SCO to release Tarantella for Internet applications

The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. this month is releasing the beta version of Tarantella a suite of software products designed to ease the process of deploying applications over the Internet.

Tarantella running on top of SCO's OpenServer Unix operating system makes it possible to give Java-enabled clients of any flavor - from network computers (NCs) to PCs and cellular phones - access to centrally managed applications without rewriting those applications in Java. The final version will be released later this summer.

With the Unix industry in flux - particularly with the emergence of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT operating system as a strong competitor for market share and mind share - Tarantella is emerging as a core component of SCO's long-term strategy for playing a role in the enterprise environment.

SCO describes that strategy as "the Internet way of computing " in which applications and data are managed centrally on a server and accessed by a variety of clients.

Alok Mohan SCO's president and chief executive officer said the Internet changes the dynamics of the competitive environment by shifting the focus from client- to server-based resources. "The battle is not between Windows NT and Unix the battle is the architecture " Mohan said.

Tarantella builds on the Internet architecture by giving organizations more flexibility to create Internet clients and Internet-based applications. Tarantella allows users to access legacy applications with a browser interface by downloading Java-based application emulation software."Even PCs are actually NCs all you have to do is change the application architecture and it's an NC " Mohan said. Furthermore "if you do that you don't have to throw any devices away."

Mohan believes this kind of technology will be key to many organizations over the next several years as they migrate applications to the Internet. While many organizations may in fact buy NCs most will have a mixed environment and will need a system to support that environment.

As part of its Tarantella strategy SCO plans to shift its sales strategy from a strong reliance on sales channels to the use of a direct sales force Mohan said. Earlier this month SCO also announced it was realigning its engineering resources and product lines to focus on Tarantella and other products that fit its Internet-way-of-computing strategy.

Several agencies - especially in the Defense Department - have expressed interest in the forthcoming Tarantella product suite said Jim Beaupre vice president of SCO's government systems group Reston Va. SCO expects to sign up at least one customer to undertake a large-scale beta project Beaupre said.

The company plans to put Tarantella on its General Services Administration schedule as soon as possible and many components of the suite will be added to other existing contracts according to SCO.

Change Was Inevitable

Industry watchers said such changes had to happen. As one of the few companies with a strict focus on Unix technology "SCO [is] a company that was bound to start having to change the way they do things " said Mary Hubley associate managing analyst at Datapro a Delran N.J. research and consulting firm.

SCO "has what it takes to make the transition [to the Internet focus] but they are a company to watch carefully " Hubley said. "They are right in the middle and it could go either way for them."

Dan Kusnetzky the research director for Unix and server operating environments at International Data Corp. described SCO's Tarantella as excellent technology but he said SCO needs to become "a supreme marketing company" if it wants to hold its ground against Microsoft.

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