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DistributionWatch: SCO Linux 4--Ready for the Big Time - page 4

Down to Basics

  • January 13, 2003
  • By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

SCO, SuSE, and Turbolinux's UnitedLinux-based distributions are available today. Connectiva is, in January 2003, lagging behind. For the North American reseller market, SCO took a quick and immediate lead and there are no signs that it will have significant competition from the other UnitedLinux companies in the near future. Europe, as I mentioned earlier, is another story. There, SuSE and SCO, as mentioned earlier, will compete head to head.

SCO's pricing starts with a Base Edition, that's meant for VARs or a small business with its own Linux expert, costs $599. Other versions, like the Classic Edition are $699, the Business Edition: $1,249 and the Enterprise Edition for $2,199. With each increase in price the owner gets higher levels of SCO direct maintenance and support with speed of response being the most important difference. The more you pay, the faster a SCO engineer will get back to the customer. At the bottom level, the reseller is responsible for all support.

All commercial versions also include the SCO Linux Update Service, which delivers upgrade and maintenance packs and security fixes. While each of the UnitedLinux partners has its own pricing system, you'll find this basic tiered structure with better service for more money to be the same. For the full details see the SCO Linux 4 page.

Of course, you can also download UnitedLinux ISO images, but these come without support. And, as a business class operating system, technical support is the name of the game. If you're an SCO reseller, I really wouldn't worry about someone trying to steal your business without SCO's support. They'll be operating without a support network worth the name.

That said, it would be good to see a firm technical certification track set up for SCO Linux 4. Linux Professional Institute (LPI) president Evan Leibovitch has hinted that the LPI might brand their vendor-neutral certifications for UnitedLinux. Given, Caldera/SCO's long support for the LPI certification, I expect the LPI certifications to become the de facto UnitedLinux/SCO Linux certifications.

What many resellers want to know though is whether SCO Linux 4, or any UnitedLinux, is better than RHAS. In my opinion, it depends on the customer. If you have someone who's wedded to Oracle for their DBMS and Dell for their servers, chances are they're going to like RHAS. But, for everyone else, but especially for IBM-oriented customers, I think SCO Linux is a good, viable choice.

ISV support, OEM support, technical support, and a strong, stable Linux distribution, there's a lot to like here. With its pure business focus and pricing, UnitedLinux will never be the Linux for people at home, but SCO Linux 4, along with RHAS, is the Linux for people at the office.

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