Mac "Workgroup Server" (or "network server") hardware & AIX

Sean Caron scaron at
Tue Apr 26 22:21:14 CDT 2016

On Tue, 26 Apr 2016, Swift Griggs wrote:

> Has anyone ever seen either A/UX or AIX running on an Apple Network Server
> or Apple Workgroup Server? I had several hundred AIX machines running in a
> server farm for a while, but even the oldest was POWER4 based, and I've only
> done a bit of legacy support for PPC60x-based RS/6000 systems. I don't
> belive I've ever seen an ANS or AWS IRL.

I have an AWGS 95. Basically a Quadra 950 with a special PDS card and DDS 
drive. It runs A/UX 3.0.1 ... I also ran A/UX 3.0.1 on my IIfx for a while 
but I got tired of it and reloaded the machine with System 7.

Out of all the machines Apple made, only the IIfx and the AWGS 95 were in 
any way engineered with A/UX in mind ... IIRC, the I/O coprocessors in the 
IIfx only run in A/UX, and the PDS card in the WGS 95 is only supported in 

A/UX is an interesting system. Compatibility with System 7 apps is pretty 
good, though not perfect. The UNIX environment is pretty stunted but that 
could have been fixed with further development. They did manage to combine 
the System 7 GUI with a basic UNIX command line. One favorite alternative 
reality of mine is to imagine Apple continuing to develop A/UX, improving 
the UNIX environment and applications compatibility, using the Copland UI 
instead of buying NeXT and turning NeXTstep into Mac OS X. But BeOS was 
better than either of them ;)

> I'm curious what the last version of AIX that will run on them.  I'm
> guessing 4.x.  I'm also curious if there is one machine that can run A/UX,
> AIX, MacOS, and NetBSD.

The Workgroup Servers were 68k Macs that ran A/UX (or later just PPC Macs 
that ran Mac OS and AppleShare). In the case of the WGS 95, there was a
hop-up board included, but it was still just a Quadra 950 at heart that 
can run Mac OS like any other Q950. The Network Servers were PPC machines 
that ran AIX and only AIX... and in that regard not really Macs, IMO. A/UX 
never ran on PPC. I saw a fair number of Workgroup Servers back in the good
ole days, 68k and PPC, but I've never ever seen a Network Server.

I remember the "Applefritter" site was hosted on an ANS 700 for a while 
and I thought I read somewhere that it ran on AIX 4.x.

No such machine exists but it's interesting to think what may have come 
had CHRP succeeded and Apple did things a little differently. I miss the 
RISC wars... :O



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