SCO extends Linux lines

The next millennium will see an advent of "change going into hyperdrive", in which disruptive technologies will continue to alter the face of information technology, according to Doug Michels, SCO president and CEO of the Monterey Team.

Delivering the keynote address yesterday of this year's SCO Forum, Michels predicted that open source software, the internet and leaps in processing power will make the information age "more exciting, more interesting and more dangerous than ever before".

SCO announced yesterday a new series of Linux-related offerings to help its enterprise customers evaluate and manage the cost, benefits and risk of open source technologies.

SCO's open source offerings, he said, will be purely customer-driven.

"We have no intention of developing a branded version of Linux.

"The nature of open source software is that customers will end up with a derivative of the code. SCO will assist customers with this process through our professional services," he said.

"Processors will continue to become more powerful at the same cost. Silicon is just sand, the cost increase will be negligible," Michels said to a bemused crowd. "Perhaps I am simplifying a little, but I'm a software guy."

Leaps in processing power signals a shift away from the proprietary market, according to Michels, which will create more competition.

The internet has not only changed the network computing model away from the client/server model, it has changed the way we do business, commerce and the way we communicate, Michels said.

"More applications continue to be designed to use a browser interface as the primary interface for interaction with consumers," said Michels. Application service providers (ASPs) have also created a fundamental change in the way applications are distributed.

"ASP solutions will become very popular with small businesses," Michels said.

On open source software, he said collaborative software development is not new.

"Unix has had collaborative development for years. The difference is that the internet has magnified this process with a dramatic increase in the number of people who can now play around with source codes," he said.

The challenge for software vendors, Michels believes, is developing a reliable commercial product.

"Open source is not a panacea," he said.

"Because it is collaborative, you run the risk of lacking some of the good points of commercial software, such as copyright and patent protection, lack of a roadmap and no point of accountability.

"Having said that," said Michels, "collaborative software development will create a Renaissance in the software industry."

Natasha David travelled to Santa Cruz as a guest of SCO

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