Looking at UnixWare 7.1.1 on VMware & Qemu yet again!

Same old OS, same old problems.

My UnixWare 7.1.1 box

The UnixWare 7.1.1 install program has a date & time Y2k problem. And this always ends in whatever licensing you give it to install will expire and be nullified. Luckily this time while re-installing on VMware I saw if you defer the license on install, It’ll grant you a temporary eval license. It’s not going to matter as it’ll immediately expire, but it get’s us past the install.

Qemu however let’s you rev up the time machine and specify a starting time

-rtc base=1999-09-29T15:00:00

As simple as that. I found for installing with Qemu 8.0 (Latest win32) binary it worked well enough like this:

"c:\Program Files\qemu\qemu-system-x86_64.exe" ^
-m 1024 ^
-hda UnixWare711.vmdk ^
-cdrom SCO_UnixWare711.iso ^
-net nic,model=pcnet ^
-rtc base=2010-09-29T15:00:00

Installation in a stock boring VM goes fine, there is built in support for the AMD PCnet driver, so things ‘just work’. And then on the VMware reboot it never launches X11.

Starting Desktop works fine on Qemu

Under Qemu, I’m greeted by CDE and the login page. On VMware however…

Starting Desktop never starts

I know t his used to work on VMware, but there is some regression in the VESA video driver. The fix was to use scoadmin and knock the video settings down to stock VGA. Luckily I have an X server running on Windows, so I could just export the display and set it up.

Video Configuration on Qemu

Whereas I had to set VMware to VGA:

Video Configuration on VMware

And one more reboot, and I was at least given a graphical console:

Now able to login to VMware graphically

Inputting the licenses

Being a commercial Unix from back in the day, it relies on License Numbers, and activation codes to actually use the software. I have the box, so I have codes so yay me. Post install, I could remove the expired licenses, and then input the ones that were in the box.

These are 5 user licenses, just enough to show off the system, I suppose: The advanced features of the day are nothing special these days, but it’s nice to have the PCC derived compiler, if not to compile GCC but more so for SYSV code from back in the day.


Networking for VMware is straightforward, I use the NAT interface VMnet8 that is installed by default, selecting a valid Tcp/IP address on the interface range gives me not only full internet access, but also allows me to easily telnet into the VM.

Qemu however…

"c:\Program Files\qemu\qemu-system-x86_64.exe" ^
-m 1024 ^
-hda UnixWare711.vmdk ^
-net nic,model=pcnet ^
-net user,hostfwd=tcp::42323-:23

I had been using the user mode SLiRP code for ages, but after all the MIT PC/IP fun, I was thinking I bet modern Qemu supports UDP transport for network traffic, and that it’d just integrate with HecnetNT just fine. And it does!

"c:\Program Files\qemu\qemu-system-x86_64.exe" ^
-m 1024 ^
-hda UnixWare711.vmdk ^
-net nic,model=pcnet,netdev=hecnet ^
-netdev socket,id=hecnet,udp=,localaddr=

Configuring the HetnetNT bridge was simple, as always make sure you have Wireshark/pcapng installed and simply run ethlist to get the list of interfaces:

Network devices:
  Number       NAME                                     (Description)
  0  \Device\NPF_{E79F6278-3E7E-4547-955A-2080A0473AD6} (Local Area Connection* 8)
  1  \Device\NPF_{1D960E08-2A3A-43F7-BAD6-21FCB466717B} (Local Area Connection* 7)
  2  \Device\NPF_{98053A85-B049-45A0-AC33-961E2C136FCA} (Local Area Connection* 6)
  3  \Device\NPF_{BFA868ED-E508-4436-B085-EC815C4C544C} (LoopBack)
  4  \Device\NPF_{C75EAF23-0FA3-433B-B271-9CB0F5EB92D0} (VMware Network Adapter VMnet8)
  5  \Device\NPF_{B615DE21-AEC3-4347-916C-332AC4A4DA70} (VMware Network Adapter VMnet1)
  6  \Device\NPF_{82E5A370-6D3D-40AD-A9D5-C4E0E0C50F0D} (Ethernet)

And then create a simple bridge.conf file with the VMnet8 adapter and the UDP pariing to talk to Qemu:

vmnet8 \Device\NPF_{C75EAF23-0FA3-433B-B271-9CB0F5EB92D0}


Then launch the bridge program listening on port 5001:

D:\qemu>hecnet.exe 5001
Config filename: bridge.conf
Adding router ''update''. 0100007f:5000
Opening pcap \Device\NPF_{C75EAF23-0FA3-433B-B271-9CB0F5EB92D0}
Adding router ''vmnet8''. 00000000:0
Host table:
0: update (Rx: 0 Tx: 0 (Drop rx: 0)) Active: 1 Throttle: 0(000)
1: vmnet8 (Rx: 0 Tx: 0 (Drop rx: 0)) Active: 1 Throttle: 0(000)
Hash of known destinations:
Adding new hash entry [52:54:00:12:34:56]. Port is 0
Adding new hash entry [00:50:56:c0:00:08]. Port is 1
Adding new hash entry [00:50:56:f1:dd:d0]. Port is 1
Adding new hash entry [00:0c:29:9a:2b:fb]. Port is 1

It’s a little bit more involved to setup as we have to link the 2 programs via UDP, but I can say it’s totally worth it.

“It just works!” – Sydney

I can now easily FTP files into Qemu, and of course telnet as much as I want to. I don’t see why NFS wouldn’t work either.

Which brings us to the bigger elephant in the room, which one is ‘worth the squeeze’?!

I thought it’d be fun to do a totally unfair CPU intensive thing like building GCC. I would do a quick stage 3 compile blindly running this:

./configure --host=i386-sysv4 --target=i386-sysv4 --prefix=/usr/local/gcc-2.5.8
make stage1
make CC="stage1/xgcc -Bstage1/" CFLAGS="-g -O"
make stage2
make CC="stage2/xgcc -Bstage2/" CFLAGS="-g -O"
make stage3
make CC="stage3/xgcc -Bstage3/" CFLAGS="-g -O"

This way we can just look at the timestamps between completed releases. It does build C++ & ObjectiveC as well, and compared to machines from 1999 this is amazing!

-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3495688 Mar 29 12:42 ./cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 2646888 Mar 29 12:37 ./stage1/cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3495720 Mar 29 12:39 ./stage2/cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3495688 Mar 29 12:40 ./stage3/cc1

Qemu timing

-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3884076 Mar 28 20:12 ./cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 2647116 Mar 28 20:11 ./stage1/cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3884124 Mar 28 20:11 ./stage2/cc1
-rwxr-xr-x 1 neozeed other 3884076 Mar 28 20:12 ./stage3/cc1

VMware timing

As you can see VMware is substantially faster when it comes to computation. This shouldn’t come to anyone as any surprise. And this isn’t a fair competition, but it does show that you can stage GCC on Qemu just fine, so that’s actually great!

Now let’s mix in some more nonsense, I have a Merge license so let’s try it! First off it really wants Windows 95 from CD-ROM. It will not accept anything else. I have a hacked-up copy of the floppy version of Windows 95 on CD-ROM, and it accepted that just fine, it appears to search through.CAB files looking for files to setup it’s preferred environment. I’m not all that familiar with the whole thing as PC’s are cheap, and virtual machines are even cheaper!

Merge setup on VMware

After the setup completed, I thought I’d try my Sarien 286/386 ports.

no DPMI for Merge

Sadly, neither worked. Maybe it’d have better luck with Windows 95 actually installed. I wanted some high colours so I went over to Qemu and found out that it cannot run Merge.

No Merge!

The error lies in a missing opcode 000000FF. Maybe it’s invalid to trigger an exception to call between DOS and the supervisor?

unknown opcode 000000FF

Either way it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t work. I did get feedback that it does run under KVM.

I don’t know why I didn’t think about doing the HecnetNT bridge earlier as it gives things far more flexibility for tapping into networks, or even being transported. I guess I should look at other transport mechanisms besides UDP since it’s 1:1. Also, it might be worth dropping the protocol restrictive filters to allow everything on the wire to flow.

UnixWare 1.0 on 86Box

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

I certainly can’t claim to be the first as this has already been done by our friends at OS/2 Museum. However with low vanilla VGA resolution and no networking the results were unsatisfactory. Having so much success with 86Box I decided to try to do a little better.

I bought my UnixWare 1.0 media kit years ago on eBay. Unlike the tape set owned by OS/2 Museum mine had CDROM as install media. Unfortunately despite many many tries with different types of cdrom/bus/ide/scsi card I could never get the OS to see it. The cdrom/iso image is just a typical set of sysv packages. As such I wanted to see if it would be possible to convert it to a set of floppy disk images and install this way. Attached the iso image in UnixWare 7.1.4 VM and did a pkgtrans like so:

pkgtrans -s cdrom1 diskette1

From there I created a bunch of floppy disk images, which I later used for installation. Thanks to Plamen I was also able to get TCP/IP disks which I added to the install set.

Update: thanks to ArtiomWin I also got a BusLogic HBA driver disk, which allowed me to see the cdrom attached over SCSI. As such I decided to remaster the original iso image with added TCP/IP set, Update package and bash+gzip. The iso image is here.

Upon first boot after install from CDROM you get prompted to choose a NIC driver:

Unfortunately none of them really worked in 86Box for some reason. They get detected and you can see the MAC Address but not much after that. 3C503 and NE2K freeze the system, WD works bit better but you can’t really communicate with anything. Maybe it’s just my PCap configuration.

After installation I mounted the cdrom again and added TCP/IP set:

mount -r -F cdfs /dev/cd0 /mnt
pkgadd -d /mnt tcpnfs
pkgadd -d /mnt update

cp bash gzip /bin

One of main issues bugging me was lack of proper resolution. UnixWare 1.0 has a high resolution mode for Tseng ET4000 card which is supported in 86Box. You can change the resolution using /usr/X/adm/setvgamode as root. It worked perfectly, except for fonts, which required some surgery in /usr/X/defaults/Xwinfont (remove everything after 75dpi font path). This is how it looks like fixed up:

UnixWare comes with Merge DOS emulator. It can even run graphical applications in windowed mode for CGA and HGC. VGA is only possible in full screen mode.

All this cool stuff before Linux was even born!

DOS Menu is invoked by Scroll Lock. You can switch consoles between text and X11 by pressing CTRL+ALT+SYSRQ and ‘p’. I have also added bash and gzip binaries.

The ready to run 86Box image is here. Virtual Box OVA here. Install media here. Login with user/user, root/root.

Have fun with Virtualization !

Using UnixWare 2 to Set Up a Web Server: A Case Study

I stumbled across this ancient page, and thought it was so dated that I had to share it.


Bravo on MicroFocus for keeping it up.

Original UnixWare website over at Novell

It’s kind of cute they ran it all on a couple of  Zenith Z-Server LT P60E computers, which have 128MB of RAM and 5GB of hard disk space, and 2 T1’s.

Even more shocking to me is that their LAN was just 10Mbit, which for a Unix/Networking OEM you’d think they would be on the edge with new tech like 100Mbit Ethernet, or more complicated/fast technology like ATM or FDDI.  Heck even 16MB Token Ring.

Novell home page circa 1995

It’s amazing the tiny screens we had back then.  I can still remember the 800×600 debate, as people even in the later 90’s were pushing for megabyte pages, and ludicrously big real-estate.

As always it’s funny how dismissive they were of Linux:

Linux didn’t have good support and we were concerned about its ability to perform under heavy loads

And of course how they dismissed Windows NT:

Windows NT, on the other hand, handled the chores okay, but it lacks a wide developer base. As a result, few tools are available for working with Windows NT. 

Naturally the tell is that they didn’t load HTTPD directly on NetWare as it was dead with the arrival of Windows NT.  And UnixWare and commercial Unix was also dead with the utter stagnation of SYSVR4.

UnixWare home page

And the product page for UnixWare was that awkward 50’s stock images, with too much red/pink that was all to common for Novell back then.  It’s almost laughable that they considered being able to run on the i386 as being ‘portable’ but for whatever reason they never could port UnixWare to any other platforms.  When they sold off UnixWare to Caldera they failed to do anything with it, and famously turned to lawsuits to attempt to recoup their money from the botched port to the Itanium that was done with IBM’s ‘help’.

UnixWare was going to lead the charge in the post SYSV world, but it’s constantly being sold, and pushed to do different things and fit an increasingly smaller role just cemented the demise of SYSV.

And of course marginalized and almost forgotten, NeXTSTEP would go on to be the #1 commercial UNIX in the market place.

Revisiting a UnixWare 7.1.1 install on Qemu/KVM

So after nearly 8 years ago from messing around with UnixWare, I wanted to confirm something from a SYSV Unix that has a C compiler that isn’t GCC, and I remembered I have UnixWare 7.1.1 from a long time ago.  Anyways I have long since lost the virtual machine I had installed onto, but I still have media and of course the more important licenses.

unixware certificate of license and authenticity

UnixWare licenses. the dread of fixing things 20+ years later

Yep it’s the real thing.  So with my certs in hand I do an initial install in Qemu and on reboot the system basically has bricked itself.

WARNING: System is in an unreliable state.

And then looking at the licenses it turns out that my license has expired.  What?

Somehow I got lucky before, but it turns out that the installation process for ancient UnixWare is NOT Y2K compliant!  And this actually turned out to be a known issue.  I can’t find the original article, but a mirror is here: ischo.net

So basically install using an eval license, which will of course expire on install, and then use your actual license after the installation, remove the eval, reboot and all will be well.

License Number: UW711EVAL
License Code: airhorpx
License Data: d60;m7hjbtt

Now isn’t that great.

The OS install license immediately expires.

Although you can’t boot up in any real useful state, the networking will kick people off, and it’ll constantly complain that you are in license violation, you can at least bring up the SCO Admin tool, and add in your actual licenses, and then delete the evals.

And now we’re good!

Ok, now for the real fun part, flags and how to run with kvm/qemu.  Since I was loading this onto a server for remote access something like this works fine for me as I’m using the VNC remote console.

qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 1024 -smp 4 -hda UnixWare.vmdk -cpu pentium -net none -monitor telnet::444,server,nowait -curses -vnc -cdrom iso/SCO_UnixWare711.iso

So the key things are to restrict the CPU level, and I’ve deferred the network configuration so I can update network drivers, and the OS.  I’ve found that by doing the networking during the install resulted in an OS that crashed with an integer divide by zero after installing the fixpack 5.

Once you have UnixWare 7.1.1 installed, be sure to install Maintenance Pack 5, which is thankfully still online over at sco.com  I’d also recommend to do this in single user mode, you can enter single user mode by hitting a key during the boot logo and typing in:


And you’ll boot in single user mode, and can install the Maintenance pack with ease.  Until the maintenance pack is installed, expect poor stability, and the system won’t actually listen to the real time clock device, and it’ll accelerate the clock like crazy where I was passing an hour every minute or two.

Adding the AMD PCnet on UnixWare

Once the install and update is done, I just added a PCI network card (So older versions of Qemu work well with the ne2k_isa, but newer work much better with the AMD PCNet card.), which is a popular choice for both machines and VM’s of the era.  Although you can use SLiRP the built in NAT for Qemu/KVM alternatively you can also use tun/tap.  I tried to enable SMP, however it has issues binding to the other processors, although it does see them.  And this is better to give full access to the network stack for fun things like FTP, NFS and whatnot.

qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -m 1024 -smp 4 -hda UnixWare.vmdk -cpu pentium -monitor telnet::444,server,nowait -curses -vnc -device pcnet,netdev=net0 -netdev tap,id=net0,ifname=tap10,script=/etc/qemu-ifup

Telnet access

And just like that I can now access the VM.

And for fun…

# uname -a
UnixWare kvm711 5 7.1.1 i386 x86at SCO UNIX_SVR5
# uname -f
hw_provider=Generic AT

Oh yeah so I don’t forget years from now I’m using the following OS & Qemu version:

# qemu-system-x86_64 -version
QEMU emulator version 2.8.1(Debian 1:2.8+dfsg-6+deb9u3)

# cat /etc/issue
Debian GNU/Linux 9 \n \l

Also I found an eval serial for SMP, but it doesn’t recognize the second processor after the boot.

# psrinfo -v
Status of processor 0 as of 01/31/18 16:40:07
Processor has been on-line since 01/31/18 16:13:57.
The Pentium processor has a i387 floating point processor.
The following conditions exist:
Device drivers are bound to this processor.

I’ll try apparently this as for some reason it doesn’t detect the MP in Qemu/KVM so it never installed the osmp driver.

pkgadd -d cdrom1 osmp

Add the following line to the file /stand/boot:

UnixWare 7.x cheat sheet..

I just found out (the hard way) that the cheatsheet thing is more SCO Unix oriented, not UnixWare… And for some reason Google seems to like to slide people towards Linux.


The IDE cdrom is…

  • mount /dev/c1b0t0l0 /mnt

While the IDE harddisk is:

  • /dev/rdsk/c0b0t0d0

Which is divided into slices (s0,s1,s3 etc..)

To prevent X windows from starting on boot..

  • scologin disable

Naturally to enable it, ‘scologin enable’ ..

To change the detected video card… (I found this out for Qemu 0.14.1..)

  • scoadmin -> hardware -> videoCirrus Logic GD5446 PCI Other 21 inch 800×600 64K-color 60Hz
  • mouseadmin .. PS/2 Mouse detect & test

Changing the mouse is done from the console (without X running)

  • mouseadmin

And of course there are virtual consoles (Ctrl+<Function Key>) … Just like, uh .. linux.

UnixWare 7.1.1

So I got myself a ‘5’ user version of UnixWare 7.1.1 to add to my collection, along with a copy of Word Perfect 5.1 for UNIX (i386 SYSV it would seem).

From the wikipedia link, 7.1.1 was the last release from “old SCO” the company that brought us exciting things like Xenix, SCO Unix and SCO OpenServer (although it’s about as ‘open’ as VMS).

Anyways I went ahead and installed it in Virtual PC 2007, and it was a pretty straight forward install. The only catch has been that if you suspend the virtual machine, the networking will cease to function. And as it stands right now I don’t have any sound, but I doubt that’ll be that big of an issue.

So I broke the nice and new shrinkwrap on the Word Perfect, and went through some minor hell trying to get the first disk to untar, as it states on the diskette and in the installation manual.. Eventually I found this worked in my Virtual PC:

tar -xvf /dev/dsk/f0q18d

Then I just ran the ‘wpinstall’. Now what is weird about this install is that word perfect then just has you hand it all the disks in any random order, then it’ll start to configure itself. While it does support over 200 terminal types, it seems that the “dtterm” console is not among them. Also what was weird is that for the X11 component the Univel UnixWare (the direct descendant to SCO UnixWare) did *NOT* work, while SCO Unix did.

I would imagine if you had a pre 2000 release of any Linux you could run this via iBCS, however that project seems to have died on the vine. The last time I tried to run Xenix stuff on NetBSD/FreeBSD & OpenBSD I was met with kernel panics and disaster. I don’t think anyone runs this stuff anymore, and now that we know how to run Xenix under Qemu/Virtual PC I guess that basically takes care of that.

Speaking of Xenix, it would seem that all of the 7.x releases of UnixWare do not include compatibility for the x.out exe format either.

At any rate, I figured I could just go ahead and run my builds of Quake & Doom on a seemingly ‘slightly’ older 7.1.1 without issue.

That was not to be the case.

dynamic linker : ./quake : error opening /usr/lib/libm.so.1

Well that’s a bummer, if I do say so myself. Thankfully this version of UnixWare included the compiler (and a license) along with the OpenServer/UnixWare development CD so I had the ‘official’ X11 headers & libraries, unlike what I had to do under 7.1.3

So I ended up shuffling around my UnixWare stuff to separate the 7.1.3 from the new 7.1.1 stuff.



In retrospect, I would imagine you can run 7.1.1 binaries on 7.1.3, but not the other way around… But in retrospect, that is to be expected.

I’m not sure how to even play with the X11 configuration so right now I’m limited to 256 colors… But you get the idea.


Doom for UnixWare

Doom on UnixWare

Doom on UnixWare

I’d never actually built Doom from source before… It was more involved then Quake, or maybe I’ve done Quake too many times? Anyways one thing that stuck out to me, is that you HAD to define NORMALINUX, or it wouldn’t pick up wad files or much of anything…

I guess other then that, I didn’t even try for sound… As a matter of fact, I think I’m pretty much done with UnixWare, but at the same point it’s a little more ‘fun’ then I found it.


Some notes on UnixWare

A long while back, I got this UnixWare 7 kit on ebay.. So I figured it was as good a time as any other to install it and give it a whirl…

Now one cool thing is that 7.1 will install on Virtual PC 2007, and runs quite nice.. The one trick is to not give it too much memory. I found that 1GB of ram made it run horribly, while 256MB had it running great.

Another weird thing is that if you suspend the VM for any reason, the network will stop working. The only fix is to reboot the VM. Also

Also the C compiler, while not the most feature rich one out there is amazingly fast.. It builds Quake in around 5 seconds, once all the source is ‘fixed’. Also if you want to build any X11 programs, be sure to install the linux compatibility, or have a handy source of X11 headers to grab, as for some reason my UW7 didn’t include them.. ?

So yes, with a bunch of tweaks from the SUN source version of QuakeWorld, here it is:


Quake 1 for UnixWare 7.

And naturally it’ll run Dungeon as well with some f2c magic. The only caveat is that you can’t build the libf2c with any optimizations or it’ll crash or give really strange results….

Dungeon 2.5.6 on UnixWare

Dungeon 2.5.6 on UnixWare

Dungeon 2.5.6 on UnixWare.

Other then that, UnixWare is just another SYSV wrapped up in CDE. But I do recall it being used in the call center world, in conjunction with some seriously old unix machines (think NCR 386!), mostly doing voicemail and other stuff. I think it was the UnixWare 2.x stuff that all included that PC emulation software that could run Windows with the Netware client.. OH the horrors of someone loading up that and lotus notes to check mail on the VM server.. people did notice!!!!!!

I’m not sure if people still use UnixWare with Avaya G3’s anymore.. I know the G3’s were busy moving to linux, but I don’t know about all the support stuff, so for all I know CMS & friends still run on Solaris/UnixWare.

It’s a shame UnixWare got a bad rep from the SCO lawsuits, as it’s a pretty fast & responsive Unix, and too bad they never did get it ported to the Itanium & x64. I mean it’s still not too late, but I suspect the required investment to make it happen is just too great.