UnixWare is a Unix operating system maintained by The SCO Group (SCO). Unixware is typically deployed as a server rather than desktop. Binary distributions of UnixWare are available for x86 architecture computers. It was originally released by Univel, a jointly owned venture of AT&T's Unix System Laboratories (USL) and Novell. UnixWare is primarily marketed as a reliable, scalable, secure Unix server.


Univel (1991-1993)

Univel existed briefly during AT&T's divestment of USL. A joint partnership of Novell and AT&T's Unix System Laboratories (USL), Univel initially developed and released UnixWare versions 1.0 and 1.1 in 1991. These were based on AT&T's Unix System V release 4.2 source code. In 1993 Novell purchased the Univel/USL assets and assumed control of UnixWare.

Novell (1993-1995)

Novell released versions 1.2 and 1.3 of UnixWare in 1993 and version 2.0 in 1995. UnixWare 2.0 was based on Unix System V release 4.2MP which added support for multiprocessing.

For some time in the early 1990s UnixWare was one of the "three pillars" of Novell's long-term business strategy, as Ray Noorda put it, they were "NetWare, UnixWare and AppWare". At the time, their dependable source of revenue, NetWare, was rapidly being displaced by Windows NT-based servers, and Novell was trying to diversify. During this time Novell's chief executive spent much of the company's war chest to purchase suites of products the company could use to take on Microsoft both in the marketplace and in the courts. It has been suggested that the strategy was partly influenced due to a personal dislike of Bill Gates by Novell's Chief Noorda.

Having failed to make any headway with the technically interesting DR-DOS, it appears Noorda saw UnixWare as a way to make an "end run" around Windows' dominance, providing Novell with a powerful operating system that could compete with Windows NT (which was not yet well established), Unixware had a robust codebase with considerably more testing, results of a much longer existence. There was an attempt to combine NetWare and UnixWare to create a single new system known as SuperNOS (Network Operating System), which would offer users the well-known NetWare networking services, while offering developers the well-known Unix development platform. Novell already offered a way for third parties to write code for NetWare, but it was an arduous process that UnixWare would dramatically improve.

UnixWare never really had a chance to prove itself in the marketplace. By the time it was starting to mature in late 1994, Noorda was in the process of being forced out of Novell. With his departure the new management decided to return to the cash cow, ignoring and then selling off all of the acquisitions Noorda made over the previous few years. This was, in retrospect, a terrible move; SuperNOS was perhaps the only obvious way for them to stay relevant. But, as one of the "Noordisms", management saw it as just another useless product distracting them from the "real" market.

The Santa Cruz Operation (1995-2001)

In 1995 The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) acquired UnixWare from Novell. The exact terms of this transaction were disputed (see SCO vs Novell); courts have subsequently determined that Novell retained the ownership of Unix. SCO continued to maintain the UnixWare 2.x line releasing several updates during this time. In 1997 SCO released UnixWare 7, a Unix System V release 5 based distribution. System V Release 5 was a "merge" of UnixWare 2 and SCO's principle Unix operating system OpenServer 5 with a focus on large-scale servers, scalability, and reliability. The Santa Cruz Operation continued to release updates to both UnixWare 7 and UnixWare 2 until their transfer to Caldera in 2001.

Caldera/SCO/The SCO Group (2001-present)

In 2001 Caldera Systems purchased the Server and Services divisions of The Santa Cruz Operation which included both the OpenServer and UnixWare product lines. Caldera subsequently changed the company name to SCO and then, after broadening its product line to include mobile products and services, to The SCO Group. Caldera's initial release of UnixWare was renamed OpenUNIX 8. This release is what would have been UnixWare 7.1.2. Later what was then the newly renamed SCO would revert to the previous UnixWare brand and version release numbering, releasing UnixWare 7.1.3 and 7.1.4. No further OpenUNIX releases were made available and OpenUNIX 8.1.2 (OU812) was never released. The SCO Group continues to maintain UnixWare and issues periodic maintenance updates and support.

Timeline of UnixWare

Year Release Company Codebase Kernel version Description
1991 1.0 Univel SVR4.2 1
1.1 Univel 1
1993 1.2 Novell 1
1.3 Novell 1
1995 2.0 Novell SVR4.2MP 2.1 Support for SMP
1995 2.1 Santa Cruz 2.1
2.1.1 Santa Cruz 2.1.1
2.1.2 Santa Cruz 2.1.2
2.1.3 Santa Cruz 2.1.3
1997 7 Santa Cruz SVR5 7.0.1 A "merge" of UnixWare 2 and OpenServer 5
7.0.1 Santa Cruz 7.0.1
1999 7.1.0 Santa Cruz 7.1.0
2001 7.1.1 Santa Cruz 7.1.1
OpenUNIX 8 Caldera 7.1.2
2003 7.1.3 SCO Group 7.1.3
2004 7.1.4 SCO Group 7.1.4
2005 7.1.4 SCO Group 7.1.4 MP2
2006 7.1.4 SCO Group 7.1.4 MP3
2008 7.1.4 SCO Group 7.1.4 MP4

SCO Skunkware / Open Source

All versions of UnixWare have included significant open source components including BIND/X11/Sendmail/DHCP/Perl/Tcl and others. Later releases are bundled with numerous additional open-source applications including Apache, Samba, MySQL, PostgreSQL, OpenSSH, and Mozilla.

All versions of SCO operating system distributions including UnixWare also have an extensive set of open source packages available for free download via the SCO Skunkware site.

External links


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