The SCO story
Once there was a software company, Santa Cruz Operation, or in short; SCO. Their business was started in the early 80′s and was mostly built around UNIX systems (Xenix, SCO UNIX/Openserver and UnixWare) and later also terminal services (Tarantella). They were rather successfull in their business.
During the 90′s free UNIX systems came along, in the form of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and especially Linux, and they took marketshare away from SCO. The official stand of SCO was that Linux was inferior to their UNIX’s, which is understandable from a business perspective. They didn’t really understand how companies like Redhat could make money off free software. They held a brainstorm session of a few days to figure out how to compete with Linux. The outcome of this meeting was that they would sell support for Linux. This resulted in merchandise that advertised that service. There was even a group of people within SCO building their own Linux distribution.
This happened in a time when they were already in deep trouble. Their main product was still the old SCO OpenServer, and they failed to market the newer UnixWare, and had to let go a lot of developers.
Around the year 2000 they were bought by Linux distributor Caldera, which took over their UNIX business. In 2002 Caldera renamed itself to The SCO Group. Let’s make it clear that this new SCO is a different company then the old SCO.
In 2003 this new SCO sued IBM for illegally contributing to Linux. In the years following this step, one thing really stands out for about anyone looking into that case; there is no case.
Whatever the reasons are behind this lawsuit is open for speculation.
One of the effects however is that the new SCO is run into the ground by the current executives. Their Linux product is dead, and their UNIX products are developed by such small teams that they appear to be nothing more than cash cows to finance their lawsuits.
Around the year 2000 a friend of mine worked for the old SCO as system engineer. During one business fair where he was working for SCO he receieved a SCO shirt, which advertised SCO’s Linux services.
The tagline was:
Don’t worry, Be happy!
This T-shirt is just once again “proof” that old SCO did do Linux, and was happy to sell you Linux support. And it’s just heart-aching to see a company (new SCO) that had so many opportunities just take a wrong turn somewhere and destroy all that they had built up in its history.