The future of the UnitedLinux consortium looks in doubt following the departure of its chief and the admission from SCO Group that it is unlikely to sell Linux again.
The consortium, which has looked fragile since SCO began legal action against IBM and the Linux community, has now lost general manager Paula Hunter to the Open Source Development Labs. She has so far not been replaced.
SCO is still technically a member of UnitedLinux along with Conectiva, TurboLinux and SuSE Linux. But since bringing its $3bn lawsuit against IBM for breach of contract, SCO has stopped distributing Linux.
SCOsource vice president Chris Sontag told vnunet.com that the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) made it unlikely that the company would sell Linux again.
"[This is] for a number of reasons, primarily the GPL licensing model for which Linux is provided," he said. "As we've really gotten into it, it appears very problematic for commercial software development."
And speaking at LinuxWorld Expo in New York, SuSE Linux chief technology officer Jurgen Geck said: "We have announced that we will not enter into any new agreement with our [UnitedLinux] partners.
"SCO decided not to leave but provides no value anymore. But [SuSE] is working very closely with Conectiva and TurboLinux and this is very valuable."
Gary Barnett, principle analyst at Ovum, pointed out that UnitedLinux has been disintegrating for about a year, given the dominance of Red Hat and SuSE in the Linux marketplace.
He added that it was unlikely that the members of UnitedLinux would want to share their plans for Linux with SCO.
"If the UnitedLinux consortium cannot be dissolved without agreement from all members, all this means is that it will slip into a coma," said Barnett.
"Then SCO will eventually get bored and agree with everyone else to close it down. It cannot be reborn with SCO as an active member."
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