SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA (08/25/2000) - When The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO) announced at the beginning of this month that it was selling its Unix server software and professional services divisions to Linux provider Caldera Systems Inc., plenty of SCO customers wondered what the move would mean to their own operations.
At least some of the questions were answered at this week's SCO Forum2000 event here, as executives from both companies assured users that SCO UnixWare will not only survive but will also thrive.
Roland Priest, a senior project assistant at Philadelphia-based auto parts store chain The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack, said fellow information technology staffers at his company were "very concerned" about SCO's move to sell the two divisions.
With the acquisition, Priest said, the concern was that Caldera would move to drop either Unix or Linux to focus on its future.
Those concerns were addressed at the conference when Caldera's president and CEO, Ransom Love, stressed that the two product lines will coexist.
Orem, Utah-based Caldera pledged to continue the SCO OpenServer and UnixWare 7 lines, he said. "Why would we buy it to destroy what we buy?" Love said. "That wouldn't make any sense."
By the second day of the conference, Priest was more optimistic.
"The products are still going to be here; the support is going to be here," he said. "I think it's going to be stronger by combining two big pieces into one company."
Optimistic, But . . .
Another SCO customer, Shay Tochner, a worldwide strategic consultant at Magic Software Enterprises Ltd. in Yehuda, Israel, agreed. But to make the new arrangement work for customers, he said, Caldera must be serious about keeping the Unix and Linux lines separate.
"If they're integrating correctly, they can be a winner. But if things are going to degrade in the SCO infrastructure, then this is going to be a disaster for both parties," Tochner said.
"I'm calm," said Tochner, whose company has been using OpenDesktop, OpenServer and UnixWare for seven years. "I'm not worried. I still have to believe what they're saying. They have to be stupid to go against it."
That optimism was shared by at least one prospective reseller.
John DuPont, a product manager at ICS Advent, a Microsoft Corp. reseller in San Diego, said his company has been looking at securing a Linux vendor for several months to keep up with the movement of the industry and with requests from customers.
Caldera was a leading candidate before the acquisition of the two SCO divisions and is now an even stronger candidate because of the SCO products, he said.
"Having Caldera buy SCO, it makes it even easier for me because I see one potential source for two products," DuPont said.
SCO and Caldera announced the sale Aug. 2. SCO is keeping its Tarantella Web-enabling software line as its core business and is renaming itself Tarantella Inc. The sale of the two divisions is expected to be finalized by October.