By picking a fight with IBM and the free software comunity, SCO has backed itself into a corner. The company faces a very real possibility of not existing in several years if they don't win their case convincingly. Where does this leave all their partners who have based businesses on their products? Up a creek. Here's where you, the Linux consultant come in: why not reach out to these people and help them transition away from SCO's crappy products?
Are you like me, a lone consultant, or part of a small group focused
on Linux and other free software technologies? I know I'm always on
the lookout for new opportunities, and ways to break into new
SCO has handed us some tools to do just that. With all their
sabre-rattling, they have shown that they are focusing their
business on attempting to leach off of Linux via lawsuits and
spreading disinformation. They realize their actual products are
headed downhill. That's becoming more obvious to everyone out there.
The second thing they have given us is a convenient tool at http://wdb1.sco.com/sdir_web/owa/ptrLocator.search
which shows us all of their partners. It's quite an extensive
list, with businesses located throughout the world, in many
diverse sectors. Even in the corner of Italy where I live
there are a dozen or so businesses listed (who I made sure to contact before publishing this!).
So, your task as an entrepreneur is to go after these guys as new
business. It's no fault of their own that SCO is behaving the
way it is. Maybe they should have looked into open source
products a while ago, but that's not the point. What you have
to communicate to them is: 1) SCO has picked a fight with an
800 pound gorilla and risks extinction within several years.
2) You would like to help them move to linux and other free
It's really a potential win for both sides - you probably
don't have much of a chance of directly competing with many
of these companies, especially if they are firmly entrenched
in whatever niche they occupy - a lot of them probably just
have products that run on SCO. So you get a chance to do
work in a new area, and they get a lifeline away from SCO.
I don't see much of a downside to it either. Like I said, you probably aren't competing with many of these guys in any case, so if worst comes to worst, you haven't lost any business, and if you made some good points about the shakiness of SCO's position, they will sleep a little less easily at night.
Please remember to be kind, courteous and to consider things from your potential client's point of view. Don't rant and rave about what slimeballs SCO are, and do attempt to gently pursuade that free software might make a better base for the business in question's needs.
If you currently use SCO's stuff, you probably fall into one of three groups:
1. You use OpenServer (nee Xenix) in some kind of embedded role (like the cash registers at Mickey D's). If you are this kind of person, you either a) are already looking at alternatives like embedded Linux or QNX, or b) you don't care what runs on your stuff as long as it works. You already know OpenServer is a dead-end product.
2. You use UnixWare/Open Unix, you know it sucks rocks, and you've already begun to plan a move towards some other *nix (either Linux on Intel or Solaris on SPARC).
3. You are a SCO channel reseller, and you hate and fear Linux because it means the end of your business (unless you adapt to something else). These channel resellers are people that have been doing this for years (decades, in some cases) and are seeing their businesses die. These people will follow where ever SCO leads -- even if it means going right into the crapper along with SCO.
This is a Kamikaze run by SCO. They know that their days as sellers of software are numbered; no one will want to do business with them after this nightmare, even if some of their claims hold up in court (which I doubt). They are obviously angling to become a "pure IP" house, where they make money from licensing (and frivolous lawsuits). It's their only real alternative -- I think Darl McBride knew the company was doomed, and decided to play the only card he had.
An interesting side-effect of this case might be that UNIX finally becomes public domain. UNIX has an amazingly tangled history, and I don't think anyone really knows who contributed what and under what license.
You do as I do - if you see a bit of OpenServer here and there, and as it's old and crappy, you suggest anyone but SCO for the replacement.
I've done this successfully at a lawyers (demoing their CMS running in emulation... and running faster on Linux with iBCS) and at a large multi-national logistics firm.
SCO have directly lost 58 OpenServer licenses over four customers because of me. And that's just since they started the world's slowest seppuku. I will find more as time goes on, and root more out.
SCO lost a lot of friends, and well, victims, in the last few months.