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Crash Course on NetWare

NeXT

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I was gifted a rather mousy HP Netserver LD Pro 6/200 server that seems to be fairly complete aside from one drive sled and was suggested I install NetWare on it.
Well I've never actually considered running NetWare on anything because there's nothing I'm aware of it could do that at least NT Server could not, but I've honestly never had the option to not only set it up on a dedicated machine that is both an era authentic server and with dual CPU's. The spec sheet is here and it seems to suggest NetWare is a supported platform, but I don't know if I should be going with version 4.11, 4.2 or version 5. HP took down their software and driver support pages years ago as well, so I don't know how well driver support was out of the box of if I would need to go driver hunting.
If it was also not obvious I have *zero* experience with NetWare. I don't know how it installs, how to manage modules, how the command syntax is, or how to find additional product modules for it. There's also licensing...
The only thing I know of is that it purely turns any machine you run it on into a file and print server, with optional netbooting on just about any network medium you can attach it to, but limited TCP/IP support because internally it's all IPX.
 

g4ugm

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I think, if it will work, I would stick with V3.xx. Later versions have an X.500 style directory so bigger learning curve. Its much less capable than NT server but then it has lower resources requirements and does file sharing and locking well so was great for shared file system databases like dbase.

I may be mis-remembering but I think it had an autoexec style thing that loaded the OS perhaps from a DOS boot....
 

channelmaniac

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3.xx had a TCP/IP package you could install. It was a bit kludgey, but worked. 4.x and above had NDS, which is still pretty simple, but still damn reliable.

Novell servers would run for years with no required reboots - The memory garbage collection routines were that good. Try that with NT. HAH!

However, I haven't touched Novell since around late 2000 when I changed jobs from a consluttant to a manufacturer and went to work for Cisco. CNE is one of those long ago expired certs, but it made me a crapload of money back in the day. :)
 

davidrg

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NetWare 4.11 is my favorite - easiest to install (hardware auto-detection, auto-partitioning, etc), easiest to manage (graphical NetWare Administrator tool rather than DOS-based SYSCON you have to use under NetWare 3.x) and it still officially supports a bunch of vintage clients later versions of NetWare dropped.

Last year I went exploring NetWare and scraped together all the stuff I could while I was at it taking an absurd number of screenshots along the way. You can find it all here. In particular I've got screenshots showing the full installation process (under Linux KVM). There are similar piles of screenshots for the clients on various platforms and the add-on products I have too.
 

NeXT

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Is there anything special about 4.2? Is it just 4.1.1 with a bunch of additional software and security patches or is it a major code rewrite? Are modules compatible between the two?
 

davidrg

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I've never used or had a close look at 4.2 but I'm pretty sure its mostly just NetWare 4.11 (aka IntranetWare) with Support Pack 6 already applied, AFP/AppleShare removed (and later released as an unsupported add-on), Novells own home-made web server replaced with the Netscape one, and perhaps some other insignificant changes. It did get supported for a bit longer than 4.11 but that just means there is a small pile of little inconvenient patches you get to apply after installing Support Pack 9 if you can be bothered. Patches that would probably work just fine on 4.11 but were never tested by Novell there because 4.11 was no longer supported. I think it was probably a product aimed at people still on NetWare 3.x and not ready to move to NetWare 5, not something you'd bother buying if you were already on NetWare 4.11.

They did a similar thing with NetWare 3.12. NetWare 3.x didn't seem to get support packs - just an increasingly large mountain of annoying little patches you had to apply one at a time. NetWare 3.2 was just NetWare 3.12 with an extra CD that let you install all the patches in one go (the "NetWare 3.2 Enhancement Pack") and also gave you a registered version of a shareware windows-based SYSCON replacement (wnSysCon).

As far as compatibility goes, I expect anything that works on 4.11 probably works on 4.2. The reverse is probably true too - 4.11 Support Pack 9 can probably run mostly anything 4.2 Support Pack 9 can run. There may be exceptions though - NetWare is a weird operating system. It does work very well as a file & print server if you've got a bunch of vintage PCs (and I guess classic Macs) to network though. The 32bit DOS client is much more conventional memory efficient than any other network drive options I've seen - just a 4K stub with everything else (NIC driver, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP stacks, DHCP client, the NetWare client itself and other bits) living in extended memory. Plus its perhaps the only way to get network drives on OS/2 1.x-3.x without the various paid-for network bits from IBM or the special "Connect" edition of OS/2 Warp 3.
 

NeXT

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AFP/AppleShare removed (and later released as an unsupported add-on)
That seems a little omnious. If I'm setting a machine up I can ignore NFS if that really mattered but Appletalk support would be convenient. Was this later module something you can still find or is it like the Irix Appleshare support and it needs an unobtanium license?
 

davidrg

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It should be in the big list of NetWare 4.2 patches as nwmac.exe ("NetWare for Macintosh 4.x"). The readme from 1999 refers to it as an old version so possibly its the same as whats on the NetWare 4.11 CD. NetWare for Macintosh pretty much makes the NetWare server look like another mac on the network - it appears in chooser, etc. IIRC I hit problems with password length - whatever version of MacOS I was playing around with didn't like long passwords so I had to change my NetWare password to something shorter. I've no idea what the minimum version of MacOS is but NetWare for Macintosh has been around since the late 80s so possibly there isn't much of a minimum.

On NetWare 4.x NetWare for Macintosh requires no additional licensing - its free and subject to the same user limit as the rest of NetWare. NetWare 3.12 bundles a free 5 user version of NetWare for Macintosh regardless of what user count your edition of NetWare has - to support more than 5 Mac users you had to buy a bigger NetWare for Macintosh license. Prior to NetWare 3.12, and also for all of NetWare 5.x, NetWare for Macintosh was sold separately.

When NetWare 4.11 came out they also included a proper NetWare Client for Mac OS on the CD which uses MacIPX to talk NCP to the server - no AppleShare required. This has the added benefit of not being subject to the whatever the AppleShare password restrictions are. Novell only ever released two versions of this before giving up and licensing it (and the AppleShare bits) to a 3rd party (ProSoft Engineering) who continued maintaining it until around 2001 and sold it on a per-user basis which is why NetWare for Macintosh (and probably the NetWare Client for Mac) isn't on the NetWare 4.2 CD.

The NetWare Client for Mac OS needs at least System 7.1 with a 68030, 68040 or PowerPC CPU. With an update the slightly newer 5.11 supports "MacOS 8.x" - I've tested it on 8.5 and it seems to work fine. I don't have a copy of MacOS 9 so I've no idea if the free versions (5.1, 5.11) work on that or if you need to somehow get a copy of one of the newer ProSoft versions. ProSoft is still around but the NetWare stuff disappeared from their website around 10-15 years ago.
 

NeXT

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Okay, so I've settled on 4.11 for compatibility reasons (or not? HP's own setup material is being vague and implying Netware 4.1, 4.11 and 4.1 SMP were separate products and I totally need SMP support), I've acquired the installation media and a license and run the server through its own procedure for a Netware installation.
Now I'm hung up on how to boot the installation CD. Google is extremely unhelpful because this side of the decade nobody is running Netware on real hardware. Only VM's and even then the best demonstrations I have seen so far are version 3.x and 2.x where NETGEN is required and even then, no disk images. Am I missing a step? Does this require MS-DOS? IS it going to be very specific about what version or vendor of DOS? DR-DOS??
 
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nlenevez

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Okay, so I've settled on 4.11 for compatibility reasons (or not? HP's own setup material is being vague and implying Netware 4.1, 4.11 and 4.1 SMP were separate products and I totally need SMP support), I've acquired the installation media and a license and run the server through its own procedure for a Netware installation.
Now I'm hung up on how to boot the installation CD. Google is extremely unhelpful because this side of the decade nobody is running Netware on real hardware. Only VM's and even then the best demonstrations I have seen so far are version 3.x and 2.x where NETGEN is required and even then, no disk images. Am I missing a step? Does this require MS-DOS? IS it going to be very specific about what version or vendor of DOS? DR-DOS??
Boot MS-DOS 6.22, create a smallish primary partition eg 100mb, and install DOS to it. Install CD-ROM drivers and then install Netware off the installation CD. Post install, it will boot DOS off the small partition and then into Netware
 

Caluser2000

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Also runs from OS/2 2.1 upwards.I have the full NW4.11 documentation bundle that came with a Educational/Promotional Novell Intranetware Bundle dated 1997 with 25 user license.. Installing SMP support is mentioned in the NW 4.11 installation manual.
 

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Caluser2000

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Just been reading the Novel Dos 7 manual with Personal NetWare included. Personal NetWare can interoperate and be added to NetWare 2.x through 4.x networks.
 

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Krille

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Boot MS-DOS 6.22, create a smallish primary partition eg 100mb, and install DOS to it. Install CD-ROM drivers and then install Netware off the installation CD. Post install, it will boot DOS off the small partition and then into Netware
The DOS boot partition should be just 10-15 MB tops. Keep in mind, a 100 MB partition would have been a huge part of a drive back in the day. And a total waste.

I'm a CNA for Netware 4.11 and was certified in 1999. Haven't used it since. It's not that I didn't like it, because I did. Netware was great. It's just that I haven't been working with it. And using it at home is kind of pointless unless you have lots of computers hooked up to the network. You also need to dedicate* a computer as a server which most people would probably feel is overkill in a home setting.

And of course, Netware is utterly obsolete. I don't know how it handles the disk sizes available today, for example.

I can't give any advice about which version of Netware to use other than to say that I would install Netware 4.11, simply because I have the install media and the required license floppy for it. Oh, and I would definitely not install Netware 5 - I remember it having some kind of configuration GUI (written in Java IIRC) and it was extremely slow even on the higher end hardware of the day.

* Of course, these days you can probably run it in a VM.
 

davidrg

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NetWare 4.1 and 4.11 were separate versions. NetWare 4.11 supports SMP out of the box if you've got compatible hardware (this was one of the new features in 4.11 along with an easier installer and intranet bits). Otherwise the other posters are correct - NetWare starts from DOS and can exit back to DOS (if you don't kick it out of memory) but has its own drivers for everything and its own filesystem (NWFS) for storing its own files on. So when partitioning the disk you've got to leave most of the disk unpartitioned so there is room for NetWare to create its SYS partition. I've got a complete walkthrough in screenshot form showing 4.11 it being installed in a VM but doing it on real hardware is much the same, just different drivers and no GUI for changing the hardware: http://www.zx.net.nz/netware/server/411-kvm-2/

I've never tried NetWare 4.x under OS/2 but I do mean to try someday - problem is QEMU/KVM doesn't support OS/2 so I'll have to do it on real hardware or a temporary VirtualBox VM. Michal Necasek wrote about this subject for anyone who is curious.

As for Personal Netware, that's something different. I don't know how different it is at the protocol level but different enough that a regular unmodified NetWare client can't talk to it. You've got to use the older NetWare DOS Requester (VLM) client and have the PNW.VLM module loaded which provides the Personal NetWare client features. The newer and more conventional memory efficient 32bit client for DOS/Windows 3.x/95/98 (Client32) uses NLM modules (like NetWare Server) instead of VLMs so it can't load the PNW client. And AFAIK the clients for OS/2 and Windows NT/2000/XP were never compatible at all.
 

Caluser2000

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I got given an OS/2 v3 hdd which served up Netware to something external using a serial/com port. It was last run up some time around 1998-97 or so. It still boots up fine despite being a BigFoot drive.

daviddrg that is an impressive effort you made to try and track down as much Novell Networking resources/info as you could.
 

davidrg

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I originally got NetWare 4.11 (and 4.1) from my High School when they were migrating to Windows 2000 server (or perhaps 2003?) along with an old Compaq Proliant 1500R so used it to network by selection of obsolete PCs at the time before being distracted by uni and vintage unix. Last year I felt like playing with NetWare again and was shocked to find everything was gone when I went to download the client. So I felt I had no choice but to pull together what I could find before it all disappeared completely. And as I'm probably not going to setup everything from scratch again anytime soon I figured I may as well take notes and screenshots as I went through it all. I sort of regret not making a few videos too but it didn't occur to me until I was playing around with network booting. Describing what Windows 95 and OS/2 Warp 3.0 booting over the network looks like was hard so ended up recording those at least.

There is still stuff missing that I could just never track down though. Like the patch for NFS Gateway 1.2 mentioned in TID 2912064 that fixes compatibility issues with Client32 (client crashes or displays partial directory listings) and the Windows NT Client (opening a directory crashes the entire server), plus a few other less important client bits and patches. In particular, the client for OS/2 1.0 is missing along with the most recent client for NT 3.1 (though the x86 version of the MS client has been found and probably works better), and the final update 'E' for the last client that supports NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.

Otherwise I was very lucky to have bought a couple of Support Connection CDs (which contain the full Novell knowledge base) plus some SDK CDs from trademe decade or so back - some things would have been a lot harder to figure out without that! One of the SDK releases even has a very rough Client32 NLM SDK buried away on it - I could find no mention of it ever existing so it was certainly a surprise to find it.
 

Caluser2000

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I was reading an online manual about installing NW 4.11 on one of IBMs smaller/older servers. 1998ish stuff. Suffer from sleep deprivation so had to do something untill the sleeping pill kicked in.It specifically stated if the system has any 16 bit ISA expantion slots set IRQ15 to IRQ15 active and not PnP or any other setting.as it could cause significant slow down of Netware file transferes.This was with NetWare 4.11 in a Dos enviroment.
 
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