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