April 12, 2002

Unix + Linux = Caldera: Company has no plans to retire old Unix OS

- By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols -

So where is Caldera going with its older operating systems? Linux may be all fine and
dandy, but the fate of OpenServer is what the people at the DTR Business Systems reseller show in Las Vegas last week wanted to know, and Caldera's CEO Ransom Love was there to give them answers.

First and foremost, Caldera will not put the older Unix OpenServer out to pasture after years of neglect from former owner SCO. In the past,
SCO tried to move OpenServer users and resellers to UnixWare --now OpenUnix -- but they simply wouldn't budge. Why not? Because, as Rene Beltran, vice president of sales for DTR, says: "OpenServer already does everything the customers want." DTR, a value-added reseller that works with resellers, integrators and customers,
still sells 20 times the copies of the older OpenServer operating system as OpenUnix copies, he says.

It's not just DTR. According to Dan Kusnetzky, IDC's vice president for system software research, OpenServer has a much larger market share than the often touted, but it would seem seldom deployed, OpenUnix.

Caldera will continue updating OpenServer with driver updates and a refresh of the operating system, in the third quarter of 2002, that will bring OpenServer up to version 5.0.7.

At about the same time, to make OpenUnix more attractive, Caldera will be adding an
OpenServer Kernel Personality to OpenUnix. This will enable users to run OpenServer programs on OpenUnix come the day that they need OpenUnix's much more powerful database infrastructure and or need up to eight-way processing power. Caldera hopes that OpenServer users who want server-consolidation will then use this as an upgrade path.

Even after this, however, Caldera doesn't plan on giving OpenServer a gold watch on the way out the door. In 2003, if there continues to be a demand for it, Caldera will bring a Linux Kernel Personality to OpenServer. With the LKP, users will be able to run Linux programs on OpenServer.

Caldera will also continue to upgrade its Linux operating system, with
OpenLinux 3.1.2 due to come out in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, Love says on all three operating systems, there will be more frequent feature patches rather than frequent periodical major releases. Love added, "Users and resellers don't want major releases, because installing them is too expensive, and they cause work disturbances."

Caldera will also strive to make "it easier to switch between the operating systems, thus
enabling administrators to mix and match. This will also make it easier to migrate between environments and consolidate servers."

How can Caldera afford to support three operating systems? Love explained that because
OpenServer and OpenUnix are already stable, they don't require a tremendous amount of
development work. Instead, most of the development dollars are focused on Linux.

Eventually, though, Caldera thinks Linux will win out. OpenLinux alone is making the jump to the IA-64 architecture.

But, as Love says, while it's possible that "Linux may replace Unix, we see Unix and Linux as compatible. We don't see, as Red Hat does, one replacing the other."

Love also made it clear that Caldera will not be following Red Hat to the enterprise space. Instead, Caldera will
concentrate on selling to small- to medium-sized businesses and branch offices through its reseller channel. As Love says, "The solution provider is our customer, not the end user."

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