For SCO, the lure of moving its application-hosting product, Tarantella, to the Windows NT/Windows 2000 (Win2K) platform has proven irresistible. SCO has had its IXI and VisionWare teams in Cambridge, England, reverse-engineer the Microsoft protocol, RDP, that Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition (TSE—known as Terminal Services in Win2K) uses. Client Server News reports that SCO marketing director, Pete Bondar, said: “SCO found a legitimate and legally approved method of essentially decoding the RDP protocol.” By intercepting RDP, Tarantella can display multi-user NT applications on thin clients. A new version of Tarantella, called Tarantella Enterprise II, will ship the week of January 23; it runs NT applications on UNIX and displays the results on thin clients via RDP. Thus, SCO now has a product that competes directly with Citrix MetaFrame, circumvents the NT Server license scheme, and runs on UNIX. (SCO is best known for its version of SCO UNIX UnixWare, the leading UNIX-on-Intel platform.) SCO’s Tarantella product lets a UNIX server or server farm run applications and send the screen display to 3270 green-screen terminals and Wyse terminals and send X applications to any browser that contains a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Tarantella uses an optimized protocol to send X.11 packets over a dial-up IP connection. Because Tarantella saves a session’s state information, a user can log back onto the system after logging off and resume work on a client machine on the network. Tarantella supports a three-tier architecture (vs. MetaFrame’s two-tier architecture) and lets you hook servers into a 50-server load-balanced array that can serve 15,000 users. SCO suggests that its software is better suited for data center applications than MetaFrame is because Tarantella will run more types of applications and it’s fully Web enabled. In addition, SCO has set Tarantella’s prices to aggressively compete with MetaFrame. Enterprise II will sell for $4925 for a 25-user edition, $100 less than MetaFrame charges for 15 users. SCO also offers aggressive trade-ins for MetaFrame customers wishing to switch to Tarantella. In these ways, SCO hopes to make inroads into Citrix’s $300 million MetaFrame business. SCO is considering using Tarantella as a hosting business or an application portal, and, according to Mike Orr, senior vice president of marketing, the company might even change its name or spin off Tarantella as a separate business unit. For more information about Tarantella, go to SCO's Web site.