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I'm trying to replace an old computer which is boot from a floppy disk with novell netware 3.12 with a modern computer. This computer has a serial com port and an Ethernet card, and all is does is to convert from serial com to lan. The lan cable is connected to a switch and the data goes to two computers, one for monitoring and one for storing. What I want to do, is to run the software for monitoring and storing on a computer with a com port and get rid of the computer with novell netware and the switch on the way.

I have the floppy disk image of novell netware. I checked it. All it does is to load novel netware. this is the autoexec.bat file:

lsl
rem pnpodi
rtsodi
ipxodi
vlm
f:
login node1
map

and this is net.cfg:

NetWare DOS Requester
FIRST NETWORK DRIVE = F
NETWARE PROTOCOL = NDS BIND
MAX IPG = 0

I uploaded the floppy image here: Floppimage.ima you can open ima files with winimage free to download at winimage.com

I'm not familiar with novell systems. First I want to make sure all the thing this computer does is to forward data on com port to lan. And then I want to know how to use data on a com port as a local lan node on windows.

and by the way does anybody knows what Netware protocol= NDS BIND does up there?

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Your URL appears to be broken. –  SysAdmin1138 Aug 14 '11 at 13:11
    
I fixed the url. –  Pourya Jahandideh Aug 14 '11 at 13:38
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2 Answers

What you have on your hands is a DOS-mode program running with a NetWare client. It is entirely possible that the NetWare part isn't needed, but that depends on what the program is and how it sends data to the other two computers. If it is using an actual NetWare server for the transfer, the program drops data into a specific NW-hosted directory where the other computers then read it, then it would be integral. If you still have a NetWare server somewhere about, this may be the case.

However, if it's just there because that's the DOS-boot disk the original maker of this system had on hand had on it, then you can get away with not using it.

Chances are good that you may be able to use either a DOS-boot floppy that doesn't have the Netware NETX client on it, or maybe a straight up Windows install with the right compatibility flags set.

I'll grab the floppy image an see what I can make of it, and will update if I learn anything.


Dissecting the boot-process on this thing...

CONFIG.SYS:

lastdrive=Z
files=100
Buffers=50

Nothing special there.

AUTOEXEC.BAT:

cls
@echo *****************************************
@echo *** PETERSIME NETWORK NODE CONTROLLER *** 
@echo *****************************************
@echo *                                       *
@echo *            BOOTDISK NODE1             *
@echo *          NOVELL 3.2 - ARB1572         *
@echo *          ETHERNET FRAME 802.2         *
@echo *                                       *
@echo *****************************************
node1

It invokes a batch-file called NODE1.BAT. The NET.CFG file you've already posted, but nothing special there either.

NODE1.BAT:

lsl           -- Load key part of the VLM client
rem pnpodi    -- Commented out
rtsodi        -- Load the network driver for the VLM client
ipxodi        -- Load the IPX network-protocol driver for the VLM client
vlm           -- Load the VLM client, which starts the connection to the NetWare server
f:            -- Changes directory to the SYS:/PUBLIC/LOGIN directory on the NW server
login node1   -- Logs in as the "node1" user, which should also run the login-script
map           -- Shows the drives mapped as part of the login-script

It looks like the secret sauce here is hiding in the login-script that is executed after login by the node1 user. This likely invokes an executable located somewhere on the NetWare server itself that then loads locally, which monitors the RS-232 traffic. Since the TCP/IP driver isn't being loaded, I'm guessing one of two things are happening here:

  1. The program drops the data to a directory somewhere on the NetWare server where the other two computers then monitor and act on it.
  2. The program uses IPX to directly deliver/serve data to the other machines somehow.

I'd put good odds on the first being the more likely case, though I do know a lot of weird and hard to support configurations were around in the early 90's. At my old job we had some scientific instruments that were attached to Windows 3.11 machines because their ISA cards wouldn't go in anything newer and Win3.11 was the most recent driver for them. At least one was hard-coded for IPX, not TCP/IP, which meant we had to use tricks like this to get data out of it.

Since your NET.CFG file is saying "use NDS first" it is near certain that you at least have a NetWare 4.11 server running around somewhere. The login-script is either a user-specific login-script, or one for the Organizational Unit that the 'node1' user is located in. GETTING that script may prove tricky if you don't have a NetWare admin-person around to ask about it. If it is a user login-script, there is a way to get at it from the command line but I have forgotten how (it has been, I kid you not, 15 years since I had to do that).


There is one final case of what it could be. It could be that all the login-script does is map NetWare drives to drive-letters, and after boot a person issues a series of commands to bring up the right program. If that's the case, find the person who does that and question them.

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If you check the floppy disk, Novell Netware is all there is. Then since it's a netware client there should be a server. –  Pourya Jahandideh Aug 14 '11 at 13:35
    
But still I have a question. How does Novell Netware with this configuration, finds out it should forward data on RS232 port? –  Pourya Jahandideh Aug 14 '11 at 13:36
1  
+1 good stuff @SysAdmin1138. Pourya, you may get further by manually executing the commands in node1.bat and seeing what responses you get - especially when you issue 'login node1' –  Linker3000 Aug 14 '11 at 14:46
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I am not sure if I follow what you are trying to do exactly, but it seems from the information you have given that you have a PC running the Netware CLIENT app, not the server. Perhaps you could add some more info or a diagram?

The line Netware protocol = NDS BIND sets up the client to communicate with the 'old style' BINDery authentication model and the 'newer' Netware Directory Services (NDS) model - in short, this permits the client to communicate with older Netware 2.x and 3.x servers (BINDery mode) and 4.x onwards servers in NDS mode (or 4.x onwards servers with BINDERY support).

Your question is probably going to get a better audience on Serverfault so I have flagged it for moving.

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Actually, it's good right here. –  SysAdmin1138 Aug 14 '11 at 12:52
    
This is a diagram: pjsoft.persiangig.com/diagram.png And I didn't know there is a novell netware server. Does novell netware client necessarily connect to a novell netware server. Actually I don't have information about other computers in the diagram yet, so I don't know if there's a netware server where it is run. –  Pourya Jahandideh Aug 14 '11 at 13:17
    
@SysAdmin1138: I was just thinking that there may be more Netware-oriented folks over there. –  Linker3000 Aug 14 '11 at 14:47
    
@Linker3000 There is exactly one active user on SF, and a couple rarely-logs-in users, and I have email alerts set up for the NetWare tag on both SF and SU. –  SysAdmin1138 Aug 14 '11 at 14:50
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