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Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 4 (cont'd with a 3Com503) 
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 06:53 PM
Posted by Administrator
After swapping the WD8013 card with a 3Com 3C503, I continued to install TCP/IP package.

You have to install STREAMS first - before TCP/IP, as usual with "custom" and "Add package" (Option '4'). It's a different serial/key combination compared to the TCP/IP package itself.

After you've added STREAMS, you can go on with TCP/IP Disk 1, start again "custom" and choose also "Add package" (Option '4'). After inserting all 3 Disks plus the TCP/IP maintance disk and entering again the serial/key combination (but now the one for TCP/IP), you've not finished it.

I read in a PDF document that also a SCO LLI Driver Disk (the hardware related part) was needed. You can find a version 3.0 of that LLI disk at (uncompress it with WINRAR for example, you will get a 1200KB (disk) tar file - copy it with doscp later from a 1.44MB DOS formatted floppy disk and rewrite it back with dd, like described in part 3 of my Xenix blog entry).

Unfortunately this LLI driver disk version 3.0 resulted in a version warning ("LLI should not be installed in any releases prior to 3.2.1." - not sure where to get a proper SCO LLI driver disk which fits for Xenix 2.3.4 ..... I WAS STUCK !

Looking for a "LLI driver disk" I found a bit later a hint, that XENIX 2.3.4 does not need and use a LLI driver disk ! I felt being framed from that above mentioned document.

So I looked for some help about using ifconfig with XENIX, and finally I found a really helpful page (here and later this one).
They mentioned to use mkdev wdn, but I looked at /usr/lib/mkdev and found the proper file was named "3comB". "mkdev 3comB" started the setup for the card and later on the kernel was rebuild also.
But 'ping' still generates 'ping: socket: Protocol not supported' .... bummer
Also, ifconfig still does not work - "ifconfig /dev/3comB0" says "invalid argument" ...

At the end I tried also "mkdev tcp" and that was the key for success !
With "mkdev tcp" you can setup your machines IP address as well as other important parameters. And after another reboot, even PING worked, and so also ifconfig 3comB0:


If you google for "mkdev tcp", you will find several .doc files, which are located in a SCO driver directory and also existing are drivers there (e.g. or ... e=#archive). So I guess it would be possible to run a NE2000 card also with XENIX.

Note: The related link below (a PDF at was NOT helpful. It describes a very different installation procedure for a later SCO UNIX version.
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Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 4 (at least the prerequisites) 
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 11:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
May be you know already, that the "Streams and TCPIP" packages does support only very few network cards, a 3COM 3C501, 3C503, WD8003 (8 Bit ISA) and last but not least hopefully also a WD8013 (16 Bit ISA). No NE1000/NE2000 support (SCO list a Novell (Exelan) 205T - but never heard before from it until I read the below mentioned compatibility note), although I read a usenet article which describes success with a NE2000 compatible Longshine card. See also here for more NE2000 comments.
So you do not need only the 4 TCP/IP floppy disks (and one Streams floppy disk), but also compatible hardware. I was so happy to find a WD8013 a few weeks before, also because these network cards are meanwhile very rare.
But I was also surprised about the size of the card - it's a monster:

The related link below mentions h/w compatibility - described by SCO itself.

Added later:

These WD80x3 cards are crap. Unbelievable how many problems occur with the configuration.
May be the Trident VGA in my 486 is the reason, don't know.

So I inserted my WD8003E (because the WD8013 didn't run, I took the WD8003 for further tests) in my IBM PC/XT, also because my XT does NOT have memory above 9FFFFh.

The default settings for these cards is i/o 280h, irq 3, ram address D0000h.
But almost all PCs of that era could have a second serial port.
So I have a big problem:
IRQ 2 = already taken by the SCSI card.
IRQ 3 = already taken by COM2 port (I have one)
IRQ 4 = already taken by COM1 port
IRQ 5 = already taken by LPT2 (I have also one)
IRQ 6 = Floppy disk
IRQ 7 = already taken by LPT1

At this point I realized I couldn't test further because my XT has no free IRQ.
So I disabled my COM2 port first (IRQ 3 is free then).
I was able to run DIAGNOSE with this result:

BUT. I was still not able to run EZSETUP.

At this point, I am out of any helpful idea.

So far I was also able to run the packet driver 8003pkdr.exe without errors.
I guess I will use the WD card with my XT, and continuing to test XENIX with my 3COM503.
May be there exist also an earlier (non SMC) WD8003 setup program, but I can't find it.
[this will be continued]
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Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 3 
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Before I try to install Streams and TCP/IP, let's try VP/IX.
I got three 1.2MB disk images, but to install it with my 1.44MB floppy drive in my 486-PC, I had to convert the disks first. How ? Easy if you already had installed XENIX.

1. Copy each 1.2MB disk image file onto a DOS formatted 1.44MB floppy disk media
2. Run XENIX and use doscp to copy the disk image files onto your harddisk
3. Use the dd command to transfer it back to a real floppy media:
dd if=vpixdsk1.img of=/dev/fd0 (or instead of "fd0" use "rfd0135ds18")
4. Do this for all three images
(as a result, you should get three 1.44MB installation disks)

Now type in 'custom' again, choose '4' (for additional packages) and if asked, insert the first of the three floppy disks. You should select 'ALL' as an option, a bit later you had to insert the other two disks also. When you typed in the serial number/activation successfully, it should go back to 'custom'. Just exit.

Now how to run VP/IX ? Easy if you know it. Just type in 'vpix' on console.
Even a BIOS is loaded, similar to modern virtual machine software.

Now you are able to type in DOS commands. 'VER' returns DOS 3.30.
Using ALT-F1, ALT-F2 and so on you can run DOS more than once... nice.
To exit VP/IX, type in 'vpixcmd quit' ... that's all.

Using Google there is almost nothing to find about VP/IX .... strange.

But next time I will tell you my expiriences with TCP/IP and XENIX, promised.
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Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 2 
Sunday, June 15, 2014, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Installing the XENIX 2.3.0d Development System isn't so hard.
Assuming you managed it to write six 1.44MByte floppy disk images back to real floppy disk media with success, you just have to enter 'custom' at the XENIX system prompt.
Then you have to choose '2' for Development System, '1' for installing one or more packages, and then 'ALL' for all packages. Be patient then, reading each disk will take a bit time.

Each disk contained a TAR file, which can be opened from any Windows machine with WINRAR also with ease (just open the image file of the floppy disk with WINRAR).

After all disks are processed, you have to enter the serial and activation code.
And last but not least, you have to decide what curses you want to use: termcap or terminfo based. Old skool people like me prefer termcap ;-)

After the system prompt reappeared, I tried to enter a small but famous test program.
But I could NOT enter the closing bracket '}' ... it's not available with my german keyboard. That's ugly, but because I had no time to figure out how to fix it, I just write the small text file in Windows, copied it to a floppy, and used 'doscp' to get the file into XENIX file system.

And it worked:

Remember - running the program without preceeding './' needs '.' to be added in PATH variable.
And without any cc option, the generated program is always named 'a.out'.

In one of the next parts, I will describe installing and using TCP/IP.

For a dev system manual, look at the related link below.

P.S.: I solved the problem with the german keyboard layout. You have to replace a file named 'keys' within the /usr/lib/keyboard directory with a modified version, then you have to run 'mapkey' one time. The modified 'keys' for my german keyboard can be downloaded >here<. If unsure, backup your original 'keys' file first before replacing it.
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Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 1 
Saturday, June 7, 2014, 05:46 PM
Posted by Administrator
Well, sometimes you would like to try something you never tried before.
So after installing many times Linux on my newer PCs, I thought it would be fine to have Xenix 386 also installed, to play with it, or better, to compile some programs also (e.g. the "hack" game).
After I got the 7 Xenix floppy disk images (N1, N2, B1, X1, X2, X3, X4 for 3.5" HD media) from someone, I had to write the images back to real floppy disks first.

Unfortunately WINIMAGE does not know how to handle non-FAT formatted floppies.
Also, RAWWRITE (using real raw images) does only write tracks (sub)sequentially back, so if you write 720KB images back to a HD floppy disk, RAWWRITE generates junk.
So I decided to use my "disktool" I already used also for writing CP/M-86 disks.

After this, I tried to boot from the N1 (the only one which boots)floppy disk.
This worked as intended, but after going on within the installation dialog, I recognized there should be non-used space left on your harddisk to create a Xenix Partition.
I wanted to have a DOS partition (1st Partition) and also a Xenix Partition (2nd Partition).
It was a bit strange because I thought I can "re-use" the already existing extended DOS partition, which I didn't used so far. No, I had to go back to DOS, start FDISK, and delete the logical and extented partition first. THEN I was able to go on, choosing "Create XENIX Partition".

Btw. this was not really bad luck, because before I rebooted it for FDISK, I choosed to display the partition info within the Xenix installation dialog (and I remembered these numbers later on when creating the Xenix partition...).

Some uncommon questions raised then, after I was able to wrote the base/minimal system.
It asked me not only for a name of a non-american timezone (for me, CET), it asked me what parameters the timezone have, and what name the summer time has (? for me, it was always CET+1, but Xenix don't like to get a '+' in the name of the timezone).
My last floppy I had to insert, N2, had an error, and I got also a strange message "tar: tape read error".... I didn't used a tape, but on all other floppies except N1 just a single big tar file is existing. So I had to use another floppy disk, which was prepared in hurry from me again, too.

Then at the end, it asks me for a "link kit serilization". I didn't expected again such a question because I already typed in the serial number for the OS.
So I tried to enter the already used number again, and voilą, it worked ;-)

The whole installation (option 'ALL') occupied 13.3 MByte.
Very helpful also: The Xenix FAQ

Part 2 will follow with the description of my experience I made with the XENIX development environment.

P.S.: Xenix 386 2.3.4a supports MFM, IDE, RLL and also SCSI harddisk drives, so it also works in a virtual environment as well as on a real system. I've read it will not work with a Pentium machine, so please give me a feedback if you was able to install it on a newer system than my 486. This is my hardware configuration I used (80MB IDE drive):

P.P.S.: Beware of the Y2K bug in Xenix. Look for xnx427d.Z in known internet search engines.
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