SCO resellers are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the firm's controversial legal claims over ownership of key elements of Linux source code, and are focusing instead on the quality of its operating system.
"I kind of close my eyes to it," said Craig Holmes, a systems analyst with Arlington Industries, in a reference to the legal claims. "SCO is a solid company."
He cited the stability of SCO's OpenServer, which results in a very limited need for support, as the reason why he is prepared to keep investing in the software despite SCO's declining revenues.
Even if the company did go out of business, Holmes claimed that he would be comfortable running the software without any access to support.
Others feared the consequences of talking about the software vendor, or cited a policy of not commenting on vendors in the media.
SCO claims ownership of the so-called AT&T Unix source code and alleges that Linux developers copied parts of the code. The vendor filed a lawsuit against IBM in 2003, demanding more than $1bn in damages for alleged copyright violations.
The suit has made SCO a pariah in the software industry. One reseller complained that he did not even want to hear about the litigation anymore. " Just tell me when it's over," he said. "A five minute update is enough for me."
Few resellers said that they had lost deals because of the litigation. Especially in the small and medium business space, SCO's core customer group, customers often do not even know that they get a system using SCO software through their reseller.
Asked why he still uses the software, one reseller, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "The uptime is unprecedented." He knew of only one case where his bid was denied because it included SCO software.
Jeff Hunsaker, general manager of SCO's Unix division, acknowledged that sales have been hurt by the lawsuits.
"We cannot mix innovation with litigation. The noise that has arisen because of us suing IBM over this issue has been damaging to our core business," he told vnunet.com.
Hunsaker added, however, that the recent introduction of OpenServer 6.0 is helping him to win back business.
"That initial setback occurred. It has taken us a good year and a half [from when we filed the lawsuit] to get back into the mindshare of customers to realise that we are a technology company."
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