RealTime IT News

SCO's Game Face

With so much news surrounding SCO related to its various legal battles over Linux, it's sometimes easy to forget that they are still a UNIX-based company. Today SCO officially announced a barrage of new products that are intended to combat Linux and help the company regain market share.

SCO announced updates to both its UnixWare and OpenServer products, as well as a new embedded UNIX product called SmallFoot. Productivity and collaboration tools also got a boost with the announcement of SCOoffice Server 4.1 and the Vintela Authentication from SCO Release 2.6.

"It's been quite some time since we have released new versions of our operating systems," Jeff Hunsaker, senior vice president and general manager of the SCO UNIX division, said in a morning conference call. "As you can appreciate, in the world of any operating system company, you live and die by new releases and new technologies and new certifications, which we're now seeing and we're now launching."

The UnixWare 7.1.4 release introduces a number of significant new enhancements to the SCO product, including an SMB edition and a Web Services Substrate (WSS). SCOx WSS enables the transformation of character-based legacy applications into Web-enabled services as part of an SOA . The WSS is comprised of a number of technologies, including Ericom Host Publisher for console-based apps, SQL Encapsulator for database driven apps and the SCO WebFace GUI to present the data. The toolset allows for .NET and Java integration.

"Although the Web Services market is still emerging, many companies today are finding substantial business value in their Web Services initiatives, both in terms of reduced cost and increased agility," said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink, in a statement. "SCO understands the potential of this market and how Web Services technologies can help companies solve a range of application and legacy integration problems. The company is making solid moves to roll out its innovative Web Services-based products like the SCOx Web Services Substrate to its SCO UNIX customers and resellers."

Also new to UNIXware is a small business edition (SBE), which is squarely aimed at Microsoft and Red Hat Linux users. The initial pricing on the offering is as low as $599 for a five-user license.

The SCOx SBE offering includes file and print services, DHCP, RDBMS, firewall, proxy server as well as the open source Apache webserver and Mozilla web browser.

The Smallfoot embedded UNIX product is SCO's entry into the embedded market. Currently shipping in the offering is a development toolkit that is intended for numerous applications, including gaming and point-of-sale units.

As part of its effort to further improve collaboration, the company also released the Vintela authentication product, a single sign-on user identity management tool that can be used across Windows and multiple UNIX environments.

"This product complements our UNIX business," Erik Hughes senior director of SCO Product Management said in a morning conference call. "The problem in heterogeneous environments is that there is no way to securely share user identities across UNIX and Windows environments -- no single point of authentication that doesn't have many inefficiencies."

Hughes also described SCOoffice Server 4.1, which will be available at the end of July. "Even though we've been in the collaboration business for a couple of years, we have not provided a solution that runs on our own UNIX products," Hughes said. "This product represents a substantial opportunity for SCO and our partners to upgrade OpenServer and UNIXware and to upgrade their mail capability."

SCOoffice is a typical collaboration suite, which includes a calendar, a global address book, shared folders, advanced e-mail capabilities and Microsoft Outlook integration.

SCO's revenues have been declining. In its recent second quarter results, the company revealed that it lost $15 million in the quarter. Declining UNIX revenues, as well as a lack of revenue from its SCOsource Linux license program were among the reasons for the loss.

Legal battles also plague the company, as a pair of rulings in SCO's ongoing tussles with IBM and Novell were handed down last week. Both cases will continue, but SCO says it has the financial reserves to keep paying for the litigation.