UnitedLinux Set for Beta; Caldera Eyes New Era

Caldera CEO Darl McBride says UnitedLinux group aims to offer Linux users and enterprise customers an "alternative" to Red Hat.

SAN FRANCISCO--UnitedLinux, the server software platform born out of the combined efforts of Caldera International Inc. Conectiva S.A., SuSE Linux AG and Turbolinux Inc., on Tuesday announced the imminent availability of the product for beta testing, promising to breathe new life into the challengers to Red Hat Inc.

UnitedLinux will be released to partners of the four founding companies at the end of this month, with a public beta to kick off by the end of September, according to officials here at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. A final version is due by years end.

While much of the development work is being handled by SuSE and is based on the SuSE Enterprise Server, each of the four partners will sell its own distribution, applications and services built around the UnitedLinux core. The companies will pool and share royalties derived from each copy of UnitedLinux sold.

UnitedLinux officials feel that the combined efforts of the four founders give them a renewed chance to overtake Red Hats Linux dominance.

"If we combined our market share, we have more than Red Hat," said new Caldera president and CEO Darl McBride, who succeeded Ransom Love in June. "If we combine our developer count, we have more than Red Hat."

The release of UnitedLinux kicks off a new chapter in the life of Caldera, in particular, which is planning to "re-energize" its major core product, SCO OpenServer, and use that large installed base to create opportunities in the small-and-medium-size business and retail markets for UnitedLinux, McBride said.

McBride said Caldera will brief its resellers at an event in Las Vegas later this month, when Caldera will roll out an "attack plan" to leverage its existing body of intellectual property and installed base.

Going forward, McBride said, the UnitedLinux group will try to offer Linux users and enterprise customers an "alternative" to Red Hat Linux. "Customers and vendors are telling us we dont want to be stuck with only one Linux vendor, Red Hat," he said. "Theres increased demand from vendors who want more than a single distribution of Linux. Red Hat is one—who will be the other?"

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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...