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SE/30 (finally a working A/UX machine!)

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Yesterday I got this SE/30. My previous conquest (IIfx) is still dead and I spent so long trying to troubleshoot it that I just burned out. At some stage I'll go back to it again, but it probably won't be anytime soon.


The SE/30 came with an external zip drive, install floppies and a box of floppies of different apps. Sadly, the apps were all missing disks, so none are complete. The SE is in good shape. Screen is bright and has no burn-in and the sound is good, so the caps must be in pretty good shape. The floppy needs a look as it's not reading any disks and won't format any either. Guess it probably needs a cleaning.


Anyway, the main reason I wanted this (apart from it being an SE/30) was to finally get A/UX installed. It's been a good year for finding machines to run all of the old operating systems I've gathered over the years. The 7500 covered Copland and the PPC versions of Rhapsody and BeOS. The smurf G3 took care of OS X Server and the OS X Developer Previews. And the old SPARCs allowed me to run Solaris OpenStep and MAE. All that was left was this pesky A/UX...


So tonight I got to work. I wasn't going to let the floppy get in my way so I initialised a zip disk with Apple HD SC Setup and copied the contents of the A/UX 3.0.1 boot floppy to it. I then chained the CDROM (an old SunCD I got with the SPARCs) to the zip drive and booted...



It took quite a while to get everything installed, but it all ended up successful. Finally I can strike A/UX off my list of "OS-es to run some day" :D



As you can see I could do with a bit more RAM. 8MB (and 80MB HD) is pretty much bare minimum for 3.0.1, but A/UX 2.0 has too many boot floppies so until I sort out the floppy drive I figured it was easier to go with 3.0.1.



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It was late enough when I got it up and rolling so I just used the camera for the pics. There's no ethernet card so I'd have had to link it up to another Mac over LocalTalk to get any sort of networking going. The floppy drive not working also cancels out sneakernet.


It hasn't crashed yet, but it is pretty slow. But then this is my first time with A/UX so I don't really know what it can do. I just ran the few bundled Mac OS apps and some unix commands.

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  • 1 month later...

I still haven't looked at the floppy drive but I installed A/UX 2.0 earlier by dd-ing the disc image onto a zip disk (similar to the method outlined here for 1.1.1)


It runs a lot faster on this hardware than 3.0.x, even from a zip disk. It would be nice to get this updated to 2.0.1 but I can't seem to find the complete update anywhere.

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I haven't had a chance to do much from the unix side. The main issue is I don't have any ethernet in this SE/30. Also, space is tight. In time I'll hook up one of my 18GB SCSI externals and install to a larger partition. My IIfx would be a better test rig, but I still need to try and get that working.


I guess you could get some idea by reading through the sets of documentation online. I only got to run A/UX for the first time recently so I'm a total n00b on that score ;)

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basalgangster wrote a good article on A/UX (read it here http://basalgangster.macgui.com/RetroMacComputing/The_Long_View/Entries/2010/9/25_A_UX.html). Among other general observations about the OS, he wonders why didn't Apple pursue the Unix strategy. He points out that Apple was dumping copious amounts of cash in creating a new OS and exploring using other OS cores (like Windows NT). And as everyone here knows, they ended up with something similar by going with NeXT OS. It certainly seems to me that they could have had a huge technological leg up on everyone and opened up new doors in the corporate market by sticking with A/UX.

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All I can say is 2.0 is more responsive than 3.0.2. I had some degree of networking going in 3.0.2 with LocalTalk (and LocalTalk Bridge on the "bridge" 7500) but I couldn't get that going on 2.0 (probably because I just dumped the install disc to zip rather than doing a proper install. So I'm not really "using" A/UX.


I'd be interested to know how compatible those SCSI ethernet solutions are with A/UX. Getting one seems to be the best way to get my two compacts networked.

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