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To read comments to this article, go here
oldSCO, Open Source and Linux
Tuesday, May 25 2004 @ 08:15 AM EDT

UPDATED on May 28, 2004

I gather SCO reads Groklaw. You will find that the artemis.sco.com links that all worked the day this article was published have now joined the missing MIT scientists SCO used to claim they had but who have since disappeared. It's like the old Chilean government. One day here, then poof. Not a hair left behind. Creepy. And pointless. We all saved a copy for a rainy day, knowing with whom we are dealing. I would suggest you not even click on the links, not unless you want the referring web site recorded. And who knows what else.


The OSI Position Paper on the SCO-vs.-IBM Complaint mentions a page oldSCO has since removed from its site, "SCO, Open Source and Linux":

"In a web page from 2000, (since removed from their site) old SCO repeated this theme: 'The concept of collaborative development and shared source has been ubiquitous in the UNIX system industry from the beginning. Today, the Internet has magnified that trend dramatically and led to the exciting phenomenon that is Linux.'

"Between the time Caldera acquired SCO in 2001 and early 2003, SCO/Caldera continued to trumpet its commitment to Linux and boast of its plans to merge leading-edge Linux technology into its UnixWare source code. This reflected the market reality that the UnixWare code base was generally perceived to be old, tired, and out of date."

There is a footnote 30, that points you to Wayback Archive's copy, but while it seems to work now, once I got this message:

"Robots.txt Retrieval Exclusion.

We're sorry, access to http://www.sco.com/linux/ has been blocked by the site owner via robots.txt."

I decided to try to find the page elsewhere, just in case it disappeared. A Groklaw reader found a copy of the page at http://stage.caldera.com/linux/, but then I got busy with Grokline, and today, when I went back for it, I find it no longer works. Now I have found it on another active site. Whether or not this is a deliberate scrubbing operation or just the Internet at work and play, I thought it a valuable addition to our permanent collection of the history of this case. I discovered that the page has some interesting links as well.

Following links to links, I ended up finding a mother lode of old press releases, going back to 1998, including:

  • the announcement[broken link] of Caldera's purchase from oldSCO of their SCO Server Software Division and the Professional Services Division in August of 2000
  • the announcement[broken link] of the release of the Linux Kernel Personality
  • a February 2000 press release called "SCO Unveils Linux Strategy"[broken link]
  • one from 1999, which shows that it was oldSCO, not Caldera, that entered into the Project Monterey agreement with IBM
  • another[broken link] that shows that IBM really did try to make Project Monterey go. The two companies did some seminars, selling Project Monterey across the country in 1999. They called it "the SCO and IBM Retail Technology Seminar Series - a free, one-day seminar that brings industry experts together and educates retailers about the benefits of UNIX on Intel eBusiness and Monterey/64."

Here[broken link] is a press release about SCO donating UnixWare 7 code to Korean universities:

"Continuing its commitment to its Free UNIX License Program, SCO (NASDAQ: SCOC) today announced the donation of UnixWare 7 operating system product and licenses to ten National Universities throughout Korea for educational use and research. SCO will also license its UnixWare 7 source code product to the computer science department at Seoul National University, the cutting-edge computer study environment in Korea."

And on October 14, 1999, in this press release[broken link] about SCO's investment in LinuxMall, SCO said it had been involved with Linux for five years, so obviously being involved in Project Monterey was not considered a bar to also being simultaneously involved in Linux:

"'SCO has a long history in the Open Systems and Open Source movements,' said Doug Michels, president and CEO of SCO. 'We have been distributing Open Source offerings for over five years as part of our product line. LinuxMall.com is a fast-growing company with a very compelling business model. The LinuxMall.com opportunity provides SCO with a way to pursue new business opportunities in the Linux marketplace with a partner that is distribution neutral.'"

In fact, in another press release[broken link], when SCO "announced it has plans to license key software and source code to the open source community", namely SAR, in 1999, note that SCO's CEO thought openness was good for business:

"'The open source model is very positive for the entire software industry,' said Doug Michels, president and CEO of SCO. 'The concept of many individuals working without commercial intent has played a large role in the innovation and success of UNIX and open systems. We appreciate this opportunity to support the open source community and are releasing SAR to help solve system analysis problems across multiple platforms.'"

That press release also mentions that SCO was a member of Project UDI (Uniform Driver Interface). "This project will make driver development totally independent from operating system development."

That led me to discover Project UDI's list of press releases. The one from February 2001 announcing SCO releasing the UDI supplement for UnixWare 7 is no longer on SCO's site (it was at http://www.sco.com/press/releases/2001/6972.html). Note the sentence:

"In August 2000, Caldera Systems, Inc., providers of OpenLinux platforms, announced plans to purchase the SCO Server Software Division and Professional Services Division. 'UDI reinforces our vision for the unification of UNIX and Linux operating systems that the new Caldera International will deliver,' continued Harker."

Another, from December 23, 1999, which used to be at http://www.sco.com/press/releases/1998/6816.html is now here. Here are a couple more on UDI and SCO.

If you would like to deep dive too, just note the list of press releases on the left of any of the press releases linked to above, such as this one[broken link], which I suggest you visit quickly, before they disappear. You might enjoy this link[broken link] that will lead you to a picture of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie receiving the 1998 US National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1999. I'm thinking we should add a page on Grokline for such things.

The August 21, 2000 press release about LKP mentions that they gave away free beta copies of it at Forum2000:

"Customers will be able to receive a free beta copy of LKP this week at Forum2000, co-hosted by The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. and Caldera Systems, Inc. Last week, SCO previewed the LKP at LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose.

"LKP for UnixWare 7 will be available in December and included with the next version of UnixWare 7."

If you got one, could you let me know if you still have it?

SCO today claims to be oldSCO in its legal papers and on its web site, but the press releases present the true history of the two companies, oldSCO (Santa Cruz Operation, now Tarantella), and Caldera (now The SCO Group). You can read the 2000 press release announcing SCO's name change[broken link] to Tarantella, showing its survival after the Caldera acquisition.

So here, for you historians (and lawyers), is the oldSCO view of open source, the text of the "SCO, Open Source and Linux" web page, with some commentary by me in purple and some more interesting links.

*********************************************

SCO, Open Source and Linux

The concept of collaborative development and shared source has been ubiquitous in the UNIX system industry from the beginning. Today, the Internet has magnified that trend dramatically and led to the exciting phenomenon that is Linux.

[ Note that back then, there was full acknowledgment that UNIX was an open and collaborative development environment, and that sharing source was "ubiquitous" from the beginning of UNIX. I hate to ruin SCO's day, but this flies in the face of their claims that they carefully kept their software a closely guarded secret. It also makes their aspersions on Linux even sillier, as if their code comes from known sources and Linux is open and collaborative. That is exactly how UNIX was born and nurtured, until somebody decided to close it off and make some money from it, which resulted in its balkanization and eventual mummification, which is exactly why it is now in danger of dying.]

As the leading provider of UNIX Server operating systems with over 20 years' experience in UNIX systems, Intel platforms, open systems and Open Source technologies, SCO is the ideal partner for customers who are evaluating Linux and UNIX solutions for their business. SCO is a company that understands business critical computing, and is the ideal source for professional services to assist customers with all their server evaluation and deployment needs, including Linux and Open Source products.

SCO offers extensive UNIX on Intel and Open Source expertise, possibly more than any other software company in the world. SCO also provides a full range of Server-based products including commercial UNIX Server operating systems that provide applications compatibility and interoperability with Linux, Professional Services offerings, and Tarantella web-enabling software for a wide range of UNIX and Linux Systems. With these products and services SCO can provide businesses with a comprehensive and integrated UNIX environment that spans workstations, entry-level servers, mid-range business servers and the data-center.

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.

[So, SCO has always supported open standards and their engineers have participated in the Open Source movement, they say. This tends to confirm Groklaw's December 12, 2003 research report in which Tigran Aivazian said his SMP contributions to the Linux kernel while at SCO were approved by his supervisor. Note they also say SCO was a member of Linux International. If you go to the linked LI page, you will find that they are listed and so is Caldera Systems, Inc. listed as a corporate sponsor of LI, since August of 1995. So, oldSCO and Caldera were obviously not the same company, despite current SCO's claims to be oldSCO. Their link to LI still works, but the link to their offer of free UNIX for noncommercial use now forbids entry. Obviously back then, it worked. You can still use the link to their Skunkware, but the lxrun link is broken. You can find it, though, on Wayback. It starts like this:

"One of the main reasons many developers are attracted to UNIX® systems as a development and deployment platform is the 'Open' nature of the operating system."]

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.


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