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Bryan Sparks in the late 1990s on Linux v. Unix in the Enterprise - Updated
Friday, January 05 2007 @ 09:56 AM EST

Marbux has found a treasure trove of Caldera v. Microsoft documents and media reports. Actually two. One document that turned up is a Caldera press release announcing the spinning off of Lineo in July 20, 1999. It includes a quotation from then CEO Bryan Sparks that I think relates directly to SCO's claims. It got me started on a research dig.

Here's a snip from the press release:
Caldera®, Inc. today announced that its embedded Linux® research and development plans will be carried forward by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Caldera Thin Clients, which was today renamed Lineo, Inc. Lineo's embedded Linux platform, Embedix, is based on Caldera Systems' OpenLinux®, a full-featured operating system platform. Caldera Systems, the "Linux for Business" industry leader, will continue to develop, market and sell OpenLinux to PC software markets. Lineo's Embedix solutions will extend OpenLinux to the embedded market.

"Caldera was the first company to invest heavily in the establishment of Linux as an acceptable business solution," said Bryan Sparks, CEO of both Caldera, Inc. and the newly-evolved Lineo, Inc. "Five years after forming Caldera, we are now launching Lineo for the purpose of defining the commercial embedded Linux marketplace and obtaining wide market implementation of this incredible operating system environment in compact devices worldwide."

And here's a press release from 1996 in which Caldera touted its Linux offerings as being an alternative to SCO's Unix:

Caldera designs, develops and markets to consumers and businesses a line of full-featured, economical system software for the Internet, by the Internet, providing stable, high-quality alternatives to Windows NT®, Sun Solaris® and SCO UNIX®.

Just to refresh your memory, SCO has told the court this:

19. Contrary to IBM assertions at paragraph 50 of the Motion, and elsewhere, SCO did not encourage its partners or its customers to use or support Linux instead of Unix. Rather, SCO consistently positioned Linux as a complementary solution to UNIX, and something that could be used in addition to (not in place of) UNIX.

As we showed you in the previous article, that isn't the way the media told it at the time. And now we have it from the horse's mouth.

A reader mined through his old emails and came up with a work email from 1998 that included a copy of an Open Letter to SCO from Caldera's then-CEO Sparks, saying: "We want your VARs" and saying it was preparing for SCO's resellers a kit to move from SCO's Unix products to OpenLinux. I must state that I haven't yet been able to find the Open Letter on the Internet. Perhaps there are others reading Groklaw who could look through their horde of old email and see if they can find it? Anyway, a litigant could follow through, should it decide it would be fruitful to try to authenticate it in ways not open to me.

The kit, according to the email I was shown, was going to be called the "OpenLinux Adoption Kit for SCO Resellers". Tellingly, Sparks wrote that he knew the VARs were looking for alternatives to SCO's Unix offerings, and OpenLinux was their best choice, because it was "better, cheaper, faster". This is 1998, before IBM lifted a finger, according to SCO's world view, and already Sparks, according to the email, said that SCO VARs were looking for alternatives. "OpenLinux is better," he wrote to SCO. "For features, we've got you beat at every turn."

Update: A reader found this article, the result of an interview with Bryan Sparks by Linux Journal in 1997 -- yup, 1997 for heavens sake -- which confirms that Caldera was competing against Unix way back then, that Caldera viewed Linux as appropriate for the enterprise, that it already was in use, and that Caldera was picking up Santa Cruz's resellers:

Finally, in order to better address the needs of different market segments, Caldera is introducing three Linux-based systems targeted at different market segments. These new products are collectively called Caldera OpenLinux (COL) and are based on the Linux 2.x kernel. ...

Bryan and I talked about "their" technologies vs. the standard development paths. Bryan assured me Caldera's intent was to make any necessary changes for POSIX certification and Unix branding available to the Linux community as a whole. He sees Caldera's products as part of the total product mix for the Linux community and wants to make sure Caldera's work continues to be part of the mainstream....

The final product is COL Server. It will include the features of COL Workstation plus Cross Platform Services and GroupWise technologies licensed from Novell. It will be fully capable of interacting as a secure server in an environment that includes NetWare, Unix and Windows NT systems on an intranet or the Internet. ...

Caldera has over 200 resellers under contract. In order to qualify for the reseller program, the resellers must have Unix training, so that Caldera is assured that they can support the products they sell. Bryan said many of these resellers have been resellers of SCO Unix or UnixWare....

Right now Linux is seeing substantial use as a system for connectivity, including web servers, Internet Service Providers and gateway systems to connect office networks to the Internet. With Caldera's new products, it is going to be much easier for companies to put these systems together.

And here's a 1999 press release, "Motorola Computer Group Launches Aggressive Linux Strategy," where you'll find Unix as the lesser choice and Caldera aggressively pushing Linux for business.

I will show you the entire Open Letter in a minute, but first the press release about Lineo gives some history of the company:

Caldera, Inc. was founded by Bryan Sparks in the fall of 1994, and was incorporated in January of 1995. Caldera received initial funding from The Canopy Group, the family trust of Raymond J. Noorda, former Novell, Inc. Chairman and CEO. Caldera's business plan was to offer products based on the then-fledgling Linux operating system to business customers. Caldera built its success with Linux-based products through reseller, retail and direct channels. In July of 1996, Caldera purchased the DR DOS business and all related DOS assets from Novell for purposes of offering these technologies into embedded markets as well as integrating these products with the existing Linux product lines. In the summer of 1998, Caldera, Inc. created two separate companies to further focus development, marketing and sales efforts. Caldera Systems, Inc. was created to develop Linux-based products for PC software markets, with greatest success on desktops and servers. Caldera Thin Clients, Inc., targeted the thin client and embedded systems markets.

Today, Caldera Thin Clients changed its name to Lineo, Inc. -- in part to distinguish the company's embedded Linux products from Caldera Systems's full-featured OpenLinux solutions, and in part to emphasize the evolution of the company to focus on the emerging embedded Linux market.

After the Open Letter, you'll find a 1996 announcement from Caldera posted on comp.os.linux.announce, again found in an old email but also on the Internet, all about OpenLinux obtaining POSIX certification from X/Open Group:

Caldera believes the X/Open brand and other certifications are the next steps forward in providing the corporate and government markets with proven Linux technologies and products, which have gained substantial market share among the Internet and development communities during the past several years. Caldera also today announced plans to add LDAP technologies to Caldera's product line.

"By developing and publishing source code over the Internet, Caldera and the Linux community are changing the way that an X/Open branded UNIX 95 operating system is developed and distributed," said Bryan Sparks, President and CEO of Caldera, Inc. "Linux technologies developed by the Internet community have secured market share and application development that rivals the best of established computer industry vendors. Caldera development and infrastructure efforts will now take Linux technologies and products into companies, governments and other organizations that demand that software undergo rigid standards testing and certifications."

1996. Why then did SCO tell the court that without IBM's contributions, Linux couldn't be used in the enterprise? Beats me. Note this quotation from the announcement:

"The Open Group is very pleased that Caldera has chosen to obtain the X/Open brand for UNIX 95 for its version of the Linux operating system," said Graham Bird, Director of Branding for the Open Group. "Once Caldera Open Linux achieves the X/Open brand, it will be qualified to bid business in the open systems market the value of which exceeds $16 billion in procurement of X/Open branded products alone."

If Santa Cruz was having trouble selling Unix and its business was in decline due to Linux, Caldera itself was actively involved in making it happen, and from the Sparks Open Letter, very aggressively so, way beyond anything IBM ever dreamed of.

So exactly who interfered with whom? Caldera interfered with Santa Cruz. And during the time period SCO is complaining about, Caldera, the company that later changed its name to The SCO Group, was in existence.

Now the problem the SCO Group has is sometimes it presents itself to the court as Caldera and sometimes as Santa Cruz, but in this scenario, with Caldera competing against SCO's Unix business and trying to migrate its customers to Linux, which is it? SCO or Caldera? Methinks the SCO Group needs to bring an action for tortious interference against its schizophrenic self.

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

A letter to SCO:

We want your VARs! Every one of them. And we're getting them. We know they're looking for alternatives and we're their best choice. OpenLinux is compatible with your offerings and runs applications written for SCO. But OpenLinux is better, cheaper and faster. We don't even charge customers for each user. If a customer wants to attach dozens of users to an OpenLinux server, we don't charge them extra.

For features, we've got you beat at every turn. Netscape server? Got it! Firewalls? Done. Java? You bet. NetWare client and server? Best in the business. Service and support, maintenance and upgrade protection? We offer all that. Phone, e-mail, Web, quarterly CD updates and enhancements, annual support agreements, it's all there.

We're putting the final touches on our "OpenLinux Adoption Kit for SCO Resellers," which outlines the benefits of working with Caldera. Do you want a copy? Send your request to channel@caldera.com and we'll send you one. We offer programs to your ISVs to help them move their applications, (if required), plus help marketing and selling their solutions and easing the switch to OpenLinux.

Bryan Sparks
President & CEO
Caldera, Inc.

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

From: Caldera Information
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: Caldera Open Linux Announcement
Followup-To: comp.os.linux.misc
Date: Fri, 01 Jun 1996 17:00:32 GMT
Organization: ?
Lines: 169
Approved: linux-announce@news.ornl.gov
(Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID:
NNTP-Posting-Host: liw.clinet.fi
X-Original-Date:
Thu, 30 May 1996 09:36:27 -0600 (MDT)
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

CALDERA OPEN LINUX PRODUCT TO OBTAIN
POSIX AND FIPS CERTIFICATIONS, AND THE
X/OPEN BRAND FOR UNIX 95 AND XPG4 BASE 95

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
and localization added to Caldera's product line.

LINUX KONGRESS, BERLIN, Germany May 23, 1996 Caldera, Inc. today announced that it has acquired additional key Linux technologies and engineers, enabling the company to achieve the X/Open brand for UNIX 95 and other certifications for its next version of the Linux operating system, Caldera Open Linux, upon which Caldera will base its product line beginning this Fall. Caldera believes the X/Open brand and other certifications are the next steps forward in providing the corporate and government markets with proven Linux technologies and products, which have gained substantial market share among the Internet and development communities during the past several years. Caldera also today announced plans to add LDAP technologies to Caldera's product line.

"By developing and publishing source code over the Internet, Caldera and the Linux community are changing the way that an X/Open branded UNIX 95 operating system is developed and distributed," said Bryan Sparks, President and CEO of Caldera, Inc. "Linux technologies developed by the Internet community have secured market share and application development that rivals the best of established computer industry vendors. Caldera development and infrastructure efforts will now take Linux technologies and products into companies, governments and other organizations that demand that software undergo rigid standards testing and certifications."

Caldera has acquired additional Linux technologies from Lasermoon of Wickham, England. Lasermoon pioneered Linux's migration towards X/Open standards and other certifications, and held the necessary test suites and membership in The Open Group, the leading consortium for the advancement of open systems. Ian Nandhra, one of Lasermoon's co-founders, is now Caldera's Director of Product Certification.

Caldera has also retained the UNIX systems and Linux expertise of engineers from Linux Support Team (LST) of Erlangen, Germany, who will spend the next few months integrating technologies from Lasermoon, Caldera's existing operating system, additional Single UNIX Specification APIs and Internet technologies, and LST's Linux 2.2 operating system distribution, including the version 2.0 of the Linux kernel. The resulting combination of the Linux OS will be called Caldera Open Linux. It will be POSIX.1 (FIPS 151-2) certified, localized and fully compatible with Caldera's existing products.

Caldera Open Linux, scheduled for release in Q3 1996, will be published freely with full source code via the Internet to individuals and organizations seeking stable, UNIX systems solutions. Caldera plans to achieve: POSIX.1 (FIPS 151-2) in Q3 1996; XPG4 Base 95 (POSIX.2, FIPS 186) by Q4 1996; and X/Open brand for UNIX 95 based on the Single UNIX Specification (formerly known as SPEC 1170) during 1997.

"The Open Group is very pleased that Caldera has chosen to obtain the X/Open brand for UNIX 95 for its version of the Linux operating system," said Graham Bird, Director of Branding for the Open Group. "Once Caldera Open Linux achieves the X/Open brand, it will be qualified to bid business in the open systems market the value of which exceeds $16 billion in procurement of X/Open branded products alone."

Ransom Love, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Caldera, added,"Our customers are pleased with the capabilities of Caldera's first product, the Caldera Network Desktop, and are now asking us to provide the X/Open brand, localization, and additional technologies. Caldera Open Linux will provide this additional functionality and certification capabilities that no existing Linux OS version can provide."

Caldera made this announcement from Linux Kongress in Berlin, Germany, where the core of Linux developers and vendors worldwide meet each year to discuss accomplishments and future plans for Linux technologies. At Linux Kongress, Caldera planned to meet with key Linux developers and vendors to discuss how Caldera can best meet the needs of the Internet community, Linux developers and enthusiasts, and the commercial computer industry market all of which are seeking to lower computing costs while increasing the functionality and availability of customizable software systems.

Caldera will collaborate with developers in the Internet and Linux communities to develop and refine technologies that add specific functionality that Caldera's customers are requesting. In addition to publishing the source code for Caldera Open Linux, Caldera will provide a significant percentage of net revenues from the product back to the Internet and Linux communities through funding for future technology development.

Caldera is also collaborating with mainstream industry software vendors (ISVs) who are porting their products to Caldera's platform. Caldera and its partners are delivering products that provide Internet and UNIX systems capabilities at commodity pricing.

LDAP

Caldera also today announced plans to release Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) services and incorporate LDAP into Caldera's product line this Fall. LDAP creates a standard way for Internet clients, Web servers and applications to access directory listings of thousands of Internet users.

"Caldera supports LDAP as a proposed open standard for directory services on the Internet," said Sparks. "LDAP will enable Caldera's customers to access online directory services via the TCP/IP network protocol."

Caldera Europe

Currently, Caldera's European business is handled by LunetIX based in Berlin, Germany. This Fall, Caldera will create Caldera Europe, comprised of employees from both LunetIX and LST. European customers and resellers seeking additional information about Caldera should contact LunetIX in Berlin at telephone number +49-30-623-5787 or contact Caldera's Provo, Utah-based headquarters.

The Caldera Linux Operating System

Caldera's mission includes creating the products, alliances, VAR channel, ISV channel, technical support programs and corporate accountability necessary for an emerging technology to obtain widespread implementation in the business environment. Using Linux technologies, Caldera has a solid start. Mirai, a Chicago-based consulting company, polled Webmasters worldwide in 1995 and found that nine percent of World Wide Web servers were running on the Linux operating system (http://www.mirai.com/survey). This places Linux second only to Sun technologies as a UNIX systems Web server platform.

Caldera has created a solid foundation on which third party developers can successfully design, develop, distribute or employ services that meet the needs of the expanding market with low product costs for consumers.

Caldera, Inc., a privately held company established in 1994, empowers the Internet community, developers, OEMs, channel partners, ISVs, industry partners, consultants and end- users to collaborate, innovate, build and deliver meaningful computing alternatives based on Linux to the business community. Caldera is at http://www.caldera.com/ or (801) 229-1675. For orders and information call (800) 850-7779 in the United States or (801) 269-7012 Internationally.

###

Caldera is a registered trademark; and Network Desktop, Caldera Solutions CD, and Caldera Open Linux are trademarks of Caldera, Inc. UNIX is a registered trademark, in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Limited. X/Open is a registered trademark of X/Open Company Limited.

Caldera Press Contact:

Lyle Ball, Senior Manager, Public Relations


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