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Ask Slashdot: Finding Legacy UnixWare Installation Media? 193

Posted by timothy
from the check-the-wine-cellar dept.
First time accepted submitter lukpac writes "We have an old (ancient) Unisys server in production that hosts a legacy system and are attempting to virtualize it. Unfortunately we don't have a generic UnixWare (2.1.2) installation CD, just a Unisys-specific one, and given the recent unpleasantness (see Groklaw for details), SCO isn't much of an option. We're not looking at pirating it (as above, we do still have the Unisys-specific media), but do need a generic copy of UnixWare. What options, if any, are available?"
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Ask Slashdot: Finding Legacy UnixWare Installation Media?

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  • by chaoskitty (11449) <john@sixgirYEATSls.org minus poet> on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:20PM (#41861279) Homepage

    How about doing a dd of the entire drive from the current system to a virtual disk and trying to make that work? Is the Unisys hardware that special? If not, you might be able to get it working by manipulating the virtual hardware of your VM.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:20PM (#41861281)

    on windows vmware has a utility that copies your physical installation to a virtual one. even sets it as the same computer account so you don't need to drop and add it to the domain. don't need any install media.

    nothing like that for unix

    • Re:no p2v for unix? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:24PM (#41861309) Journal

      Yes, it's called dd.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Not quite the same thing.

        True P2V also handles the hardware differences for supported systems for you, lets you re size drives, even do it on the fly if you use the right vendor. Just a simple DD to a different piece of hardware that is perhaps a decade or more newer is questionable at best, a disaster at worst.

        You also might run into license problems if you have dongles or codes keyed to your ( old ) hardware and if you cant get support for new codes, you end up having to go back until you can replace the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    unisys server in production that hosts a legacy system and are attempting to virtualize it

    a true beowulf cluster

    • by dunng808 (448849)

      How long has it been since that meme appeared here? Nice flash-back, nice end to the week. Thanks!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:27PM (#41861335)

    You will be glad you followed this advice !! Think of it, No More CLI !! Now, everything you do, everything you COULD EVER DO, is done simply, and easily, with finger gestures !! You are welcome !! Now go shave that beard, and run home !! Run as fast as you can !!

  • With dd you can create an exact image. Unfortunately you need to figure out if your hard drive can be read in a modern system. Xenix aka OpenServer was far more popular than Unixware in the x86 arena so I wonder what kind of architecture it is?

    Here are the steps
    1. Create a Linux system
    2. Hook up the hard drive to it and mount it (Can Linux read Unixware formatted volumes?) and then run dd off the old hard drive and output it as a binary to the new hard drive.
    3. Find a Virtualization solution that is compati

    • With dd you can create an exact image. Unfortunately you need to figure out if your hard drive can be read in a modern system. Xenix aka OpenServer was far more popular than Unixware in the x86 arena so I wonder what kind of architecture it is?

      Here are the steps 1. Create a Linux system 2. Hook up the hard drive to it and mount it (Can Linux read Unixware formatted volumes?) and then run dd off the old hard drive and output it as a binary to the new hard drive. 3. Find a Virtualization solution that is compatilbe to load the image in

      I doubt VMWare supports Unixware but it might. This is going to be a challenge and I know you may hate me for saying it but keep the server. Unless there is a new version of the software that is Linux compatible why fix what isn't broken? Keep in mind old SCO is Tarantula and owns Unixware. New SCO aka SCO Group does not own Unixware but is a just a licensing troll.

      http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Filesystems-HOWTO-9.html [tldp.org] Quote from page: The support for BFS is included in the Linux kernel since version 2.3.25. If you are using an earlier kernel, check if BFS homepage contains a patch which adds support for this filesystem. The homepage also contains bugfixes/enhancement which are not yet merged into the official kernel.

    • 2. Hook up the hard drive to it and mount it (Can Linux read Unixware formatted volumes?)

      It doesn't matter, if all you're doing is using dd to dump the raw contents of the hard drive to a file.

      • ... and dump them exactly where?

        • by caseih (160668)

          To a file. Did this the other day with an old FreeBSD box. dd'd the drive to a file, called freebsd.raw. Then I used qemu-img to convert it to vmware or virtualbox, or whatever format you need. Then copy the result to your VM host.

          With Unix and Linux it really is that easy. With Windows, not so much.

        • To a file that will then be used as the virtual disk for your new vm (or if your vm software doesn't support raw disk images converted into a disk image format it does support, qemu comes with a tool that can convert raw images to vmware images iirc). You don't strictly need to understand the contents of the disk to read it to an image hook the image up to a vm.

          The problem comes if you need to make any tweaks before the system will boot in the vm. Then you do need something that can read/write the filesyste

    • Re:dd (Score:5, Informative)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:46PM (#41861467) Journal

      Update

      You need Unixware 7.1 to run [vmware.com]. DD wont work as it is not a VMWare image disk file.

      I know the cost of a new license is $699 per CPU plus $1999 for a TCP/IP, but I would upgrade. The business reason is your ancient 15 year old server is going to die. All it takes is a single prolonged power outage like the one in New York City that your APC can keep on forever and your ancient PSU is TOAST! Systems that old do not reboot reliable.

      So your business case it to virtualize it so it can run on newer hardware forever and you wont be caught with your pants down if something happens and it will on such an ancient beast. So buy a new shiny Linux box, install VMWorkstation (VSX or VSPhere is waaaay too expensive unless you run a server farm/data center) and install a fresh copy of Unixware 7.x on a virtual machine and over the network copy the program, config files, and database files. With virtualization you can consolidate and you can put more things on the same box to save power like your DNS Server or a Windows file share too on a different vms to cut down on the amount of servers.

      Good luck.

      • Re:dd (Score:4, Informative)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:58PM (#41861531) Journal

        Qemu comes with tools to change the formats of disk images. Use dd to create a raw file, then convert to whatever format required. I've used Qemu to convert VMware images for use in KVM.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Qemu comes with tools to change the formats of disk images. Use dd to create a raw file, then convert to whatever format required. I've used Qemu to convert VMware images for use in KVM.

          Or you could just run them in Qemu, of course, which supports raw images. But you're right, the qemu-img command is your good friend, especially if you use vmware player and don't have vdiskmanager.

      • Re:dd (Score:5, Informative)

        by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:09PM (#41861585) Journal

        Newer Update

        The poster is screwed. If it is u6000 Unisys model it uses a iAPX-86 family cpu. No it is not x86 compatible. So if something does happen your employer goes out of business! Find out asap what kind of Unisys system it is!!

        Newer business plan ...
        My recommendation is to migrate to another platform and start over. Your boss will hate that! Your workers will hate that! Your accountants will hate that! But you need to be able to migrate to a platform that can at least run on a virtual machine forever and ever and not be caught with your pants down again. I do not know how important this server is or what it does or hopefully does not have ancient database records needed for daily operation GOD FORBID.

        Make a business case with the owners or IT department depending on size and say we have A LIABILITY. Liability gets there attention fast and explain you are one outage or parts failure from disaster that you can't recover from. It will cost money and workers who resist change will hate you and complain how great the other product is, but ask them how much it will cost when it dies?

        Believe it or not there are workers who hate leaving IE 6 and 7 behind too. Just because it was what htey used for 10 years even though they used Firefox from home. Your intentions of just replacing SCO in a VM are a good one but from how I see it you just discovered a big problem that a good IT employer would recommend to fix.

        Again Good Luck

        • There is an app, data, settings, permissions, and code. Examining each of these items can help move it onto a new target system, but it should be done by someone familiar with real Unix and the target system's needs.

          If it's x86 code, maybe it can become a virtual machine, using some of the methods described upthread, but it means that filesystem must be supported, and you can get to it via tty devices, if there are terminals rather than host sessions. SSH2 wasn't around back then, so some kind of terminal e

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The iAPX-86 (http://www.datasheetarchive.com/dataframe.php?file=DSA-276782.pdf&dir=Datasheets-14&part=IAPX86#) *is* an 8086 processor combined with an 80139 peripheral/ROM chip, which contained OS support code.

            The application binary should use the UNIX API, and may be transportable to any x86 UNIX system with a compatible ABI (Application Binary Interface).

            Booting the dd image on any other hardware is a lost cause, since the OS is certain to rely on the ROM code or the peripherals in the 80130 chip.

        • Why not just set up a new system on Linux. Then find some way to get PostGres, mysql or modern database client/library of your choice running on the old Unixware server. Then write a script to run on the old Unixware server that accesses the old data on whatever database is being used on the old Unix server using the database driver/client for that old database, grabs that data off the old database, and then using the newly installed *sql client, sends the data to the new Linux server. On the new linux ser

      • by caseih (160668)

        Your posts indicate to me that you have no experience doing this sort of thing.

        I have experience, and DD will work, followed by a pass by qemu-img to convert the image. But in fact a raw image *does* work with vmware. I've done that before too, though now that qemu-img works so well, converting to a native image is no problem.

      • by bertok (226922)

        Linux box, install VMWorkstation (VSX or VSPhere is waaaay too expensive unless you run a server farm/data center)

        Wrong solution. You don't use a workstation hypervisor for servers when there are free server hypervisors out there.

        There's a free edition of ESXi, a free Citrix XenServer, and lots of places with Windows Server licenses are probably already licensed for Hyper-V, even if they don't realize it.

        All of those are far superior to running a desktop program on top of a full install of Linux!

      • by cultiv8 (1660093)
        I feel like this should be modded funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've been ... oddly, collecting original installation CDs, and licenses (valid) for dozens and dozens of OSes for years. I have early versions and later ones, slackware, unixware, irix, and many others.

    Send me a message ...

    • by AdamHaun (43173) on Friday November 02, 2012 @09:52PM (#41861501) Journal

      I've been ... oddly, collecting original installation CDs, and licenses (valid) for dozens and dozens of OSes for years. I have early versions and later ones, slackware, unixware, irix, and many others.

      Send me a message ...

      You know you posted as AC, right?

      • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:04PM (#41861565) Homepage Journal

        've been ... oddly, collecting original installation CDs, and licenses (valid) for dozens and dozens of OSes for years. I have early versions and later ones, slackware, unixware, irix, and many others.

        Send me a message ...

        You know you posted as AC, right?

        You know there's no way to "private message" someone on slashdot, right?

        • by AdamHaun (43173)

          You know there's no way to "private message" someone on slashdot, right?

          I did not. I've mostly ignored the new features that have been added over the years. Collecting old Unix installation kits seemed like a hobby someone on here might have, and posting without logging in is a mistake people sometimes make. Guess I missed out on a joke. Oops.

          Thanks for the heads-up.

      • I've been ... oddly, collecting original installation CDs, and licenses (valid) for dozens and dozens of OSes for years. I have early versions and later ones, slackware, unixware, irix, and many others.

        Send me a message ...

        You know you posted as AC, right?

        He was so ashamed of his odd hobby.

  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:03PM (#41861559)

    Complete with all documentation, some of it still shrink-wrapped. The diskette and CD envelopes were also never opened, though the adhesive on the perforated flaps has dried up and left them unsealed even though they were.

  • I've installed Unixware 2.1.2 a few times, the license was straightforward. You're license to operate one copy of the media on a single machine, generally limited to two CPU's (SMP style). Unisys as a reseller didn't retain any copyrights, IIRC.

    So clone that drive and fire it up. The original media did have a BIOS check, but only at installation. I remember booting up Unixware on other motherboards without any issue, as long as the specs were pretty close.

    Other than that, if you want to continue with th

  • Option 1. Re-implement your legacy application on a modern platform, from legacy source code, or from scratch/reverse-engineering.
    - You'll pay down your technical debt and possibly have a supportable, and maybe even virtualized, production system going forward.
    Option 2. Sustain legacy equipment knowing that no modern emulator handles all the details of your particular proprietary hardware.
    - Double down on your investment and leave the problem for the next guy.
    Option 3. Hire IBM. (Nobody ever got fired for b

  • Old SCO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm@icebal[ ]om ['m.c' in gap]> on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:43PM (#41861799)

    Slightly off topic but I'd like to share it:

    Old SCO was pretty classy, they had their "Free license" Unixware 7 advertized on their site, but you had to pay for a "media kit" for about $100. Being a poor uppity teenager, I emailed them asking where I could download the media in order to take advantage of their free license. They asked for my address.

    Three days later I had a DHL shipped media kit box with over 20 discs in total. I was sad to see them sell Unixware off.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I never worked there, but know tons of people who did, and old SCO was great in every way except for being competitive. Once the free *BSDs took off, and then double especially once Linux took off, there was no reason for it to exist any more. They completely failed to keep up with the world.

      They played beer baseball in the parking lot, they had a variety show every year, they were a generally interesting bunch of people. But SCO UNIX sucked on toast, from a user's perspective. Too many differences, wacky d

      • by david.given (6740)
        I remember hearing from one of the last real engineers at SCO. He said that one day he arrived at work and realised that he was the only person in the entire building who wasn't wearing a suit. It was then, he said, that he knew that SCO was dead.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          SCO had a lot of very smart and talented people and a really awesome culture. I can only imagine that the reason they failed is purely management. I've never tried to dishearten any of my ex-SCO pals with a post mortem, though.

      • by Arker (91948)
        I remember it much the same. Great company, but the product was always a bit of a beast, and when Slackware came out it was dead. We could migrate customers over to slackware for less than their licensing cost alone sticking with SCO, improve their stability and performance, and make a good profit on the deal. They never adjusted to the change in the market.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          They never adjusted to the change in the market.

          SCO and all the other x86 UNIX companies (there used to be a handful!) continued to operate on the assumption that nobody would trust a free alternative long after it became obvious that everyone who mattered would. The rest is the history of SCO vs. Linux.

  • http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=svr4&sektion=4 [freebsd.org]

    Might work, experiment at your own risk. If it does work, your options have become much greater.

  • I was using this stuff in 1995-96. I might still have the floppys (!) or CDs around for pentium architcture. I'll look around, it's probably in storage. But you know it's full of security holes, right?

  • My idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by Eravnrekaree (467752)

    From what I understand is the server that you have is not x86 so trying to run the software off that is pretty much not possible, unless you can get new x86 copies or have the source and can recompile. Unless you can get sources for whatever information system you are using, it seems the dd option is out of the question, you cannot just copy the system binaries , you wont be able to just copy the binaries it would appear.

    One solution i might suggest is first setting up a new Linux server, then porting over

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:31AM (#41862367)

    What does this server actually do? Can you tell me? Is it a Sun Yellow Pages server?

  • by marciot (598356) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:31AM (#41862371)

    > SCO isn't much of an option.

    Why not? Just buy them out. By now you can probably buy the company for a few hundred bucks...

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      I didn't get the exact reason. One can't approach UnXiS and ask to buy a copy, showing them the original Unisys license? Also, Unixware was an x86 only unix, right?
  • by tlambert (566799) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:25AM (#41862549)

    And then download the free version of UnixWare 2.1.2:

    http://web.archive.org/web/19990117023208/http://www.freebird.org/freeUW.html [archive.org]

    Otherwise, time to update your OS, and keep copies of the installation media this time.

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr.telebody@com> on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:44AM (#41862615) Homepage Journal

    G18) Is there a UnixWare user's group?

    Dan Busarow writes: The SCO Users Group can be reached electronically
    as scoug@xenitec.on.ca. Subscription requests to
    scoug-request@xenitec.on.ca.

    http://lib.ru/UNIXFAQ/faq-unixware-general.txt [lib.ru]

  • Binary compatibility (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ulzeraj (1009869) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @02:34AM (#41862775) Homepage

    Linux got some binary compatibility tweaks on the kernel to run programs for other operating systems. I've worked on a similar issue in the past and the relevant services running on an OpenServer were just copied into the Linux system with a patched kernel with their dependences. Luckily the program was simple enough to make it without minor bugs like glitches with the linux terminal.

    If dd -> image conversion with qemu-img -> virtualization is not an option you could research a bit about binary compatibility with your old server.

  • I think you can legitimately download installation media if you then obey the stipulations attached to the license you already have, that being that you can run the system on one machine at a time. Microsoft have done this for years, in that they allow you to make a backup copy of your installation media. I have it from a senior Microsoft liaison with the British Software Alliance that it is within the bounds of the license limitations to download installation media in order to reuse an OEM license on the s

  • by sk999 (846068) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:33AM (#41863753)

    SCO (or The TSG Group, as it is now called) is no option at all. The UnixWare/OpenServer business was sold to a new company called "UnXis Inc" over a year ago. (TSG retained the lawsuits.)
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/unxis-completes-purchase-of-sco-unix-assets-119609744.html [prnewswire.com]
    The new company does advertise migration consulting services for UnixWare 2.x.

    How much is this old server worth to you?

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      You mean one can't buy a copy of Unixware from UnXiS? I thought they're the guys who now own the business - TSG just owns the lawsuits. The consulting UnXiS does is for what - migrating away from Unixware?

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