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Unixware 7.0.1

© January 1999 Tony Lawrence

Three CD's.

Yes, it takes three CD's to do a complete install of UW7.0.1. That's a complete install, of course, leaving nothing out. But I have to admit that this was an astonishing realization for me.

My first install of 7.0.1 was actually 13 installs. This was a setup of a classroom for a SCO sponsored Unixware workshop. The machines were essentially identical: all HP E45 servers with 64 meg of ram and 4.2 gig SCSI drives. The only variance was the CDROM drives: all were IDE, but for some reason there were different brands scattered within the 13 machines.

I had 7 sets of media and demo licenses to work with, so with the help of an assistant, I just started with the first seven machines, booting from floppy. There are now three floppies: a boot, disk two, and a HBA disk. I had also brought along the ide supplement hba disk (ptf7050a), but we didn't need it.

Are we supposed to do something?

That's the question my helper asked as we watched the Unixware 7 splash logo change colors for long minutes. "Yes," I answered, "we're supposed to wait."

It is a long wait, but eventually the installation proceeds to the normal Unixware screens that request configuration and licensing information. As I mentioned above, there are now three floppies, but everything else is pretty much the same. One thing that I hadn't seen before is an automatic recognition when disk geometry and/or Master Boot Record info is incompatible with Unixware. This did not come up during the E45 installs, but I did run into it on one of my office machines that previously had Linux installed. On that machine, neither UW7.0 nor the 7.0.1 that was shipped in the recent SCO World promotion were able to install without manually removing the Linux MBR outside of the installation. Using the full 7.0.1 media kit, however, offered me the option of fixing that within the install.

To make the rest of the installs easier, we stepped through the first machine, answering all questions, and then made a Response Diskette before continuing with the other machines. This is a nice feature for replicated installs, and is a definite time saver.

The install is not entirely unattended now. After answering all questions (or reading from a response diskette), you configure network information, system owner, and root passwords, and then the installation proceeds without interruption while reading the first CD. That will take some time: the E45's varied considerably (probably because of different CDROM drives), taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete this first stage. My office machine, which is an inexpensive SCSI based clone, required 45 minutes. Most of that seemed to be for documentation; there is a lot of it and it takes some time to install. Progress bars indicate the percentage of each major package as it is being installed, but there is no overall progress bar, so you can't estimate how long the entire install will take by watching the bar.

After the first CD is complete and the system boots from hard disk for the first time, you have to configure the mouse and then you are asked to insert the second CD. This has its own selection screen where you indicate what packages you want from it. Packages on this CD include the Audio Manager, more Unixware documentation and manual pages, the X11R6 packages, more Network drivers, and foreign language documentation. After making your selections, this is then read and installed, which requires another 30 minutes or more.

The third CD contains all the Netscape offerings: Communicator, Proxy Server, etc. in addition to AFPS, Merge and the RealNetworks components. Annoyingly, after selecting Netscape Communicator, you get two more screens where you have to confirm if and how you want this installed. If you select any of the RealNetwork components, you get the same sort of questions for those, also.

This third CD installs differently than the other two: rather than a progress bar, you see file names as they are copied. The final CD takes another 5 or 10 minutes, (during which you have to interact with the keyboard several times: no walking away from this CD!) and then you get to reboot once again, and the system is ready for use.

Of course, with the E45's, while the first machine was reading its first CD, we went on to start up more machines with the other 6 media sets I had. First results were disappointing: only 3 of the next 6 machines were able to install. The rest crashed at first hard drive access, giving the typical suggestions that termination could be wrong, cables loose, etc.

Interestingly, all of these machines presently had NT installed, except one which had Novell. More interesting was that the technical contact at this facility told us that all of the machines had previously had successful UW7.0 installs. We pressed on, quickly trying the remaining 6 machines, but only one of those installed.

The technical contact person (Tu Vu) offered to help us, and due to some confusion (he hadn't been present earlier), he attempted the install on one of the machines that had already failed once. To our surprise, the install proceeded this time. We went over the steps to see if he had somehow made any different responses than we had, but he hadn't. So we tried more machines a second time, and one more did work, but the rest still bailed out with the same errors.

Tu then fetched a DOS boot diskette (note: the 7.0.1 package no longer includes a DR Dos boot disk) and we removed fdisk partions. This allowed more of the machines to install, but several were still stubborn, so Tu reformatted those drives, and then these took.

We then went around from machine to machine and installed ptf7069a, which is a minor networking supplement that the instructor had requested be installed.

Release Notes

While waiting for CD's to load, I had some time to read the release notes. One of the major changes here is the removal of all Xenix compatibility, which includes all the doscp, etc. commands. This is no great loss: the included Skunkware CD includes mtools, and the ability to mount DOS floppies is automatically included anyway.

There's much more here to be confused about. Although I had specifically loaded Netscape Communicator from the third CD, my default desktop still had Navigator Gold 3.0.4 when I started it up. The included "Important Information" papers give a link that explains this and how to correct it.

I'm sure I'll be finding other things as I explore this further.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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Fri Apr 9 09:27:56 2010: 8389   anonymous


how to start GUI session in SCO unix 7.0.1. my machine always boots to command line... Your help will be very greatful..

Thanks in advance

Fri Apr 9 11:32:02 2010: 8391   TonyLawrence


You posted your comment in a totally unrelated article; I moved it here.

I don't remember much of anything about Unixware. Assuming that you can start it with "startx", then you probably just need to set the default initstate in inittab (if it's now "2", try "3")

If that's not it, Googling for "Unixware initstate" could help or search at (link)


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