SCO Group Inc., which claims ownership of code contained in Linux, on Monday said Web-site hosting provider EV1Servers.Net has signed a licensing agreement covering its use of the open-source operating system.
Financial details were not disclosed, but an SCO spokesman said the deal was worth "north of seven figures."
EV1Servers, a division of Everyones Internet, manages more than 20,000 Web servers, most of which run Linux, Stowell said. The license covers all the Linux servers. SCO licenses the use of its code for a starting price of $699 per server processor. EV1Servers' deal qualified for a volume discount.
Robert Marsh, CEO at Everyones Internet, said in a statement that the SCO agreement eliminated "uncertainty for our client's hosting infrastructure."
"Our current and future users now enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their web sites and data are hosted on a SCO IP- (intellectual property) compliant platform," Marsh said.
Marsh wasn't available for an interview.
SCO has filed a $5 billion lawsuit against IBM, claiming the company violated its Unix license by inserting some of SCO's copyrighted code into Linux. IBM has denied the claim.
SCO also has threatened legal action against companies refusing to pay royalties for the use of Linux, and has challenged in court the legality of the general public license governing the use of the operating system.
SCO's Linux claims are also the basis for its suit against Novell, which sold the Unix System 5 code to SCO in 1995, when SCO went by the name of Caldera. Novell has claimed SCO doesn't have the right to demand licensing fees.
Red Hat Inc., the top Linux seller, also has challenged SCO's claims in its own suit against the software maker.
In the midst of such a legal tangle, business users of Linux, in general, have continued to use the operating system, choosing to wait for court decisions before deciding whether to buy a SCO license, studies from market researcher International IDC have shown.
"For the most part, people are not changing their approach for acquiring open-source software," IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky said. "They're watching this case, but, generally, they're not changing what they're doing."
Nevertheless, SCO claims a "handful" of major global companies and about the same number of small and midsize businesses have bought Linux licenses from SCO, said Stowell, who declined to give an exact number.