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Old SCO Also Donated Code to Linux
Monday, August 11 2003 @ 04:14 AM EDT

Well, knock me over with a feather. It turns out that old SCO, The Santa Cruz Operation, also donated code to Linux. There is an article dated June 12, 2000, that tells us all about their Linux distribution and their plans, which included scaling it to the enterprise, as marketroids like to call it:
While SCO may be rolling out its Linux distribution long after Red Hat and Caldera hit the market with theirs, SCO is no open source Johnny-come-lately. The company offers support services to Caldera and TurboLinux customers. In addition, the company's Tarantella middleware supports Linux, as will Monterey, the Intel-based version of Unix that SCO is building with IBM.

SCO is expected to announce 32- and 64-bit versions of Linux for Intel-based servers, which will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. In early 2001, SCO plans to deliver a 32-bit Internet Infrastructure Edition that will come bundled with a Web server and other IP applications. The company is also working on a 64-bit edition for service providers, including ISPs and application service providers, which will feature special billing and management tools.

The company is also expected to explore the following areas:

  • Building the Linux clustering capacity to be in line with SCO's NonStop Clusters technology, which scales to 12 or more boxes with advanced reliability for data and applications. Current Linux clustering technology is generally limited to two or four nodes.
  • Beefing up Linux's symmetric multiprocessing capabilities. Currently the number of CPUs per Linux server is usually limited to eight; UnixWare can run on servers with up to 32 CPUs.
  • Managing multiple Linux servers as well as applications from a single console as if they were a single system.
  • Improving security and the ability of Linux to handle applications such as e-mail, including instant messaging.
  • Adding online support services and documentation.
Wait a sec. Isn't that what paragraph 85 of SCO's original complaint was talking about, and didn't they say that without IBM entering the picture, Linux could never have scaled?

The complaint said:
For example, Linux is currently capable of coordinating the simultaneous performance of 4 computer processors. UNIX, on the other hand, commonly links 16 processors and can successfully link up to 32 processors for simultaneous operation.
That wasn't accurate, but it does give me an idea. Maybe New SCO needs to sue Old SCO and leave the rest of us in peace.

One year earlier, in 1999, a press release from Old SCO described itself like this:

We have over twenty years of experience with UNIX, Intel, and Open Source technologies. In fact, we believe that SCO has the largest staff of Open Source experts of any commercial software vendor.

As a founding sponsor of Linux International, SCO is a strong proponent of the Open Source movement, citing it as a driving force for innovation. Over the years, SCO has contributed source code to the movement, and currently offers a free Open License Software Supplement CD that includes many Open Source technologies. SCO UnixWare 7 operating system, the fastest growing UNIX server operating system for the past two years, supports Linux applications as part of its development platform.

All the Tarantella-Linux press releases from June 1999 to February 2000 are here. All Tarantella press releases from June of '99 to July of 2000 are here. And here is a snip of the copyright on code donated by an Old SCO employee.

And didn't SCO charge that the code from Project Monterey was added to Linux after IBM shut down Project Monterey? Yet this press release says that Old SCO's Tarantella software was being made available to both Project Monterey and 64-bit Linux in February 2000 simultaneously, and SCO not only wasn't suing anybody to stop it, it was participating to make it happen:

SCO (NASDAQ:SCOC) today announced that it is readying its award-winning Tarantella web-enabling software for the Monterey/64 and 64-bit Linux platforms utilizing an Intel Itanium processor-based server prototype. Users of these forthcoming operating system platforms will benefit from the remote administration capabilities provided by Tarantella, and provide users with secure, web-based access to Windows, mainframe, Linux and UNIX applications.

"SCO is pleased to offer a product like Tarantella for significant 64-bit platforms like Monterey/64 and 64-bit Linux," said Peter Bondar, vice president of Tarantella marketing at SCO.

SCO will ship the Tarantella product line concurrent with system availability of the Itanium processor-based servers and workstations.

"Tarantella represents another exciting business-critical solution committed to be available during the second half of this year, when Itanium processor-based systems begin to ship," said Michael Pope, director of Intel's Enterprise Software Programs. "This combination will offer an additional choice for e-Business solutions."

Naturally, none of this is still available on SCO's site, or Old SCO-now Tarantella's. But the internet doesn't forget. Old SCO's Linux page stressed the company's long involvement with and code contributions to Linux, in a page that was online from 1999 to February 2002, according to Wayback:
A corporate sponsor of Linux International, SCO has always supported open standards, UNIX Systems and server-based technologies and solutions that benefit business computing. Our engineers have continuously participated in the Open Source movement, providing source code such as lxrun, and the OpenSAR kernel monitoring utility. We offer a free Open Source software supplement that includes many Open Source technologies as well as making our commercial UNIX products available free for non-commercial use.

And, more recently, our investments in Caldera, TurboLinux and LinuxMall.com enable us to engage a wider Open Source community and reflects our continuing support of Open Source and UNIX on Intel.

In May of 2000, Slashdot published an interview with Old SCO's then-President of its Server Division, David McCrabb, entitled "SCO Answers Questions About Linux". Here is a sample of the questions and his answers:
Q: Will SCO be contributing/open-sourcing any technology and/or patents that it holds as part of its Linux adoption effort? Also, did your market research pan out - is Linux really being used in large businesses or is it still primarily used by small startup companies strapped for cash?

McCrabb: SCO is accelerating its participation in, and contributions to, the Open Source Community. In some cases, we will be taking current technology that we think is needed in the Linux market and driving it forward as the project maintainers. Right now, we are focusing on bringing some of our high-performance Intel development tools to Linux. In other cases, we will make some sources available as reference documents, without a specific intention of driving them forward as projects.

Q:What does your future roadmap for SCO Unix look like? - Are you going the SGI path and gradually phasing out your own Unix in favor of Linux, or are you pursuing a parallel development path of both OSs? What features currently in SCO that are not in Linux do you feel are necessary for wider corporate acceptance of Linux?

McCrabb: Our formal product roadmap is undergoing a complete overhaul. When we begin to outline our OS deliverables for the next 18 months, you will see that UnixWare 7 and SCO OpenServer 5 will continue moving ahead. Look forward to new developments as well.

Enterprises building their businesses on a server platform are interested in reliability and availability. Although we believe in a high degree of reliability that comes from the level of code inspection provided by the Open Source Community, we feel it needs to be quantified with benchmarking statistics like MTBSS. This opens a number of possible further improvements -- journalizing file systems, support for hot-plug PCI, multi-path I/O -- things that make is easier to never bring the system down, or to recover the system more quickly.

Q: As most people know, SCO is working with IBM and Sequent (which IIRC IBM bought a while back) to develop a new 64 bit Unix. How will these two OSes work together on your systems? Are you planning on using Linux only on low-end machines, while Monterey runs on IA-64, or will Linux be a 'stopgap OS' to run on your systems until Monterey is finished?

McCrabb:Monterey and Linux-64 will be an important platform for the Itanium market. Both are expected to be available in the same time frame. Customers demand that Monterey have the ability to run Linux applications. This will be an important area of interoperability that we will stress with the Monterey product line.

Once again, we find yet another way any identical code could have come to be in both SCO's code and Linux. We just reported yesterday that Compaq worked with China's Red Flag Linux with the goal of scaling to 64-bit. Now we find Old SCO was working hard to do the same thing. You think it's possible to write a kernel monitoring utility for Linux without touching or looking at the Linux kernel? They were donating code by the buckets, apparently, judging from their own statements, and they were proud of it.

How in the world they can prove it was IBM that did it, or even IBM that facililtated it, when Old SCO itself was working to make Linux scale in precisely some of the high-end ways they now list in their complaint as an offense, is truly a mystery to me, what with all the possible suspects. And something appears to be off in SCO's historic timeline in its legal papers. Could that be why they took these pages down? Well, let's not get paranoid or anything. But, you think?


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