NEW YORK—The SCO Group is working on a new platform, known as SCOx, that it hopes will drive the next generation of applications on both the network and the server, across both Unix and Linux.
SCO Group chief executive Darl McBride told eWEEK in an interview here at LinuxWorld Wednesday that two of the companys core customer segments—the replicated site customer and the small- to medium-sized business customer—are looking for a platform that melds their server-based solutions and the Internet.
The company recently released its SCObiz product, which spurred online application services for these two customer groups. “But the issue was how this meshes with their servers. The smaller shops are more inclined to do a lot of ASP-type solutions, while the midsized shops want a secure solution with the server there and the comfort of that.
“But they also dont want to give up the ability to have an Internet presence that reaches out to their customers, e-commerce and the like,” he said.
The SCOx platform will bring these two environments together, seamlessly, says McBride. SCO will then approach those developers who have already built the 4,300 applications for SCO Unix and offer to bring their business logic, the vertical or functional use their application performed, to the table and derive value from that.
“So, its really the best of both worlds from an Internet and server environment, tuned for launching applications. Its really software infrastructure supreme for this SMB and replicated site crowd. Well be rolling this out in the next few months,” McBride said.
“At the end of the day, were not going to care whether youre running it on Unix or Linux because we already have an application programming interface (API) superset that binds them together from an application standpoint,” he said.
While pricing has not yet been determined, McBride said he wants to make the economic model attractive for application developers to bring their business logic to the table.
If SCO then started hosting their pieces for other people in its network, with its 60,000 resellers and millions of customers worldwide, then they could potentially get royalties back. “Were going to build in a business model around this thats not out there today,” he said.
McBride also addressed the controversy surrounding SCOs plans to make users pay for some Unix software theyre running, unlicensed, on Linux. SCO announced this week a Unix library licensing program that will let companies pay $149 per server processor to use those Unix libraries.
McBride also confirmed that the company has hired high-profile attorney David Boies and his legal firm to investigate whether Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and versions of BSD infringed on the Unix intellectual property it owned.
While claiming that it is hard to estimate how many people are technically in breach of its licensing terms, McBride said its “very widespread and would generate a revenue stream in the millions of dollars. We know who they are.”
But he stressed that this is a “friendly move” by the company, which would be flexible in determining what customers who had been using the software in an unlicensed way for some time would be charged.
: SCO Group Readies New Platform”>
“If you go back into the 80s and 90s, Unix on Intel was on the SCO platform. Where is Linux playing out today? Its primarily a Unix on Intel variant. So, by taking our libraries and the compatibility standard we have called Linux ABI, and putting those two pieces in, you get backward compatibility with all of those apps, and thats important to a lot of folk,” he said.
The notion of Linux IP was a hot potato issue in the open-source and Linux community, and he said SCO was also concerned about a number of other issues relating to IP it owned, like that which may have found its way into BSD.
As such, the company approached Boies to deal with the matter as “we wanted to find a guy who was used to dealing with complicated legal issues,” McBride said.
Karen Smith, the vice president of Linux strategy and market development for IBM, told eWEEK that she is comfortable with the licensing terms of the GPL, which allows vendors to license value-added components of their technology.
“SCO remains a key member of the UnitedLinux consortium and they, like us, abide by the licensing requirements and terms of the GPL (General Public License), which allows vendors to license proprietary value-added components of their technology.
Michael Tiemann, CTO of Red Hat, told eWEEK in an interview that he was fairly certain that if it involved proprietary Unix technology, Red Hat had no concern. “But every time people get engaged in unproductive arguments, it slows things down.
“What the IT industry needs today is a direction forward and as long as were fighting these border skirmishes about this library and that thing there, is it Lindows, is it Windows, thats a distraction,” he said.
(Editors Note: A portion of this story was edited for clarity.)
More LinuxWorld Coverage