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SCO updates Unix product, open-source attitude

In effort to pump up dwindling Unix revenue, SCO unveils new version of OpenServer, along with new open-source-friendly position.

In an effort to turn around its dwindling Unix revenue, SCO introduced a new version of its OpenServer product Wednesday along with a new open-source-friendly attitude.

OpenServer 6 is based on the same software core as the company's other operating system product, UnixWare, a later arrival that the company and its predecessors have emphasized for years but that never was adopted as much as OpenServer. The new OpenServer can run software for both operating systems, improves performance by a factor of two to four, and can be used on 32-processor machines with as much as 16GB of memory, SCO said.

The company's software is most popular for use in companies with numerous business branches--a notable customer is McDonald's. However, the SCO Group and its predecessor, the Santa Cruz Operation, struggled with competition from Windows and more recently, Linux.

In SCO's most recent quarter, ended April 30, Unix revenue declined to $7.8 million from $8.4 million during the year-earlier quarter.

SCO has been most prominent recently for its legal attack on IBM, Novell and others regarding its allegation that proprietary Unix software has been improperly moved into open-source Linux. Indeed, one of its targets is AutoZone, a former OpenServer customer.

Part of that attack was leveled at the General Public License (GPL), which governs Linux and which SCO attorneys said violates the U.S. Constitution as well as copyright, antitrust and export control laws. But Wednesday, SCO touted the inclusion of several open-source products with OpenServer.

"In addition to supporting numerous Unix applications, as well as Java applications with the inclusion of Java 1.4.2, customers will also find thousands of additional applications available through many of the latest open-source technologies that are integrated into SCO OpenServer 6," SCO said in its announcement.

Among the included open-source packages are Samba and MySQL, which are released under the GPL, as well as Firefox, Tomcat, Apache and PostgreSQL.

SCO's position is consistent, spokesman Blake Stowell argued. "We don't necessarily have issues with open source, we just have an issue with open-source technology that includes intellectual property it shouldn't," he said. Indeed, SCO's products have included open-source components for years.

OpenServer 6 costs $599 for a computer with two users and $1,399 for one with 10 users.