Letter of Support to AutoZone
To: Steve Odland, President and CEO of AutoZone <steve.odland@autozone.com>

The Linux community, and the wider open-source software movement of which it is a part, learned this morning that SCO is suing AutoZone over alleged IP violations related to its move from SCO Unix to Linux. We regret that you have become the latest victim in the campaign of barratry, fraud, and stock-kiting that SCO has been waging. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that you have in fact just made a great many friends.

Our news channels and web forums are already full of people urging everybody to go buy something at AutoZone, even if it's as trivial as an air freshener — that could be several million new customers for you. You're also in the same corner with corporate powerhouses like IBM and cutting-edge outfits like Red Hat Software. These companies and others have already set up common legal defense funds in anticipation of further SCO attacks.

SCO has filed a complaint around allegations that were denied in public and on the record two weeks ago by the former AutoZone employee who led your move to Linux. To those of us who have been following SCO's five-billion-dollar lawsuit against IBM for the last year, this is unsurprising; they have yet to produce credible evidence or even settle on a coherent legal theory in that case, either.

Accordingly, we urge you to fight this lawsuit with every effort you can muster. It's the right thing to do by AutoZone's shareholders, and more generally as well. Thoughtful people everywhere are seeing in meritless IP lawsuits an increasing drag on innovation and economic health. AutoZone can both serve its own interests and do good by helping make such parasitic tactics generally unprofitable.

We'll be with you — and that we includes a lot of expertise on the technical, legal, and historical issues bound up in SCO's lawsuit. If there is any assistance that I personally or the Open Source Initiative can reasonably provide, please do not hesitate to ask.

Eric S. Raymond
President, Open Source Initiative