. SCO has only 10 per cent or less market share in India.”

Senior director and head of the software development division in the ministry of communications and information technology agrees. “It is a matter of litigation by SCO against IBM and it will not have a major affect on the Linux based applications in India. It is yet not clear who is at fault. Though it seems to be an Intellectual Property Rights violation issue, this seems more of blame game and an attempt to make some commercial benefit.”

The views should please the various state governments like West Bengal and Kerala that are closely watching the developments, as they have been the leading advocates for open source software.

A senior IBM official said: “The litigation will not have any impact on Indian operations. The customers have seen and realised the benefits of open source software and it is fast catching up.”

The leading Linux sales and support service providers in the world and India, Red Hat, feels it will be able to provide sales and service to its customers and also to new users of Linux without any problem worldwide and also in India.

“We have 95 per cent market share in India. As a result the users of Linux in India should not be concerned about the litigation, since we have not been made a party to it. Majority of the clients include big companies and state governments,” said Sachin Dabir, head enterprises sales, Red Hat Indian Private Ltd.

According to a senior IT consultant, Venkatesh Hariharan and a senior member of free Software Foundation, “In a worst case scenario, even if the court ruling goes in favour of SCO, the Linux has a team of developers who can develop product using a new source code to perform the same operation. Moreover, SCO has been good with small operations and will not have any impact.”

The company had recently warned that Linux is an unauthorised derivative of Unix and that legal liability for the use of Linux may extend to commercial users. SCO issued this alert to nearly 1,500 firms in the US.

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