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HP promises to indemnify users of Linux on its gear

SHARE HP promises to indemnify users of Linux on its gear

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Clearing a legal cloud around the Linux operating system, computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. will announce today it will protect its customers from Utah-based SCO Group Inc.'s intellectual property claims if the software is running on HP equipment.

HP's indemnification program stems from recent threats by SCO, which claims that some of its intellectual property has seeped into Linux. SCO, which is based in Lindon, has threatened to sue companies that deploy Linux unless they pay a licensing fee.

The notion has angered advocates of Linux, which was developed over the past decade by a global community of programmers who redistribute their code on the condition that it be redistributed freely.

SCO has based many of its threats on the idea that Linux end users are left liable because the GNU General Public License under which the software is distributed protects distributors but not the companies and people who use the software.