Historical Archive

This site attempts to re-introduce the visitor to SCO Skunkware and reconstruct portions of the Skunkware website. Please note that links to downloadable packaged Skunkware software are no longer active and those packages no longer maintained. This site offers solely historical curiosity and wistful nostalgia.

Skunkware Time Portal


These archives are largely the exact same documents preserved over the decades by fastidious Skunkware fans and horders. Essentially, you will be entering the 90s or early 2000's. The interwebs have changed a lot since then with people and organizations moving their websites, changing their email addresses, and generally acting like the 90s weren't perfect. As such, many of the links in these archives are stale, non-existent, or have been turned into porn sites. But, most of them just reference the Skunkware website which I have tried to preserve so browsing is still fun but occassionally interrupted with a 404.

See the Releases Page to visit the illustrious Skunkware past.

What Is Skunkware

From the Wikipedia article on SCO Skunkware:

SCO Skunkware, often referred to as simply “Skunkware”, is a collection of open-source software projects ported, compiled, and packaged for free redistribution on SCO operating environments. SCO Skunkware packaged components exist for SCO Xenix, SCO UNIX, SCO OpenServer 5, SCO OpenServer 6, UnixWare 2, Caldera OpenLinux, Open UNIX 8, and UnixWare 7. SCO Skunkware was an early pioneering effort to bring open source software into the realm of business computing and, as such, provided an important initial impetus to the acceptance and adoption of open source software in the small and medium business market. An extensive SCO Skunkware download area has been maintained since 1993 and SCO Skunkware components were shipped with operating system distributions as far back as 1983 when Xenix for the IBM XT was released by The Santa Cruz Operation. The annual SCO Forum conference was a venue for the makers and users of SCO Skunkware to meet and discuss its contents and ideas for future additions. Later additional open source distributions for operating platforms such as the FreeBSD Ports collection and the Solaris Freeware repository would lend additional momentum to the adoption of open source in the business community.

The term 'Skunkware' was coined by Dion Johnson as homage to the many 'Skunkworks' that sprung up at places like NASA and Lockheed. These were unofficial, off-the-books, sometimes secret projects that engineers would conduct, often leading to remarkable breakthroughs and discoveries due to the unsupervised freedom they enjoyed.

Everett Rogers defined Skunkworks as an "enriched environment that is intended to help a small group of individuals design a new idea by escaping routine organizational procedures." The term originated during World War II when the P-80 Shooting Star was designed by Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects Division in Burbank, California. A closely guarded incubator was set up in a circus tent next to a plastics factory in Burbank. The strong smells that wafted into the tent made the Lockheed R&D workers think of the foul-smelling "Skonk Works" factory in Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip.

Skunkware is a Skunkworks for Software.

Why is Skunkware Historically Important

The 90s releases of SCO Skunkware were on a mountable CD-ROM which contained an HTTP server and HTML documents with links to SCO Custom+ installable packages. NCSA Mosaic had been licensed by SCO shortly after its first release in 1993 and was used by Skunkware as the primary interface to browse the mounted CD-ROM. The CD also contained a Custom+ installable Skunkware SSO (Software Storage Object) which installed the Skunkware website in `/usr/local` on the system along with the HTTPD server which could then be used to run a Skunkware website from your system.

In those days the Web was just getting started in the medium and small business sectors, SCO's primary market. Further SCO controlled over 80% of the Unix on Intel market. Most medium and small businesses, if they had a computer, had one of the commodity off-the-shelf "inexpensive" personal computers that IBM had popularized. Much of that market was running an SCO operating system. SCO had the first licensed distribution of a web browser bundled with the operating system and that system came with a CD-ROM you could use to easily create a website and get on the Web - using Skunkware.

In addition to facilitating medium and small business entry to the Internet, Skunkware introduced this sector to open source software. The primary function of Skunkware was to deliver precompiled, preconfigured, packaged software components that were easy to install and use. These were all freely distributable open source software the Skunkware team had worked on and provided free of charge. Even though, at that time, the GNU Project had been around for a decade, it didn't have a kernel so it was incomplete with no operating system. Linux had just been released in 1991 and by 1994 still had very little market share other than hobbyists. SCO distributed a proprietary operating system but embraced open standards and incorporated many open source projects in their products. SCO Skunkware augmented SCO operating systems with hundreds of open source projects including an environment tailored for open source development.

In this way, Skunkware served as a significant influence in popularizing open source software in the business community and providing that community with tools to leverage the burgeoning power of open source and the Internet.

Release History

Archives of the SCO Skunkware releases are gradually being added to this website as time permits. Check the Releases Page to take a stroll through the Skunkware gardens of the past.

SCO Skunkware has been released frequently on CD-ROM and as a downloadable CD ISO image. Individual packages are distributed via FTP. The Skunkware CD release history is as follows:


SCO Skunkware components are licensed under a variety of terms. Most components are licensed under an OSI approved Open Source license. Many are licensed under the terms of either the GNU General Public License or the GNU Library General Public License. Licenses used by SCO Skunkware components include or are similar to:

A few of the components are “freeware” with no restrictions on their redistribution. Some components may restrict their use to non-commercial purposes or require a license fee for commercial use (e.g. MBROLA). Some components may be redistributed with special permission from the author(s) as is the case with KISDN. ## Packaging formats SCO Skunkware packages are typically distributed in the native packaging format of the operating system release for which they are intended. Package management systems used by SCO Skunkware include the following:

  • Old SCO Custom installable floppy images (SCO Xenix & UNIX 3.2v4)
  • New Custom SSO architecture media images (SCO OpenServer 5 and 6)
  • SysV pkgadd datastreams (UnixWare 2, UnixWare 7, Open UNIX 8)
  • RPM (OpenLinux 3, UnixWare 7, OpenServer 5 & 6)
  • Compressed tar and cpio archives (all platforms)


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