Apple AUX project

First a little history. Apple came out with their version of UNIX, called A/UX, in 1988. A/UX was based on AT&T UNIX System V and BSD4.2/4.3, with a wide spectrum of features (STREAMS, TCP/IP, FFS, job control, NFS with YP, SCCS, printing, X Window Sys and so on). A/UX 3.x was a combination of the above mentioned Unix features with System 7 for the Macintosh, with the Finder and other Mac applications running under A/UX. The last version of A/UX, 3.1.1, was released in 1995.

So my project is to build a 040 machine and get A/UX running on it. I'll document part of the project here.

Burrowing around i found the binaries for v2 and v3 and the 3.1 update. Created a boot floppy and 2 cd-roms using Toast.

Looking in the lost machine room i see two IIsi's but with 17mb ram and small drives they would only be char based terminals and I want X on the box. There is a IIci which has 32mb and a 1gig disk. This would work. Installed a cache card, a nubus video card and an ethernet card. Then found some A/UX docs that noted the '030 in the ci restricted it to running v2. It also has a pokey 1.5mbps scsi bus. So i need to find a 040 machine with the faster 5mpbs scsi controller.

The best target would be quadra 650 or 800 with a 66mhz bus, 040 cpu @ 33mhz, max of 136mb ram and a 2gig hd. The 950 is another option but it takes 30pin ram so maxes out at 64mb unless you buy the rare 16mb simms @ $10 each. Oddly enough i used to have a 950 but gave it away a couple years back. The fast 040 AV machines are not compatible.

So while we look for a machine lets find some documentation. Found a couple of .pdf docs and some good info, particularly on which led me to the only book on A/UX, which of course is out of print. Over to's network of used booksellers and found a copy for $2.09 will take a few weeks to get here which gives me time to locate a machine.

Book never arrived - impounded by customs or stolen.

950 is coming on Jan 2. Will upgrade to 64mb ram and a 2gig hard disk and set up the partitions in advance of the install.

Found the A/UX images. Added a .toast extension else they were unrecognizable to toast under osx. Mounted the 3.01 image and burned the cd. The 3.1 update image could not be mounted by toast. Mounted it under osx and ran disk first aid to fix the problem. Then dragged the mounted image to toast. Added the X11R5 libraries and the zoo utility and burned the update cd. Now have the 2 cd's and the boot floppy.

The Quadra 950 arrived today. Cleaned it up and put in a Quantum 800mb scsi drive, 76mb of ram, ethernet and a scsi cd-rom. Huge power supply, the fan is almost 6" and really moves air. Space for several large hard disks.

Used disk copy to make a bootable floppy A/UX install from the downloaded .img file.

Booted into AU/X install - couldn't find CD. The original cd in the 950 had been upgraded and the a/ux cdrom driver was not compatible. Tried two external cd-rom's but it doesn't seem to look on the external scsi bus? So need to find and install a 2X internal drive which means taking the thing apart. I have a 600i and the 7100 should have a 2X and one of the externals may be a 300i. Once i have a suitable cd drive installed will try again...

Installed a Toshbia xm 3501 cdrom and recreated the boot cd from the image using toast on osx. The trick is to:

1. mount the image from within toast
2. use cd to cd copy with the source the mounted image

this gave me a bootable cd. Booted from the floppy and the cd was recognized and the system booted into the a/ux installer. Welcome to the apple workgroup server 95. Choose the easy install so a/ux would set up partitions automatically but also selected choose software and checked all packages including macX an X11 R4! package. Clicked install and it started and promptly crashed with disk read error, unit not ready. This was the 800mb drive, the 160mb also gave an error. Thinking that maybe setting up the partitions in advance of installing by booting macos and using disk setup.

2nd attempt - using custom setup to specify partitions.

Choose custom and clicked on partition (instead of initialize) and the disk paritioning scheme menu was displayed. I choose custom and the partition table was shown. Deleted the mac partition leaving the 512k FWB driver and the 60k apple driver43 in place. Created the following partitions:

150,000 k swap
309,202 k unix root and usr slice 0
86,289 k unix usr slice 2
109,244 k a/ux autorecovery
40,056 k scratch
16 k mac driver
124719 mac volume

Clicked done and partition was successful. Next went on to install the system files. At the standard macparition install i choose standard install. Next step was to choose the a/ux software to install. I took it all! Clicked install and away it went until the error - could not complete your request, not enough memory. (76mb in the system). ok try again later

After many failed attempts, i think the solution to the problem is to:

1. use a non-terminated hard disk
2. always do a custom install and setup partitions manually
3. have a variety of disks around to try out
4. Update the hd drives with a/ux ones

All the hard drives i used worked fined under macOS but A/UX seems a bit picky. The apple branded ibm 160 failed with errors, as did the quantum 800mb and the conner 2gig. Right now the quantum 760mb is done with only 1 read timeout error and 1 disk write error that retried successfully. Moral seems to be you must have a perfect disk or maybe geometry is important too.

I also changed the toshiba 3501 cd-rom to an apple 300 plus and removed the odd double sided 8/16 mb ram and any non-matching ram sticks. Put in 64mb of matched 30 pin ram. Set the swap to 130mb. This should be plenty. I think this supports DAT so if i could move the 8600 dat drive to an external i could back this up as well as the apple server.

Rebooted into the macintosh desktop which is ver 7.1 and it has a mac hd (100mb) and a / hard disk which is the a/ux mount. The mac hd consists of a regular system folder, teachtext, a bin folder with unix programs ls, cat, mkdir, fsck, cp etc etc, a launch icon and an a/ux startup icon. The about this mac box lists total ram in use as 16mb with 5mb used for the system and 576k for the commandshell which is basically a terminal window. Peformance of macos is sluggish compared to just macos 7.x running without the a/ux overhead.

The finder menu has finder and commandshell. Select commandshell and you get the a/ux terminal. all the usual stuff etc, bin, dev, mnt. The scsi hd is id 0, the cd id 5. The floppy is mounted as d0 and the mac address is 08:00:07:0C:29:47

Went to control panels, mactcp, ethernet, default ip is and can't be changed here. Used network control to change from localtalk to ethernet. Ran chooser and selected appletalk anf the g3 and os9 apple servers were displayed. As usual, the osx server did not work (never does it with older macs) the os9 did allow login but the program then crashed with error 4. Checked console and there were disk r/w errors. Rebooted/ (NOTE: this may be the same problem the SE/30 had which was solved by setting up a machine with appleshare)

Let's set up the IP networking.

1. Open commandshell window
2. type newconfig which builds a new kernel
3. gave it a host name of deanna
4. entered nothing for nis
5. gave it a static ip address of
6. netmask of
7. broadcast address of


The next steps are to enable networking in /etc/inittab, set the default route of in /etc/rc and then add the dns servers to /etc/resolve.conf which means i have to haul out my System V manual as i can never remember vi commands...

Was able to finish off networking by editing /etc/inittab with following changed lines:


edited /etc/rc to add the following line:

/usr/etc/route add default

and created an /etc/resolv.conf file with these lines:


rebooted and was able to ping but not the dns servers. So the gateway is not being picked up. Also did some misc chores:

Set root password with passwd command
Added gord account with adduser command

Deleted /mac/sys/Login System Folder/Preferences/Autologin to stop system from auto booting to root but it did not seem to work

probably should remove the guest account too!

Next task - burn a a/ux bootable 3.11 update cd and then apply AWS tuneup 2.0 to produce the final image.

NOTE: once it was working i gave it away as the 950 took up too much room. I think the next stage in this project would be to use some of the pizza boxes (LC series) and create an a/ux machine. If i replace the innards with a full 040 and 64mb of ram it would run fast enough. I did this for the color classic - swapped in a board from an LC 575 but replaced the cpu with a full 33mhz 040, added a 64mb ram stick for 72mb of ram, filled the vram slots and put in a scsi-3 50 pin 2 gig hard disk and the thing flies!. Haven't done the 640 video mod yet.


Eudimorphodon's picture

I think the next stage in this project would be to use some of the pizza boxes (LC series) and create an a/ux machine. If i replace the innards with a full 040 and 64mb of ram it would run fast enough.

A/UX doesn't run on the LC pizzaboxes. (LC/LCII/LCIII/Q605) Smallest machine it'll work on is the Quadra 610.


Do you have the 2.01 CD image by chance? I have the 2.0 and wanted the 2.01 (1st to support the IIfx).

I have some 475 pizza boxes and some full 040 replacement cpu's that should make it go.

Will check when the iifx arrives. Heavy teaching load this term so it may be a bit...

Eudimorphodon's picture

I have some 475 pizza boxes and some full 040 replacement cpu's that should make it go.

The problem with the LC pizzaboxes isn't the 68040LC. Even if you replace it with the full 68040 A/UX doesn't have drivers for the rest of the hardware in those machines.

If you make it go you'll be the first.


Looks like you are right, Paul Lezica tried it but it didn't work. I have a IIci and a 630 lying around anyway and a stack of 64mb ram sticks.