The SCO Group Inc. is trying to become something other than the company that sued prominent users of Linux.
"During the last 25 years, SCO has been committed to the Unix platform and continues to reaffirm its commitment," Darl McBride, SCO president, said in a teleconference Tuesday morning. So Unix developers should come back to SCO and use its EdgeBuilder mobile applications tool kit, he said.
McBride was at pains to say suing Linux users in no way should impact SCO's Unix business. But the lawsuits against Linux users tarnished the company's image within the tech industry, and developers may not be eager to work for the company. Linux is an open-source version of Unix designed for Intel chips.
To draw Unix developers back into its embrace, SCO is offering cash incentives for developers to attend its upcoming user group conference in Las Vegas in August. Training in SCO's EdgeBuilder developer kit will be offered at the conference; attendees completing it will be given $1,000.
EdgeBuilder is a set of tools for building smart phone and other wireless applications that can tie into SCO's Me Inc. set of mobility services, such Shout, for broadcasting messages or customized marketing campaigns, and Vote, for launching opinion polls and other feedback mechanisms.
SCO is also offering a 10-cylinder BMW car or a $100,000 cash prize for the developers who use the toolkit to produce the best wireless applications. SCO calls it The Edgeclick Developer Challenge. McBride launched a $1 billion suit against IBM in March 2003 for allegedly leaking Unix code that SCO claims it owns to open-source Linux developers. A year later it sued Linux users AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler AG for not purchasing $1,399 licenses from SCO for each server CPU running Linux.
McBride said the case against IBM "is scheduled to come to trial in early 2007. We continue to feel we have a strong case and we're looking forward to our day in court. But while the legal teams have been off litigating, the business team has been busy innovating."
SCO suit against IBM and IBM's countersuit are still in process, and the suits against users have been put on hold until they are decided.
Linus Torvalds, Linux creator and holder of the Linux trademark, issued his own warning to SCO that he might intervene after the suits were filed.
"SCO has gone through some rocky times. It's been a real roller coast ride the last few years," McBride said. But SCO is now focused on making mobile business transactions easier to implement. Ring tones for cell phones has become a $1 billion market, McBride noted. SCO is now concentrating on allowing businesses to create "biztones for quick distribution of business information, tied to business applications."