VARs Get Behind SCO, But Leave Room For Linux

Despite concerns about the Lindon, Utah, company's draining legal battles with IBM and Novell over Linux code, SCO's channel is optimistic about the planned release in May of OpenServer 6.0 (OSR6), code-named Project Legend, and next-generation Unix platform, code-named Diamond, that unifies OpenServer and SCO UnixWare and is due in 2006.

"My clients aren't switching [from SCO]," said one SCO and Microsoft VAR who requested anonymity. "The OSR6 feature set is nice. My clients have been waiting for Legend's capabilities for a long time."

The upgrade, SCO's first step toward unifying its separate Unix offerings, integrates Unix System V Release 5 and offers increased memory support as well as support for file sizes larger than 2 Gbytes and up to 16 processors.

Partners are betting heavily that Legend and Diamond will secure SCO's future.

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"The OpenServer line is low-cost, flexible, stable and has little demands in the area of administration," said Mike Brown, systems engineer at The Kingsway Group, a SCO partner in Thornhill, Ontario. "Customers will likely move to OSR6 on the next server replacement or upgrade."

Although partners remain confident about SCO's prospects in court, most are banking on Unix and Linux.

"We believe in SCO and their copyright ownership; however, we need to run a business. So our strategy is to chase everything that is Unix- or Linux-based, which now includes NetWare," said David Westrheim, CEO of intelliNet, a systems integrator in Vancouver, British Columbia, referring to Novell's recently released Open Enterprise Server that integrates NetWare and Linux. "Our strategy is not popular. But with this embracing of all-Unix and all-Linux, we will ride the market with our clients."

Another SCO partner also supports Red Hat Linux but is upping the ante for Unix's survival.

"Our SCO clients have high interest in OpenServer, and many have already invested in the SCO update service to prebuy OSR6 at a reduced cost," said Keith Burris, owner of KWBurris Consulting, Dayton, Ohio. "As long as clients see an upgrade path, they are pleased."