MS quiet as SCO goes nuclear on Novell

Everyone thought Microsoft's Martin Taylor was going to be the big party-crasher at LinuxWorld this week. As it turned out, Taylor's "get the facts" anti-Linux routine paled in comparison to the SCO Group's bombshell: a big, fat lawsuit against Novell.

You've got to hand it to Darl McBride. SCO's pugnacious chief executive has impeccable timing. Novell, arguably the hottest name among Linux vendors, had just issued a pledge to indemnify customers of its Linux products against potential SCO litigation when McBride's gang sprung its lawsuit. And it happened just before Novell stepped into the warm glow of LinuxWorld. What an insult!

In the lawsuit, filed in SCO's backyard -- in a Utah state court -- SCO argued that Novell has falsely claimed that it still owns some rights to the Unix operating system. SCO's predecessor bought Novell's Unix business in 1995. Novell chief executive Jack Messman made only a veiled reference to the suit during his LinuxWorld keynote speech, but obviously Novell begs to differ about what that '95 deal included.

SCO's suit against Novell seeks unspecified damages, although probably not anywhere near the $3 billion SCO is trying to squeeze out of IBM. If Microsoft's Taylor was an unpopular figured at LinuxWorld -- the Linux battler jokingly donned a flak jacket at the New York event on Thursday -- then McBride must be evil incarnate in the eyes of the open source community.

Free security tool released

This week, Microsoft issued a free and updated version of its Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) tool. Version 1.2, which is now available as a download, can run security scans on a variety of Microsoft's applications and server software products. It also checks for missing hotfixes in other Microsoft technologies, such as DirectX, Microsoft Java Virtual Machine and Microsoft Data Access Components.

When the sun sets on some older Microsoft products this year, rival vendors will be there hoping to scoop up customers looking for migration options. A number of third-party vendors have set their sights on companies that will be retiring older versions of Exchange. These players will make the case that companies can switch to their products, but still retain Microsoft's Outlook as their messaging client.

An even bigger fish looking to cash in on Microsoft customers is IBM. Big Blue has announced a program that will help Windows NT Server 4.0 customers migrate to Linux when support for NT ends at the close of this year. With an estimated 2 million NT installations out there, the potential to pick Microsoft's pockets is huge. However, with the newly minted Exchange Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 products in Microsoft's arsenal, it's unlikely that Redmond is going to let IBM or some small messaging vendors steal its customers without a huge fight.

Microsoft does hope to do some customer pilfering of its own, though. Redmond is planning to use Web services tools to help lure developers away from the IBM Lotus platform. Among the products planned is a toolkit that will let developers build Notes-based Web services using Microsoft's Visual Basic and Visual Studio .NET.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

SCO sues Novell over copyright claims

Microsoft updates baseline security tool

Vendors press groupware below Exchange rate

IBM launches NT-to-Linux migration plan

Microsoft zeroes in on Lotus

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