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Caldera Operating Systems Software Unix

SCO UnixWare 7.1.3 Review 399

JigSaw writes "Despite news about SCO being all about the lawsuit, they still sell OS products and they have a presence in the server market. UnixWare is one of these OS products. Tony Bourke reviewed its latest version, 7.1.3, and even includes benchmarks among other tests. Tony concludes that 'the lack of commercial applications and user community, the difficulty with open source applications, the SCO litigation, and the high price are all marks against UnixWare. There are just very few reasons to adopt UnixWare as your platform, and plenty of reasons to adopt (or migrate to) other platforms.'"
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SCO UnixWare 7.1.3 Review

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  • by pointym5 ( 128908 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:16PM (#7730484)
    It would be interesting to see the degree to which UnixWare copes with recent hardware: HyperThreading P4's, nForce2 chipsets, IEEE 1394, SATA RAID, etc etc etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You can be sure that it doesn't. Hell, Linux barely supports most of that sutff.

      Unixware customers (if in fact they exist) are going to be very conservative with hardware -- they will buy from an integrator that uses systems/parts that are listed on the HCL. Period. Gamer stuff like nForce boards is irrelevant.
      • wtf??? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Namaseit ( 668654 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:32PM (#7730624)
        What in the hell are you talking about? "Linux barely supports most of that stuff" Linux fully supports *ALL* of that stuff. Has for a long time now. Keep your mouth shut if you don't know what you're talking about.
        • Easy, read his topic. It means to be a sarcasm. :)

          The success of OSS in its successful development models that can catch up with technology fast with or without commercial backup.

          However, 'UNIX' is still a sexy name that is still a synonym of 'robust, reliable and scalable' to many hardcore tech admin/manager, but that's so far correct - UNIXWare is among the UNIX brand the very affordable one with reasonable robustness. However, I see they've little market positioning when other 'UNIX' rivals like Sola
        • Re:wtf??? (Score:5, Informative)

          by ikekrull ( 59661 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @12:50AM (#7731916) Homepage
          Actually, Linux support for NForce2 is not very good - there are bugs in the chipset, or workarounds in the Windows drivers that the kernel developers are still working on.

          SATA support is also pretty poor - several popular controllers either dont work, work at about half the speed in linux as they do under Windows, or won't work with software RAID-1 etc.

          Have a look at recent postings to the Linux Kernel mailing list to see the nightmare that an NForce2-based board, or a SATA controller will give you under Linux.

          I have both, and while I have got them to work, I had frequent hard lockups before i disabled all the ACPI/APIC stuff, my SATA controller doesn't work with software RAID-1 and 2.4 kernels gave me disk corruption and hard lockups under load.

          However, The kernel developers are working on these issues, and with their help I was able to get my system up and running. I am confident that this stuff will be fully supported and stable under Linux, but unfortunately this is not the case today.

    • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:21PM (#7730953) Homepage
      Application vendors are dropping support for SCO right and left, so really, the level of hardware support is irrelevant.

      I find it hard to believe that any company that has made the dire mistake of tying themselves so closely to SCO as a platform would not be actively investigating any possible option to remove themselves from any involvement at all with a clearly doomed company.

      Their product is worthless, and their user base is so miniscule as to make it counter productive to expend the cash required to qualify product against SCO.

      And the more that happens, the worse it will get for those who persist.

      What good is an OS distribution when no one makes applications for it anymore, and those that did DROP support for it completely, because it's cheaper to lose a miniscule number of customers than to spend time and money supporting the OS they use?
      • by onomatomania ( 598947 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @03:06AM (#7732547)
        That's easy to say, but if you have critical infrastructure built around SCO it's not like you can just wake up one day and say "Hmmm, this doesn't look good, how about we abandon all those production servers and build something completely different." In business, things that work and are supported don't get touched without good reason, especially if megabucks have been spent getting to that point. It doesn't matter if SCO doesn't have shit for features or doesn't support the latest doodads. It's in production in a number of places and you can't just yank the rug out from under a business like that.

        It's one thing to denounce SCO for being the assholes that they are, but it's another completely different thing to actually move away from something that critical without a LOT of planning and testing. Sure, you get started on that as soon as possible, but it takes time. YOu can't just say "SCO's irrelevant now" because to some businesses, it's very relevant -- for better or worse.
  • by mcbunny29 ( 583989 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:17PM (#7730496)

    If you thought /. would say UnixWare rocks the shit out of other Linux distros, then your need surgery... fast.

  • by kryonD ( 163018 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:17PM (#7730497) Homepage Journal

    Disclaimer: Prices may vary. Check your local retailer. Senseless litigation available in most locations. All rights reserved or acquired in court against your will.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:17PM (#7730499)
    I thought the author did fairly well at remaining objective and testing the product without allowing company ethics cloud his review
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:17PM (#7730501) Homepage Journal
    I predict that somebody'll get modded up for explaining why SCO's distro sucks.
  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:17PM (#7730504)
    Why would anyone choose it over Linux of FreeBSD is over me.
  • A prediction... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:18PM (#7730508)
    I think their UNIX business will get spun off after the lawsuit business clears up and the company goes bust. The Unixware product will no longer be marketable under the "SCO" name, since the brand will be indelibly tarnished in the IT world as part of a hostile, litigious organization that tried to extort money from companies, big and small, for work that they had no rights to, and for what essentially amounts to a massive pump-n-dump scheme.
    • Re:A prediction... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:31PM (#7730615) Journal
      The only SCO systems I've heard of in memory are POS systems. No, not Piece Of Shit, Point Of Sale.

      In your local Round Table Pizza, for example, long after everyone goes home for the night they might have a small computer that gathers receipt information from all the cash registers, makes a 14.4K modem call to a "mainframe" at headquarters, and uploads the sales data for that day. Every time on /. when someone admits to using SCO and mentions what the deployment was, it's cash registers.

      Anyway. The point is that their brand getting tarnished is completely meaningless to this market. If they do what they say they'll do, Round Table will use them until some sales guy for some competitor (in point of sale systems) convinces them that they're wasting money.

      Yes, it would be a good idea for them to spin off their actual products from their tort company, but not 'cause of their name.
      • Re:A prediction... (Score:4, Informative)

        by raistphrk ( 203742 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:57PM (#7730787)
        Actually, most businesses tend to use IBM's 4690 POS network. The IBM OS runs a DOS-like CLI, with most applications being menu-based at the console. Touch screen terminals then interface with the server using the X-server protocol. A number of businesses use an application called InfoGenesis.

        Since most cash registers you see are actually IBM terminals, businesses tend to buy their servers from IBM to get support for both the terminal AND the server.
      • I worked on SCO OpenServer at a place that needed a Unix to run their product, and customer requirement was that it ran on PCs. Amazingly enough, in the late 80's/early 90's, SCO was your best bet.
      • Actually, I still maintain a system running SCO XENIX. It's a production system at a medical facility. Back in ~1991, SCO was the way to go if you needed a UNIX-ish system that ran on the Intel platform. (Yes, yes, Linux "existed" in 1991, fine, but it was hardly production quality. Or even a standalone system yet.)
      • Re:A prediction... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by thales ( 32660 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:55PM (#7731230) Homepage Journal
        Then maybe we should help Linux-POS

        And kill what's left of SCO's market.

    • -1 FB (Score:4, Funny)

      by TwinkieStix ( 571736 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:31PM (#7730622) Homepage
      It didn't tarnish the MS name, now did it? (I know, it's just a joke, mod me down though. They spend way more time getting sued that suing anyways).
    • Spun Where? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:33PM (#7730634) Homepage Journal
      There's no market for this thing. If you've got technical issues that keep you from using Linux or BSD, you're probably also looking for a fancy processor, such as SPARC, not a "commodity processor". And running on x86 is the only serious advantage Unixware has over other "real" Unixes. So Unixware is semi-abandonware, like WordPerfect or 1-2-3. There will always be people who insist on such products, but not enough to sustain a serious busines. UnixWare's only remaining commercial value is as a basis for litigation.
      • Re:Spun Where? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dubious9 ( 580994 )
        And running on x86 is the only serious advantage Unixware has over other "real" Unixes.

        An AC, posted "Uh, Solaris?" as a reply and since I don't have any mod points, I'd like to make that point visible.

        AFAIK Solaris x86 has been stable for quite some time, is a "real" unix and even is free for personal use. This is great becuase people can get familiar with SunOS at home, rather than needing employment to list Solaris experience.

        I'm young, but in the few shops I've worked in the only unix considerat
    • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:54PM (#7730772) Journal
      "The Unixware product will no longer be marketable under the "SCO" name..."
      Which will probably "confuse the build scripts" even more.
    • Then the trick is to make sure that whoever buys it is absolutely and totally aware that they are buying poison. Too bad the GPL can't be altered to specifically exclude any and or currently covered code from ever touching a SCO software product.

      Don't get mad. Don't get even. Just destroy them.

      Utterly and completely.
  • by mAIsE ( 548 )

    scorch the earth and your tree may not grow

    30 days till you show us what kind of proof you really have .... tick tock ..
    • less than that (Score:2, Interesting)

      by timothy ( 36799 )
      It's now down to less than 21 days, actually.

      Noticed someone's comment yesterday pointing to this site: []. Note that the deadline you're referring to is not the one at the top of the page.

      • That r0xx0rs! A slashdot mod is pointing to my website! Awesomeness^3
  • Hrmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by acehole ( 174372 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:18PM (#7730513) Homepage
    I heard SCO were going to find out who the makers of unixware are, and sue them for copyright and patent infrindgements. Then refuse to release documents to themselves, quote incorrect code segments and send bills to themselves.

  • SVR4 based unix. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rkz ( 667993 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:20PM (#7730518) Homepage Journal
    SCO OS is based on the same code as SUN OS.

    As slashdot has reported a few days ago, Sun is giving x86 versions of Solaris away for free. Why bother with SCO when you can get Solaris with a much bigger set of applcations for free?
    • Re:SVR4 based unix. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by molnarcs ( 675885 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:26PM (#7730567) Homepage Journal
      Well, not quite. Solaris incorporated a large chunk of BSD in their codebase. So Solaris is a mix of SystemV and BSD code. (That's why so many solaris admins are also BSD fans).
      • Re:SVR4 based unix. (Score:2, Informative)

        by 0racle ( 667029 )
        Actually, SunOS when it was first created was based on BSD. The SysV spec was created later, a creation process that Sun cooperated significant efforts to and retaind copyrights relating to SysV, after Sun had been distributing the BSD based SunOS and was slowly incorperated into it untill they switched to the Solaris Operating Environment moniker and the underlying kernel was closer the SysV then BSD
    • Re:SVR4 based unix. (Score:4, Informative)

      by evil_roy ( 241455 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:39PM (#7730676)
      Solaris for x86 is free for non-commercial single processor PC's - this was in the detail that /. reported.

      The Unixware test here is on a multi(2) processor PC, aside from the fact that "Despite using a dual-processor system, SMP support is a licensed feature, so this installation only recognized one of the two processors."

      Other posters have pointed out that Unixware is used heavily in commercial situations - notably retail. - your "free" Solaris is not for this.

      Despite all of the above , I have to agree when you ask "Why bother with SCO".
  • by jpsowin ( 325530 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:20PM (#7730520) Homepage
    Attn: Tony Bourke

    Read your review. Hope you enjoy court and jailtime, because I'm about to sue you into oblivion. Next time you'll know whose side you should be on. Best of luck to you and your lawyers (or lack thereof)!

    Your friend,
  • by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:20PM (#7730526) Homepage
    Of all the bad PR that they've generated for themselves, a bad product may hurt them the most. Now, they open themselves up to the counter-attack that they're an untalented software company looking for a quick buck, with the product being proof of their lack of talent. It's an oversimplification, sure, but one they pretty richly deserve.
    • Fortunately for the Open Source community, the leaders from IBM, EFF, and the like aren't resorting to ad hominem attacks.

      Just because SCO Unix stinks doesn't mean they don't have the right to sue, if some contract has been violated.

      The correct argument here is -- they have shown no conclusive proof of contract violation on IBM's part. It's time for them to "put up or shut up."
  • haha pawnzor! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slobarnuts ( 666254 )
    ive actually found 2 different boxes containing SCO unixware, in pawnshops. Ugly blue and yellow box, would not buy. $30au or roughly $20us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:21PM (#7730529)
    Wait, this might be the first "$X is dying" troll that's actually true.
  • expensive crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by potpie ( 706881 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:22PM (#7730538) Journal
    Unixware proves that sometimes, (an increasingly small number of) people buy things based on price alone. There is no reason to use such an expensive, restrictive OS when the makers of that OS have to use ideas from their biggest competitor to improve it, when that competitor is a free (in all meanings) OS.

    Let's not get into the specific advantages, because nobody has that large an attention span.
  • by forsetti ( 158019 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:23PM (#7730546)
  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:27PM (#7730586)
    First off, why is such a worthless OS front page news on /.? SCO Unix is mediocre, and nobody would even think of using it. The only reason a SCO Unix review is on /. is because of the lawsuit hubbub.

    I was poking through the SCO web site some time ago, to find good stuff for my SCO Report website [] and I discover SCObiz []. Check it out. For $5,000 [], they'll basically give you a template site, with mediocre ecommerce ability. The datasheet is here (pdf) [], while the quick facts (pdf) [] is here. A Flash tour is here [].

    The Flash tour is pretty snappy, but you can tell, it's nothing more than a glorified template driven website builder for newbies, similar to what Tripod [] and Geocities [] provide with their drag and drop stuff. It's probably even worse.

    Remember to visit SCO Report [], where I do my part to annoy SCO with the truth, and SCO Countdown [], where there are clocks counting down to SCO's demise...

    • "First off, why is such a worthless OS front page news on /.? SCO Unix is mediocre, and nobody would even think of using it. The only reason a SCO Unix review is on /. is because of the lawsuit hubbub."

      Yeah.. this is really getting in the way of more important stories.. like lego case mods, glo fish and the segway.

    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deego ( 587575 )
      > why is such a worthless OS front page news on /.?

      The same reason almost everything about Afghanistan was on front pages of western news after 9/11 :)
  • by gklinger ( 571901 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:30PM (#7730604)
    They should change the name to UnixWhere.
  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:36PM (#7730658)
    I have had issues with SCO UnixWare over the years. Particularly, autoconf and automake scripts that worked for every other platform ranging from Linux, *BSD, Solaris to even Windows just failed to work under SCO's UNIX. And I used to want to try and fix these problems, but now SCO has fscked themselves so they can go to hell for all I care.
    • I RTFAed, and personally, I wouldn't mind trying out the Linux Kernel Personality capability (although it sounds like it's stolen GPL code). SCO was once a decent company, with good programmers, so maybe once SCO dies a horrible and hideous death, we can buy off the UnixWare source code and GPL the good stuff.
    • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:11PM (#7730887)
      Those autoscripts may even detect a SCO product and refuse to compile. nmap's author does this deliberately and by now other projects may do so as well. Other projects will probably not merge fixes for SCO problems unless they are general enough to be a benefit for other platforms.

      Some will say this tarnishes FOSS ideals. Helllllooooo! SCO wants to kill FOSS and unilateral disarmament is foolish. I'm in favor of any ethical way of isolating SCO and it's users. If the users find this inconvienient, they can pressure SCO to mend fences.
      • If users find that inconvenient, I suspect 99% of them will move to a solution that works

        Imagine if Firebird stopped fixing windows bugs so users would pressure MS into fixing problems? That would float like a lead duck, and you know it. Result: Win32 users would leave the project's userbase in droves.
  • I bought a copy of SCO UnixWare in the pre Darl days. Back in that day, you could get free 'educational' licenses for nonprofit uses. Too bad they don't offer free 'linux' licenses for schools & colleges. Yeah I guess, they 'changed there minds'. UnixWare 7 wasn't a bad OS, but I believe the review was on target when he said the technology it's based on is past its prime. And you gotta love how you need a license for everything from SMP to critical security updates.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hear a rather large woman singing an aria...
  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:55PM (#7730778)

    You can't spell fiasco without SCO

  • by StarWreck ( 695075 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @09:58PM (#7730795) Homepage Journal
    SCO is claiming they have fullfilled their legal obligations ahead of the 30 day deadline by delivering 1 million sheets of paper to IBM.
  • Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:14PM (#7730909)
    For those of you too lazy to RTFA,

    Installed UnixWare.
    Common shells not installed automatically.
    Tar has issues.
    CDE barebones.
    Software selection bad.
    Has non GCC C compiler.
    Does not have C++ compiler.
    Cannot port many applications.
    LKP pretty.
    Did not really test security.
    Don't bother asking for community help.
    UnixWare fricken' expensive.
    No plans for 64-bit.
    In conclusion, UnixWare is dying.

  • by Devil ( 16134 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:16PM (#7730916) Homepage

    The article was well-written and, I felt, fairly objective. My thanks to Mr. Bourke for keeping a level head when many are screaming bloody blue murder. For those who just want the meat, here it is:

    • UnixWare costs more than other commercial Unix systems.
    • UnixWare is not as up-to-date as most other commercial Unix systems.
    • There is a dearth of commercial and enterprise apps for UnixWare.
    • There is a virtual vacuum where a user-base ought to be.
    • The litigation. 'Nuff said.

    These factors precluded the reviewer from really thinking of a single situation in which he could recommend UnixWare 7.1.3 as an installable option.

  • by Quantum Jim ( 610382 ) <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:20PM (#7730945) Homepage Journal

    It's interesting how the prices compare:

    CPUs UnixWare Ent-Linux Solaris-9-x86
    1 $799-$1,399 $349-$449 $99-$250
    2 $2,299.00 $349-$449 $250.00
    4 $4,999.00 $749-$1499 $1,500.00
    8 $9,999.00 $749-$1499 na

    Enterprise Linux doesn't seem to offer an advantage unless you're using four or more processors. Solaris (and, Java Desktop, I assume) seems to be a better deal for regular workstations or servers... I imagine that only high-end servers and "mainframes" seem to benefit from the price. No wonder Red Hat doesn't see a future for desktop Linux... they're prices are too expensive!

  • Benchmarks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molo ( 94384 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:27PM (#7730988) Journal
    The only benchmarks run were comparing OpenSSL computation in native UnixWare mode versus Linux Kernel Personality (LKP) mode. This is an extremely poor test and shows that the reviewer doesn't know what he's talking about.

    LKP is basicly system call emulation like that which is available in FreeBSD. This has NOTHING to do with pure user-space number crunching required of crypto computations! This kind of test would only show the most eggregrarious scheduling or interrupt handler errors in providing the LKP functionality. This wouldn't (shouldn't?) even show up any compiler differences between UnixWare's cc and GCC since OpenSSL is heavily assembly optimzed on x86.

    These numbers arn't even compared to running under a real Linux kernel, which would be the most logical course of action given the reviewer's incomplete understanding.

    But regardless, with comments like the following, it becomes painfully obvious the reviewer knows little about this:

    The Linux kernel version number piqued my interest, because of the recent kernel vulnerability responsible for the compromise of some Debian project servers. I'm not sure if the same kernel exploit would work in the LKP, but it'd be an interesting test.

    If anything, benchmarking system calls should have been done. Something along the lines of these tests [].

    The reviewer makes his bias very plain with passages such as:

    I want to be as objective as possible, but I'd be a fool to think such a review could possibly avoid the controversy and raw emotions surrounding the company offering the product I've chosen to evaluate.

    This combined with the lack of objective and useful benchmarks makes this article little more than a piece of cheerleading propoganda.

  • by Fished ( 574624 ) * <> on Monday December 15, 2003 @10:52PM (#7731211)
    When I was a boy, back during the days of Linux Kernel 1.0, we emulated SCO to run commercial applications. Now, SCO emulates *us* to run commercial apps. Total world domination, anyone?
  • WebMD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kraegar ( 565221 ) on Monday December 15, 2003 @11:04PM (#7731296)
    WebMD aquired a company called "Medical Manager" a while back. Medical Manager [] is an application that a lot of Physician Practices use to do scheduling and billing. When I say a lot, I mean like 75% of them, last I checked. Anyway, Medical Manager is usually sold on SCO boxes, as that's what it was originally developed on. The other choices are AIX, HPUX, and NT (though I've never heard of someone running it on NT) but most physician practices don't go that route based on cost alone.

    So yes, lots of people still use SCO... in fact, odds are your family doctor does.

  • hmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShadowRage ( 678728 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @12:24AM (#7731779) Homepage Journal
    I've used sco unixware before.
    and I can back this guy, it does suck. not out of bias.. it just lacks a lot of things, and has a very slow boot.

    I installed slack on one of the computer repair machines at school (which had unixware on it) and ran another machine with unixware on it and had them boot side by side...

    slackware won. and it was on the slower machine.

    it's old, and maybe this is what all the crap is about. sco wants linux since they know they cant create anything better than 30 year old code that they never created. (in other words...)

    so, they figure they can buy linux out, but what's this? linux cant be bought out. but wait, it looks like unix, they can try to pull an infringement case! but wait, no evidence! ok, so maybe court trials wont work that way, but litigation will scare people into submitting into their whims, but no, it makes people angry... and so on..

    truly, I fear to see what's going on in darl's head. I wonder if he was that special needs child that got 4-square balls thrown at him by other children.

    that or life in utah (or wherever he's from) warped him.

    who knows.. I'm rambling now because I'm half awake.
  • Swedish Army (Score:5, Insightful)

    by W2k ( 540424 ) <> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @01:41AM (#7732172) Homepage Journal
    Last time I served in it, the Armed Forces of Sweden [] were still running SCO Unix for a lot of communications control computers. The systems were very buggy and would often crash. When I left they were just starting to migrate over to (customized) FreeBSD boxes and Windows NT. Now, knowing the Swedish army, I know they are NOT an organization that changes it ways unless it desperately has to (despite what their PR keeps saying). So if they're dropping SCO .. well .. I used their old systems myself, so I know pretty well how much they suck. It's all over for SCO. When all the legal bullshit is done and over with, there'll be nothing but bones left, and maybe the world will be rid of the horror that is UnixWare.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?