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Childe Rolande IBM rides from Aix to Gwent, bypassing Java but including Santa Cruz

A rediscovery of Unix has got Big Blue and its ISVs all excited. Will IBM buy SCO?

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IBM has rediscovered Unix and it is developing a new version for Intel's IA-64 based on AIX, SCO's Unixware and Sequent's PTX operating system. Maybe the AS/400 division is getting too much attention nowadays, or maybe the AIX division is saying we've got 64-bit too. Maybe IBM does weddings and bar mitzvahs, but when Big Blue announced project Monterey today, it cast a lifeline at the beleaguered SCO, providing grist to the rumour mill that IBM might buy SCO and put it out of its misery. The fact that Project Monterey made no mention of Java, and since Java is IBM's biggest single corporate investment, ever, observers might wonder if the AIX division and IBM headquarters are signing from the same hymnal. If they are, and if the new Unix is the operating system for all platforms, is this the first serious indication that Java isn't coming up to scratch? For the record, the companies are collaborating on a single 64-bit version for Intel based servers, using both Unixware and AIX, resulting in a single Unix product line across IA-32, IA-64 and IBM processors. IBM said it will make significant investments to make it the leading Unix operating system. No figures, but the investment will be directed at porting IBM's middleware portfolio and operating system development to exploit Intel IA-32 and IA-64 and IBM's Power architecture; and in technical and marketing support for ISVs." Bob Stephenson, senior vice president IBM Server Group, said: "Working with these companies, we're capitalising on the base of proven leadership technologies to deliver the world's best Unix on Power microprocessor and high-volume Intel microprocessor systems." Not surprisingly, the troubled SCO is, "delighted to be at the heart of this major announcement," according to Doug Michels, SCO's CEO. He added: "It's a great opportunity to take SCO's products to a new range of enterprise customers." Sequent is equally delighted. "The AIX partnership provides the clear choice, combining proven technology, tremendous resources and unprecedented industry support," said Casey Powell, chairman and CEO of Sequent. On the ISV front, BEA Systems, Informix, Micro Focus, Netscape, Novell and Pick Systems, and others praised the initiative. A number of manufacturers and said they will use the new software, including Acer, CETIA, Groupe Bull, ICL, Motorola Computer Group, and Unisys. Sun Microsystems said nothing. ®

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