Open Source Development Labs Inc. (OSDL) aims to establish a US$10 million defence fund to pay the legal fees of Linux users sued by The SCO Group Inc., plus those of OSDL employees, including Linus Torvalds, it said Monday. Torvalds is the Finnish creator of the Linux operating system.

The Linux Legal Defense Fund, which has so far received US$3 million in donations from IBM Corp., Intel Corp., MontaVista Software Inc. and others, aims to send the message that OSDL will stand up to The SCO Group’s threats, the OSDL said.

About 6,000 Linux users have been charged with violating the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act by The SCO Group of Lindon, Utah, which believes that application binary interfaces have been copied from its Unix System V code into Linux, without proper authorization or copyright attribution.

In addition, IBM in Armonk, N.Y., was sued for more than US$1 billion by SCO in March 2003. SCO claimed that IBM had destroyed its Unix business by illegally contributing software to Linux. Torvalds and other OSDL employees have been subpoenaed to provide information in the lawsuit between the two companies.

OSDL, a global consortium headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., aims to raise the fund to US$10 million, and will accept further donations from individuals, companies and organizations, it said.

IBM, Intel and MontaVista were not immediately available for comment.



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