The Trillian Project to port Linux to Intel’s IA-64 architecture does not pose a threat to the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) or Project Monterey, according to Doug Michels, SCO’s president and chief executive.
And the fact that IBM has signed up to the new Linux initiative and will deploy both the Trillian and Monterey operating systems (OSs) on its hardware does not show it is wavering in its commitment either, he claimed.
IBM joined Project Monterey last year (see VNU Newswire, 26 October, 1998) to make its AIX Unix variant source code compatible with SCO’s Unixware offering, before porting it to IA-64, but joined Project Trillian only last week (see VNU Newswire, 11 August, 1999).
Michels attested, however: “IBM has joined so many things over the years, it’s not funny. I don’t think it’s put a significant amount of money into Trillian and it’s a small amount of money to be part of a trend. It’s important to look at internal sponsorship in IBM. Monterey is supported by Bob Stevenson, who’s head of IBM’s server group and Lou Gerstner [IBM’s chief executive] has also bought it off as a strategic initiative.”
He added: “IBM is not looking at Trillian as an alternative to Monterey. The real interest in Linux is coming from all the software companies that sell databases and transaction based tools because they are frustrated that Microsoft moreorless gives these things away as part of the Back Office bundle. So they say ‘if you give us a free OS, we’ll make money from it’.”
But Trillian is not intended to make Linux an enterprise class OS and there are no real efforts elsewhere to do so either, he claimed.
“Linux may be there sooner than 10 years, but I don’t see any efforts there yet. Trillian is not that type of project and I don’t see them adding enterprise class services or performance management capabilities. Noone is doing it. SGI has made some noises and people are talking about it, but it’s not coming this week, next year or before Merced ships,” he said.
One of the reasons Linux became so popular anyway, Michels continued, was because “over the last 30 years, we’ve been complicating Unix, which frustrates the Linux guys. That’s why they like Linux, because it’s so simple. But the ironic twist is that for Linux to be competitive in the enterprise, they’d have to ruin everything they love. For Linux to be as good as Unix, it has to be as bad as Unix and give up its beautry and elegance to replace it with complexity”.
He added that winning market share and gaining ISV support were key to the Monterey strategy, but the deal with IBM had made it much easier for SCO to obtain help from such ISVs as had Intel’s support.
“That IBM and Intel are commited is a good thing, but time to market will also be a big factor. We’ll have a fully fledged ready to use OS and even if it’s a 1.0 release, it will be solid because it’s been 30 years in the making. The Unix Development Guide documents what is important to be compatible and consolidation is going on with the industry because it wants to converge on Merced,” he said.
“Monterey is a long way from shipping, but we believe all the important players will be on it, although we’re not trying to convince SGI to move Monterey onto Mips or Sun onto Sparc. I don’t think it will be a difficult choice for anyone,” he concluded.
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