Caldera completes Unix acquisition

The company finishes buying Santa Cruz Operation's software business, uniting a publicly traded Linux company with one struggling to keep its version of Unix relevant.

Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Caldera International completed its acquisition of Santa Cruz Operation's software business Monday, uniting one of the few publicly traded Linux companies with one of the companies struggling to keep its version of Unix relevant.

After a complicated series of transfers, SCO held rights to a version of the Unix operating system originally developed by AT&T. That software now is part of Caldera's product line as part of a strategy to sell software that covers everything from low-end servers running Linux to high-end servers with Unix. Caldera also has a much stronger support organization.

But Caldera faces steep competition from Red Hat, which managed to raise money in two public offerings when the Linux hype was more lucrative. Caldera squeezed in its initial public offering in March, shortly before investors started to lose interest in Linux.

Under Caldera's plan, software won't have to be changed at all to run either on Linux or Unix servers. The company's new tagline, "Unifying Unix with Linux for business," reflects the vision.

SCO will rename itself Tarentella after its remaining product, used for running software on central servers that desktop computers or dumbed-down "thin client" computers can tap into. SCO will change its stock ticker to "TTLA" on Tuesday, the company said.

The merger, planned since August but delayed in February, takes place amid a Linux market afflicted by difficult times. But while Caldera managed to complete its acquisition, two others last week fell through.

SCO initially derided Linux as immature, but the Unix clone nevertheless encroached on the company's Unix products at the same time that much of the Unix spending was being lavished on Sun Microsystems and other Unix server companies.

IBM announced a partnership called "Monterey" to merge SCO's UnixWare software with IBM's AIX version of Unix. That product now has been released as AIX 5L, which runs on both Intel servers and IBM's Power chip servers, but much of IBM's attention now is focused on Linux.

As a result of the merger, SCO laid off 190 employees last year. Caldera laid off 32 employees in April.