Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

LAS VEGAS—The SCO Group, which can count few large companies in the IT industry as its friend, continues to maintain a very strong working relationship with Hewlett-Packard Co.

HP, along with Intel Corp. and some other, smaller companies, was a sponsor of the SCO Forum event here at the MGM Grand hotel this week, and also paid for the food and drinks at Sunday night’s welcome reception, just as it did last year.

That support may seem strange, as The SCO Group Inc. is currently suing IBM for several billion dollars, alleging that it contributed parts of SCO’s proprietary Unix code to the open-source Linux operating system, which is licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public License).

But HP officials have long maintained that the company supports all three primary operating systems: Unix, Windows and Linux.

In line with its support for Linux, HP in September moved to indemnify its customers against any legal liability from the use of Linux.

Martin Fink, a vice president at HP, said at the time that the company would indemnify new customers who bought Linux from HP, who agreed not to make unauthorized changes to the source code and who signed a standard support contract.

SCO officials on Monday moved to defend the company’s ongoing relationship with HP. Jeff Hunsaker, the senior vice president of SCO’s Unix division, said HP has been a consistent and longstanding SCO partner and has supported SCO Forum for many years.

“What it boils down to is that while they are free to run their business as they do and make the certain decisions they need to make as an organization, SCO makes money for HP—and money talks,” Hunsaker said. “We sell a lot of servers for HP; in the neighborhood of $500 million of hardware last year was sold on HP servers from our division alone.

“I went golfing with one of HP’s employees yesterday, and I reminded him of that, and that is why we see their significant support,” he said.

A spokesman for HP confirmed that the company’s participation was due to the level of business done between the two companies. “HP’s Industry Standard Server Group participated in SCO Forum because of the volume of business that HP does with OpenServer and UnixWare on HP ProLiant servers,” he told eWEEK.

SCO CEO and president Darl McBride added that when HP announced its Linux indemnification plan for customers, it never came out and said that SCO was wrong or right. The company said it was only responding to customer needs. “They are a very customer-focused company, and we don’t view that indemnification move as a negative,” McBride said.

Click here to read an interview with McBride on why he thinks SCO can win its lawsuits.

McBride also mentioned HP in his opening keynote address here, saying that SCO has a positive relationship with the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company and its management team, and that it has been aggressively reinvesting in its technologies. “On that front, we have achieved a resounding success and can hang the mission-accomplished banner,” he said.

Last year’s SCO Forum was also not without its controversy. HP was scheduled to give a partner keynote at the forum, but that suddenly disappeared from the schedule of events given to attendees when they registered.

But whatever the reason for the withdrawal of its keynote speaker, HP still sponsored the Sunday night welcome reception at the MGM Grand last year.

Check out’s Linux & Open Source Center at http://linux.eweek.comfor the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Be sure to add our Linux news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page