I'm sure there are no breeding pairs left, but every now and then I hear of a Xenix machine still wheezing away in some small company. Yesterday I had an Ingenio call that began with the dreaded words "I'm working on a Xenix system".
My page at Ingenio gives fair warning about this:
I probably cannot help you with SCO Xenix! I used to do a lot of Xenix, but that was a long time ago and I have forgotten most of it.
Because people don't always read carefully, I made sure I said something like that right up front: Xenix was a long, long time ago and I've forgotten a lot. I'm willing to try, but you might not get good answers.
The caller wanted to proceed. Through Ingenio, he's paying by the minute, and it's not cheap ($5.00 a minute right now and I'm apt to raise it at any time). Fortunately, at least part of his problems weren't difficult and actually he almost could have just read High Speed Modems for SCO Unix , though Xenix's inittab is a little bit different. He had other problems though, and the machine needed constant rebooting - not a good situation at all.
Part way through this, he asked if he could arrange something where he wouldn't be paying by the minute.
Umm, well, yes, but.. it's not going to be cheap. I have various support plans that could be used for this, but the cheapest is $400.00, and while sometimes I'll answer a question or two for free, this wasn't one of those times.
I tend to be supply-side driven. That is, when I'm not busy, I'm more free with my time. If I'm in a slow period and you call me out of the blue, I might be willing to chat for quite a while and give lots of free help. But if you catch me when I'm up to my neck in work as I am right now, there's no freebies .
I was explaining that to a friend yesterday who said it ought to be the other way around: if I'm not busy, I must need money, so I shouldn't be giving away anything then. I disagree, though you might argue that consultants should never give away time and I'd tend to agree in general. But I do things my way, and that's my choice, right?
Anyway, I don't know if this Xenix machine will survive long. He said he had a clone of the drive, and I suggested shipping that off to a data recovery firm to be transferred to media he could read with a Linux or BSD machine more easily - though there are other ways to do this, and he could easily (though slowly) transfer files by uucp or other means.
It's possible he might be able to run his ancient SCO binaries under Linux or BSD, and although I think it would be a bad choice, he could also probably run them under a more modern SCO version.
Who knows if this is the last Xenix call I'll ever get? It could be; these old geezers have to be dwindling down to a very few running machines.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2013-07-16 Anthony Lawrence
After establishing competence and ability, your customer wants to know that you are honest and that you care about their needs. Sell that, because that's what they really want to buy. (Tony Lawrence)