Caldera, Inc. was a Canopy-funded software company founded in October 1994 and incorporated in January 1995 by former Novell employees Bryan Wayne Sparks, Ransom H. Love and others to develop the Caldera Network Desktop (CND) and later create a Linux distribution named OpenLinux (COL). The company was originally based in Provo and later in Orem, Utah, USA.
Their first product in 1995 was Caldera Network Desktop, which was based on Red Hat Linux and Novell's Corsair Internet Desktop. It also included LISA (Linux Installation and System Administration), which had been developed by the German Linux Support Team (LST) for their own Linux distribution.
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. The deal consisted of a direct payment of US$400000 as well as percentual royalties for any revenues derived from DR-DOS to Novell. Caldera filed the Caldera v. Microsoft antitrust lawsuit the same day. 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 (FUD) and destroy DR DOS' reputation. 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.
Since Digital Research's CP/M and MP/M had no commercial value for Caldera, they offered various binaries and sources for download on their site and allowed the redistribution and modification of more collected CP/M files through Tim Olmstead's independent "The Unofficial CP/M Web site" since 1997, for as long as they did not contain any DOS technology.
While active, Caldera, Inc. created a number of subsidiaries:
Under the direction of Roger Alan Gross as General Manager of Caldera's Digital Research Systems Group (DSG) the UK-based development center Caldera UK Ltd. ( ) was incorporated on 20 September 1996 to continue the development of the DR-DOS operating system in a converted barn ( ) at the periphery of Andover, Hampshire, UK. Caldera UK developed various DOS-based products including OpenDOS 7.01 (COD), 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, Inc. incorporated the German Linux Support Team's (LST) configuration manager LISA into Caldera's Network Desktop in 1995.
In 1996 Linux Support Team grew into Stefan Probst's and Ralf Flaxa's company LST Software GmbH (with LST now standing for Linux System Technology) in Erlangen, Germany. This led to a collaboration with Caldera to develop OpenLinux.
Caldera, Caldera Systems and Caldera Thin Clients
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.
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, which in 2009 was revealed to be US$280000000. Caldera, Inc. ceased to exist soon after.
Caldera Systems, Caldera Holdings, Caldera International, Caldera K.K., and The SCO Group
Caldera Systems, Inc. (CSI), headed by Love as President and CEO since its incorporation in Orem, Utah, on 21 August 1998, 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 and completed an IPO of its common stock as CALD. On the first day of trading Caldera's shares doubled in value, briefly touching US$33, and by the end of the first day the company had a market capitalisation of US$1100000000. However, at a time when technology IPOs were attracting extremely high valuations, Caldera Systems's performance was generally perceived as a disappointment.
The company reorganized in August 2000 and became Caldera International, Inc. (CII) in March 2001.
Caldera UK, Caldera Thin Clients, Lineo, and Embedix
Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. (CTC), incorporated in August 1998 and originally led by Gross as President and CEO, instead developed DOS- and Linux-based thin clients and solutions for embedded systems. Originally located in Orem and later in Lindon, it was meant to become the US-based "parent" company for Caldera UK Ltd. 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, Caldera Thin Clients, under the new lead of Sparks, soon refocused on Linux.
On 20 July 1999, Caldera Thin Clients was renamed into Lineo, Inc. Lineo licensed a stripped down OpenLinux distribution from Caldera Systems and named it Embedix. They continued to maintain the former Caldera Thin Clients sales office in Taipei in 1999. In January 2000, Lineo reincorporated in Delaware.
By July 2002, the company had reformed as Embedix, Inc. 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.
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. In order to better distinguish it from the US-based companies, the French company was also referred to under the name Caldera Graphics SAS for several years. Created in 1991, it has since got back its Caldera trademark from the SCO Group, as well as the caldera.com website since 2010. This French company produces RIP software as well as other solutions dedicated to digital printers and to the Digital Printing industry. The company was taken over by Dover in 2017.
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Furthermore, Caldera claims that Microsoft's flagship product, Windows 95, is nothing more than an "artificial tie" between its MS-DOS operating system and Windows graphic interface with no business justification other than to keep competing underlying operating systems—like Caldera's DR-DOS—off the market. To prove its point, Caldera will soon release a piece of demonstration software called "WinBolt," which, it says, will allow users to install the Windows 95 interface atop DR-DOS. The demo will show, Caldera says, that there is no significant technological advancement, or justified business efficiency, to the combination of MS-DOS with Windows in Windows 95.
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[…] MS-DOS 7.0+ […] introduced a […] for the most part undocumented RMD data structure usually located in the HMA. The kernel collects and records configuration and Real Mode Driver data during boot (type of driver, interrupts hooked by driver, CONFIG.SYS line of invocation, etc.) and stores this information in a […] complicated […] growing data structure. Presumably […] meant to be used by the Windows core to get a better picture of the loaded Real Mode drivers […] or even attempt to unhook or unload some of them, […] it is only used to a very limited extent ([…] some of the info reflected in the log files created on […] startup, and some parts of the […] configuration manager also make use of it), […] leaving room […] beyond the technical side […] because nothing of the interesting stuff is documented […]
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[…] DR-DOS 7.03 is compatible with Windows and Windows for groups up to 3.xx (and internal versions of DR-DOS even with Windows 4.xx aka Windows 95/98/SE […]
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Microsoft Corp. agreed to pay an estimated $275 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit by Caldera Inc., heading off a trial that was likely to air nasty allegations from a decade ago. […] Microsoft and Caldera, a small Salt Lake City software company that brought the suit in 1996, didn't disclose terms of the settlement. Microsoft, though, said it would take a charge of three cents a share for the agreement in the fiscal third quarter ending March 31 […] the company has roughly 5.5 billion shares outstanding […]
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[…] exhibits attached to Microsoft's Memorandum of Law in support of Microsoft's cross motion for summary judgment in the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust litigation. We finally find out what Microsoft paid Caldera to settle the DrDOS litigation back in 2000: $280 million. We even get to read the settlement agreement. It's attached as an exhibit. […] The settlement terms were sealed for all these years, but […] now that mystery is solved. […] We also find out what Caldera/Canopy then paid Novell from that $280 million: $35.5 million at first, and then after Novell successfully sued Canopy in 2004, Caldera's successor-in-interest on this matter, an additional $17.7 million, according to page 16 of the Memorandum. Microsoft claims that Novell is not the real party in interest in this antitrust case, and so it can't sue Microsoft for the claims it has lodged against it, because, Microsoft says, Novell sold its antitrust claims to Caldera when it sold it DrDOS. So the exhibits are trying to demonstrate that Novell got paid in full, so to speak, via that earlier litigation. As a result, we get to read a number of documents from the Novell v. Canopy litigation. Novell responds it retained its antitrust claims in the applications market. […]
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[…] Microsoft will pay to Caldera, by wire transfer in accordance with written instructions provided by Caldera, the amount of two hundred eighty million dollars ($280,000,000), as full settlement of all claims or potential claims covered by this agreement […](NB. This document of the Caldera v. Microsoft case was an exhibit in the Novell v. Microsoft and Comes v. Microsoft cases.)
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[…] Microsoft paid $280 million to Caldera to settle the case, and $35.5 million of the settlement proceeds were provided by Caldera to Novell as a so-called "royalty." […] Dissatisfied with that amount, Novell filed suit in June 2000 against Caldera (succeeded by The Canopy Group), alleging that Novell was entitled to even more. […] Novell ultimately prevailed, adding $17.7 million to its share of the monies paid by Microsoft to Caldera, for a total of more than $53 million […]
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[…] We […] have very deep experience with embedding DR DOS, and we've been making millions from that. So we are in a unique position: we are not a startup and we have funding. Our DOS product paid for all our R&D on embedded Linux. […] we are […] evolving our focus from an embedded DOS-only company to an embedded Linux company. […] We are not killing our DOS product immediately […] However, there has been an increasing demand for embedded Linux. So we are shifting our focus and renaming the company to match our longer-term revenue stream, which will be Linux-based […] as the market has requested us to do […] We will keep selling both technologies during the transition. […]
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Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. released the source code for GEM and ViewMAX under the GNU Public License in mid April, following years of speculation over GEM's future. Caldera bought the GEM sources from Novell along with the DR-DOS in 1996, at the time noting that they may develop GEM into a platform for mobile computers and thin clients. However, these plans were dropped, and GEM was instead released into the open-source community.
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[…] Let this email represent a right to use, distribute, modify, enhance and otherwise make available in a nonexclusive manner the CP/M technology as part of the "Unofficial CP/M Web Site" with its maintainers, developers and community. I further state that as Chairman and CEO of Lineo, Inc. that I have the right to do offer such a license. […] Bryan Sparks […]
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- "Stock Purchase and Sale Agreement - Lineo Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc." 2000-01-06. Archived from the original on 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2019-11-30 – via FindLaw.
- Caldera, Inc. (archived web site caldera.com from 1996-10-18 to 1999-04-30)
- Caldera UK Ltd. (archived web site caldera.co.uk from 1997-12-21 to 1999-10-12)
- Caldera Thin Clients, Inc. (archived web site calderathin.com from 1999-01-17 to 1999-11-05) and Lineo, Inc. (archived web site calderathin.com from 1999-10-12 to 1999-11-05, lineo.com from 2000-05-10 to 2003-03-20 and embedix.com from 2002-06-03 to 2003-02-20)
- Caldera Systems, Inc. (archived web site calderasystems.com from 1999-01-17 to 2001-04-05 and caldera.com from 2000-02-29 to 2000-12-17), Caldera Holdings (archived web site caldera.com from 2001-01-18 to 2001-03-02), Caldera International, Inc. (archived web site caldera.com from 2001-03-30 to 2002-08-25) and The SCO Group (archived web site caldera.com from 2002-09-14 to 2004-09-01 and sco.com from 2001-05-08)
- LST Software GmbH (archived web site lst.de from 1997-01-11 to 1997-12-11), Caldera Deutschland GmbH (archived web site lst.de from 1998-12-01 to 2000-01-02 and caldera.de from 2000-04-13 to 2001) and LST - Verein zur Förderung freier Software (archived web site lst.de from 2001-03-31)
- Caldera Graphics (archived web site caldera.fr from 1996-12-23 to 2007-03-04, caldera.eu from 2007-03-27 to 2011-06-14 and caldera.com from 2011-07-17 to 2012-01-07 and from 2012-05-02)