Unix or a Cup of poison?

One of the main topics of the may issue of MacUser in 1990 was just announced a new version of A/UX. On the cover promised “Unix, which you’ll love,” a discussion of UNIX and love began on a 363-page, with a question about UNIX e and the Cup of poison.

Article by Stefan Somogyi began with the question: “If the typical Mac user is suggested to choose to drink poison or go to Unix, what would he choose?”.

According to Stefan, a typical user would have fallen into a reverie.

From the following text you can understand that A/UX 2.0 is a completely different Unix. Live and enjoy, give the Cup of poison immediately. “You’ll see, he’s not terrible…”

I had another question: as people at that time in the magazine 430 pages (five-sixths of which is advertising) have found what they are interested in? Especially in the table of contents, and “on the spot” article was called not as on the cover?

Continued. Start here.

In April–may 1990 rare edition computer press is not dedicated to A/UX 2.0 a couple of pages, obviously it was something extraordinary and unusual.

A typical user’s Mac, Unix, and conquering the world

I wonder what would the typical Mac user’s of our time, a bowl or Unix? Does at least one in a thousand of them about what’s inside the macOS is Darwin, a Unix-clan BSD? But mass poisoning is unlikely: now few people know what Unix. This cleanser, a prehistoric version of “You’re super” or something else? Eat, drink, wear or wash?

Yes, just in case, agree to call Darwin is not UNIX ohms, and Unix-like system. In the zero a few releases of Mac OS X Server have successfully passed all the required tests and was formally recognized as “real UNIX AMI”, but the status of “true” must be confirmed for each release separately, it is a big hassle, worth the money – and the Apple of our days playing on another field.

The failure of the A/UX 1.0 and A/UX 1.1, clearly not suited for the role of a superweapon to conquer the world, only challenged Apple executives. The fear of jobs and NeXT Computer are gone, the price of a Mac and bewitched – but they still bought, and even felt for him something like love.

And Apple Computer was still hoping to get the Federal government to the list of its customers, so in 1990, almost simultaneously, was declared and shown to A/UX 2.0, different from A/UX 1.x as heaven from earth, and released the most powerful Mac at the time, the Macintosh IIfx. The output of the A/UX 2.0 was publicly scheduled for August 1990.

Macintosh IIfx was the most expensive Mac om in history. And one of the most popular models of the platform – no matter what. I also dreamed of IIfx.

The first mention of A/UX 2.0, I found, dated April 2, 1990. WWDC in 1990 was held from 7 to 11 may, a new version of this system was announced there, that’s for sure.

Mac IIfx took half the advertising space in Mac-native press in may, and since the same may very actively wrote – there remains an open question. Not without the participation of Apple, the press now respond to events rapidly, and is technically quite possible, after receiving the data (and a contract for a decent amount of) from Apple on 7 may, EN masse to bring them down for readers in a few days.

But even the most insignificant credit a developers conference in may of 1990 I found. We only know that WWDC in 1990 was held.

And while A/UX 2.0 is not in the hands of the users thought that the world is at the feet of Apple.

The output of the A/UX 2.0 was scheduled for August 1990. People had time to enjoy and dream.


In A/UX 2.0 32 innovations, and Macintosh IIfx they are generally 53 – claimed Apple Computer.

Breathed something native and familiar, right? In the jobs era of innovation consisted of plenty (hundreds), and at a closer look, not all of them pulling on innovation – but is this the case? In war as in war, all means that brings victory.

A/UX 1.x was, from the point of view of the user, UNIX ohms rather than the system of Mac. A/UX 2.0 is a Mac with UNIX Ohm inside. If the user does not know, he may not notice that it is a different operating system. The external look and feel (look and feel – the most important value ovskogo the Mac interface) is completely Mac native.

Thus A/UX 2.0 is a different system. It is written from scratch, based on System 6, but it already uses elements not yet released System 7. Striking someone, breaking all the rules draconian paranoid secrecy, brought a few different teams together to solve specific problems – only the head of the company had the right to do.

From System 7 borrowed a few things like “Set Aside” (aside) this command allows to hide all Windows and dialogs open application, similar to the current “Hide” and “Show”, and some others.

In A/UX 2.0 could be simultaneously executed applications for Macs, Unices for the X Window System. Mac-native programs that do not violate the rule 32-bit clean, has worked without problems with the preemptive (real) multitasking. With the X Window System, in the boundless huge the base set it was not. She needed to buy for their money ($350).

There is also a new class of programs, a “hybrid” is a Unix program that uses the Mac native libraries. It was expected that programs in this class will become a prominent feature of the Mac Osco-UNIX ovogo landscape. Maybe they existed, but I found only a mention, and only about one – Intermedia, the development of brown University. More I about them heard nothing and have not experienced them. I even guess why.

And if we went to a booze, to the list of concurrent programs, add a program for MS DOS and MS Windows. SoftPC from Insignia Solutions cost even cheaper than support the X Window System, with very high quality imitated 386 processor. “How to live” – according to eyewitnesses.

Between programs of all supported systems (like even the DOS and Windows) worked as Copy/Paste. Programs for Unix or for DOS, it was very unusual, better than in their “home”.

In the system supported three file system, SVFS (System V), FFS (BSD, nowadays called UFS) and the Mac HFS ovsky. From the user’s point of view, they did not differ from one another. Difficulties and differences, the user was isolated thoroughly debugged software.

UNIX like side of the system was improved by the many small but very valuable tools. For example, the utility Commando facilitates the input UNIX oriented commands in the command line. Keyboard shortcut Command-K is displayed in which the user could, in an environment friendly to the user to enter the parameters of a few hundred UNIX commands novel Macintosh’Nika the usual way.

Commando borrowed from the MPW (Macintosh Programmer Workshop), and TextEditor text editor for programming, scripting shell or just texts. Very convenient thing for those who haven’t been used by editors like “vi”.

IN A/UX 1.x important for Mac-native system executable resources types of INIT and cdev were not working in A/UX 2.0 announced full and unconditional support them (and this here did not work, had a lot of problems – but now they decided to rewrite the strikers INIT and cdev).

Software for Mac, comply with the laws of 32-bit cleanliness, could also work in A/UX 2.0, but with limitations (no multitasking at all, etc.). That is, if it required a “bloody nose”, nothing impossible was not.

And bugs in the UNIX part of the room almost was not. Heard the opinion of knowledgeable people – it was the cleanest port of System V for the whole story. It was also unusual.

Stop: to enumerate all that is good and unusual in A/UX 2.0 it would take years and gigabytes of articles… Probably enough.

It was obvious that the system is outstanding. Apple and its partners UniSoft worked on it carefully and with love, trying not to miss anything. And now no one bothered them.

And no less evident was clear that the resources of this system will need incredibly much. And then, as if accidentally, in the arena have gotten a new Mac, Macintosh IIfx, the most powerful computer on the 68030 processor, and the most expensive Mac ever.

The performance he went around the still most powerful Mac (Mac IIci) by 70-100%. And was very popular, despite the amount on the price tag. Dreamed about it.

And it was clear that to pay for all this will have users, and a lot.

We pay the price! Or stand up?

To buy the A/UX 2.0 you can:

  • on floppy disks (40 disks!);
  • on CD/ROM (several pieces);
  • on the tape QIC-100 for the Apple Tape Backup 40 SC;
  • preinstalled on the hard disk or on the computer.

The first three ways was a cruel test of courage on them, the user deposits pitfalls. Since the first Apple II a perusal of the documentation was not as necessary and vital. Correctly to break a disk into sections, without which it was impossible, and wrong is broken the whole undertaking was doomed to failure. And many, many dangers lurked between the rocks.

The first three methods were the lowest, although the hardware requirements are A/UX 2.0 and savings “on the pins”, I think, incompatible in principle. But many chose one of these hard ways – honor and eternal memory of the slain of their time.

Set on diskettes cost $ 995. The drive for the CD was worth much more than 200 dollars, and this option willingly bought. I would not dare.

The version on the CD/ROM cost 795 dollars.

Tape QIC-100 – $ 995. Owners of cassette devices to backup other models and/or manufacturers were waiting for a bummer: supply cassette is read only on the Apple Tape Backup 40 SC and even if a third-party device was 100% compatible with “Apple”, it was useless. Whether it was the result of some bug or deliberate sabotage – a sluggish dispute between the few who were aware, over itself. User groups helped the victims by providing them on your own Apple Tape Backup 40 SC, for a small fee.

Installation required process understanding, attention and care and held (if everything went as it should) about an hour and a half.

If “how to” did not work, the installation could take several weeks. However, the people went home at a reasonable time and weekend minding my own business – but the epic was still the same. The most difficult in this story to understand why it all suddenly established. Offer to return everything to its original position and try again understanding the administration did not cause. The mystery remained a mystery.

The most practical, in my opinion, was the option of “factory” preset A/UX 2.0, as well as time and nerves – the irreplaceable resource.

This option had three sub-options:

  • hard disk capacity is 80 MB, A/UX 2.0 and SCSI cable for $ 2395;
  • Macintosh IIci with 4 MB of RAM and a hard disk of 80 MB, and A/UX 2.0, 7269 dollars;
  • Macintosh IIfx, 4/80, 10 469 dollars.

In early 1991, came the Macintosh IIsi, to support which has released A/UX 2.0.1. It was probably the best of the modular Macs of the era 68030 – it was cheaper than the IIci, but the performance was somewhere between the Mac IIci, and Mac IIfx. How much “give” IIsi with A/UX 2.0.1, I don’t know, but it was the only option that I have from time to time used.

Very much (documentation in typographic design, the X Window System, etc.), on the one hand, was considered an integral part of the system, on the other – was supplied for a fee. On the disk part of the documentation was, but only a part.

In addition, 4 MB of RAM for A/UX 2.0 was negligible. And the disk 80 MB was full the service files of the system almost to the eyeballs. This I mean that the acquisition system (in any form) costs do not end there. And all this cost a lot of money…

To be continued. In the next series — A/UX 2.0 and the reality A/UX 3.0, MachTen (a competitor!) and the Apple Workgroup Server.

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