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SCO Turns Cartwheels for SCOx

SCOx App Framework Now Works With "Unauthorized Unix Derivatives"

  • May 19, 2003
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

Like an overindulged child, SCO never wants to step away from the limelight any more. Today's move to license Unix to Microsoft is just the latest in a series of unexpected and often contradictory actions from the unpredictable vendor. Take, for example, SCO's product plans for its annual users conference in August. SCO's announcement last Wednesday of intentions to stop selling Linux came barely two months after the rollout of SCOx, a framework touted back then as able to run on both SCO Unix and Linux by August. Then, in an interview last Friday, SCO officials spelled out a new set of specifics for SCOx.

Now that SCO has stopped selling Linux, SCOx will work not with SCO Linux, but with "unauthorized Unix derivatives," according to Erik Hughes, SCO's director of product management. Oh, and by the way, SCOx won't be running on top of the Linux kernel, either, Hughes added during Friday's interview with LinuxPlanet.

Meanwhile, many folks have been wondering why SCO waited till last week to desist from Linux when--if the company's pending charges against IBM bear any weight--SCO must have been aware of intellectual property violations since at least as early as March.

"To accuse IBM of polluting Linux, while continuing on as a Linux distributor, seemed very odd to a lot of people," maintained Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata.

In a press teleconference on back March 7, SCO officials used a set of PowerPoint slides to illustrate their earlier SCOx tale. A diagram labeled "onsite" showed an OS layer consisting of SCO Linux, OpenServer, and UnixWare, beneath database, application, and "vertical solutions" layers. Another drawing, labeled "online," depicted SCO's SVR6 below database and Web services layers, with a set of Java,.NET and e-commerce solutions and legacy applications at the top

Journalists were told that SCOx is designed for running server-based applications either "onsite," "online," through ASP hosting, or in some sort of "hybrid" way.

In a follow-up interview later that day, Thor Christiansen, SCO's director of ISV/IHV relations, said that WebFace Studio--a development toolkit being co-created with Multis--would run on top of both Linux and SCO Unix. SVR6, however, would appear "on the Unix side only," he added.

Then, in a subsequent interview with LinuxPlanet last Friday, SCO officials put in some fast backpeddling. During the earlier teleconference, SCO "focused on SVR6," according to Hughes. SCOx, he added. "was never intended to run on the Linux kernel." Yet SCO did not "make that clear," he acknowledged.

Indeed, virtually every publication that covered the announcement interpreted SCOx as a cross-platform Web services framework for all of SCO's OS products.

"Over the past several months, we have been going through (code reviews) with internal and external auditors," said Jeff Huntsaker, SCO's senior VP of worldwide, during the same interview last week.

After discovering "significant violations," SCO concluded it would be "disingenuous to continue to make money from Linux, whereas we're making these allegations."

Many analysts, though, are drawing other interpretations about SCO's decision to leave the Linux fold. "SCO wanted to make money out of IBM, yet it didn't want to give up its Linux business. SCO began 'blackmailing' IBM (with the lawsuit) in March, and everything's gone downhill from there," Haff argued.

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