Because of an unexpected schedule change, I found myself with a
whole day open one recent Tuesday. While there were plenty of other
things I could have done to fill the day, I decided that I had
delayed upgrading my personal machine long enough. More than long
enough. The 5.0.6 package had been sitting here unopened for
months. A new 10 GB Ultra hard drive had also been gathering dust,
and so had a new Adaptec 29160 controller. It seemed like Tuesday
was going to be relatively quiet, so I dove in.
First order of business was to install the 29160 controller.
Ooops, no 64 bit PCI slots in this machine. Hmm, what was I
thinking? Oh, yeah, I was planning to use another, newer machine
that does have those slots. But since then, that machine has become
the machine my wife uses. See what happens when you delay these
things? I guess I could switch things around, but that would mean
reinstalling Windows on a weaker machine, reinstalling all her
applications.. nope, don't want to do that.
But the 29160 will work in a 32 bit PCI slot as long as it's PCI
2.1 compliant. Was this machine so blessed? Darned if I knew, but I
tried putting the board in.. no go. Just wouldn't fit, because it's
NOT PCI 2.1 compliant. Well.. I suppose I could run out and buy a
new machine, but really I don't need the performance, and I don't
need to waste the money, so why not just use the 2940UW already in
there? Sounds like a good idea to me!
All right, but I did want to use the new hard drive. I'd already
done an Edge backup of the old drives (two 4 GB older Quantums).
Those used the regular SCSI-2 50 pin cables, and the new hard drive
is 68 pin D type, but the 2940UW has the 68 pin connector also, and
in fact I was already using that with a Tandberg tape drive. I had
a LVD terminator on the end of that cable, so all I had to do was
pull out the old drives, put in the new, and reroute some cables.
The only thing left on the narrow chain now was the CDROM; the
drive and tape were on the 68 pin.
I toyed with the idea of restoring my Edge backup using the
Emergency Boot disks and then doing an IPU ( In Place Upgrade) from
the 5.0.5 it was currently running, but several things convinced me
not to. First, I just don't like IPU's (see Upgrades). Secondly, because I had
been lazy and not properly and completely removed a Jaz drive that
I no longer use, my drive nodes were a little whacky and the Edge
boot creation program was very unhappy. I could have fixed that,
but the final reason was the most compelling: my current setup was
A mess because it had grown like Topsy. I don't remember what it
started out on since the last full wipeout and start fresh, but it
was probably a two gig drive. I think I originally had one of the 4
GB drives in here, but SCO only got 2 GB of it, and the rest was
Linux or NT or whatever I needed to play with before I bought more
machines. Eventually that partition got converted to SCO, and later
on still another 4 GB was added, but because this was done over
time, there had been a lot of shifting around, a lot of symbolic
links- as I said, a mess. And there was also just the accumulated
debris of years of use- stuff I had installed but no longer used,
long unneeeded projects, all kinds of junk just lying around.
Definitely time for a fresh start.
I can do that, of course, because this is mostly "my" machine.
It's also a server for the other machines here, but that's a minor
role, and I know what I need to put back in place for that
function. So, I can pretty easily just start fresh by installing
5.0.6, restoring my tape to an "oldstuff" directory, pick and
choose what I really want from there, and then dump everything I
don't need. Sounds like a plan, right?
The 5.0.6 install went smoothly. I had long ago lost my paper
licenses, but I extracted the activation key from
/var/adm/ISL/iqm_file and of course the license code is available
from uname -X. I just let the install run without any special
instructions from me; that caused it to use the entire 10 GB drive
as one partition, and to allocate 184 MB for swap. Fine by me: I
don't need 184 MB of swap (see Swap)
but with 10 GB of available space, who cares? Nor am I particularly
concerned on this machine with having separate filesystems: I don't
think that's the necessity it used to be ( see Filesystems).
Before starting this, I had printed out "hwconfig", "ifconfig
-a", and "hw -r pci", so I was ready to reconfigure my network
cards (this machine is also the internet gateway) when the machine
came up. I did notice that the algorithm for calculating disk
buffers has changed; 5.0.5 would only allocate 6652k no matter how
much memory you had, but this allocated twice as much from the
total 128 MB available. I left that alone; I don't need any more
than that for my use.
The first thing to do was to configure a tape drive and install
Edge so that I could restore everything from the old drives to
/oldstuff. While I was at it, I added the parallel port and did a
Unfortunately, I had some problems with the restore: after it
finished, the SCSI bus locked up. I'm not quite sure what's going
on here yet. The problem manifests itself every time I use the
tape: after running a while, everything locks up solid. The backup
continues to run, but no logins are possible and if I'm already
logged in, any command just hangs and that's the end of that.I have
good quality cables, LVD termination, and this did not happen when
I had the old drives installed. I'm going to have to play around
with this to see exactly why this is breaking down. If I do not use
the tape, everything is fine, so I can live with it for the
In general, the performance of this new drive is much better
than the older drives. The "sar -d" figures show a fourfold
improvement in "avserv" times. However, it is still not fast enough
to make the Tandberg tape drive stream, probably because I'm still
using the 2940 adapter.
I called the nice folks at Granite Digital for advice.
They suggested that perhaps I needed to provide more termination
power to the SCSI bus. Well, when I opened up to check, I found
that I was not providing termination power from either of the
They also suggested throttling back the speed, but when I
went into the Adaptec BIOS to do that, I found that I had actually
inadvertently already done that: I had neglected to increase the
speed when I changed to these devices, so the tape drive was
throttled to 10Mbs and the hard drive was set at 20MBs. I bumped
both of those up to 40Mbs, and set the TermPwr jumper on the tape
drive. I'm writing this while doing a backup; so far, no lockups.
And the performance is now, of course, even better than it was-
though I still can't stream.
Well, that ran a little longer, but it still
Before trying new cables and termination, I decided to put
a jumper on the TermPwr of the hard drive. This actually seems to
have solved the problem- I'm not sure if the tape drive wasn't
enough or perhaps just wasn't working (to provide Term Power), but
this seems to have solved it. I did come across something else in
the course of doing all this- the fan wasn't working.
And that led me into another adventure. I had yet another
test-bed machine here with more slots, more bays, more memory and a
slightly faster cpu. I decided to transfer the hardware to that,
and fix the fan later, letting the weaker box become a test machine
then. Two things broke in that transfer: one of the nics wasn't
seen at boot (understandable because it was now in a different PCI
slot- a simple remove and add in netconfig fixed that), and my
system licensing went away. That was not expected, but again going
into license manager and removing and re-licensing fixed
Then, just when I thought everything was back to normal,
the video card died. Just like that: bright screen one second and
then - poof! - gone. Fortunately I keep a stock of cards, and
actually dug up a better card than what it originally had; a moment
in "mkdev graphics" put that all right again. I guess I had never
run that test machine long enough to kill the card.
Then, after configuring the two NIC's to match my old
configuration, I needed to add my default gateway and set up
Ipfilters. With 5.0.6, adding
a default gateway is simple: just modify the GATEWAY= line in
/etc/default/tcp (that won't work with older releases: see Routing). I knew that ipfilters is
included with 5.0.6, but I didn't see where it would be set up, and
I couldn't find anything in the Installation Handbook or the
Release notes. So, trusting person that I am, I just copied over my
old firewall script from the /oldstuff directory, ran it, and son
of a gun it worked- the other machines on the inside network again
had access to the outside world. I had only to add Visionfs 3.10 to
complete everything I needed for those machines.
I did notice that the "mkfilters" script is now included- this
generates a set of rules suitable for a typical configuration. I
should look at that and see how its rules differ from my own
configuration; theirs might very well be better.
I did, of course, make other adjustments for security-
commenting everything out of /etc/inetd.conf, stopping unneeded
services in /etc/rc2.d and /etc/tcp (see DSL Security). I also copied back my
root ,profile and .kshrc (see KSH).
Ok, time to start with users. My brother-in-law uses this
machine now, and there's a "shutdown" login that uses "asroot" so
that he and my wife can shut this down without being root.
Transferring users using "ap" is covered in the Upgrades article; the only necessary
work is to fix the symbolic links to prefix "/oldstuff"; after that
"ap" restores the user accounts, and a simple "mv" puts their
directories back in place. My brother-in-law uses Netscape for mail
and browsing; as the old installation was already using 4.7, I
figured that copying his directory, which would include .netscape,
would restore his preferences. That seemed to work, but later on I
had some troubles with Netscape on my own account, so I'm not sure
this is necessarily reliable. In my case, some of the preferences
didn't seem to be working, and when I went in to change them,
Netscape crashed and wiped them all out. I had to recreate them by
hand, which wasn't a great chore since I knew exactly what I
needed, but still it would have been better not to have had to do
that. Strangely, though, it retained some of my preferences- for
example, when I looked into the application settings, "xpdf" was
still associated for PDF files. But I had lost my Newsgroup
settings, my mail preferences, my default fonts and more.
One of the things that messed up was that Netscape lost track of
the significance of my "Sent" folder. That is, the preferences were
marked to save a copy of outgoing mail in Sent, but it just stopped
doing that, and further "Sent" moved in the display so that it was
now alphabetical- normally "Sent" shows up right after Outbox,
Drafts and Templates, right before Trash, and then everything else
follow alphabetically. But now it was down in the S's like any
other folder. The solution was simply to rename the Sent file (at
the command prompt, not in Netscape). Upon reentering Netscape,
Sent was recreated, it showed up in the normal place, and sent
messages were copied there again.
Another difference I noticed is that in the 4.7 I was using
previously, I had the "wrap outgoing plain text messages" turned
on, and that would actually wrap as I typed. On this version, the
messages really do wrap, but you don't know that as you compose- I
guess that's OK, but I would rather know exactly what I'm
One nice thing about this version: it doesn't crash on "Flash"
pages anymore- the 4.7 I had would blow up if I stumbled across a
page with Flash in it. Also, the mail client formerly was unable to
forward mail- it would forward junk. This version works fine- the
default fonts are too small at 1024 x 768, and there's no keyboard
shortcut to increase their size, so you still have to go into
preferences for that.. maybe someday.
I didn't want to transfer anything from my /usr/local/bin. This
was an area that had definitely gotten out of hand over the years,
filled with a lot of junk and riddled with symbolic links as I had
moved things around to gain space.
So, I went to Skunkware and began
downloading and installing things I needed. Most of this went fine,
but the Skunkware site is very poorly done: it's very difficult to
find what you want. For example, Ghostview is found under
"Graphics/Viewers", but Ghostscript is under "Text Processing"!
Other things, like Hylafax, don't appear under any category- you
have to hunt them down by using the Search tool.
Once you find what you want, you may be presented with several
versions, and no explanatory text to help you figure out why you
may want one or the other. If there are dependencies (other
packages you will need to make this work), you may or may not be
told about it, and once again you may have to go searching to find
them. My experience with Ghostscript had all of these problems and
more: although versions 5.10, 5.50 and 6.0 were all offered, the
only one I could make work was the 5.10. I tried every combination
of the Glib libraries (a dependency, again offered in different
versions and again not immediately obvious where to find), but only
5.10 Ghostscript finally worked. However, that was only true for
the stuff at SCO: when I used the new Skunkware CD that came with
5.0.6, the latest version installed perfectly.
The gcc development system was even more annoying- one of the
offered versions won't even install, never mind work- custom just
blows up, offering a string of garbage in the "Details" box. Again,
though: if you use the CD, it works fine. I guess the moral is to
use the CD whenever possible.
In spite of this, I finally got everything I needed reinstalled
and it was time to start looking over the system to see what else
There's not much in 5.0.6 that wasn't in 5.0.5 and what
differences there are tend to be subtle. Obviously there have been
improvements (Netscape, for example) and additions (ipfilters). The
system clock has a higher resolution; you'll notice the difference
in the display "ping" gives, for example. But pretty much, this
looks like 5.0.5 with all the patches rolled in. See
5.0.6 Fact Sheet
(link dead, sorry)
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© 2011-05-09 Tony Lawrence