We taught the Linux boys everything they know – SCO exec
Ray Anderson, SCO's senior VP of marketing, puts the UnixWare perspective
Ray Anderson, senior VP of marketing at SCO, wrote to us claiming to have choked on his Ribena after reading our Sun/Linux news items Sun set to bring Linux to UltraSparc and Sun plan to run Linux apps on Solaris. Poor fellow, we thought. We'd hate to have caused him such distress, so we invited Ray to put his case. His opinions are entirely his own. Unix is Back Next year will see a big resurgence in Unix, despite continued growth in the Windows NT server market. There are three factors driving this 'Unix is Back' phenomenon. First, NT is failing to deliver in the Enterprise. NT is unreliable, does not scale and is hard to move to from reliable RISC-based Unix systems that already dominate in mid to high-end systems. The big hardware vendors such as IBM, HP, Compaq and Sun are either making good money and growth in Unix, or are increasing their investment in Unix again, because they have discovered by talking to customers and market analysts that an NT-only strategy into the enterprise is a failure strategy. Second, the shift to server-centric Network Computing, championed by Sun, Oracle, SCO, IBM, Amazon.com, AOL, and the whole e-business movement is driving Unix with a vengeance. Almost all the big e-business sites are based on Unix. Unix is reliable enough to run round the clock for doing live business. Even homebrewed Linux/Apache systems are more popular than NT because they run for more than a few days without a reboot. Unix is client independent -- remember the Bank of Scotland disaster where they tried to follow Microsoft's advice to "lock in to Windows95" with ActiveX -- so e-business people don't have to drive people into Windows upgrades. Finally, and as important, the whole Linux phenomenon is a Unix phenomenon. Linux was created by hackers for advanced users. Most of those users are developers who are now innovating on the Linux/Unix platform. Windows programmers moved to Java in droves, and many of those people then moved to Linux as a new "religion" when they were disillusioned. Developing for Linux is developing for Unix. SCO has positioned itself to exploit the growth of Unix at the same time as Unix moves from RISC to Intel -- a change which is starting to happen. SCO has aligned with the right players: Compaq, IBM and Intel. UnixWare7 is Intel's "Primary Unix". Compaq and IBM now actively market UnixWare7 and are working with SCO to add new technology (NonStop Clustering and AIX Middleware, for example) and routes to market (Telecom and Retail for example). We have focussed on Servers for the last three years, accepting the decline of our Unix client business but gaining momentum in servers by being the most "Windows Friendly" Unix, and adding Webtops and other technology to support diverse clients. According to IDC, UnixWare was the fastest growing server last year. We took over from OS/2 (behind NetWare and NT) as number three most popular server platform. We have been pushing the Linux/Open Unix movement for two years now -- making Unix free for non-commercial use, promoting "Open Source" through our 'Skunkware' and 'Freeware' programmes, and by joining Linux International as a corporate sponsor. Linux is a great platform for developers. Linux OS vendors have been around for years, and do take some of our low-end server business, but we have found that is more than made up for in the growing demand for reliable, tested, user and VAR-oriented platforms to run Unix applications for businesses. SCO's background has been in small and medium-sized business and replicated sites. That 'traditional' business has been very profitable for us and our partners, allowing us to make heavy investments in consolidating Unix (by buying the Unix IPR from Novell), building an Enterprise class Unix for Intel (UnixWare7) and preparing for the arrival of IA-64 products. As NT has to move on from marketing hype to battle in the Enterprise and in the small and medium business servers where Unix is strong, and with the resurgence of Unix, things are looking very different than they did a year ago. Paradigm shifts happen when several major trends line up. Here we have five: Intel commodity hardware, network computing, Linux/Unix resurgence, the shift to indirect/integrator models, and Bill Gates in the mud. As they say in Silicon Valley: "Shift Happens". ®
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