[Linux-aus] AutoZone tech speaks

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Sun Mar 14 08:51:02 UTC 2004


Supplemental No. 8: AutoZone claims are false

Authored by: jbgreer on Wednesday, February 18 2004 @ 10:00 AM EST

I don't know whether to be pleased or angry at SCO's assertion that IBM 
must have assisted AutoZone's transition to Linux due to the "precision 
and efficiency with which the migration occurred". You see, I was a Sr. 
Technical Advisor at AutoZone, where I was an employee for over 10 
years. During my tenure, I participated and led in the design, 
development and maintenance of many of AutoZone's store systems. More 
importantly, I initiated AutoZone's transition to Linux and I directed 
the port of their existing store software base to Linux. I personally 
ported all of AutoZone's internal software libraries for use under 
Linux. I personally developed the rules by which other AutoZone 
developers should make changes to their code to support both Linux and 
SCO's OpenServer product. I believe at one point I had as many as 35 
AutoZone developers performing porting work for me, much of which was 
trivial, given that our code did not generally rely on SCO specific 
features and that the more technologically sophisticated portions of 
our code tended to reside in our libraries. The developers were also 
responsible for testing their individual applications under both SCO 
and Linux; I supplemented this activity by performing builds of the 
entire AutoZone store software base on my desktop, which I had 
converted to Linux. 

As to the claim that SCO's shared libraries were a necessary part of the 
port: false. No SCO libraries were involved in the porting activity. 

As to the claim that IBM induced us to transition to Linux: false. It 
was, in fact, SCO's activities that 'greased the skids' and allowed the 
business case for using Linux to be made more easily. That is a story 
long in the telling; perhaps I'll share it another day. 

One should remember the Linux business environment that existed at the 
time the AutoZone transition began. Several vendors - the original 
Caldera Linux distribution company, Red Hat, and Linuxcare - were 
offering support for enterprise installations of Linux. In fact, Bryan 
Sparks, then CEO of Caldera, flew to Memphis and met with me during my 
evaluation of the various distribution and support offerings. I also 
met and talked briefly with Dave Sifry of Linuxcare during the 1999 
Linux Expo. AutoZone settled on Red Hat chiefly because of my 
familiarity with their distribution and the ease with which AutoZone 
could negotiate a support agreement with them. 

I must add that SCO was eventually made aware of AutoZone's transition 
to Linux. They responded by offering to assist AutoZone in the porting 
activity. By the time of their offer, AutoZone had already completed 
the initial porting activity and had already installed a Linux-based 
version of their store system in several stores. 

Finally, I'll add that I was for a time a member of SCO's Customer 
Advisory Board. As such, I believe I have some useful insights as to 
why SCO lost AutoZone's and several other large accounts' business. 

Regards, Jim Greer

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Vice President, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Past Committee Member, Linux Australia

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