SCO - target for consultants

Posted 9 Sep 2003 at 14:16 UTC by davidw Share This

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 markets.

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 software systems.

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.


Not Necessary, posted 9 Sep 2003 at 16:22 UTC by mrorganic » (Journeyer)

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.

Pretty sensible, posted 10 Sep 2003 at 06:30 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

What mrorganic described explains why SCO is currently targeting GNU/Linux, through the kernel Linux. Basically there's no particular reason right now to choose SCO products, partly because of the existence of GNU/Linux.

Of course no one is going to choose them..., posted 10 Sep 2003 at 07:38 UTC by davidw » (Master)

..but that doesn't mean there aren't people still stuck with them, because of momentum or whatever else. Look through the list of partners - it's a long list.

Incidentally, I don't think 'trying to save their products' is at all why they are targeting Linux, but that's another story. Groklaw has had some insightful articles about their motives.

or..., posted 10 Sep 2003 at 08:43 UTC by ajv » (Master)

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.

Andrew

Partner Mirror, posted 11 Sep 2003 at 05:27 UTC by Fyodor » (Master)

I think this is an excellent idea. I notice that this page only gives you 50 entries at once, which makes it very tedious to go through all 3739 "partners". There is also the risk that SCO will take it down - they have a long history of removing their own web pages whenever they caught in a lie or hipocrisy or otherwise embarrass themselves. So I wrote a quick script to grab each page of partners and merge them together into one huge mirror page:

http://www.insecure.org/tmp/sco-partners.html

Note that this is a 2 megabyte HTML table, so some browsers may crash or take a while to render it. Mozilla on Linux does OK. I am afraid that IE on Windows handles that page much more quickly.

Cheers,
Fyodor
Concerned about your network security? Try the free Nmap Security Scanner

save their product?, posted 11 Sep 2003 at 11:50 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

davidw, I didn't said that SCO is trying to save its products by targeting GNU/Linux. I said that GNU/Linux is one reason of SCO troubles (difficulties to sell products). But it does not mean that SCO hopes to save its products, it just means that SCO needs to find new ways to survive.

SCO to Netherlands Distributor: 'Tough Luck!' Distributor to SCO: 'See You in Court!', posted 15 Sep 2003 at 12:05 UTC by davidw » (Master)

This story about a SCO distributor is particularly relevant:

http://www.linuxworld.com/story/34018.htm

If having them on the web site weren't enough..., posted 15 Sep 2003 at 17:40 UTC by davidw » (Master)

... SCO is also giving you the chance to show up in person to try and win some business:

http://www.sco.com/partners/city_to_city/oct2003/

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