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Caldera Hardening Linux for the Enterprise; Tried to "Guillotine" SCO Brand, "Kill SCO Product Line"
Saturday, January 06 2007 @ 08:13 PM EST

Will you take a look at this? A reader, Graham Walter, has found another SCO/Caldera press release on the theme of Caldera encouraging customers and partners to use Linux instead of Unix. This one is from 2001, titled "Business Critical Linux® Platform (BCLP) Initiative Delivers Industrial-Strength, Certified OpenLinux Capabilities On Stable Intel®-Architecture Platforms".

That places it, in SCO's timeline in its Memorandum in Opposition to IBM's Motion for Summary Judgment on SCO's Interference Claims, as post-IBM's early contributions to Linux in 2000. And it is announcing a joint effort by Caldera International and ICS, something the two called a "Business Critical Linux Platform initiative" which would "assure hardened Linux performance and deployability for demanding network, Web and enterprise-level server applications."

Well, well. Hardening Linux performance for the enterprise, as I live and breathe. What a concept. Isn't that what SCO charges IBM was wrongfully doing? But this press release shows Caldera did the exact same thing, and it did it in 2001, after it purchased Santa Cruz's Unix assets and after it knew IBM had begun making contributions to Linux.

Not only that, but Groklaw member hardmath found this August 27, 2002 Linux Journal article by Jeff Gerhardt, about the name change from Caldera to The SCO Group. He wrote, "Over the last year or so, Caldera has tried to kill the SCO product line and get the channel to sell Linux."

I'd say SCO has some 'splainin' to do to the court as to why it said it never encouraged customers or partners to use Linux instead of Unix.

Here's more from the article:

Monday, during his opening comments, new Caldera CEO and President Darl McBride announced the name change of the company from Caldera to The SCO Group in dramatic fashion. Using a high-tech multimedia show, the Caldera image was shattered into shards by the new SCO Group logo, which is pretty much the same as the old SCO logo.

So why did Caldera morph into The SCO Group? It's business folks, just business. Let's look at the facts, and let's start with the channel-oriented ones.

Caldera obtained their reseller channel by purchasing SCO. The size of that reseller channel is somewhere between 12,000 and 16,000, depending on how you quantify the reseller. These 14,000 (let's split the difference) resellers of Caldera/SCO products around the world were still selling SCO UNIX products in preference to Caldera Linux products. Why? Simple: they made more money and it was easier. Their existing client base had some two million SCO servers installed, and they were happy. Over the last year or so, Caldera has tried to kill the SCO product line and get the channel to sell Linux. But the channel was built upon a momentum of SCO UNIX and would not stop. Bottom line, the change was driven by the pressure created by the channel itself.

I originally thought it was a great move on Caldera's part to purchase SCO and create a new revenue branch. But the attempt to transition the SCO channel into a Linux channel was pushed too quickly. It should have been driven by customer demand, not marketing.

And here's confirmation, from a Desktop Linux article, "Revenge of the UNIX Nerds: McBride Shoots, Will He Score?," on the same date, about the same name change announcement and the reason it happened:

Unseen by the outside world, SCO's customer base just kept going, and going, and going.Despite Caldera's vigorous efforts to guillotine the SCO brand, revolutionary fervor was not contagious. While Caldera Linux was losing three dollars for every dollar earned, SCO's UNIXes were making a profit. Safely flourishing in several vertical markets (MacDonalds, NASDAQ), they have a loyal customer base and active consulting community.

Once his work to establish UnitedLinux was done, Ransom Love closed the circle by announcing his successor, Darl McBride. McBride has lost no time in taking a hard look at the company's assets. The result is that voices long calling for a revived emphasis on SCO products have won the day.

So, what have we here? Caldera tried to kill off SCO's Unix products, in favor of Linux, these two articles tell us, but it didn't succeed. So it flopped over to pushing Unix instead of Linux in 2002:

Just as Borland earned a standing ovation from its community for dumping Inprise, the meaningless monicker which cost $2 million, SCO's community came to its feet when McBride told them that SCO is back, and bigger. Dressed in a Harley jacket, black jeans and wraparound sunglasses, he compared the new SCO Group's strategy to the same formula which brought the American motorcycles back to world renown.

SCO's revived relationship with its users assures them that its UNIXes will receive regular updates. But McBride's slides dropped the name 'Caldera Linux' for SCO Linux, a point which clearly caused confusion among the Caldera/SCO executive ranks. Some executives were clearly under the impression that the Caldera name would be retained, and others were convinced that SCO would soon return to the desktop in a big way.

The result is that while the SCO name has been retained to benefit from the heritage and solid reputation of its products, the Caldera brand has been damaged, if not dumped. Caldera Linux was the first widely recognized distribution with a friendly, intelligent installer, the first to gain acceptance as a business desktop.

The thing about history is, you can't actually change it, as SCO is finding out the hard way. But what about its "experts"? Did they explain all this to the court? Do their calculations include this history?

Not only that, but the 2001 press release announces that Linux was already the second most popular operating systems in the server market, "second only to Microsoft". In 2001.

And who was SCO Group in 2001? It was Caldera, actively promoting Linux in the enterprise, and therefore perfectly positioned to benefit directly from any and all contributions IBM made to Linux. And look at it from IBM's point of view back then. It had to think it was helping Caldera, not hurting it, because it was helping them by improving their products, since the contributions were made under the GPL. How could IBM know that later Caldera would later pull a switcheroo and emphasize Unix while deprecating Linux? How can IBM be fairly accused of trying to destroy Unix to Caldera's harm, when Caldera itself was trying to do that very thing? And the press release says clearly:

Caldera’s products based on the 2.4 Linux kernel offer superior robustness for multi-tasking and an inherently small footprint that provides an ideal alternative for implementing dedicated network servers and application-specific communications platforms.

They call their product "an ideal alternative" ... to what? Windows and Unix, presumably, so is it true that SCO Group, then Caldera, never encouraged customers and partners to use Linux instead of Unix? Did Caldera benefit from IBM's Linux contributions, would you say? If IBM was helping Linux to be useful in the enterprise, how could that not dovetail with Caldera's marketing goals, which were to sell Linux to the enterprise and kill off SCO products and brand? What kind of experts could miss that? It's like shooting goldfish.

The press release is still on SCO's site, although for how long is yet to be seen. The quickest way to kill SCO content, in my experience, is to put it on Groklaw.

Now, SCO also told the court in its Memorandum that in 1999, prior to IBM's 2000 contributions, Linux didn't compete with SCO Unix:

14. The reason for this swift impact on SCO’s business was that IBM’s disclosures to the Linux community enabled Linux to be used within corporations for the same functions as SCO’s UNIX operating systems. (Ex. 284 at 52; Ex. 286 at 31, 39; Ex. 281 at 54-56.)

REDACTED

15. In 1999, prior to IBM’s disclosures, Linux had not been used for these functions and did not compete with SCO’s UNIX operating systems.

The truth is, this uncovered evidence shows Caldera moved mountains to make it do exactly that. Here's an interview Groklaw member IANAL found, speaking of 1999, from that very year, an interview with Lyle Ball, who had moved from Caldera to Lineo when it was spun off:

Lyle: Well, one of the reasons was Caldera Systems has been very effective in building a solid brand around OpenLinux. OpenLinux is known as "Linux for Business", and it's got this corporate and trusting feel to it. There may be weaknesses the product has, as all products have strengths and weaknesses, but its strength is that it has a solid name in the business community. Caldera has spent--I don't know if they have ever disclosed how much--an insane amount of money in advertising and other promotion to build Linux itself and OpenLinux as acceptable in a business setting.

Folks, this is too easy. With that, here's the press release, so you don't have to visit SCO's website unless you want to, with more quotable quotes:

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

Business Critical Linux® Platform (BCLP) Initiative Delivers Industrial-Strength, Certified OpenLinux Capabilities On Stable Intel®-Architecture Platforms

Joint Efforts of Caldera International and ICS Advent Provide “Bulletproof” Linux On Intel Architecture Bundled Solutions that are Ideal for Hosting Edge/Access Point Solutions in Network, Web & Enterprise Server Deployments

Joint Efforts of Caldera International and ICS Advent Provide “Bulletproof” Linux On Intel Architecture Bundled Solutions that are Ideal for Hosting Edge/Access Point Solutions in Network, Web & Enterprise Server Deployments

Santa Cruz, CA – August 20, 2001 – Caldera International Inc. (Nasdaq: CALD) and ICS Advent announced an on-going joint development and marketing effort focused on providing certified Linux OS, server and network management software running on ICS Advent Omnix LS industrial PC platforms optimized to take advantage of the performance, stability and scalability of Intel® Architecture. Known as the Business Critical Linux Platform (BCLP) initiative, the joint effort brings together industry leaders in open-systems software and applied-computing platforms with state-of-the-art microprocessor and communications I/O technology, to assure hardened Linux performance and deployability for demanding network, Web and enterprise-level server applications.

The recent explosion of interest in open operating system software and the widespread development of Linux-based applications have turned Linux into a major mainstream force in the computer and communications industries. According to International Data Corporation, Linux has already become one of the most widely used operating platforms in the server market, second only to Microsoft. Caldera’s products based on the 2.4 Linux kernel offer superior robustness for multi-tasking and an inherently small footprint that provides an ideal alternative for implementing dedicated network servers and application-specific communications platforms.

“The BCLP initiative complements Caldera’s established leadership in providing rigorously tested, certified and fully-supported Linux and UNIX software products,” said Ransom Love, CEO of Caldera International, Inc. “Linux has achieved phenomenal success because of the global open-systems development model, which allows multiple developers to access, modify and generally broadcast improvements in the source code. However, for business critical applications, it is equally important to proactively manage revision levels to assure on-going stability and to provide comprehensive support for fully productized software distributions. Caldera’s OpenLinux operating system and integrated applications, along with our unique Volution networked management tools, create an ideal software environment, which has been fully tested and certified on ICS Advent’s Omnix LS hardware platforms.”

According to Chris Rezendes, ICS Advent vice president and general manager, “The pressure to find new sources of revenue and productivity is driving a fundamental shift in investment and development emphasis from the network core to the network edge. Companies working at the edge of the enterprise and infrastructure networks have extreme pressures to quickly deliver new revenue and profit-generating services, which require high performance, stable, scalable platforms backed up by the best software migration and hardware integration services available. These are primary factors driving interest in and demand for Linux on Intel Architecture bundled solutions and support services. The BCLP initiative is designed to meet the needs of infrastructure OEMs, independent systems integrators, next generation service providers and enterprise end-users developing on and deploying at the edge. Essentially, the BCLP initiative is all about providing Linux on Intel Architecture standard products, certified solutions and world-class professional services within the framework of a single source environment.”

“We believe the rapid growth of Linux applications represents an opportunity for deployment of embedded Intel Architecture solutions,” said Joe Jensen, general manager, Embedded Intel Architecture Division. “As market demand for high-performance, reliable and scalable Linux servers continues to escalate across a wide range of applications, Intel intends to provide the fundamental processor technologies.”

Having worked closely together for a number of months to define market requirements and develop product specifications, Caldera and ICS Advent will be demonstrating initial product capabilities at Caldera Forum in Santa Cruz, CA during the week of August 20, 2001. Formal product introductions are planned for the near future.

About Caldera International, Inc.

Caldera International (Nasdaq: CALD) is the leader in "Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business." Based in Orem, UT, Caldera has representation in 82 countries and has 15,000+ resellers worldwide. For more information on Caldera products and services, visit http://www.caldera.com

About ICS Advent

Founded in 1985, ICS Advent has been the premiere supplier of industrial-strength applied computing solutions and comprehensive integration and support services for more than 15 years, serving customers in the networking, telephony, computer, medical and industrial automation & control, and industrial test & measurement. Building on this rich heritage, ICS Advent has expanded its market focus to become a leader in Open Communication System (OCS) solutions, such as IP telephony, telecommunications, voice processing and broadcasting/convergence.

ICS Advent products, solutions and services are available through the company’s worldwide distribution network of authorized integration partners and its direct sales channels. Customers can also order products online at www.icsadvent.com or by calling an ICS Advent sales representative at (800) 523-2320. The company has ISO-certified facilities in San Diego, Calif. and Chichester, UK.

For More Information, contact:

[redacted]

Caldera, OpenLinux, UnixWare, Open UNIX, Caldera Volution and “Unifying UNIX with Linux for Business” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Caldera International, Inc. All other products, services, companies, events and publications are trademarks, registered trademarks or servicemarks of their respective owners in the U.S. and/or other countries.

LINUX is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.


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