Linux development got a little more business-like last week when Linux pioneer Linus Torvalds said developers contributing to the open-source code operating system now would have to sign off on their work.
Toward that end, he outlined the Developer's Certificate of Origin (DCO), which would require contributors to sign a pledge that their code is original and authentic. In theory, that could ease corporate concerns about the history of code that developers put into key systems.
The DCO also may help insulate developers from legal battles like the $1 billion lawsuit pending between The SCO Group and IBM. SCO claims IBM illegally violated SCO's ownership of the Unix license by offering code for use in Linux. SCO's legal campaign also extends to several high-profile corporate customers running Linux in their networks.
In that respect, the suit affects other Linux players as well. Novell, for example, offers indemnification on its latest release for users and VARs.
If the DCO alleviates fears among enterprise companies that using open-source software could make them a target for litigation, then Novell has even more to smile about when it comes to its efforts to give NetWare a future on Linux, said Jordan Rosen, CEO of Lille, a Novell partner and Linux integrator in Albany, N.Y. "To have a mechanism [like the DCO] in place helps those who have a genuine concern."
For Novell, the validation holds the promise of further enterprise acceptance of open source, the Provo, Utah-based company said.
Novell said it was involved in the DCO discussions, and will incorporate the requirement into its Linux development process.
For its second quarter, Novell posted net income of $10.3 million, compared with a net loss of $28.6 million for the year-ago period. NetWare revenue was off 2 percent vs. a 12 percent drop for the year-ago period.