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Sun Microsystems has bought SCO - or at least the company that used to be SCO - for $25m.

Sun today announced its buy of Tarantella in a cash deal. Tarantella was once known as the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) before that company sold its operating system assets to Caldera in 2001, kicking off a world of hurt for Linux fans everywhere.

Since that acquisition, Tarantella has focused on selling products that let customers tap into server-side applications via a secure desktop. Sun is looking for the deal to close in its first fiscal quarter of 2006, which ends this fall.

Sun will likely use Tarantella's software as a complement to its Sun Ray thin clients and internet infrastructure software packages. The Tarantella code works on a wide variety of systems, including Solaris for SPARC, Solaris x86, other flavors of Unix, Linux, IBM's mainframe OSes and Microsoft's Windows.

"I see this as an attempt to move ahead with Sun's ambitions around thin but rich clients," said James Governor, an analyst at RedMonk. "But this also offers some interesting interoperability opportunities with Microsoft code."

Of course, the deal also paves the way from some SCO gags too.

"It's good to see a home for the only good IP (intellectual property) left from the old Santa Cruz Operation," Governor added.

The buy of Tarantella's is the second significant software acquisition for Sun in as many days. It announced a deal yesterday to purchase storage software maker Procom for $50m. Both of the companies already had strong ties to Sun. ®

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