Novell Supports Enterprise Linux Customers with New Linux Indemnification Program

January 13, 2004

Novell today announced it will offer its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server customers a new indemnification program designed to provide an additional measure of protection against certain intellectual property challenges to Linux.


- Novell stands behind SUSE Linux Enterprise software with indemnification
- Novell contractual and intellectual property rights provide legal foundation against potential copyright infringement claims

Novell today announced it will offer its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server customers a new indemnification program designed to provide an additional measure of protection against certain intellectual property challenges to Linux.

With the closing of Novell's acquisition of SUSE Linux and the addition of the SUSE Linux distribution to Novell's product offerings, Novell is now unique among Linux vendors in offering a full stack Linux solution, providing global technical support for Linux, and, through its new Novell Linux Indemnification Program, giving enterprise customers additional reassurance about deploying Linux in their organizations.

"Novell is committed to the success of Linux," said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell. "With our new indemnification program, we are reducing the barriers to the adoption of Linux in the enterprise." Linux and open source solutions have grown rapidly in recent years, moving from peripheral uses into more business critical functions. As enterprises consider making strategic investments in Linux, they face the question of indemnification, a standard component of most traditional proprietary software offerings but generally unavailable for Linux. Novell's Linux Indemnification Program will afford qualifying Novell Linux customers a measure of protection against potential copyright infringement claims.

"This is an important next step in the industry's move to make Linux safe from litigation for end customers," said Martin Fink, vice president of Linux, HP. "Since September, only HP customers have been able to move forward with confidence in their business-critical Linux environments. We are pleased to see and are in favor of Novell's effort to extend protection and peace of mind to its customer base."

Novell's Linux Indemnification Program

Novell's indemnification program is designed for enterprise customers of Linux. Under the program:

  • Indemnification is offered for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 and who after January 12, 2004 obtain upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a participating Novell or SUSE Linux channel partner.
  • Customers must accept the program terms and conditions including caps and other limitations.

Additional details on the program are available at

Novell's Unique Legal Rights

Novell also made available today additional information on the unique contractual and intellectual property rights it holds because of its position in the historical ownership chain of UNIX and UnixWare. These rights include:

  • Novell's rights to license UNIX technology pursuant to a Technology License Agreement between SCO and Novell, including Novell's right to authorize its customers to use that UNIX technology in their internal business operations.
  • Novell's rights to take action on behalf of SCO under legacy UNIX SVRX licenses pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement between SCO and Novell.
  • As previously confirmed by Novell, copyright registrations on UNIX SVRX releases, consistent with Novell's position that it retained ownership of these copyrights.

Copies of relevant correspondence between Novell and SCO are available at The rights reflected in these documents are part of the foundation for the indemnification program Novell is announcing today.

Special Program for Current Linux Users

For those enterprise users of Linux who are not currently Novell SUSE Linux customers, Novell will soon announce a special program whereby they can become Novell SUSE Linux customers and participate in the indemnification program. "We believe our new Linux indemnification program, supported by our unique legal rights, will provide enterprise customers with one more reason to include Linux in their information technology plans," Messman said.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release includes statements that are not historical in nature and that may be characterized as "forward-looking statements," including those related to future financial and operating results, benefits and synergies of the company's brands and strategies, future opportunities and the growth of the market for open source solutions. You should be aware that Novell's actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations of Novell management and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, Novell's ability to integrate acquired operations and employees, Novell's success in executing its Linux strategies, Novell's ability to deliver on its one Net vision of the Internet, Novell's ability to take a competitive position in the Linux industry, the outcome of potential Linux-related litigation, business conditions and the general economy, market opportunities, potential new business strategies, competitive factors, sales and marketing execution, shifts in technologies or market demand, and the other factors described in Novell's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the 2002 fiscal year. Novell disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this press release.

About Novell
Novell, Inc. is a leading provider of information solutions that deliver secure identity management (Novell® Nsure™), Web application development (Novell exteNd™) and cross-platform networking services (Novell Nterprise™), all supported by strategic consulting and professional services (Novell NgageSM). Active in the open source community with its Ximian and SUSE Linux brands, Novell is firmly committed to open source and offers comprehensive Linux products and services for the enterprise, from the desktop to the server. Novell's vision of one Net - a world without information boundaries - helps customers realize the value of their information securely and economically. For more information, call Novell's Customer Response Center at (888) 321-4CRC (4272) or visit Press should visit

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