Is SCO Denting Customers Buying Plans?

A series of off-the-cuff interviews at LinuxWorld found that SCO's legal attacks against Linux vendors aren't stopping customers from using Linux.

NEW YORK—Are The SCO Group Inc.s ongoing legal attacks against Linux vendors putting any dent in customers plans to buy Linux? The answer is a resounding "No," judging from reactions of showgoers at this weeks LinuxWorld here.

A series of off-the-cuff interviews found, however, that opinions are divided over Red Hat Inc.s lack of a real indemnification plan.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here for Red Hats plan to protect its Linux customers.

"SCO is just out for money," contended an IT staffer from the US. Department of State.

The State Department is now exploring a move to Linux for running its core applications. "Linux is robust," the IT staffer reasoned.

Two employees from solutions provider Ideal Technology said SCOs actions are not stopping their customers from using Linux. Ideals customer base includes government agencies, along with big defense contractors.

"The government does what it wants, anyway," said Jordan Jacobs, an Ideal vice president.

"Most of our customers think that the whole SCO thing is a lot of bull," added B. Anthony Kolstee, the companys systems administrator/trainer.

One of Ideals customers, a major defense contractor, did send out a "cautionary" letter to employees about the SCO situation. Jacobs said he wouldnt be surprised to find out other customers have done so, as well. "Ordinarily, youd think that middle managers receiving letters like that might decide to hold off for a while." Yet Ideal has received absolutely no cancellations of its Linux orders, he said.

A systems administrator from a New York-based import/export house acknowledged that his company is taking longer to migrate to Linux from Windows NT than he would like.

However, the delay has nothing whatsoever to do with SCO, he insisted. The administrator pointed instead to the need for more Linux applications.

A systems analyst from a major bank also cited the "robustness" of Linux. Eyeing a move from NT, his firm has already started experimenting with Red Hat Linux. "NT is definitely not robust," he said.

The systems analyst added, however, that the bank might consider switching to Novell Inc.s newly acquired SuSE Linux, unless Red Hat comes up with an equivalent plan for indemnifying customers. "If we were indemnified, we couldnt be sued," he said.


Software development house Exa Corp., on the other hand, is already deploying Red Hat Linux, along with Unix- and Windows-based systems, to build computational fluid dynamics applications. Exa has no intentions of dropping Red Hat.

"I have yet to see any proof from SCO of its claims," said James Chamberlain, a systems administrator at Exa.

(Editors Note: This story has been updated since its original posting to clarify comments made by Exas Chamberlain.)