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More Monterey Proof and Caldera's Hopes for Linux & UnixWare
Wednesday, April 27 2005 @ 05:11 PM EDT

Readers are sending me more proof that Monterey was indeed always intended to run on POWER. Here's an article from 1998 that I thought I'd highlight, because it not only confirms that point, but it adds a couple of interesting details that I had not remembered:

IBM is hooking up with Intel, Santa Cruz Operation, and Sequent to develop a new Unix operating system, although analysts are skeptical of its impact. The new version of Unix, code-named Monterey, will merge with parts of IBM's Unix operating system (called AIX), some of SCO's UnixWare (a popular version of Unix for small businesses), and a bit of Sequent's PTX technology. The OS will run on Intel's 32-bit and upcoming 64-bit processors as well as IBM's Power family of chips.

It's expected to reach the market in about 18 months, around the time when Merced is due. . . .

IBM and Intel are also setting up a development fund to persuade software companies to develop products for the new system. No financial details were released, but the firms said the investment is in the range of tens of millions of dollars. . . .

Jean Bozman, a software analyst with IDC, noted that SCO has been casting about with partners for some time in an effort to collect the required resources to move to IA-64. . . .

But Bozman pointed out that SCO's success doesn't entirely mean Microsoft's loss, since Microsoft owns between 11 and 14 percent of SCO.

I had forgotten about Microsoft's partial ownership back then. But the bit about IBM's development fund brings out that IBM invested millions in Project Monterey. They had every reason to want it to succeed.

The article also makes very clear that SCO was in trouble from Windows NT, and that the lack of UNIX unity was costing them customers. One analyst, quoted in the article, says that it was too late for Project Monterey to mean anything. The lack of Unix unity for so long just made it possible for Microsoft to say that NT was easier.

But, SCOfolk might say, maybe Project Monterey was supposed to run on POWER, but that doesn't mean you could donate code to Linux. That is the question before Judge Kimball, but for background, as it happens, there is an article in Linux Journal dated August 22, 2000, an interview Don Marti did with Ransom Love right after Caldera bought SCO's UnixWare, and it reveals why Caldera did it and what they wanted to do next, and as you will see, what they wanted to do next was all about Linux. In fact, Love was talking about open sourcing UnixWare as much as he could, rather than protecting its code from eyeballs, and he wanted to create a kind of merged Linux-UnixWare combo OS, to give Linux more oomph than it had at the time. UnixWare was a value proposition "for a period of time."

Hey, wait a sec. Isn't giving more oomph to the Linux kernel exactly what IBM now stands accused by SCO of doing? See a disjoint? How does it hurt a Linux company, which Caldera, now calling itself SCO, then was, for IBM to help Linux scale, particularly when Caldera was telling the world that was their goal too?

Here's a bit from the Marti interview with Ransom Love, "Ransom Love's Secret Master Plan for Linux and UNIX":

I ran into Ransom Love at SCO Forum 2000 while an earnest IBMer was pinning an AIX 5L button on him. . . . I asked him (Linux freak to Linux freak) about his secret plans for his newly acquired SCO flock. . . . If he's sure about nothing else, Ransom is sure that Linux is the UNIX-on-Intel standard. "Partners and OEMs need high-end today, and UnixWare can fill that role today." . . .

The three big server OS contenders, Ransom says while holding up three fingers, are Solaris, Linux and Windows. Dismissing the Windows finger with a flick, since Linux has it beat handily, he moves on to the big challenger, Solaris, which scales all the way up to Sun's not-quite-big-iron Enterprise servers. Since Linux doesn't go up that far, UnixWare "continues to deliver a value proposition for a period of time.". . .

As Linux "forks" - hopefully through a proliferation of compile-time options, not a real fork, Ransom hastens to add - the high-end parts will end up participating in some sort of technology-sharing arrangement with UnixWare.This represents the spawn of Linux and UnixWare, an über-OS with a yet-to-be-determined licensing policy. Ransom says you'll be able to see the source code, but parts will be open source, and parts will be "viewable source" - you'll be able to read it, but not modify and redistribute it.

So, I gather it was not a "high crime" or "misdemeanor" in Caldera's eyes back then to merge Unix and Linux code, then? That might explain how we find Caldera employees and SCO employees donating code to the Linux kernel on company time. Again, the question that must come up is, was there a clean room division between Caldera's Unix coders and their Linux coders? What about at SCO? If not, think of the possibilities.

The article goes on to say that Caldera couldn't afford to keep UnixWare alive as a proprietary product, and so that's one reason Love hoped to open source it. Marti even asked Love if they purchased any patents with the UnixWare buy, and Love said he didn't even know. "That wasn't our intent." If they happened to, he said there was no reason they couldn't be put under a free license.

That was then, and this is now, but can IBM be faulted by SCO for donating code in 2000 to Linux, when they themselves were doing the same thing at the time in question? Remember, SCO was then called Caldera, and they were a Linux company. A Linux company desiring -- prior to new management who would like to rewrite the history of the company -- to open source UnixWare.


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