After three years of operating system development slowdowns and corporate name changes, some SCO Unix users weren't quite sure what the company still offered to their businesses for the long haul. But after a series of product announcements, as well as a new and clear road map for the continued development of its Unix core operating systems, The SCO Group has apparently recharged the enthusiasm and trust of many of its users, partners and resellers about where it's going and how it intends to get there.
President of Quebec-based Multi-Solutions, Gaston Carrier, said that when it came to the status of SCO OpenServer, "the future was kind of uncertain until yesterday.
Carrier said he had about 50 customers running SCO OpenServer and could now reassure them that the company wasn't abandoning its Unix business.
"I'm very confident that SCO will deliver the products that our customers need," he said. "The future seemed to me to be very dark ... when Caldera purchased the original SCO (in 2000). OpenServer was to be obsolete because of Linux being the core business of Caldera."
Carrier was one of more than a dozen SCO customers, resellers and partners who shared their views at the conference, held in the MGM Grand Hotel.
Vice-president of business development at Boundless, Tony Giovaniello, said his company had been a SCO partner until about five years ago, when it began to look at alternatives including Microsoft Windows. Customers had been seeking Windows-based machines because of uncertainty about SCO Unix and its continued development, he said, but things are again changing.
"Now we've seen a period of recent history where we've seen some improvement," Giovaniello said. "We've seen a management team that's committed. "I came away willing to invest in Unix[again]. I was very pleased that SCO appears to be very committed to Unix, that there is a road map. It appears that it's a company that wants to partner, and therefore we should explore a lot of technical opportunities with them."
CEO of Karachi-based SCO reseller and systems integrator, Premier Systems, S. Arshad Raza, said he hadworried for several years about the apparent end of SCO Unix, but he now has a renewed belief in the company's outlook.
"When (customers) lost confidence in SCO," he said, they stopped paying him for licenses and bought and installed pirated copies of the operating system because they didn't feel they needed to pay money to a declining business. But that was now changing, since SCO had filed an intellectual-property lawsuit against IBM, and customers were gaining new optimism.
What was needed, though, was for SCO to help get the message across that it's back for real in the Unix business, Raza said.
He said he needed someone from SCO to communicate the developments to his customers.
"My mouth is not good enough," he said.
Raza said his first objective would be to work closely with customers to get them to stop migrating to Linux and other operating systems after he assures them that SCO will be there to support them.
"Marketing for new customers is Phase 2 of the project," he said.