I'm sure there are no breeding pairs left, but every now and then
I hear of a Xenix machine still wheezing away in some small
company. Yesterday I had an Ingenio call that began with the dreaded
words "I'm working on a Xenix system".
My page at Ingenio gives fair warning about this:
I probably cannot help you with SCO Xenix! I used to do a lot of
Xenix, but that was a long time ago and I have forgotten most of
Because people don't always read carefully, I made sure I said
something like that right up front: Xenix was a long, long time ago
and I've forgotten a lot. I'm willing to try, but you might not
get good answers.
The caller wanted to proceed. Through Ingenio, he's paying by
the minute, and it's not cheap ($5.00 a minute right now and I'm
apt to raise it at any time). Fortunately, at least part of
his problems weren't difficult and actually he almost could
have just read High Speed Modems for SCO Unix , though Xenix's
inittab is a little bit different. He had other problems though,
and the machine needed constant rebooting - not a good situation
Part way through this, he asked if he could arrange something
where he wouldn't be paying by the minute.
Umm, well, yes, but.. it's not going to be cheap. I have
various support plans
that could be used for this, but the cheapest is $400.00, and
while sometimes I'll answer a question or two for free, this
wasn't one of those times.
I tend to be supply-side driven. That is, when I'm not busy,
I'm more free with my time. If I'm in a slow period and you
call me out of the blue, I might be willing to chat for quite
a while and give lots of free help. But if you catch me when
I'm up to my neck in work as I am right now, there's no freebies
I was explaining that to a friend yesterday who said it ought to
be the other way around: if I'm not busy, I must need money, so
I shouldn't be giving away anything then. I disagree, though
you might argue that consultants should never give away time and
I'd tend to agree in general. But I do things my way, and that's
my choice, right?
Anyway, I don't know if this Xenix machine will survive long.
He said he had a clone of the drive, and I suggested shipping
that off to a data recovery firm to be transferred to media
he could read with a Linux or BSD machine more easily - though
there are other
ways to do this, and he could easily (though slowly) transfer files
by uucp or other means.
It's possible he might be able to run his ancient SCO binaries under Linux or BSD,
and although I think it would be a bad choice, he could also probably
run them under a more modern SCO version.
Who knows if this is the last Xenix call I'll ever get? It could
be; these old geezers have to be dwindling down to a very few running
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© 2013-07-16 Anthony Lawrence