A/UX 2.0 leaves Paradise

In August 1990, the first copy of A/UX 2.0 was in the hands of users. There was not a mass protest, packages with a picture of a bitten Apple or portraits Scully, cut out of magazines, no one publicly burned. Success?

A/UX 2.0 was as good as A/UX 1.0 and A/UX 1.1 was terrible. It really was a devastatingly powerful beast in the skin of Mac. Apple has published a list of Macs compatible with A/UX 2.0: the list included the Macintosh SE/30, Macintosh IIcx, and Macintosh IIx, absolutely it is not suitable. This damage was not likely to have purchased A/UX 2.0 the only ones who knew how to spend a lot of money.

Continued. Beginning here, the previous part here.

The system basically meets the expectations of customers. Flaws and problems were, but the bounds of decency. And expectations of company management, apparently not. A/UX 2.0 is not “sell” the most expensive Mac and aliens from other platforms. Government organizations also were not checked on a multimillion-dollar sum. The few who knew, but the NeXT Computer, not too successful among a wide consumer mass, the banal went the Apple way. The place was busy. Governmental organizations and transnational corporations kept their sources of equipment and technologies in secret – in the Apple so no one would know.

The irony: it is the horror of the NeXT success pushed Apple to create their own UNIX, and it is NeXT gave Apple “beat” hundreds of millions invested in the project.

Apple did not give up. It seemed that even one or two efforts, and A/UX, next version will turn to her profit.

Meeting A/UX 2.0 with reality

A/UX 2.0 didn’t support the extended keyboard. At all.

The file names could only be used by characters of 7-bit ASCII. That is, any letters with accents, no Cyrillic in the “top half” ASCII file names are not allowed.

The resource names, for example, was not allowed a “character™”, very common in the names of third-party INIT’s from independent developers.

With INIT’AMI went wrong: during the “grooming” of potential buyers of the new system, Apple has repeatedly declared its victory over the problems with INIT’AMI (code resources, executable during system startup) and cdev’AMI (code resources, administrative control panels, i.e. configure the Mac-native A/UX). With the latest all was well, but with INIT’AMI had problems.

But this is not a feature of the system, and the bug. They had very little, but where do without them?

Any, even the most careful and meticulous testing can never identify all the problems. Axiom. In life there are circumstances that nobody can predict.

In addition, A/UX 2.0 is not supported by the connection of multiple monitors. The subject of well-deserved pride Apple, but for some serious reasons this opportunity in the A/UX 2.x never appeared. Actually, the second monitor is in UNIX e missed – but what to do…

Experienced by users (and A/UX, all users have been advanced) has established that the minimum amount of RAM for single user mode should not be lower than 8 megabytes (instead of 4, dubbed by Apple), and in multiplayer – not less than 20.

In the A/UX 2.0 was the best in the industry communication and networking technologies, but advanced users have complained about the excessive administrative complexity of networks, due to the fact that Apple is not included in the system and the utility in the Mac native style for this.

Complaining in General is bad, but for the advanced user, whose hand is already installed in the system a very good development environment, to complain about the lack of utility is simply a shame. However, most likely, those who complained were busy with some other important matters, and they didn’t have time for anything – no messing around with setting up network protocols, nor to invent and write an administrative program.

Find something that clearly lacks in the operating system, the dream of hundreds of people is almost the same as to find anyone’s oil or a rich gold claim.

In the network the set was not the most successful implementation of technology. For example, UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy) in the A/UX 2.0 was very old, with lots of bugs.

Happened in the A/UX 2.0 and “Woe from wit”: the SCSI Manager it was asynchronous. A synchronous device working with him could not. Almost all SCSI devices from Apple. Not a problem: the problem was solved by writing new drivers for these devices. Team A/UX 2.0 has you covered. Users didn’t even notice. While A/UX 2.0 is not faced with the infinity and diversity of the world, who appeared to her in the guise of SCSI devices from other manufacturers.

All deficiencies have been or can be solved (eventually, they decided), or they can be live.

Mac IIfx A/UX 2.0 in reality

The fact that A/UX 2.0 is huge and very demanding on resources and therefore be very quick she can not understand everything.

But Macintosh IIfx with a 68030 at 40 MHz, the most powerful and fastest of all the Macs of the era 68030 processors, inspired optimistic hopes.

Alas, unrealistic. On IIfx Apple Unix revived, jokingly coped with the tasks that the Macintosh IIx was gone forever. But oriented from powerful UNIX workstations that cost as much as the Macintosh IIfx, or even less, he is hopelessly behind.

The experts came to the conclusion that A/UX 2.0 is to blame. Summed up the iron. The most powerful and expensive Mac was not optimized for UNIX. Specialized workstations used quick bus built into the hardware means of access to the memory pages, and various other boosters. If not for these workstations, the Mac IIfx was one of the leaders of this race.

And the makers of the Macintosh IIfx also can’t blame that.

They developed the world’s most powerful Mac to work with System 6 and System 7 (which was already nearing completion), but nothing about A/UX 2.0 they are not reported. Not surprisingly, employees working in nearby rooms didn’t know what they do to their neighbors.

When jobs returned to Apple (before that was only 7 years old), the company was a mess, everyone knew everything and nobody knew what to do. Any little bit of interesting the secret of a few hours known all over Silicon valley, and with it the whole world (the Internet!).

One of his first steps in as interim CEO (iCEO if someone already forgot), there was a crackdown on the part of secrecy. Despite the dire Straits of the finances that he has invested in the provision “special regime” a considerable amount. Say, the security of Apple not inferior to the intelligence agencies of developed countries.

It is inevitable. For everything in the world has to pay for the imperfection of human nature have to pay dearly.

Back to the topic, it became quickly apparent that the inhabitants of the planet Unix is absolutely not interested in changing the situation and buy a Macintosh IIfx preloaded with A/UX do not want.


While Apple dealt with a failed conquest of the world and formulated a new strategy in the market there are competitors. Actually, when that happens, should be happy: if you imitate, you are doing something very right. But for some reason, usually no one is happy.

Surely there were more, but I know only two. On the ground will tell you immediately, before you forget and order more for him not to return. The system is called MacMach (read “makmak”), was developed at Carnegie-Mellon, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Use the Mach microkernel (developed at the same University) version 2.5, as in the then NeXTSTEP, and commercial Unix 4.3 BSD and from AT&T.

Mac System 7 in W MacMach run as one of the goals of UNIX. Everything worked, but the commercial success could never happen: the user had to buy a license on Unix and a copy of System 7.

It was more “scientific-research work of students”. NIRS, as it was called during my student days.

In 1994, when it was time to upgrade MacMach, it turned out that everyone who knew how to do it, already gone. And turned it off from the mains, what kind of Mary Thompson wrote a Memorandum and sent it to the University network. The text is preserved.

But MachTen (read “Mactan”) of the company from Tenon Intersystems Santa Barbara California brought Apple a lot of fun. Mach 2.5, with 4.3 BSD. From the beginning, this brazen little company aggressively and successfully promoted the project using all the shortcomings and weaknesses of A/UX 2.0, which could not know any one who wants to put Unix on your Mac.

MachTen 1.0 was released in August 1991. To this is from Tenon Intersystems had no money, but in the main computer, the media regularly published small, in telegraphic style, the ads on her behalf.

According to the authors, MachTen can be installed on ANY Mac E. For its installation is not required to divide hard disk into partitions, to rewrite the device drivers, and she took half of a typical in those days, a 40-megabyte drive. 4 times less than A/UX 2.0.

It was PowerBook’Ah is significantly faster than A/UX 2.0 is much more powerful Macs, has not yet faced a serious challenge – but this is a simple Tenon Intersystems messages about yourself and your product silent. To minimize the text, I suppose.

And in General, MachTen was much weaker and less useful than A/UX 2.0, but the pressure and the pressure brought results. Now on Macs was just another Unix.

In MachTen 1.0 is not supported by System 7, there was a development environment, and the installation of the X Window System was impossible. The cost is comparable to A/UX 2.0 (version for servers – 835 dollars, the version for client – 595).

But it was a real preemptive multitasking, uncompromising support TCP/IP, support Network File System (NFS), and in Unix. Shells, processes, threads (Mach 2.5).

In November, next “telegram” from Tenon Intersystems was reported that next month the system will be added options X Window System server and client, and in the first quarter of 1992 – full support for System 7. Environment for developer (with GNU C as a main dish) for MachTen now can be bought for $ 395, and the X Window System – 175. Two times cheaper than Apple took for the X Window system for A/UX.

Apple lawyers shrugged: these upstarts are doing everything correctly, not to find fault.

By the time 2.0 MachTen from Tenon Intersystems, is likely to have already been money on good advertising – but it is not required. A short message for InfoWorld, 11 may 1992 he played the role of detonator. Writing people of computer media came.

MachTen experienced A/UX 2.0 has been ported to PowerPC. In 2009, she still enjoyed at least a few people. It was Power MachTen 4.1.4, for Macs with PowerPC. After 2009 – darkness. Here’s a “Santa Barbara”.

To be continued. In the next series (or series) A/UX 3.0, Apple Workgroup Server and A/UX 3.1.1.

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