Manufacturer: The Santa Cruz Operation
Price: $19.00 US (media)
Reviewer: Ken Collins
Compulsive operating system collectors can now add another partition to their hard disk and another OS to their stockpile. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO, http://www.sco.com/) has a new strategy for attracting users to its OpenServer Desktop System. SCO is giving it away for free, or at least nearly for free.
Though the company could claim 40% of the Unix market share a couple of years ago, it's now facing serious pressure from Windows NT and of course, Linux. Because the OS is priced similarly to NT, it has traditionally been out of the reach of students, educators and the idle curious. While there are a vast number of commercial applications running on OpenServer (it's often employed as a base for retail database systems, thus its market share), the company obviously wants to interest a new generation of developers and administrators.
To further its aims, SCO has made its single-user license free. The catch is that you still have to purchase the media. The OpenServer package, which includes a CD-ROM, a boot disk, a disk of drivers and a small pamphlet costs $19.00 US. If you're used to downloading your distributions at no cost, that's not an option, but SCO has also been handing out their OS gratis at trade shows. You won't be able to download the source anywhere. OpenServer may be free, but it's not “open”. Additionally, the single-user license is intended for educational use only. If you want to run OpenServer as part of your business, you're supposed to purchase a license.
While you're at the SCO site signing up for your license (http://www.sco.com/offers/index.html), you might also want to take a look at the on-line documentation for the installation procedure (http://www3.sco.com/Products/freeunix/suppinst.html) and the hardware compatibility handbook (http://scaffold.sco.com/chwp/owa/hch_search_form). Unfortunately, the pamphlet included with the installation disks only includes the following instructions for first-time users: “Boot from the supplied boot floppy and follow onscreen instructions.”
While not overly difficult, the installation is far from intuitive. In fact, the first screen will throw all but the most adventurous installers. It asks for your installation media and offers a number of options, but gives no indication that you can install from an IDE CD-ROM. If you use the SCSI CD-ROM setting, follow the on-line documentation directions for the other settings and if the drivers are on the disk, it should recognize your drive. The rest of the process is familiar to Linux users. You can select portions of the software to install (including a lot of support for Novell networking), and you can use fdisk to partition your drive.
While you're going through this process, OpenServer is merrily overwriting your master boot record and wiping it free of LILO. After some serious wrangling, I gave up on getting the OS to cooperate with Linux. With LILO installed in my Linux partition and OpenServer in its own half of the drive, I couldn't find a boot loader that would get SCO to start up, nor could I coax OpenServer into recognizing my Linux partition from its boot prompt. For the time being, I let OpenServer have its way with my system, fdisking back and forth when I needed one or the other, but serious dual users will have to come to terms with this problem. It may be a job for V Communications' System Commander.
Once inside the OpenServer environment, you're given the opportunity to log on as root or proceed to an SCO-centric xdm login prompt. If you're wary of X, the system offers as many virtual consoles as you have function keys. However, without bash, tcsh or whatever shell you favor, the console is pretty tedious. OpenServer comes with the Korn shell, the C shell and its own scosh. This means if you're a filename completion junkie or you're fond of browsing your command history with the arrow keys, one of the first things you'll want to do is port the appropriate shell to your system.
The scosh is a world unto itself and deserves some mention. The name seems to suggest that it's a shell, but it's closer to an MVS era menu system. After invoking scosh, it takes over your console or xterm and pops up a calendar, a series of menus and a listing of the current directory. The xterm becomes mouse sensitive, and you can use it or the cursor keys to select from the various options. It presents a fairly complex interface; it provides a front end to navigate the file system, check e-mail, edit files, set permissions, print, create archives and move files around. Even so, SCO's addition to the world's shell archives isn't much of a shell. It does everything it can to keep you away from Unix, and devotees of the elegance and ease of the command line may find scosh an unpleasant and unnecessary feature.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide