Unix and Linux will fight each other for supremacy over the next
18 months but only one can survive, according to Caldera
The statement follows the Linux distributor's decision to
acquire the Santa Cruz Operation's (SCO's) Unix business in August
for an estimated bargain basement price of $130m. The agreement
includes rights to SCO's Unix SVR5 source code and the UnixWare and
OpenServer operating systems (OSs).
The deal was expected to close in October, but will now be
completed between 5-10 December.
Edgie Donakey, Caldera's vice president and chief of staff, said
that the two companies were currently reselling each other's
products, but that the aim over the next six months or so was to
offer two new OSs.
One will be based on the Linux kernel and will include two
so-called personalities that run OpenServer and Linux applications,
while the other will be based on the UnixWare kernel and run Linux
and UnixWare applications.
But Donakey claimed that only one of the kernels would remain
within the next 18 months.
"It will not be a two kernel situation into the future. As
the Linux kernel develops and the Unix kernel is open sourced, the
solution will be whichever works the best. It will be the survival
of the fittest. People are not doing a lot of development on
the Unix kernel these days because people see Linux as exciting and
the future," he said.
He added that Drew Spencer, Caldera's chief technology officer,
and the supplier's legal department were now looking at the
ramifications of licensing the Unix kernel and UnixWare personality
under a GNU General Public Licence - one of several ways to license
open source software.
This means that the source code would be made available to the
open source community for free to allow them to tinker with it, but
that any changes would have to be handed back so that others can
benefit from them.
As a result, the aim is to encourage kernel and application
developers to work on the code and to "give them added insight into
the way the OS works".
Original equipment manufactures, such as IBM and Hewlett
Packard, would still have to pay a fee to license the SVR5 Unix
kernel source code, however, if they wish it to remain the basis of
their own commercial iterations of Unix.
Donakey added that over the next six months, Caldera will target
the Linux-based offering at the desktop and low-end server markets
to run on machines of up to two processors, while the
UnixWare-based product would be positioned as a high-end system for
machines using four chips or more.
Users wanting to migrate their Linux packages from the low-end
to the high-end OS will be able to do so because the Linux
personalities will be binary compatible.
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.