"He needs a SCO box".
That was how a rep from a large national distributor described what his customer had asked him for. He, in turn, called me because he wanted a little education before getting back to his customer.
I asked the obvious question: "Is he looking for hardware, software, or both?"
"I think software because he said he expects my price to be under $500 and in checking around, it looks like I can buy the software for that", he replied.
I had to disillusion him. "Maybe - if he's looking for an upgrade. But if you saw prices for things like '20 user license', those aren't what you think they are. He would need the base, 5 user OS and that has a list price close to $1,500.00".
But even that isn't enough, because there are four different 'SCO Unix' operating systems available right now: SCO Unixware, SCO 6.0.0, SCO 5.07, and SCO 5.0.7V. Which one he wants matters, and it matters a lot.
It matters because the only reason anyone should be asking for a "SCO box" today is because they have some critical application that won't run on anything else. The rep agreed: "He says he just needs this for six months and then it is a dead puppy - that's why he doesn't want to spend much".
At this point I was guessing that his customer is not the ultimate customer; he's probably a Windows or Linux consultant who stumbled into this actual customer who needs the SCO box. That's just a guess based on the vague requirements stated.
Hmmm.. let's see: we have a high probability of an existing app, which means a high probability of an existing SCO license. Could he just be looking for hardware? Certainly a $500 box isn't what we usually think of as "server class", but if it is just a few users accessing a legacy app, that could be fine. I said that, but I warned him that he'd need to know the OS software specifics because that would determine what hardware was possible - for all we know, this guy could have some ancient SCO 3.2v4.2 and be thinking he could run that on modern hardware. That won't work.
I also warned him that he could blow his profit completely by guessing that something he sells will work with whatever the customer has. he might guess right, but SCO has some touchy spots and a little experience is really necessary. I suggested that he'd be better off passing this off to somebody who still wants to build SCO hardware (and no, that is definitely not me).
I pointed him at the consultants list here and also mentioned Seneca Data as another distributor his customer might have a relationship with. I suggested that he needed to find out exactly what was needed: hardware, software, upgrade, what? Without that, there really isn't much more to be said, is there?
If you are a Linux or Windows guy who has tripped over a SCO system, there are possibilities you may not realize. One is that some SCO software may be able to run under Linux using Linux ABI. The other is that it is possible to virtualize SCO - not just the 5.0.7V VMWare product that SCO licenses, but the plain vanilla 5.0.7 too. These might be better choices over buying another "SCO box".
Another annoyance is that many SCO systems were sold without TCP/IP and it can't be added without spending money (and not at all on the oldest systems). This Transferring data article can help you with that.
We also have a lot of help here listed under the Conversion tag.
If you need more help, there are people listed in that consultants list who can help you and your customer. Yes, I'm one of those people too.
Got something to add? Send me email.
More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-06-02 Anthony Lawrence
Software engineering is the part of computer science which is too difficult for the computer scientist. (Friedrich Bauer)