Long Live UNIX: An Open Letter from Darl McBride, President and CEO, The SCO Group

Aug 08, 2005, 01:00 ET from The SCO Group

    LINDON, Utah, Aug. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
     Three years ago, when I first joined The SCO Group, we focused the company
 on the area that was most profitable and provided the most benefit to
 customers, investors, resellers, developers and employees:  UNIX.  People
 thought we were crazy.  But since SCO owns the UNIX operating system and it
 made up 95 percent of our company's revenue, and we were getting strong demand
 from customers for a next generation version of UNIX, that's where we
 concentrated our efforts.
     Since then, people have often asked me, "Is SCO a company that is really
 focused on innovating products and technology or are you just hoping to win a
 lawsuit against IBM and then ride off into the sunset?"  "Isn't SCO just all
 about defeating Linux?"  Of course we are innovating and we absolutely want to
 defeat Linux, just as we want to defeat any other competitor.  We work and
 live in a competitive environment, as do most companies.  The competitive
 battle between Pepsi and Coke is legendary, as is the battle between GM and
 Ford, Boeing and Airbus, and the Red Sox and Yankees.
     If you had a chance to walk the halls of SCO's offices, you would clearly
 know that we are a company focused on furthering SCO UNIX and innovating in
 new product areas.  Some of these developments we've been public about and
 others will be introduced in the coming months.  One thing is certain:  while
 our lawyers are protecting UNIX in the courtroom, SCO is clearly focused on
 winning in the marketplace with superior technology and better value for our
     In June, we released SCO OpenServer 6, which was a multi-year,
 multi-million dollar development effort that resulted in a product that goes
 beyond simply leveling the playing field with Linux.  Based on the feedback
 from our strategic partners, customers, resellers, engineers, and many others,
 I believe SCO OpenServer 6 outshines Linux on a number of fronts:
     1.  OpenServer 6 Costs Less - OpenServer 6 offers very aggressive pricing.
         The purchase price for SCO OpenServer 6 is priced from $599 to $1399
         which includes the license to the product, software fixes, and access
         to SCO's online knowledge base.  Customers pay once for the product
         and run it for as long as they like.
         Linux vendors, on the other hand, seem to have a "bait and switch"
         pricing model.  The initial attraction to Linux was a price tag of
         zero cost.  Yet, they typically charge customers from $349 to $2,499
         every single year.  Calculating the cost of running Linux over a five
         year period of time, that same customer pays from $1,745 to $12,495.
         Since the Linux license itself is "free," are you really happy to be
         paying annual subscription fees that are, in effect, higher than SCO's
         price for both licenses and software fixes?
         Is Linux really free?  Of course not.
         "Free" is one of the most searched words on the Web today.  When you
         type in "Free" in Yahoo search, it brings up more than 3 billion hits.
         "Free" is a very powerful marketing concept.  We all love free.  Linux
         lures you in with the promise of its being "free."  But before you get
         out of the "store," you are surprised to find out that it was anything
         but free.  Just remember the proverb, "Free is the most expensive
     2.  SCO Has a Superior Kernel - SCO OpenServer 6 includes the UNIX System
         V Release 5 (SVR5) kernel, the result of more than 25 years of
         high-end development work that has created a proven track record of
         stability and reliability.  With our latest release, OpenServer
         provides support for up to 32 processors, 64 GB of memory, terabyte
         file sizes, and full support for multi-threaded applications.  Linux
         is still young from an operating system perspective.  I would
         challenge any kernel out there to match us head-to-head.  While Linux
         may appeal to some as the sleek, new "racer" on the track, the
         experienced IT professional will truly see the real power under the
         hood when they test the UNIX kernel and the tried and true power of
         UNIX combined with the new capabilities of SCO OpenServer 6.
     3.  OpenServer Has Better Security - IT managers rank security today as
         one of the most important decision factors in selecting an operating
         system.  According to technology risk management firm mi2g, SCO
         OpenServer is one of the most secure operating systems in the world.
         A study confirmed that SCO UNIX platforms had the lowest number of
         vulnerabilities of any operating system they had studied.  SCO
         OpenServer 6 has all the latest security protocols and encryption
         We also believe in quickly responding to the latest security threats.
         In CNET's, May 27, 2005 article entitled "OS Makers Slow to Fix Flaw,"
         a vulnerability was discovered affecting Intel's hyperthreading and
         allows a local hacker to steal sensitive information.  A notification
         was given to all operating system vendors in March.  "FreeBSD security
         team member Percival has received formal responses to the issue from
         the makers of the BSD family of open-source operating systems, as well
         as SCO and Ubuntu Linux.  However, Linux vendors Red Hat, Novell and
         Mandriva have been slow to act, as has Microsoft," he said.  SCO was
         first to respond to the security threat.
         Unfortunately for Linux, mi2g also confirmed that the Linux operating
         system has become somewhat of a hacker's paradise.  In a study
         conducted only seven months ago they found that overall, the most
         vulnerable operating system for manual hacker attacks was Linux,
         accounting for 65.64% of all hacker breaches reported.
         Regarding Linux vulnerabilities, mi2g stated, "For how long can the
         truth remain hidden that the great emperors of the software industry
         are wearing no clothes fit for the fluid environment in which
         computing takes place, where new threats manifest every hour of every
     4.  SCO Has a Customer-Driven Roadmap - Customers expect to see a
         published roadmap of product development.  Linux development plans and
         schedules are generally as unknown as they are unpredictable.
         Contrary to that approach, SCO believes in a solid, public, and
         planned roadmap based on the tried and true methodology of listening
         to customers, evaluating technology and bringing it to market in a
         timely manner.  SCO is committed to deliver on its roadmap promises --
         on time and on target.
         Linux will likely continue to face challenges about its development
         methodologies and roadmaps as long as it continues to be a loosely
         organized set of volunteers who develop what they want, when they
     5.  OpenServer 6 is Backward Compatible - In listening to our customers,
         we've received the strong message that backward compatibility is
         essential.  Backward compatibility is almost non-existent for Linux
         customers.  Linux has a "community" of contributing volunteers, and
         while some would say this is a boon for Linux, I would characterize it
         as a bane because channeling all of these contributions into another
         point release for Linux inevitably causes problems.  Who is checking
         for compatibility across thousands of applications, drivers, hardware
         and peripherals?  Who is verifying backward compatibility?  When a new
         upgrade of Linux is required, software vendors and end users most
         likely have to upgrade their application as well.
         SCO OpenServer 6 customers get a stable operating system with full
         compatibility for applications back to the earliest versions of SCO
         OpenServer and Xenix.  SCO customers don't worry that their
         application won't run with the new version of their SCO operating
         system because backward compatibility is built into each new release.
         It's part of the product release criteria, and SCO's focused
         engineering team makes it happen every time.  As is the case with
         OpenServer 6, older applications written on this operating system work
         seamlessly with the new features and capabilities built into the
     6.  SCO Allows You to Focus on Your Core Competency - A popular animation
         on the Internet features a guy named Steve, the Linux Super Villain.
         During the course of the 60 second animation, he describes his work
         with Linux stating, "First you have to config it, then write some
         shell scripts, update your RPMs, partition your drives, patch your
         kernel, compile your binaries and check your version dependencies..."
         While the animation is designed to be humorous, it's not far from the
         truth.  If you're adopting Linux, get prepared to go into the
         operating system business because that's exactly the path you will be
         One of the primary reasons customers choose SCO is that they don't
         want to be an operating system vendor.  They want to be free to manage
         their businesses, and leave the operating system details to SCO and
         our army of resellers, support engineers, and product development
     7.  SCO Owns and Warrantees its Products - SCO owns the OpenServer 6
         operating system that it licenses to its customers.  SCO also owns the
         UNIX operating system technology that has been licensed to thousands
         of firms over the years.  Alternatively, Linux distributors ship an
         operating system for which they have little control and no ownership.
         In fact, the General Public License, which governs the use and
         distribution of the Linux operating system, makes it clear that Linux
         conveys no warranty to end users.  From the standpoint of intellectual
         property rights, SCO OpenServer 6 is backed by a company that
         warrantees its products.
     8.  SCO is Unifying its Code Base - Yogi Berra once said, "If you come to
         a fork in the road, take it."  Forking is exactly what is happening to
         Linux.  The grand promise of Linux was that it wouldn't fork or
         fragment into multiple Linux operating systems.  A noble sentiment, to
         be sure; but Linux distributors have ensured exactly the opposite.
         They are attempting to get ISVs locked into a specific flavor of
         Linux, thereby forking Linux with every new version of the product.
         By not certifying any of the "free" versions of their operating system
          (like Fedora), they instead concentrate their efforts on only
         certified, "paid for" versions.  They have caused the very problem
         that they promised they would never create.  The problem is compounded
         when software and hardware partners are forced to certify to multiple
         Linux distributions.
         While UNIX has had its own history of forking, SCO is committed to a
         policy of converging and unifying its code base as is evident with the
         release of OpenServer 6.  To simplify the vender certification
         process, OpenServer 6 has actually reduced the number of
         certifications required of our software and hardware partners by
         providing a single-certification for applications that now run on both
         UnixWare and OpenServer.  These partners welcome the opportunity for
         the industry to create fewer certifications rather than more.
     9.  SCO UNIX: Legendary Reliability - Customers value and trust a vendor
         whose products provide reliability and stability year after year.  A
         good operating system is like a strong building foundation, you may
         not think about it everyday, but you're glad it's there.
         Some of the world's largest and most well-known companies trust SCO to
         run their business.  One large SCO customer has chosen OpenServer as
         its operating system of choice in thousands of locations due to this
         legendary reliability.  Their method of deployment was recently
         described to me this way: "We put the server in a closet, lock the
         door, and hide the key.  We never have to touch it again."  I believe
         this is a key competitive advantage for OpenServer.
     10. SCO Has an Award-Winning Support Team - Customers of OpenServer 6 have
         access to a support team that knows the product inside and out.  They
         have decades of experience with our product line and are available
         around the world and around the clock.  In addition, the SCO support
         team has access to the very development engineers who created the
         product.  This cannot be said of Linux distributions.  For most
         customers who have an immediate need, SCO can respond much faster than
         Linux because our support staff is in-house and has direct access to
         the developers to answer all customer questions.
         Conversely, when Linux customers run into problems and need
         professional technical support they really have only two choices.
         First, they can turn to the Linux distributor who played a big role in
         packaging the product but had nothing to do with its core development.
         Or second, they can turn to the Linux volunteer community.  These
         volunteers were not paid to develop the product; and they received
         nothing from the Linux distributor, there's no obligation for that
         volunteer to support the product.  Would you really want to trust the
         backbone of your business to the likely unpredictable response times
         of this Linux "volunteer fire department" support model?
     So that's my "Top 10 List" of reasons you should consider SCO UNIX as an
 alternative to Linux.  Of course you, the reader, probably think this byline
 is biased.  Of course it is.  But what are the press saying about OpenServer
 6?  Here is a quick sampling of recent sound bites:
              "OpenServer 6's features form a very powerful server."
              "The price, for what you get, offers a significant return on
              investment that cannot be overlooked."
              "This makes a powerful and reliable server combination that
              should meet the needs of most organizations."
              "Sporting an updated kernel, The SCO Group Inc.'s OpenServer 6
              offers significant scalability upgrades, along with new UnixWare
              application and driver compatibility.  These improvements, along
              with a set of new and updated open-source software components,
              make OpenServer 6 a compelling upgrade for sites already running
              this venerable operating system."
              "SCO OpenServer 6 is a Winner"
     I'm very proud of the work our SCO team has put into OpenServer 6.  We
 recognize that we're not perfect and there is much work to be done.  However,
 as the stewards of the UNIX operating system, SCO is committed to providing
 technology leadership and delivering on the promise of UNIX-based solutions
 for many years to come.