LAS VEGAS—Brushing courtroom battles over Linux aside this week, SCO will use its annual users forum here to unveil new initiatives around its Unix products, including a future architecture code-named Project Fusion, a new SCO Office appliance geared to resellers, and a distribution deal with network appliance maker Cymphonix.
It will also take this opportunity to name Tim Negris, a former executive at IBM Corp., as senior vice president of marketing.
An initial step in The SCO Group Inc.s future Unix road map revolves around this weeks release of MP1 (Maintenance Pack 1), a service pack that adds multicore processing support to the recently launched SCO OpenServer 6.
Support for Intel Corp.s multicore processing architecture is aimed at giving a performance boost to the new server, said Alexander Sack, a SCO engineer, in a meeting on Sunday, the eve of the users show in Las Vegas. SCO will add the same support to its UnixWare platform over the next two weeks, according to Sack.
Over the next few days, SCO officials are expected to outline plans for Project Fusion, an effort to bring together the companys OpenServer and UnixWare environments on a single platform based on the new 64-bit Unix SVR6 technology.
SCO will also announce the availability of educational curriculum materials and new bundled support and professional services for OpenServer 6, a platform that adds capabilities such as multithreading and support for larger file sizes.
SCO is signalling another change in direction with the appointment of Negris—who previously worked for IBM, Oracle Corp. and Sybase Corp.—to head up marketing.
"Ill be using technology, not torts as my mantra," Negris said during another interview here. Negris told Ziff Davis Internet News that, after taking the position with SCO, he sent an e-mail to Steve Mills, IBMs senior vice president and group executive for the software group, to let him know that the job acceptance was unrelated to the legal dispute between the two companies. Mills quickly shot back an e-mail "giving me his blessings," Negris said.
SCO is meanwhile promoting Sandeep Gupta, chief architect of both OpenServer 6 and UnixWare 7.1.4, to the position of chief technology officer.
Both Negris and Gupta, who was previously SCOs vice president of engineering, will report to SCO President and CEO Darl McBride.
In the deal with Cymphonix, Cymphonix will add SCOs resellers to its own VAR channel for an integrated network appliance called Network Composer.
Network Composer filters both network traffic and content, said Joe Lowry, a sales engineer for Cymphonix, during a pre-show product showcase. The capabilities will include spam filtering, IM (instant messaging) logging, Web filtering and control over illegal P2P (peer-to-peer) filing sharing.
The product from Cymphonix will be the first device to be resold through SCOs channel, according to Andrew Nagle, SCOs Cymphonix product manager.
Also in the device category, SCO will demo a new mail appliance for SCO Office, designed to let resellers install and maintain SCO Office from remote locations.
The architecture behind the appliance is based on technology from SCO partner Microlite Corp., said John Boland, a tech support specialist at SCO.
SCO plans to provide resellers with on-site training in how to build the device. Some partners have already created the appliance, including System 1 in the United States and several VARs in the United Kingdom.
By and large, SCO partners attending the show say theyre glad to see SCO re-focusing on its Unix platform. "This is good for us and our customers," said Ron Jessen, CCNA, a systems engineer at Enterprise Systems in Golden, Colo.
Some VARs here also sell Microsoft Windows and/or Linux software. But many long-time SMB (small and midsize business) customers tend to want to stick with SCO, according to Jessen, who pointed to reliability—meaning minimal system downtime, in particular—as the major reason.
System reliability is especially important to customers in remote locations, agreed Don McKeny, CEO of Mardon Healthcare Information Systems of Mesa, Ariz.
McKeny told Ziff Davis Internet News that one of his customers—an Eskimo community consisting of five villages just south of the North Pole—has been using SCO software for the past 24 years.