SCO Openserver release 5.0.7
There is a lot to like in the 5.0.7 release of SCO Openserver.
Support for IDE CD-RW and DVD-RAM (you need other tools to actually
write to this media, but the important kernel support is built in),
more USB devices (though not printers or modems), P4, Xeon, and AMD
Athlon processors, UDMA 100 and 133 hard drives, PCI serial and
parallel cards, LS-120 and LS-240 IDE drives (see "man Sflp", not
"sflp" as the documentation suggests) , several Gigabit network
cards, and more PCMCIA support.
The Netscape server is gone, replaced by Apache, OpenSSH is
built in, sendmail is at 8.11 (which of course will need immediate
updating), and you now have a choice of Mozilla or Netscape for GUI
browsers and Lynx is included for character mode.
I installed this on a low end clone: A Celeron 433Mhz with a
30GB IDE drive and 128 MB of ram. The installation was fairly long,
mostly because I let it do a complete badtrack of the disk - other
than that, it was less than an hour. The GUI configured perfectly
with defaults (I just used the VESA driver and the high resolution
keyboard mouse) and after configuring the nic and gateway
(/etc/default/tcp for the gateway), I was using Mozilla to browse
the web in minutes.
Optional Services CD
The optional services CD includes both licensed and unlicensed
products. Whatever the criteria is that determines whether
something appears here or is on the base OS CD is beyond my
understanding: SCO PPP and Squid are on the base CD, as are both
the SCO and GNU development tools, but Netraverse's Merge and
Samba, Netscape Communicator and a whole bunch of other things are
on the Optional Services CD. There were two supplements (OSS631B
and OSS646A) on that CD that were not (as of this writing; March
2003) on the SCO FTP site. The 631B is the "glib" libraries that
are needed for so many other Open Source/Skunkware applications.
The other is the "Execution Environment Supplement" which updates
libc and other important parts of the OS. You don't need either of
these: they are already part of 5.0.7, and are for 5.0.6 systems.
By the way, there's a new icon on the Desktop called "Mount CD"
that you can click on to both mount and unmount CD's. It's name
doesn't change when a CD is mounted, though the icon does - just
click on it again to unmount.
Why can't it just work?
I decided I'd follow what a typical Linux user might try, and
installed the GNU development tools, reasoning that most people
probably won't pay for the SCO development system. The installation
was simple enough, and I then wrote a simple "hello.c" program and
tried "make". Of course it said that couldn't be found, because the
GNU stuff installs in /usr/gnu/bin. I added that to my PATH and
tried again. Still no luck, because GNU make thinks it should find
"cc" and what's available is "gcc". OK, I felt that most folks
could probably get around that, but no, that wasn't enough, because
gcc can't deal with "#include <stdio.h>". Of course what you
need is the "SCO OpenServer Linker and Application Development
Libraries" as explained at What do I need to compile programs? (SCO Unix)
. I know that, but anyone new to SCO would probably be baffled. Why
not just install that with GNU automatically if it's not already
there? Why make things hard for people?
Don't get me wrong: I applaud the fact that they now include GNU
development as an option on the base CD. It's also great that the
glib libraries are included. Those things help a lot. But finish
the job: make it useable by any damn fool who is NOT a developer,
who probably just needs to compile an open source program now and
then. Make it easy, not the big struggle it is now.
Samba replaces Visionfs which was used in previous OSR5
products. Unfortunately, for reasons I don't yet understand, the
ability to mount Windows shares to Unix is not possible. That's a
major problem. Another not so major problem with Samba is that the
man pages are a mess "out of the box". First, if all you do is
install Samba, they won't work at all because you don't have the
text processing tools those man pages need. If you happen to
install the GNU develpoment tools, you'll be a little better off,
but it's still a mess. Again, it's great that they put this stuff
in here, but don't do half the job. Make it right. These are
probably things developers never notice (because they immediately
install all these tools), but they will have an adverse affect on a
new user's opinion of the product. Windows connectivity is such a
normal requirement nowadays that Samba should probably just be an
automatic part of a standard installation.
Enough complaining; let's go exploring. There are new commands
here, and changes to old ones. If you look at the License Manager,
you'll see that the Strong Encryption Supplement was automatically
installed and licensed. Crypt is now included. The old SCOHelp is
gone, replaced by Docview (it's Apache at port 8457). The "crash"
command has had TCP/IP and NFS structures added to its repertoire.
FTP is updated. The wonderfully useful "lsof" command no longer has
to be downloaded from Skunkware, and "truss" (like "trace") is
included without having to install development tools. Ssh and sshd
are included, and for me worked with zero effort.
The korn shell has also been updated, and a blurb in the
"Getting Started Guided" pointed out a new "-o danglecreate" option
which supposedly has something to do with protecting the
overwriting of symlinks. It's completely undocumented, and I can't
find anything about it on the web either. I suspect that it might
be related to some known security problems with ksh creating
symlinks when using "here" documents, but I do not know.
Speaking of shells: I wish they'd include bash automatically. I
think what OSR5 needs at this point in its life is as much comfort
level is as possible for a Linux admin who has stumbled across it.
Having the GNU development system available is good, but little
things like shells matter too.
Docview is the new SCO help system. One of the first things you
need to do is run /usr/lib/docview/conf/rundig to build its
indexes. Be prepared for that to take a LONG time: on this
admittedly weak machine, the process took an amazing 5.5 hours! But
then everything was painfully slow with this. I finally got
impatient and threw in some more memory, which helped a lot. For
the heck of it, I reindexed (using -i to make it do the whole
thing) after bumping the ram up to 384MB; that took just about as
long. Reindexing isn't particularly healthy for the rest of your
system either: my sar %idle was at 0 throughout this process.
But the indexing wasn't complete at all. For example, while
there is a "usb" man page, Docview search turned up absolutely
nothing for "usb". I did notice that at SCO's web site, a Docview
search for "usb" did turn up the appropriate pages, so it had to be
something silly that interfered with indexing on my machine. So, I
did it a third time. This took an incredible 10 hours, but when it
finished, Docview could find "usb" in a search.
You cannot index if you have used dhcp to get an address for
this box. You'll get:
htmerge: unable to open word list file
The supposed reason is that the machine doesn't have a fixed ip
address (see /usr/lib/docview/conf/README). Pretty silly, I
You may recall that in previous versions, "man" wouldn't work if
scohttp wasn't running. In 5.0.7, "man" does not depend on Docview
(/etc/docview stop|start|restart if you care).
You now get to choose between Netscape or Mozilla as your
browser. By default, when you click on Help, or World Wide Web,
you'll be asked which you want to use, and also given the
opportunity to set one as the default. Don't be in a big hurry to
do that: if you choose Mozilla, you may have trouble accessing the
Internet Manager to manage internet services if you haven't already
gone through the initial interface testing phase with Netscape. As
the Web Server part of that is now Apache, you can't use Internet
Manager for that anyway, so this may not be a terrible hardship.
But if you do need to change your defaults, or set it back to
asking you, the file is /etc/default/browser. Comment out the
In addition to /etc/default/browser, there's a new "man.hdk" in
/atc/default. It looks like it has to do with the UDK, which I
The cron file has changed, giving more control of cron's
behaviour with regard to %, and also now lets you set variables,
the shell to be used, and the PATH. That's very useful.
The lpd has a new "old_port_compatible" setting which helps it
find lpd servers on older SCO systems.
The tcp file has the most new stuff. You control the startup of
SSH here, and also get to specify up to 10 other daemons you want
started after tcp itself. There are STARTDAEMON0 to STARTDAEMON9
and matching STOPDAEMON variables.
Other small changes include that user's default home directory
is now in /u, which is created during the install whether you made
multiple filesystems or not.
System Administration Tools
A lot of changes here. First, you'll find usb and pci choices
for all kinds of things. The Hardware/Kernel manager has all sorts
of new choices. You can configure Samba here, and ipfilter too
(though all you get for that is an empty vi session - but see
"mkfilters" below). Scsi jukeboxes, Tricord drives, LS-120 drives,
even the APC ups daemon are all here. The "Terminal Emulation
Control" that was introduced in 5.06 now can be controlled from
here in addition to "mkdev scoansi". Of course, "mkdev" lists many
new options also.
I noticed a SCROLLSZ tunable, which says it is the number of
lines in the console scrollback buffer. So how do you scroll back?
Darned if I know (no, it's not SHIFT PAGEUP). A developer tells me
that they didn't get to finish documenting this but "mapkeys" is of
course how you will set it. I don't know any more than that, but if
one more person tells me about SHIFT PAGEUP (which is how Linux
works), I'm going to throw a brick at them!
Listings of the PATH directories show new commands - not
necessarily new to you, of course, but new to OSR5. Some new
additions: bzip2, crypt and openssl, gzip, pccardslot (no man
page), udisetup (installs a UDI driver). Also, "more" has become
"less" (that is, they are the same binary; see the man page), and a
lot of graphic manipulators/converters are included. As already
mentioned, ssh and all the associated OpenSSH commands and tools
are here. Ldap tools are also present, and vacation was nice to
I was glad to see that "mkfilters" (a Perl script that does a
basic ipfilter configuration) was here (in /etc), but you need to
edit it because it thinks Perl is in /usr/local/bin. Just change
the first line to "#!/usr/bin/perl".
I'm sure I've missed other important new or changed
Prior versions left you some slack in licensing. A 5 user
version would let you pass a few more users before it refused any
more. That's all gone: this system cuts you off right then and
there. There are also unusual procedures for upgrading if you
prefer to do a fresh install: you need both your 5.0.5/6 license
and your new 5.0.7 upgrade license. That's a change from past
practice: an upgrade license was really just a normal license you
paid less for because of owning the previous license. I don't see
that as great hardship, but I do wonder if it will have an affect
on future upgrades: will you have to keep your 5.0.5/6 license
Unless you are coming from 5.0.5 or 5.0.6, you cannot do an
in-place upgrade. I suppose some will object to that, but really:
if you've been running a system since 5.0.4 or before, it's time
for a fresh start anyway. See Upgrades .
More than a few of us were surprised that SCO came out with this
new release. There's some life left in OpenServer yet.
Use the Google search boxwith the key "5.0.7" to
find other 5.0.7 related articles.
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