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The SCO Group on Tuesday announced the release of a new version of its Unix operating system, SCO UnixWare 7.1.4, pushing the notion that it is still a Unix operating system company despite all of its Linux and litigation sound and fury.

This latest release of The SCO Group Inc.‘s Unix operating system includes new hardware support, enhanced security features and Web Services capabilities. “It also now comes with firewall, proxy services, Web and mail servers, so that businesses can be used as an edge server,” said Sandy Gupta, director of UnixWare engineering in SCO’s Unix division.

Thanks to customer demand, SCO is also releasing a Small Business Edition (SBE) of UnixWare. UnixWare SBE is configured and priced for customers who need a full-featured, low-cost server platform supporting edge-of-network services.

Other standard features include file and print services, mail server, DHCP, Mozilla Web browser, Apache Web server, firewall, proxy server and a relational database.

Click here to read about Mozilla taking the final step toward its new Web browser.

“We continue to see strong demand for solutions with the power and scalability that come from Unix-based products,” Daniel Tracy, vice president of Pittsburgh-based Team 1 Systems Inc., a Windows, Linux and SCO Unix server and workstation integrator, said in a statement. “The addition of a full-featured, small-business product to the UnixWare platform should be an attractive option for our customers.”

The standard UnixWare SBE’s list price, including a single-user license running on a single processor and 1GB of memory, is $599. SCO is marking the introduction of the new edition by offering, for a limited time, a five-user license running on a single processor and 1GB of memory for the same price, $599. This limited-time promotion is available until October 31.

UnixWare also now optionally includes SCOx Web Services 1.0 infrastructure components such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and XML-based Web services libraries and tools for developing new applications using C, C++, Java, Perl and PHP.

These components will enable applications built for UnixWare 7.1.4, including legacy applications, to communicate with other applications using Web-based industry standards.

The latest version of UnixWare includes many additional features, ease-of-use and administration improvements, increased security capabilities and updated support for leading hardware platforms and peripherals. Ironically, given SCO’s opposition to open-source licensing, especially the GPL (GNU General Public License), many of these value-added features are open-sourced programs. These include MySQL 3.23.49, PostgreSQL 7.4.2, Mozilla 1.2.1, Samba 3.0 and Apache 2.0.49.

But Gupta observed that the new UnixWare version adds a great deal of Java support with Sun’s Java 2 SE Version 1.4.2 Runtime Environment, Tomcat and JBoss application servers. Gupta said UnixWare also has an updated OSP (open-server personality), enabling OpenServer users to run unmodified OpenServer applications on UnixWare.

Jeff Hunsaker, senior vice president and general manager of SCO’s Unix division, admitted that the division has declined significantly in the past few years. Hunsaker said his primary hope for turning it around is that SCO is releasing new, significant updates to UnixWare and that SCO’s resellers will be able to get some of SCO’s installed base of more than 2 million OpenServer and UnixWare customers to buy UnixWare 7.1.4.

Hunsaker added that UnixWare may do better because business users are finally wising up to the fact that Linux isn’t free and that many other issues surround its total cost of ownership.

To help make UnixWare move in the market, SCO will be launching a new marketing and branding campaign around the slogan the “Power of Unix.” SCO also will deliver co-branding materials such as Web banners, magazine ads, HTML templates and product collateral to its partners.

Rebate programs will be available to partners through area sales managers and the North America marketing team, and premier partners will have marketing development funds (MDF) made available to them.

But SCO is not ruling out further cuts in its Unix team in its quest for profitability, Hunsaker said. “Like all companies, we’re focused on profitability, but we’re also focused on delivering on the promise of these technologies,” he said. “We have to consider it [layoffs], but we won’t do it at the expense of delivering our products.”

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