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New to SCO

Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© December 1997 Tony Lawrence

If you are just starting with SCO, there are a number of basic things you need to know (if you are just starting with Unix, see New to Unix).

After reading this, see SCO/Linux Transition Guide if you are trying to move a SCO system to Linux

some of Xenix/Unix ancient history if you are interested.

Also see SCO FAQ

Some commands you'll want to know

Some things commonly used on SCO that you might not know about (read the man pages):

Where do I get the SCO OS for home use?

Recently, "free SCO" has been discontinued. We hope that will change and that a free or low cost version will be available again.

Newsgroups and Mailing Lists

At this time, the primary SCO related newsgroups are:

All of these are available as mailing lists if you do not have access to News. See SCO Administrative FAQ for more information.

Please- when posting, ALWAYS include version numbers and patches you have applied. If it is at all relevant, include at least rough harware info- like "32 mb ram, Scsi hard drive, Pentium 266", for example. Don't ever paraphrase error messages- post the EXACT error messages (see Messages). It's never a bad idea to describe:

Dirk Hart, a regular contributor to the SCO newsgroups, offers this further advice:

How to ask a well formed question in comp.unix.sco.misc

You may have noticed some people posting questions on comp.unix.sco.misc are treated with disdain, even abusively. This is invariably because the poster asked a poorly formed question.

All of the knowledgeable people replying to messages spend their own time doing so, after having worked that day and after having accreted years of knowledge and experience. In spite of the rants directed at specific posters, the people in this newsgroup are indeed helping others through goodwill.

When you post a question you are encouraged to respect the knowledge, experience and goodwill of others in the group by posting a well formed question.

The well formed question includes as much relevant information as you can gather.

By all means state your SCO UNIX version. The newsgroup comp.unix.sco.misc covers several different SCO operating systems. If you aren't sure, you can find out using uname -X at a shell prompt.

Apropos of that:

Age of SCO products
3.2.0  1989
3.2v4.2 1993 Jan-Mar 
5.0.0 1995 May/June 
5.0.2 1996 
5.0.4 1997 May/June 
5.0.5 1998 May/June 
5.0.6 2000 August
5.0.7 2003 February
6.0 2005 June

(Wikipedia shows slightly different dates, these came from SCO UNIX time line.

Tell the group what hardware you have, especially if this is a hardware-related problem. If you're unsure, use hwconfig -h at a shell prompt.

If the hardware configuration recently changed by all means mention it.

Include the unedited error output including the command used to generate this output. What you may not think is relevant may be crucial to helping you. There is often summary information at the beginning or ending of output which is especially useful.

When you ask a question in the group you should expect your replies in the group. Do not ask for help by email and do not email those who give you help unless you have been specifically asked to do so.

Don't forget that http://wdb1.sco.com/kb/showta should be the first place you check for any problem. Also, do you have all the mandatory patches and supplements your OS needs?
Another good idea is to use the power search page at Dejanews:


Put "comp.unix.sco.*" into the "Forum" box, and then search for what you need. This can be very useful, and may save you from asking a question that has been asked (and answered) hundreds of times before.


The most comprehensive for troubleshooting is My FAQ.

I also suggest the Search Engine for my pages.

What's this "unregistered SCO software" message

Nothing that will ever stop anything from working; it's just a nag.

To get rid of it, run "scoadmin" and fire up the Software Manager. Note the "SCO System id" at the bottom of the screen. Armed with that and your serial numbers, go to http://www.sco.com/ support/registration, answer a few questions, and return to the Software Manager with a registration key for each serial number you have. Register the products, and you won't see that nag message again.

Versions and Patches

The latest version of Openserver is 3.2v5.0.6 and Unixware is 7.1.3. To find out what your version is, try:

Don't be concerned by things like "5.0.6j" that you might see in "custom". Also don't get confused by things like "RS506a (Release Supplement 5.0.6a) " Your version is what uname -X says it is. Any trailing letters are meaningless as far as deciding what patches to install, etc.

A light hearted explanation includes:

Note how all the various departments at SCO, work harmoniously
together to produce an unworkable conglomeration. However, this is
considerably better than if any one department were in control. For
example, if marketting gained an upper hand, the product and possibly
the company would derive it's name from something something generated
by the allegedly pronounceable password generator and end in a
vowel. If engineering were in control, the company name would be
an acronym of other acronyms, and the version number would look
like an SNMP OID. Were support in control, it would probably be
something like "Unix, 05/01/2000 edition". While the current name
and numbers are a bit awkward, they are significantly better than
the potential alternatives.

Unixware was briefly renamed Open Unix 8- Jonathan Shilling says:

uname returns "OpenUNIX". For compatibility purposes you can get it to return "UnixWare" by doing

$ SCOMPAT=5:7.1.2:UnixWare uname -s

It's back to Unixware now with 7.1.3.

There are almost always patches or supplements that should be installed. Often these fix serious problems and really are required for a stable system. Don't ignore these. Check http://sco.com/support/download.html.

You can find out what patches are currently installed on your system by running "custom" or Scoadmin->Software Manager. A way to list them at the command line for modern releases (with minimal information) is :

customquery listpatches | grep ' '

An important point about SCO that often astonishes people is that the older (3.2v4.2) releases were often sold without networking support- no TCP/IP. The newer 3.2v5.x versions can also be purchased that way- it's called "Host"; the network version is "Enterprise".

Transferring Disk Images from Windows

If you have downloaded patches, etc. to a Windows machine and you have a network connection, of course you can just ftp the files over. If you do not, you need to do it by floppy, and you will immediately realize that most of the patches are disk images: they are 1.44 MB and will not fit on a DOS floppy. There is a utility (RAWRITE) that will solve this problem for you. It's SCO install CD's starting with 5.0.5 - it's called floppycp.exe there (you can access the SCO CD from Windows or any other OS). See TA 105004 for more information.

Also see my Data Transfer article for more general advice on transferring data.

Administration Tools

The overall tool is "scoadmin". This runs in both character and X screens. Many of the sub-tools it calls can be easily invoked from the command line or found in the System Administration folder in the gui.

FTP and Web sites

One of the largest sources for compiled SCO binaries is Celestial Systems.

Jeff Liebermann's SCO Page has a lot of very useful technical tips. I have a large number of introductory articles at my Unix Articles pages.

Help Engines and Man Pages

You have graphical documention (not just man pages) included with modern releases. On traditional SCO and Openserver releases, this is the life ring icon on your desktop. On Unixware, it is found in the launch bar at the bottom of the screen. All of this is available on the web at http://www.sco.com/ support/docs/.

On-Line Man Pages are also available on the web. Note that the presentation of this page is not good, but if you skip to the bottom, you'll find a place to just type in the command you are looking for without having to guess which section it belongs in.

Jeff Liebermann's SCO Page puts a lot of these tools and other links together on one convenient page.


Skunkware (http://www.sco.com/skunkware/) is a large collection of shareware and open source software. It is not always the latest versions, but both source and binaries are included, so it's often a good starting point. This is where you can get Perl, Expect, Less, etc.

More recent releases include the Skunkware CD in the distribution, so if you upgrade, you will get this. Recently SCO has renamed Skunkware as OLSS, which stands for Open License Something Source or something equally silly.

Of course you get man pages for all these things, but they may not work until you do two things:

Sometimes Skunkware packages have dependencies: see Library Cross Reference


There are some good books you might consider: for OSR5 I'd recommend Sco Companion by Jim Mohr: /Books/companion.html and for Unixware, Gene Henriksen's /Books/uw7sysadm.html).

I have a small list of other SCO Specific Books.



See Consultant List.

Of course, I also am a SCO and Linux consultant. See Rates and Services.


SCO Certification

See SCO ACE Certification

Samba and Visionfs

SCO includes Visionfs in all modern versions up to 5.0.5, or you can get Samba from Skunkware.

Either of these let you put the SCO machine into the windows Network Neighborhood, including the SCO printers. You can print to Windows shared printers from Unix (see Visionfs Printing) and can even mount Windows shared directories.

SATA Drives?

Yes, certainly in IDE emulation mode. AHCI is only supported in SCO 6. See SATA on 5.0.6 or 5.0.7.

NAT, Packet Filtering and Masquerading

SCO provides a NAT and IPFILTER tool: see IPFILTER

DHCP Client for OSR5

This is built int to current release and is available as TLS711 for older versions.

Why doesn't CTRL-C work to interrupt my programs?

Because, by default, SCO systems set interrupt to the DELETE key, not CTRL-C.If you find that unbearable, you can easily change it; for example,

stty intr ^C

will change your interrupt on Bourne or Korn shells. In this example, you actually type CTRL-C; if you are in vi adding it to your .profile, type CTRL-V and then CTRL-C

© June 1999, June 2000, February 2001 Anthony Lawrence. All rights reserved.

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Wed Dec 5 18:21:17 2012: 11490   thelastSCOzombiedealerinamerica


Going back to SCO from modern linux is a drag, but you just need to put on your "onion-in-my-belt as was the fashion of the times" hat and do some reading. Let's assume there is no network access on a system, and you want to migrate off of it. What next?

Hopefully the current system is running/runable - if not, you will need to build a sco system to do this. If you haven't battled the license scheme previously, it can be daunting - but you can probably install something newer using "second hand software and a license key".

With a running 5.04/.05/etc system, you could probably mount the drive up on the new system, relink the kernel and copy the files/data off in the usual way. Keep in mind that doing a bare metal restore is not something you want to do, so ordering up a matching scsi drive and working from the clone might be a good idea.

Otherwise, the very best way to get data from one of these systems is to clone it. Use a linux rescue disk, copy the entire drive off onto some other drive, and then bring that system up using the cloned disk. You should probably backup your clone immediately, as things can go wrong.

I also recommend making backup tapes using the tape hardware from the original system; or that you acquire a scsi tape drive of some sort and install it on the clone. It's a drag to relink the kernel to do this, but it can be done. Handy hint: sconf -v will tell you important things needed to get the drive running as a different device.

You can tar the data to the tape drive, then use linux to get it back into reality in the form of a usb key or other media. Use new tapes, and save them for posterity. You can ignore the cleaning light on the drive. In many cases, working on these things will be a huge pain, so make sure you estimate 2x or 3x the number of hours you think it will take to accomplish a given task.

Lastly, when you boot your box up and cannot find certain directories, ask yourself if you booted it for maintenance and lost the mount point or didn't mount those directories. I've had them vanish after doing kernel work. Naturally, I then recopied all the original data and then realized (after blowing away all my work to date by reimaging the drive) that the mount point is not the same as the partition.

Look at the bright side: There are modern operating systems even worse than SCO to work on. Try doing data recovery from an enhanced "protected" DRM laden file system, or battling permissions under security enhanced OS releases from the big kids. Blech.

Wed Dec 5 18:44:10 2012: 11491   TonyLawrence


Be wary of sconf -v - on older systems (before 5.0.5), that's an almost guaranteed crash. See (link)

See (link) and (link)


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