Will the name

User conferences usually take on the demeanour of Rah-Rah collegiate events with periodic run-of-the-mill announcements. In the case of Santa Cruz Operation’s Forum 2000, the show had the added burden of building confidence amid the speculation that has swirled around the company for months.

Right from the start there was the desire to quell any fears about the future of the company, and Ransom Love, CEO of the newly-merged Caldera-SCO unit, put it succinctly.

“Why would we buy it to destroy what we bought?” he said, referring to Caldera Systems Inc.’s purchase of SCO’s server software and professional services divisions.

Love did make it clear that, though the SCO name may not survive the merger with Caldera, its technology will live on.

As an additional attempt to ease the minds of attendees, Doug Michels, CEO of SCO Inc., spoke of how it was necessary for SCO to constantly change and reinvent itself in order to avoid obsolescence.

Attempting to reposition the remainder of the company as one of the keys to the future of the Internet, Michels first paid homage to the Internet itself. “The Internet is a tidal wave,” he said. “I can’t use words that (over) exaggerate the importance of the Internet,” he added.

With SCO’s server software and professional services divisions sold to Caldera Systems Inc., the remainder of the company is renaming itself after its flagship product, Tarantella. Michels will remain on as the CEO of the new company.

Michels continued by saying that the concept of open source is “a revolutionary collaborative development model” which will change the fundamentals of the computer industry over the years to come. He added that, admittedly, the open-source business model is not understood as of yet, but will be in time.

focusing on the asp market

But open source issues are really not his problem, as he and the remaining Tarantella employees will be focusing on success in the ASP market. “We look at this Tarantella company as a start-up,” he said. “[We] will have absolute clarity of what our priorities are.”

Michels envisions a future where Internet infrastructure will dominate, where WANs will vanish and the browser dominates the user interface. “That frees the world of Windows,” he said to cheers from the faithful.

Love will become the boss of Caldera Inc., the new name for the merger of Caldera Systems and the two branches of SCO. He said is was necessary for the company to expand and reposition itself in order to take advantage of the growing Linux market.

“What Linux needs, more than anything else in the industry…is a global infrastructure.” He said the number one reason Linux is not adopted broadly is its lack of customer support rather than a shortage of technical expertise. If you look at the combination of the two companies, you see support and partners in every major market in the industry, he added.

All of this is fine and dandy for the head honchos, but exactly who will still have a job after the merger goes through, and who will not, is still up in the air. During the keynote Love avoided this issue, saying his speaking time was up and later, speaking to the press, he said, “We are not in the business of being a charity…we are in the business of making money.”

Though employees may be sitting and waiting for the other shoe to drop, SCO presented long-term corporate roadmaps which reaffirmed its commitment to customers. Tarantella will have a series of releases, named after the Italian cities Firenze, Pisa and Torino, during the next 12 months. The SCO Open Server roadmap continues into Q2, 2002 when version 5.0.6c is slated to be released.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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