Caldera (company)

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Industry Software industry
Founded October 1994 (1994-10)
Defunct  ()
  • Caldera UK Ltd.
  • Caldera Deutschland GmbH
  • Caldera Taiwan
  • Caldera Systems, Inc.
  • Caldera Thin Clients, Inc.

Caldera was a US-based software company founded in 1994 to develop Linux- and DOS-based operating system products.


Caldera, Inc. was a Canopy-funded software company founded in October 1994 and incorporated in January 1995 by former Novell employees Bryan Sparks, Ransom Love and others to develop the Caldera Network Desktop and later create a Linux distribution named OpenLinux. The company was originally based in Provo and later in Orem, Utah, USA.

Their first product was Caldera Network Desktop (CND), which was based on Red Hat Linux[1] and Novell's Corsair Internet Desktop.

The later OpenLinux distribution was based on the German LST Power Linux distribution maintained by Stefan Probst's and Ralf Flaxa's company LST Software GmbH (with LST standing for Linux Support Team) in Erlangen, Germany.

Looking for a DOS operating system to bundle with their OpenLinux distribution, Caldera, backed up by The Canopy Group as their largest investor, acquired Novell DOS 7 and other Digital Research assets from Novell on 23 July 1996.[2] The deal consisted of a direct payment of US$400,000 as well as percentual royalties for any revenues derived from DR-DOS to Novell.[3] Caldera filed the Caldera v. Microsoft antitrust lawsuit the same day.[4] This lawsuit related to Caldera's claims of monopolization, illegal tying, exclusive dealing, and tortious interference by Microsoft. An example was that certain beta versions of Windows 3.1 produced technically groundless "non-fatal" fake error messages when installing and running them on DR DOS 6.0 due to a check known as AARD code in order to create fear, uncertainty and doubt and destroy DR DOS' reputation.[5][6][7][8][9][10] Another example was bundling and artificially tying MS-DOS 7 and Windows 4 into a single product (Windows 95) in order to eliminate competition. Caldera later demonstrated that it would have been beneficial for DOS and Windows users to have a choice between MS-DOS and DR-DOS featurewise, and that it was technically possible to run Windows 4 on DR-DOS 7 simply by faking some new, unnecessarily complex but functionally non-essential internal interfaces through WinGlue.[4][11][12][13][14][15]

While active, Caldera, Inc. created a number of subsidiaries:

Caldera UK[edit]

Under the direction of Roger Gross as General Manager of Caldera's Digital Research Systems Group (DSG) the UK-based development center Caldera UK Ltd. (51°12′19″N 1°28′44″W / 51.20531°N 1.478786°W / 51.20531; -1.478786 (Caldera UK Ltd., Aldwych House, Winchester Street, Andover, Hampshire, SP10 2EA, UK)) was incorporated on 20 September 1996[16] to continue the development of the DR-DOS operating system in a converted barn (51°11′18″N 1°29′15″W / 51.188306°N 1.487498°W / 51.188306; -1.487498 (Caldera UK Ltd., Norman Court Barns, Norman Court Lane, Upper Clatford, Andover, Hampshire, UK)) at the periphery of Andover, Hampshire, UK. Caldera UK developed various DOS-based products including OpenDOS 7.01, DR-DOS 7.02, DR-DOS 7.03 and DR-WebSpyder. Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. closed the Caldera UK Ltd. development office in February 1999 soon after the release of DR-DOS 7.03, thereby effectively stopping any DOS development.

Caldera Deutschland[edit]

The collaboration with LST since 1995 eventually led to LST becoming Caldera's German development center Caldera Deutschland GmbH for Linux-based technologies in May 1997.[17]

Caldera Taiwan[edit]

On 1 June 1998, Caldera, Inc. opened a sales office for its DOS-based products in Taipei, Taiwan, run by Irrana and Henry Huang.[18]

Caldera, Caldera Systems and Caldera Thin Clients[edit]

On 2 September 1998, Caldera, Inc. announced the creation of two Utah-based wholly owned subsidiaries, Caldera Systems, Inc. and Caldera Thin Clients, Inc., in order to split up tasks and directions.[19]

Under Sparks' lead, the shell company Caldera, Inc. remained responsible for the Caldera v. Microsoft lawsuit. Microsoft lawyers tried repeatedly to have the case dismissed but without success. On 7 January 2000, immediately after the completion of the pre-trial deposition stage (where the parties list the evidence they intend to present), Microsoft settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum,[20] which in 2009 was revealed to be $280m.[21] Caldera, Inc. ceased to exist soon after.

Caldera Systems, Caldera Holdings, Caldera International, Caldera K.K., and The SCO Group[edit]

Caldera Systems, Inc. (CSI), headed by Love as President and CEO since its incorporation in Orem, Utah, on 21 August 1998,[22] targeted the Linux-based software business including OpenLinux, with Caldera Deutschland as their German Linux development center. The company reincorporated in Delaware on 2 March 2000[23] and completed an IPO of its common stock. On the first day of trading Caldera's shares doubled in value, briefly touching $33, and by the end of the first day the company had a market capitalisation of $1.1bn. However, at a time when technology IPOs were attracting extremely high valuations, Caldera's performance was generally perceived as a disappointment.[24][25]

The company reorganized in August 2000 and became Caldera International, Inc. (CII) in March 2001.

In May 2001, Caldera International, with investments of Fujitsu and Hitachi, opened the Caldera K.K. subsidiary, directed by Makoto Asoh, in Tokyo, Japan.[26]

In August 2002, Caldera International renamed itself into The SCO Group, Inc. under the lead of Darl McBride.

Caldera UK, Caldera Thin Clients, Lineo, and Embedix[edit]

Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. (CTC), incorporated in August 1998 and originally led by Gross as President and CEO,[19] instead developed DOS- and Linux-based thin clients and solutions for embedded systems. Originally located in Orem[19] and later in Lindon, it was meant to become the US-based "parent" company for Caldera UK Ltd., but when Gross resigned and Caldera UK Ltd. was disbanded in February 1999, and when the attempt to relocate the DR-DOS development into the US failed,[27][28] Caldera Thin Clients under the new lead of Sparks soon refocused on Linux and was renamed into Lineo, Inc. on 20 July 1999,[29] who licensed a stripped down OpenLinux distribution from Caldera Systems and named it Embedix. Lineo continued to maintain the former Caldera Thin Clients sales office in Taipei in 1999. In January 2000, Lineo reincorporated in Delaware.

In July 2002, the company reformed as Embedix, Inc.[30] under the lead of Matthew R. Harris, formerly a Summit Law attorney for Caldera, Inc. Embedix ceased to exist later that year. Some DR-DOS assets fell to the Canopy Group and were acquired by DRDOS, Inc. aka DeviceLogics in 2002. Key parts of the Linux-based Embedix assets were acquired by Motorola's Metrowerks on 17 December 2002.[31]

Caldera (France)[edit]

Totally unrelated to the above mentioned US-based Caldera companies, there is also a French software company named Caldera, specialized in imaging software for wide format digital printing. Created in 1991, it has since got back its trademark from SCO, as well as the website. This French company produces RIP software as well as other solutions dedicated to digital printers and to the Digital Printing industry.


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