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SCO 5.0.4 on VMware

© November 2006 Jonathan Moore

2006/11/10 Jonathan Moore

To install SCO Openserver 5.0.4 on VMWare Server 1.0.1 or VMWare ESX using SCSI Disks.

Notes - VMWare ESX does not support IDE disks.

You will need a copy of the Openserver 5.0.7 boot disk. The Openserver 5.0.4 boot disk will not work. This can be obtained from SCO. I used evaluation media which was supplied free from SCO.

These instructions were written for VMWare Server 1.0.1. Adapt accordingly for ESX.

Stage 1

Download the Buslogic BTLD, at writing it was located at ftp://ftp.isu.edu.tw/pub/Hardware/mylex/multimaster/mmunix.exe

Stage 2

Create a new Virtual Machine

Stage 3

Note - Press the space bar to display multiple choices on the install screens

Insert SCO 5.0.7 boot disk and insert SCO 5.0.4 CDROM

Stage 4

At the 'boot' prompt type 'defbootstr hd=Sdsk link=blc btld=fd(64) Sdsk=blc(0,0,0,0)' Press return when prompted with 'Please insert the fd(64) volume'

Stage 5

Extra drive space will be added at this this.

If running, shutdown SCO and shutdown the virtual machine

You do not have to use these steps to the letter. Set up as desired.

FDisk will open now. Press '2' and return on 'Use Entire Disk for UNIX'

The screen will now show 'Making File Systems', this may take a while.

Type 'mkdev fs' and press return to create a mount point for the new file system

Jonathan Moore


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-> SCO Unix 5.0.4 on VMware


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Wed Nov 29 20:27:28 2006: 2667   anonymous

why 5.0.4 and not 5.0.7 or even 6.x SCO?
(the other question of "why sco?" does not
need answering...64 bit Xen-linux answers
that question)

Wed Nov 29 20:32:25 2006: 2668   TonyLawrence

Why 5.0.4? Because newer versions install more easily - but require purchasing upgrades, which some customers don't want to pay for (especially if they are planning to move off SCO soon).

Why SCO at all? Because sometimes the application is impossible to run anywhere else, or may have expensive relicensing fees - so they want to put off the pain as long as they can

Don't fret: we'll get em' all eventually :-)
Here's an email I got from someone who got 5.0.2 to run!

From: "gOmp Umstellung" <umstellung@gomp.net>
Subject: SCO OpenServer 5.0.2Dp running inside vmWare 3.0-1455 !
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 22:17:18 +0100


Okay, this may be very well the wrong address to post this information, but please read on.

I managed to get a bare-metal installation of SCO OpenServer 5.02Dp running inside vmWare 3.0-1455 (the release build) I needed SCO OSR5 for some odd reason (old software) and of course no additional machine wasted.

System: Pentium Pro 200 (kinda old) AHA2940x (alad) host adapter IDE ATAPI CDROM at 1:0 (SecMaster) 96MB RAM 2 x 2GB SCSI Disks PS2 Mouse & Keyboard

bare-metal Boot and install as usual - alad is builtin - ide dito

installed a SCO OpenServer 5.0.2Dp (Enterprise) just for the record let the setup partition the first scsi disk - installing *blah blah* - disbaled scologin! vmWare is typically slow thus i decided to disable it rebooted into maintenance only added the 'blc' BTLD via installbtld and my NEW btld disk *** NOT FROM THE AHS DISK ! IT WONT WORK ! *** get the Buslogic BTLD off the Mylex FTP - (link)

say no to the question about queueing... ( maybe it works if you said yes I dunno) in scoadmin i added a harddisk (option 2 for scsi) - driver blc - hba bus lun id all zero (0) relinked and so on

- the vmware thingy - I first got frustrated about no root disk found (missed hd bootstring) set up a new box in vmware - floppy A: - SCSI Disc 0:0 - Mode RAW - choose your scsi disk containing your SCO installation - IDE/ATAPI CDROM 1:0 - Enabled Raw Access (i already do) - Briged Network - Memory 256MB - Guest System: Other

first time fire up the box Boot : defbootstr hd=Sdsk Sdsk=blc(0,0,0) - NOT! Sdsk=blc(0,0,0,0) the optional BUS zero confuses the loader!!!

it should come up fine clean the kernel from the 'alad' driver and add the AMD PCnet driver (my version did prompt it in scoadmin, Install 'n Go)

what you can NOT use is your floppy... thats the cause why you can't install SCO the normal way.

- final steps - get a VirtualDisk file from what you have made! (and copy it as many time as you can :*) get something bootable that can make disk copies (dd, partition magic, etc) in vmWare add another scsi disk (a virual one which is BIGGER than your raw disk) boot up your 'copy system' and raw copy the contents from disk to disk

on the destination server (4x XEON 933Mhz 4 GB Ram) it runs smooth with the parameters given, sure it complains about 'register me' because I didnt do that yet

hope that helps, and you understood this strange mail

Marco Mattle

Thu Nov 30 15:32:05 2006: 2671   BigDumbDinosaur

Don't fret: we'll get em' all eventually :-)

Got one of 'em last week. Long time client, who's been on OSR5 since 1997 finally decided to retire the old warhorse server that we built for them back then and in the process, I convinced them that it was time to go to Linux. As Tony suggested, one of the things that held them back was that they'd have to relicense their Thoroughbred Dictionary IV environment, not an inexpensive proposition. However, I was finally able to convince them to do it. New server is being built as I speak and should be ready to R&R soon.

Mon Dec 18 17:48:08 2006: 2762   Thomas

Hi Jonathan,

I am trying to install OpenServer 5.0.2 on VMWare Server 1.0.1. The Setup for my Virtual Machine is as you described it. I downloaded the 5.0.7-Bootdisk and used the new Buslogic Driver. All hardware is identified correctly.
Everything works fine until I select the installation source. While "checking system state and loading installation files" the installation stops with
"System Error 17:
while creating symlink:
after having read 1030 KB from the CD. I tried out different CDs, SCSI and IDE Harddrives, used an image of the CD,... It is always the same Problem.
Do you (or does anybody else) have an idea, what I am doing wrong? Is it the old OpenServer release?

Thanks for your reply! (and sorry for my bad English...)


Wed Dec 20 17:51:05 2006: 2767   anonymous

Try lowering the memory allocated on vmware, I tried using 256mb and it crashed. I lowered it to 128mb and it worked. Must be a typo in the instructions. My install was done on 5.0.4 so it could be something completely different.
Please post reply if this was it.

Thu Jan 18 11:09:41 2007: 2818   Jaume

I got his message just booting in "Stage 4":

Loading kernel hd(40)unix .data
Loading kernel hd(40)unix .bss

Loading kernel symbols table, this may take a few minutes
bootlocore: Out of low (below 1Mb) memory!
No memory for string table
No (or cannot load) kernel hd(40)unix symbol table
Link failed, press <Return> to continue or q to quit:

What's wrong? The system is configured with 256Mb RAM. I've tried it with 64Mb with the same result.

Many thanks!

Fri Jan 19 20:51:52 2007: 2821   anonymous

Might be worth mentioning if you are doing this on ESX or VMWare Server, what version of SCO you are using.
I've got the system running on VMWare Server with SCO 5.0.4 but found the disk sizes have to be as what is instructed and the RAM set to 128MB. I did not test it on ESX server. It can run on VMWare server using IDE disks but ESX won't allow that. You could also look into setting the mem option with defbootstr.

Tue Feb 20 21:54:09 2007: 2867   anonymous

I had the same problem with our (large) custom kernel in OSR504, and never did get it to allow BTLDs with any RAM parameters. I booted using the stock unix.install kernel with BTLDs long enough to restore the root FS, then rebuilt the old kernel with BLC and PNT drivers.

I actually started with Lonetar's Airbag product, and was able to map a generic SCSI device from my host Win2K box into the VMWare guest and perform a full restore. Way slick.

Wed Jun 6 12:49:03 2007: 3020   anonymous

This article works for version Openserver 5.0.5 as well

Mon Sep 29 18:46:42 2008: 4618   Dilan

Hi, I have 5.0.4 installed under VMWare ESX. However I found that after the system was booted the cron daemon and tcp was not running. However I can manually start these services and everything would be fine after. Any ideas?

Mon Sep 29 18:50:50 2008: 4619   TonyLawrence

Did you install RS504C?

That fixes cron related issues: ftp://ftp.sco.com/pub/openserver5/rs504c/

Sun Sep 6 22:43:34 2009: 6864   Walter

This article helped a lot, so thank you! The new version of VSXI handles 5.0.4 and up pretty well. I tried 5.0.2 install and it did NOT work for me. I gave up on 5.0.2, and concentrated on converting my 5.0.4 and 5.0.5 SCO that was on 10 year old hardware. I found a lot of sites that said how easy it was with VSXI, but whatever method I tried, I got double panic errors on startup. By trial and error I learned that I had remove some conflicting drivers to make it work.

The method I used was: Used Acronis to make an image of the disk(s) on the physical machine. Used VMware converter stand alone client and selected convert machine, using third party backup image, then selected the Acronis image. This will create IDE hard drives. Before convert, you get to chose thick or thin drives. Default is thick. Once converted, I went to vmware edit settings, general options, and selected SCO Openserver 5 as the operating system. At the boot prompt, I entered unix.safe and hit return. Then when it asks you for CTR D, or your password, enter your password to enter maintenance mode.

Then select scoadmin and what I had to do to get mine NOT to panic was remove all the Compaq drivers for my 10 year old Proliant hardware. Once I did that, and made sure I had a keyboard mouse selected, I booted up fine. I won't tell you how many days of trial and error it took me to get there. But hopefully I saved someone a little time, or a few grey hairs.

Sun Sep 6 22:44:46 2009: 6865   TonyLawrence

Thanks for the update!

Thu Jun 23 13:29:26 2011: 9583   AndrewMeyer


We have an aging server running SCO 5.0.6, it is now going to be transferred to ESXi and virtualized. I have a few options in doing this, I can manually backup up everything....and then untag once I transfer it over or I can find a way to Ghost the server and put it into a VM. Will VMware's enterprise cloning utility work? If not will something else do the trick?? Also, which LSI RAID driver should I use in the VM? I am currently using a LSI MegaRAID in my Dell 2850 (Dell PERC 4 controller) server. Please advise.

Thu Jun 23 13:49:12 2011: 9584   TonyLawrence


AFAIK, VMWare does not specifically support SCO other than their 5.0.7v product. You may very well be able to make what you propose work, but I would not offer any advice in that regard and would not participate.

Sun Mar 25 11:24:50 2012: 10790   TonyLawrence


Another report of SCO 5.0.5 successfully virtualized, this time under RedHat Enterprise 6: (link)

Thu Jan 10 16:56:57 2013: 11717   BruceGarlock


I'm getting ready to "archive" our old accounting system running on SCO 5.0.5, so I found some other guides related to this here:




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