Linux a good open source start: SCO chief

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has reached such a height of popularity he could form a cult tomorrow, says Doug Michels, chief executive of Unix vendor The Santa Cruz Organisation, but that doesn't necessarily mean Linux will change the world in the way its adherents believe.

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has reached such a height of popularity he could form a cult tomorrow, says Doug Michels, chief executive of Unix vendor The Santa Cruz Organisation, but that doesn't necessarily mean Linux will change the world in the way its adherents believe.

The Linux phenomenon has been good news for the Unix environment, says Michels, who is known in some quarters as "Mr Unix", although the personality cult that has grown up around Torvalds and Linux probably has as much to do with the popular image of a young, blond David fighting against Microsoft's Goliath as with the intrinsic merits of the code.

"But while Linux has opened up innovation in an open source framework, which is great for us in terms of accelerating the open source industry, working out how to harness, distribute and develop it is where companies still hit snags."

Michels was in Australia last week to announce SCO's quarterly results and to promote Project Monterey — an initiative with IBM and Sequent to deliver a high-end Unix operating environment for Intel's forthcoming IA-64 architecture. He has overseen a restructure of the business over the past year, with a shake up in resellers, sales and reporting structures and a move into "the enterprise space". Moving from SME sales to dealing with large enterprises needed a change of plan, he says. "We realised that that was where the high growth is and wanted to go there, but without an enterprise-class partner, we didn't have the credibility. And who's more credible than IBM?"

Initial tests of the Monterey operating system on a Merced system have been completed. It is intended to run across Intel's IA-32 and IA-64 processors and IBM's Power chips. Compaq has endorsed the project and will establish Monterey in IA-64-based ProLiant customer platforms, Michels says. Revenue for the second fiscal quarter of 1999 was $US55.7 million, up 10% on last year.

Law attended the Sydney briefing courtesy of SCO.

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