Hard times for Linux biz

Scaldera's turn

A day after Caldera-spin off Lineo laid off 22 per cent of its staff, Caldera itself confirmed fifty one redundancies. Up to 20 per cent more are expected according to Linuxgram, which first caught wind of the redundancies a couple of weeks ago.

Caldera, which finally acquired SCO's Unix on Intel business earlier this year after many months of wrangling over the shape of the final entity, shed over thirty staff in April. SCO also made deep cuts in its Unix and services divisions ahead of the merger.

Last week Caldera announced in a SEC filing a consolidation of their stock, in other words a reverse split with a 1:6 ratio. Caldera's hand has been forced by the stock trading well below the $1 required to justify a NASDAQ listing.

When the deal was announced in August 2000, the plan was for Caldera to take the reins of SCO's Unix business and gradually and painlessly shift the customer base to a proprietary Unix/Linux mix. We left last year's SCO Forum convinced that the two understood each other pretty well, but just how this was supposed to happen on a technical level, we weren't sure. And we weren't much wiser a year later at the Forum, where there was talk of UnixWare providing a host for legacy Linux apps - or wait, was that the other way round? No, that's right.

CNet's Stephen Shankland gleaned the news that amongst yesterday's redundancies was Juergen Kienhoefer, who devised the Linux Kernel Personality layer - than allows UnixWare to consolidate Linux sessions on a single UnixWare box. Kienhofer it was who gave us a long and enthusiastic explanation of LKP, over ales and to the tune of Roger McGuinn, which you can read about here and here. This year, Caldera officials still remembered that this was a useful technology: but not enough to retain its lead architect.

UnixWare looks sorry and abandoned today, having lost its Non Stop Clustering technology a few weeks back. We're told that was because maintaining two kernels was considered prohibitively expensive.

Both Caldera and Lineo have their genesis in a team of Linux pioneers at Novell, with leader Brian Sparks moving on to head Caldera, and later the embedded spin-off Lineo. ®

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