Articles, Tips, How-To's
Articles about SCO Unixware. I don't follow any SCO products
closely now so you probably won't find anything new here.
Other Unixware articles:
Unixware : Most popular in this category: Unixware and the Open Server Kernel Personality , Unixware 7.1 and the Webtop , Unixware 7 Incoming PPP , Unixware 7.0.1
This article was written in May 1998. I have just come back from
a two day Unixware 7 Administration class, and have then installed
it on a spare machine, and begun to play with it. Honestly I am
100% sold on Unixware. This is the future of SCO, it
is the platform you want to be on, and although I have the
usual reservations about first releases of anything, I personally
am ready to stand up and say this is the platform I want my
As far as I am concerned, SCO could have called this Gemini. No, it
doesn't have every tool that Openserver has, but it has most of
them, and it has enough that an Openserver geek like me doesn't
feel horrified as I did when attempting to use Unixware 2.12.
More important, however, is the things it has that Openserver does
not. If this was just Unixware 2.12 with a few Openserver tools
grafted on, I'd think it was OK, but I wouldn't be chomping at the
bit. But this has wonderful new features.
Let's start at the beginning with installation.
First of all, you will need beefier hardware. Machines that run
Openserver reasonably well can be sluggish on Unixware. Supposedly,
you can run on a 486DX with 500 MB of disk and 16 MB of memory.
That's a crippled system, however: plan on Pentium, 64MB and 1GB or
I installed it on a 48 meg machine: it was swapping.
UW7 asks for licensing right up front, but it can be deferred. If
it is deferred, you get a 60 day evaluation copy. During
installation, you get to choose to install all or part of the
optional products that you may not have licenses for. If these are
installed, you also get a 60 day license for those products.
Next comes device configuration and any unusual drivers if
necessary. If you've done Unixware before, you already know about
the Device Configuration Utility (DCU). This lets you specify
hardware details (addresses, interrupts) during installation. It's
a nice feature, not usually necessary during installation, but nice
to have when you need it. Similar functionality is provided by
Openservers "defbootstr" commands, but I think the DCU is easier,
though it obviously doesn't provide all the same capability.
Unixware has always used HBA (Host Bus Adapter) diskettes to handle
Boot Time Loadable Drivers. This version is no exception, except
that the standard HBA's are simply on Disk 2 of the installation
and that is not specifically identified as an HBA diskette. The
installation does still offer you the chance to load addtional
HBA's if you need to.
I'm not clear that UW7 offers anything that exactly matches the
functionality of "defbootstr". There is the ability to get to a
boot manager (both during installation and after) that allows
setting variables, and it may well be that between that, the DCU
and HBA's that everything that we can do with defbootsr can still
be accomplished, but I've got some definite fuzziness right
To get to that screen, you simply hit any key while the graphical
Unixware screen is displayed. Doing this brings you to a text
screen. A "?" there displays all the commands you can enter that
would affect the boot.
The install continues with making a UW partition. That's typical
fdisk, though I liked the interface more than the Openserver
version. After this comes creating the file systems.
Unixware uses the "slice" terminology for what we call divisions in
Openserver. The major difference is that UW7 allows 15 slices. That
means 15 file systems. Interestingly, it looks like /usr has to be
part of root, as in Openserver. The default inode allocation for a
file system is 64k, but this can be overridden during
Annoyingly, if you change the size of a file system, you have to do
the math for remaining space; this doesn't calculate it for
The /tmp directory gets mounted on a memfs by default. This means
that /tmp is mounted on what we'd call a ram disk in Openserver. It
also means that files in /tmp do not survive a reboot, and that
/tmp has limited space. That's certainly something you might want
to change if you have memory to spare.
After the install, a "mount" and inspection of /etc/vfstab
(replaces /etc/default/filesys) will show some other interesting
filesystem types, including procfs, profs and specfs. The procfs is
described under "man proc", but so far I can't locate man pages on
the others. Fortunately, memfs and specfs are used on Sun and other
SysV unixes, so the information is available, and I'll cover it in
After laying out the disk, you select the System Profile. This lets
you install either what is appropriate for your license, or to
select other configurations as explained earlier. There are several
packaged license options, which seem (in my opinion) a little
confusing because they also talk about Unixware Editions. I'm sure
this will all make sense once I have a few more installations under
Next is Network Card and TCP/IP configuration. This can be
deferred, of course. Date and time and security level come next,
and then are the prompts for "System Owner", which is a Unixware
concept for a user who can do just about everything root can (but
not quite: see below).
All of these prompts use the Unixware/Novell tradition of F10 to
proceed, F8 to defer. This takes a little getting used to, and
there may be one or two places where it isn't entirely
At the very end, you get a chance to save all of your responses to
floppy disk. This is an obvious boon for replicated sites, but
using the diskette only reads in default answers for all screens.
You will have to push F10 to get through them all. It's still a
very useful feature, though.
After this, the installation proceeds unattended until it is time
to reboot. One final piece of configuration is done after the
initial boot, and that is configuring the mouse. This is nicely
done; it lets you test your configuration before committing to
There is also support for installing over the network, and
apparently that can be done over a pure IPX network, also.
Once it's installed, you'll be pleased to find that the
Openserver style console switching still works, though you have to
use CTRL-ALT-Fn always, the Open Server character mode of just
ALT-Fn will not work. The Unixware style sequences works: hold
ALT-SYSREQ, release, then press H, P, N, or a function key. Only 8
screens are enabled by default. The graphical login defaults to
CTRL-ALT-F1, so if you are trying to switch away from that, use
Note that the Unixware Console login (ALT-SYSREQ,H) is not
accessible by a function key, and is actually tty00. It is
accessible by CTRL-ALT-ESC, which sort of makes sense if you think
of ESC as being F0 because it's next to F1.
By the way, you'll want to switch to that console screen when
shutting down after anything that will require a kernel rebuild.
That's the screen you will see rebuild messages on (anytime you
change anything that requires a rebuild, this will be done
automatically upon shutdown or reboot if necessary).
After this, the first thing you'll notice is the CDE desktop. If
you really like the Openserver style desktop, you can still get it
(it's called the Panorama Session), but I honestly can't imagine
why you'd want to. CDE is powerful, flexible, and a standard. I
personally don't like the standard setting that gives focus to
windows as your mouse moves into them, but you can change that
easily. The Desktop includes a nice Calendar, a panner (different
than pmwm, but conceptually the same) and the usual terminal
window, text editor, icon editor, etc. A nice addition is a
Vacation Manager for setting up mail responses when you are out for
a few days or weeks. The CDE also includes a screen lock.
You will probably want to run the Video configuration manager right
away to increase resolution and colors. I was pleased to find that
UW7 recognized the video card immediately: when I installed
Openserver on this machine I had to fake it by using a choice that
had a similar chipset.
There is also an Audio Configuration Manager; I haven't tried that
as of yet.
You can enable and disable the automatic graphical login with
scologin disable and scologin enable, and start
sessions with startx just as in Openserver.
If you use the desktop to call up the SCO Admin program, you'll
notice that it looks a little different than it does on Openserver,
but just about all the managers that you are used to seeing are
still there. You can also run "scoadmin" from a character based
session. Unfortunately, none of the "mkdev" shortcuts are
It is also unfortunate that the concept of System Owner (you
create this user during installation) isn't perfectly implemented.
The System Owner can accomplish most tasks, but for some it needs
to su to root first, and this is not always done. You'll probably
grow weary of System Owner and just log in as root and run
The Scohelp is now much different looking than it is on
Openserver. It's done with panes, and though generally pretty good,
there are some broken links here and there, where references in the
right hand pane are mal-formed and won't work. You can usually work
around those either by finding an equivalent link in the left hand
pane or by using the built in search engine to zero in on the thing
you are trying to get to. This has the effect of generating a link
in the left-hand pane, and (so far) that's always worked for
The same documentation is also available over the internet at
Differences and Similarities
One joyous discovery is the absence of the SSO scheme that
Openserver used. There are plenty of symbolic links for
directories, but the SSO's are gone.
Command compatibility has obviously had a lot of attention here.
The graphical Help has a good deal of space devoted to explaining
what's missing, what's new, what the equivalent commands are, etc.
This is given from both viewpoints: a Unixware person will find
"Differences for Unixware 2 users" and the rest of us will be
interested in "Differences for Openserver users". This information
is not entirely accurate: there are "missing" Openserver commands
that are not documented here, but it's a good start, and overall
there really isn't anything horribly absent.
For some commands, the differences were considered serious enough
that Openserver versions are present in the /OpenServer/bin
directory. These include cpio, tar, compress, dd and both sh and
For reasons I don't understand yet, there is an OSRCMDS environment
variable that you can set and export to cause the commands in
/OpenServer/bin to be used. I'm not sure why you wouldn't just put
this directory at the start of your PATH instead, or just call the
With the Enterprise, Departmental and Intranet configurations,
Visionfs (version 2.01 ) is installed by default. So are a lot of
other things. There's information at http://www.sco.com/products/unixware/
The default file system type is Veritas. That was the case on
older Unixware also, but you didn't get the graphical
administrative tool that you get now.
I had to install vxvm after the initial load. I can't remember now
if I had the option to install during the initial load or not. You
must install both vxvm and vxva. Once that's done, you run
vxva_setup and then you can run vxva -t to get a demo
mode. This lets you fool around and learn what you need to learn
without destroying anything. (See also Veritas Volume Manager)
Device names are radically different, and are sure to cause
confusion for those of us used to Openserver.
Disk names follow the Controler-Bus-Target-Device-Slice convention.
For example, your root partition might be /dev/dsk/c0b0t0d0s1 (and
of course it is also /dev/root).
Floppy disks have a similar scheme: /dev/rdsk/f0q18dt is your
3.5 inch A: drive. Fortunately, there are also the traditional
/dev/rfd0135ds18 style entries.
CDROM's are tough: the device will be found in /dev/cdrom. Since
you probably only have the one device, a shortcut mount trick
mount -F cdfs -r /dev/cdrom/* /mnt
The man page for this is man 7 sc01
Tapes are in /dev/rmt. A man 7 tape should get you
acquainted with these names.
Unlike Openserver, you don't specifically add SCSI tapes. If the
tape is out there (controller configured, of course), it will
automagically get added to the kernel.
If Arcserve is installed
as_devmgr -deviceinfo 2
as_devmgr -tapeinfo 2
would give you information about a SCSI tape at id 2. See
UW7 Tape Drives for more on
(c) May 1998 A.P. Lawrence. All rights reserved