San Diego, CA — SCO Unix weathered the Intel Unix wars of the 1980s and early 1990s. SCO Unix survived Microsoft Windows. But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that what SCO Unix may not have been able to survive on its own, though, is Linux.
The result? Caldera Systems , a leading Linux distributor, is on the verge of buying SCO’s server – aka Unix – division for a price expected to be north of $70 million in stock, according to a number of sources claiming familiarity with terms of the deal-in-progress.
If the deal goes through, Caldera will become the proud owner of the operating system that made SCO: its Unix system, SCO OpenServer 5. Caldera also will get UnixWare 7.0, which is one of the foundation technologies for Project Monterey, the IBM-SCO version of Unix that the two are targeting at Intel’s Itanium processor. In addition, Caldera is set to obtain Vision2K, SCO’s technology for bringing Network File System (NFS), terminal emulation and X-Window applications to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows environments.
Perhaps of even more importance to Caldera, though, is its gain of what most industry observers consider to be the Unix industry’s best software reseller channel. With this, Caldera immediately gets the business of thousands of some of the most loyal Unix customers around the world. Combine this with Caldera’s success as a Linux distributor for business, and you have a situation where Caldera has catapulted itself into both the Unix and Linux limelight.
What does SCO get? A sale of its operating system products would allow the Intel Linux kingpin to concentrate on one of the few remaining growing parts of its business, namely, services. The SCO Professional Services division provides complete integration, implementation and operational support for SCO’s own Unixes, SCO Tarantella services, and Caldera, TurboLinux and, possibly, Mandrake’s Linuxes.
Surprisingly, according to sources close to SCO, Tarantella Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SCO and maker of the popular application server of the same name, may be spun out as its own company, under terms of the Caldera-SCO deal.
Given that the recent deal between Caldera and SCO Tarantella to bundle Caldera OpenLinux and Tarantella into one package was made by Tarantella, rather than by SCO, it’s possible that Tarantella may be spun off on its own with an IPO. However, other sources claim that another company, possibly Caldera or Sun Microsystems, may buy Tarantella.
While Caldera had no comment on the story and SCO did not return calls by press time, sources said that the two had been negotiating for some time. Sources said that by early next week the deal will either be made and announced or it will fall apart. Several industry insiders expressed optimism about the prospect for the deal going through, however.