In a move apparently backed by the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, more than ninety Australian companies have been asked to pay a licence fee for Linux software. Letters demanding US$5000 for use of the Linux name were originally dismissed as a hoax, but the whole affair has turned out to be deadly serious.

Jon 'Maddog' Hall, the executive director of Linux International in the US, said that a community organisation called Linux Australia had been nominated to handle the trademark issue and had sent out the letters.

In the US, the Linux Mark Institute (LMI) will handle trademark issues in the US and nominate local bodies to look after trademark things in other countries.