In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

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ClassicHasClass
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In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:38 pm

I know of at least one other person here with an ANS (we all have anuses, though, and like opinions they all stink), which for the uninitiated is to date the last and certainly largest non-Macintosh computer Apple ever made. It ran AIX, not Mac OS, although they can be coerced to run Linux and NetBSD. My ANS 500, which I named stockholm for no good reason, came to me nearly new in 1998 and it served as my primary server for 14 years, including as gopher.ptloma.edu (when it existed) and http://www.floodgap.com. Although uppsala, the POWER6, has replaced it since 2012, it still works great and still has a place of honour in my machine room.

I meant for a long time to compile and publish all the notes and software I had in my archives, and now I have, plus some pictures from when stockholm was in operation way back when (including the signatures of the designers on the back of the front panel). I've also put up the Mac OS Services integration piece -- yes, ANS AIX speaks AppleTalk and can receive Apple Events -- showing how Mac OS clients can make "AppleTalk RPC" calls to the ANS, and uploaded all my old AIX 4.1-compatible FOSS packages to the gopher server. They should work on any AIX 4.1 system, and I have some for AIX 3.2.5 too if anyone has an RS/6000 of that vintage.

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ans/

0001-0500.jpg
stockholm in 1998, in my old office.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby Geoman » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:10 pm

Cool! I never heard of this computer before!
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SGI - the legend will never die!!

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:20 pm

Not many people have. Apple didn't really know how to sell it and it was prohibitively expensive (starting at $10,000), and of the few people who bought it, not many of them knew what to do with it. It was very powerful for its class, though.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby foetz » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:02 pm

an aix apple, nice. anynow the question remains why you're giving them swedish city names :P

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby theinonen » Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:57 pm

Classic case of Stockholm syndrome.

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:41 am

I had a helsinki, too. The Cobalt is named oulu and my file server is named oslo.

The real reason is stockholm was supposed to be named kalgoorlie, after the Australian city (since I'm half Aussie and I liked the name), but I couldn't remember how to spell it and the network administrator said, "well, just call it SOMETHING!" So that started the trend.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby jpstewart » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:12 am

Nice! I've long wanted an ANS just because of how rare and obscure they are. (And they run Unix!) Since that's unlikely to ever actually happen, I enjoyed reading about yours.
:Indigo2IMP: :Octane: :Indigo: :O3x0:
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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby SAQ » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:42 pm

jpstewart wrote:Nice! I've long wanted an ANS just because of how rare and obscure they are. (And they run Unix!) Since that's unlikely to ever actually happen, I enjoyed reading about yours.


If you want an Apple product that runs UNIX get A/UX (for SysV fans) or System X. The ANS is an Apple - but it runs AIX v4.1 which, while less peculiar than AIX v3, still has plenty of quirks and in the end is more IBM than Apple (I think all Apple contributed was some device drivers).

For your AIX needs get a RS/6000/pSeries/P unless you really like oddish hardware - much better support.
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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:41 pm

Apple did actually somewhat more to AIX. Besides the Shiner architecture support bits, both as BOS changes and some separate utilities, they also included unique AppleTalk and Apple Events implementations (and the developer tools needed), and in 4.1.5 added AFP over TCP.

I got a lot working on that ANS over the years, much more than I ever got A/UX to do, even though A/UX is far more practical as a workstation OS and runs on lots of machines. (I do like A/UX's merging of Mac OS and SysV, though, architecturally speaking.) But I agree if you just want to play with AIX, there are better choices.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby jpstewart » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:47 am

SAQ wrote:If you want an Apple product that runs UNIX get A/UX

Oh, that's on the wish list, too! (And more likely to actually happen.) It's the rarity of the ANS line that I find appealing. (The "what the heck is that?" factor, I guess.) That same rarity is what makes ClassicHasClass' write-up and pictures so interesting.
:Indigo2IMP: :Octane: :Indigo: :O3x0:
Sun SPARCstation 20, Blade 2500, T5240
HP C8000

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ScutBoy » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:14 am

ClassicHasClass,

This is awesome! I have two of these guys (which may be one too many). One is running BSD, since I didn't have the AIX media, but I've since come into the original software set for these guys and have been intending to set up #2 with a "stock" install.

If anyone within pickup distance of Minneapolis wants one of these guys, I can probably be persuaded to part with one for trades for other vintage Apple gear, etc. I do need to fire it up and make sure there are no issues, etc. but it should be OK.

Running off now to go through CHC's website...
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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:40 pm

How is BSD on your ANS? Do you have a video card in it, or just use serial?
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ScutBoy » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:49 am

ClassicHasClass wrote:How is BSD on your ANS? Do you have a video card in it, or just use serial?


I have a video card in mine, but using the onboard video/keyboard for console is flakey (and is called out to be so in the doc) for reasons I can't remember now. I usually just run it headless, but if I need a console, I just plug in a Mac Plus or SE running Zterm or equivalent and that works fine as a console.

NetBSD runs great, but I don't fire the machine up much these days so I know I'm way behind on updates/patches. With the RAID card, disk I/O is pretty good. CPU can bog down with anything compute intensive, as you probably know ;)
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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:04 am

No, I know that the Cirrus video chipset is not well-supported. I was just curious if you had Open Firmware set to use the PCI video card as the output port, and how well that worked with NetBSD.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: In which I confess my love for the Apple Network Server

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Fri May 02, 2014 5:38 pm

So the POWER6 threw a rod (anyone know service request code 11002624? I suspect the RAID card, because the RAID array is not coming up) and of course on a Friday afternoon when my sales rep is on Eastern time and has gone home for the weekend.

The ANS is temporarily doing server duty, just like it used to. Fortunately, the POWER6 had done its usual backup automatically, so at most I lost an hour or two of E-mail.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...


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