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A closed source UNIX maintained by the SCO Group since 1989. Originally a bare bones OS for OEMs to customize, the server and desktop were later added


Alternate names: SCO OpenServer, SCO Open Desktop, Xenix

The first video game about SCO UNIX was released in 1983.

In 1979, Microsoft bought a license from AT&T to use AT&T UNIX Version 7. As UNIX improved, UNIX System III and UNIX System V became Xenix' base. The initial license was for AT&T UNIX for the PDP-11. Apparently in an effort to port it, Microsoft incorporated BSD code (OpenSource, freely available then and now). They did not get a license for the "UNIX" trademark and came up with the name "Xenix". At some point in development, a customer planning to use Xenix heard that Microsoft would drop support for the product soon after releasing it. In response, a Microsoft engineer inaccuracy called Xenix "Vaporware", coining the term. They ported it to Z8000, 8080/86, and Motorola 68k (TRS-XENIX & Apple Lisa XENIX). Later 286 and 386 ports were made. Due to the explosive adoption of the 8086, and no other UNIXum available for it, Microsoft's Xenix, for a brief time, had the most widely installed UNIX in the world. They didn't sell it to end users. Rather they sub-licensed their own architecture ports to other companies which made optimized versions to sub-sub-license to OEMs. SCO (Santa Cruz Operation) made many optimized ports under this arrangement. SCO made the IBM PC version using Microsoft's 8086 port. After Microsoft entered an agreement with IBM to develop OS/2, Xenix was not promoted and it was traded to SCO in exchange for Microsoft owning 25% of SCO. Microsoft continued to use Xenix internally and even created patches, and Sun and VAX ports, until about the time GNU/Linux formed a complete operating system. SCO merged Xenix, BSD, SunOS, and UNIX System V Release 3 into one OS known as UNIX System V Release 4 (SCO UNIX).

SCO Group is what became of Santa Cruz Operation. SCO UNIX replaced SCO Xenix (As SCO Xenix was the most widly used of all their varients) and was based on the 386 version of AT&T UNIX System V Release 3.2. SCO UNIX was designed as a base OS for small to medium sized business to customize to their own needs. Originally there was no desktop environment or TCP/IP networking included. SCO Open Desktop was a separate product and in 1994 SCO began selling packages that could be added to SCO UNIX to make it more complete, including SCO MPX, and SCO SMP. Well known companies such as Banco do Brasil, Big O Tires, Costco pharmacy, McDonalds, NASDAQ, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, The Toronto Stock Exchange, many banks in Russia and China, and the railway system of India use SCO OpenServer. In the late 1990s, SCO had 15,000 customers using their UNIX versions.
Significant portions of a complete SCO UNIX operating system include opensource code. Some of the projects commonly included are Apache, BIND, DHCP, KDE, Mozilla, MySQL, OpenSSH, Perl, PostgreSQL, Samba, Sendmail, Tcl, X11. These applications can be found in SCO Skunkware, a freely redistributable package of opensource apps available as an iso, ftp, CD-ROM or repository.

In 1995 SCO acquired all intellectual property rights to UNIX and UNIXWare. Though a judge later ruled that Novel owned all UNIX source code created before 1995; entitling Novel to collect licensing fees on all SCO's UNIX derivatives which the judge set at $2.5 million. The legal details are not fully settled yet (2008-12-30). Novel has not initiated any demand for fees, SCO can appeal.

SCO currently maintains UnixWare 7 and UNIX 8. SCO OpenServer and SCO Open Desktop are based on UNIX 8.

SCO filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy 2008-09-14. They continue to support UNIX for now.


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