Another Linux Love Feast

Caldera preps new partner programs, as UnixWare deal nears approval.

UnixWare stumbled under three previous owners. But its latest caretaker, Caldera International CEO Ransom Love, plans to show the operating system plenty of affection.

Love is working to clearly articulate how partners will benefit, as Caldera builds more bridges between its flagship Linux products and UnixWare.

Caldera acquired SCOs UnixWare business and professional-services organization in August. The deal is expected to receive federal approval next month. (SCOs remaining business has relaunched as Tarantella.)

By mid-March, Caldera expects to disclose new partner programs to UnixWare resellers. "We want to make sure that [SCOs] partners know where they fit so that when the transaction is done, theyll know exactly where they stand," says Love.

Caldera executives say partners should expect a new product-branding strategy. Specifically, Calderas platforms will be branded by functionality (database server, Web server, etc.) instead of by operating system. The partner push will involve cross-selling and cross-development between the UnixWare and Linux communities.

For instance, Caldera will make UnixWare binary-compatible with Linux, allowing UnixWare customers to run Linux applications, Love says.

On the flip side, Caldera Linux will gain UnixWares best enterprise and database management features. These include large file system support, asynchronous input/output (I/O), the UnixWare API, extended developer kit and multipath I/0. Along the way, Caldera plans to gradually phase out OpenServer, SCOs older Unix product.

Love believes UnixWare extensions to Linux will help major database players, like Oracle, to increase application scalability on Linux.

Caldera also is testing Linux 2.4.1, but the company isnt rushing to push the new kernel out the door.

"We dont want to jump the gun with an early production release," says David McCrabb, a SCO veteran who will be president of the combined companies. "With our emphasis on business customers, we want a stable, predictable operating system that business can use."

In the meantime, the Linux/UnixWare combo faces plenty of challenges. Critics note that UnixWare never gained critical mass under its former owners. The product started out as a joint effort between AT&T and Novell. Novell went on to acquire AT&Ts Unix business, and tried to merge UnixWare with NetWare. But the project turned into a debacle, and Novell ultimately sold UnixWare to SCO for pennies on the dollar.

At this point, UnixWare certainly could use a little Love.