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SCO Plans To Stay In UnitedLinux, Despite IP Beef
SCO Tries to Move On, Despite Legal Tiff
May 5, 2003
In spite of a heated intellectual property (IP) spat with IBM, SCO Group will stay on as a UnitedLinux member, according to Thor Christianson, SCO's director of ISV/IHV relations. Meanwhile, the vendor is now pushing ahead with SCOx, a newly rolled out common Web services framework for its Linux, UnixWare, and OpenServer platforms.
Under SCOx, SCO is developing a set of common Web services and tools for SCO Linux and its two other Unix OS products, for use by application developers, integrators, and ASPs that working with SMBs (small to medium-sized businesses).
Most SMBs don't have the inhouse resources for developing technically sophisticated e-business applications, officials said during a teleconference, held last week to unveil SCOx. As SCO sees it, SCOx will simplify creation of Web-enabled Linux and Unix applications, as well as ease integration of SCO Linux and Unix applications with outside environments like Java/Sun ONE and Microsoft .Net.
SCOx will also raise the "discussion" above OS to the "application or solution" level, maintained Erik Hughes, SCO's director of product management, in response to a question about the relationship between SCOx and SCO's UnitedLinux participation. UnitedLinux was originally founded by Caldera, SuSE Linux, Conectiva, and Turbolinux--with major funding from IBM and HP--to provide a common kernel, as well as a set of software libraries and installation routines, across multivendor Linux distributions.
Caldera subsequently merged with SCO. Along the way, SCO-Caldera acquired the Unix source code that was once the IP of AT&T's Unix Systems Laboratory (USL).
At this point, however, SCO considers its UnitedLinux membership and the new SCOx framework to be "two very separate things," Christianson said, in a follow-up interview with LinuxPlanet after the teleconference. "We're going to keep moving both forward," Christianson insisted.
SCO started working on the common framework long before launching the pending IP lawsuit against IBM, Christianson added. In the suit, filed in March, SCO is seeking at least $1 billion in damages from IBM over charges that include misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and contract violations.
SCO alleges that IBM misused trade secrets gleaned from Project Monterey--a joint project to build an edition of UnixWare for Intel's Itanium--to help build up Big Blue's Linux business. Particularly at issue is the integration of Unix System 5 (SVR5) libraries with Linux, a move that enables a number of Unix applications to operate with Linux.
Many members of the Linux community have been very vocal in expressing unhappiness over the lawsuit, including officials from SuSE Linux, SCO's main partner in UnitedLinux. Earlier today, SuSE officials released a statement to the press that proclaimed that their current cross-licesning agreements seem to prevent SCO from taking any legal action against SuSE after SCO's lawsuit with IBM finishes.
In a response filed in US District Court in Utah last week, IBM denied all of SCO's charges. Then, in a reply to Big Blue's response, SCO said it will revoke IBM's AIX license, on the grounds that "perpetual and irrevocable" Unix licensing only applies to "companies who uphold the rules of their Unix license."
Last Friday, SCO's Web site reportedly went down for several hours, due to a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Federal authorities are investigating the incident.
SCO announced the SCOx framework last Wednesday. However, SCObiz--a set of e-commerce Web site creation and hosting services unveiled last summer--actually comprised the "original SCOx components," Christianson maintained.
SCO will offer the same SCOx componentry for its Linux distribution and UnixWare and OpenServer OS. "(But the componentry) will be totally (OS) independent. If you want to develop an application just for UnixWare and not for Linux--or just for Linux and not for UnixWare--you can," he said.
SCO won't change its SCO Linux distribution on account of SCOx, according to Christianson. "The (Linux) kernel is in the hands of Linus Torvalds," he noted. On the UnixWare and OpenServer sides, though, SCOx will run on top of the upcoming Unix System 6 release (SVR6).
The SCOx toolkit will include WebFace Studio and WebFace Server--two products co-developed with Multis Technologies--as well as APIs and integration and Web services tools. Some apps built with the kit will run on-site at SMBs. Some will be hosted, and others will run in a "hybrid" way in both locations.
Aside from the toolkit layer, the SCOx framework also calls for Web services, security and management, dashboard, and SMB management console layers.
Some pieces of the Linux/Unix framework, such as SCObiz, are available already. SCObiz is based on technology licensed from Vista.com.
Christianson explained that all the other SCOx components will be ready in time for the company's SCO Forum in August, with a couple of exceptions. "Metering will probably not be in 1.0, and billing will probably also be shortly after that," he said.
Christianson also expects that hosted services based on SCOx will ultimately be available through both SCO and third-party partners.