The attitude I hear most often is that the cost of the OS (with or without support) doesn't pop out of the P&L ; it's buried in the noise. Heck, for most folks, *I* cost a whole lot more than the OS ever will, and that raises another point: my experience used to be that for the average business which depends on outside support, Linux was going to cost more because it had more minor snafu's and glitches. That opinion has changed more recently: Linux has become more mature, but free still isn't the overall reason.
I really don't think it's cost that is hurting SCO (though it wouldn't hurt to offer something in the few hundred dollar range). Rather it's features- and I think it's very obvious that the needs of the real Small Buiness Market are very different from the market that Unixware addresses. Certainly some people fall in between: I have a number of customers in that grey area, and they'll probably opt for Unixware. But the smaller folks probably won't, and I don't think SCO is really aware of how much that's going to hurt them, both long and short term.
If I were younger, and still had some working brain cells left, I think I'd essay to produce a Linux_SCO; that is, a Linux port that offered SCO-like administration tools, and with as much binary compatibility as I could squeeze into it. I'll bet you could easily get several hundred dollars for it, and yes, the GPL lets someone else profit from your labors, but if you paid attention to what the peanuts really want and kept giving it to them, you could carve out a healthy living. Too bad I'm so old and tired. Gee, I bet there's some hungry young SCO engineer reading this right now- getting any ideas, are you? :-)
That's not to say that SCO is necessarily doing the wrong thing for SCO, for its employees, for its stockholders. Maybe hunting woolly mammoths is the best thing to do given the tools they have and the number of mouths they have to feed. After all, woolly mammoths are easy to spot, a little dumb :-), and when you drive one off a cliff everyone feasts for a looong time.
But my feeling is that there are going to be less and less woolly mammoths because the ubiquitous and inexpensive computers and the ever-growing communication capabilities let itsy bitsy mice do incredible things. Very few people in my father's generation were independent: they worked for someone or had groups of people working for them. Today, I have quite a few friends who are just like me: one person entities working all by themselves. Computers and communications freed them from slavery, and I think we're just starting to see that wave roll in. Of course, small partnerships enjoy the same fruits, and amazingly small companies can do incredibly big things nowadays. I'd guess the big companies will survive, but I really think I'd rather go after the little market. That's just me, though, and it doesn't mean SCO is wrong.
So, 10 years from now, maybe both SCO and A.P. Lawrence will be around. Or maybe not :-)
Well, it is almost 12 years later and SCO is on its last legs. I'm still here, though fast approaching retirement.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2013-08-08 Tony Lawrence
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