Could David Boies, the man who took on MicroSoft Corp. on behalf of the US Government, be out to thwart competition now? After all, he’s only representing SCO Group in a billion dollar lawsuit against IBM in a suit many think can harm Linux.

The Lawsuit claims IBM was sharing code secrets with open source developers. Somehow, everyone thinks SCO is in it for the money and out to thwart Linux.

In Boies’ eyes, it’s hard to see how anyone could jump to that conclusion. The $1 billion in damages and future royalties SCO is seeking won’t put a mere dent in the Linux movement: “That’s a cost that gets lost in the rounding,” says Boies, adding, “The cost efficiency of Linux won’t rise or fall.”

But there is another cost–the likely increase in billable hours from law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner and others to figure out this mess. Software firm Novell asserted a claim to Unix patents and copyrights. This is a direct rebuff to Provo, Utah-based SCO.

Next year, Novell is launching a Linux-based version of its ailing Netware product line in an effort to boost sales.

Boies thinks any harm done to Linux may actually be the fault of the open source platform’s own backers. “They make the case a threat just by talking about it,” says Boies, who was interviewed prior to the Novell announcement.

SCO hasn’t exactly been quiet itself. The company sent 1,500 letters to executives of large enterprises warning that running the open source platform could put them in violation of patents. Neither Novell nor IBM (nyse: IBM – news – people ) have seen any customer defecting from Linux.

Boies considers himself a big backer of competition in the software industry.

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