Aaru is a fully featured media dump management solution. You usually know media dumps as disc images, disk images, tape images, etc.
With Aaru you can identify a media dump, extract files from it (for supported filesystems), compare two of them, create them from real media using the appropriate drive, create a sidecar metadata with information about the media dump, and a lot of other features that commonly would require you to use separate applications.
The year is 1983, and several Apple employees visit Brown University, and get some idea of what Universities want in a computer for the coming future. The big buzz of the era was the so called 3M machine:
1 Megabyte of Memory
1 Megapixel display
1 Megaflop of performance
Naturally the Macintosh didn’t fill this void, instead leaving this to the new SUN-2 workstation. However seeing the opportunity, in 1984 the seeds were planted for the ‘Big Mac’ project. The hardware design was headed by Rich Page, which included new things like ADB, and dedicated video RAM, along with a 68020 processor, and 68881 maths co-processor. Additionally Big Mac was intended to run a UniPlus version of SYSV Unix, along with the MacOS Toolbox being ported to run directly on top of Unix.
All that I can find of the Big Mac project is this insanely low resolution image, along with the codename ‘Milwaukee‘.
However all this came to and end in 1985 with the ouster of Steve Jobs, who in turn took various people including Bud Tribble, George Crow, Susan Barnes, Susan Kare, Dan’l Lewin, and Rich Page. Apple followed up with a $5MM USD lawsuit alleging that Jobs had done research for a next generation product and taken the key staff, namely Page from Apple to make it reality. The suit was eventually dismissed.
From there the race was on to build a 3M machine. NeXT would take the Big Mac concept further with the NeXT CUBE which included ADB, NuBUS and a 68030/68882 + SCSI + Ethernet setup. And for the OS, 4.3BSD Tahoe+Mach 2.5, along with a new Objective C language, and new OO frameworks.
Back at apple however the ‘Big Mac’ project seemed to have stagnated, and was slimmed down and eventually shipped as the Macintosh II in 1987. There no doubt was a re-awoken sense of urgency in the academic space for the 3M market, now that NeXT was making a 3M machine Apple of course didn’t want to be pushed out of the new space. Apple released a real 1.0 product (1.1.1 survives, although you have to run ( /etc/toolboxdaemon & ; term) to get anything fun from Shoebill with the ISO), what can barely be called a bare bones SYSV port with overlapping terminals at best..
Overwhelming, and interesting this is not.
This of course was more like a tech demo, running a single ‘Unix toolbox app’ at a time. Pricing according to usenet was around $500 for the software, keeping in mind of course that a Macintosh II would be far more expensive. Version 1 also started to add BSD features namely curses in 1.0, allowing you to port simple terminal ‘graphics’ to the OS. The trend of adding BSD features was only going to continue from here! But all of this is a large step up from the earliest known version simply labeled as 0.7 which despite it’s ‘Oreo’ appearance is strictly text mode only.
Dawning of a new era
The real magic is in 2.0:
Think of it more like the OSX of the 1980s. Finder has been ported over to the Toolbox on Unix API allowing A/UX 2.0 to run off the shelf MacOS applications. Under the hood however is the same UniSoft SYSVr2. However running MacOS on top of Unix gives it far faster disk IO, and of course the much vaunted memory protection, although with the massive catch that it’s only for Unix applications. You can still crash applications, and even finder. However you can telnet into the box and restart services, or perform a graceful reboot.
For Unix fans this was the first time you could get ‘off the shelf applications’ that didn’t cost a fortune, along with the standard Unix far. Amazingly both the C compiler and Fortran 77 compiler are included in the box. By 1990 many a company was making these only available for a separate purchase. Version 2.0 also brought along some BSD features with the big one being UFS support for longer filenames, and faster disk performance than the aging SYSV filesystem.
Of course it wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows as around this time Apple launched a lawsuit against Microsoft, and Atari over the visual iconography of MacOS (Oddly enough GEM on the ST was ignored). This so called ‘look and feel’ lawsuit lead to a boycott of the fledgling Unix from the FSF, which in turn hurt things like binutils/gcc/gdb etc being easily available to A/UX users.
So what went wrong?
Without even looking at the follow up version 3, and the products demise in the transition from 68000 to PowerPC, the writing was on the wall.
The damned thing was just too expensive! From Wikipedia “When introduced, a basic system with monitor and 20 MB hard drive cost US$5,498” Version 1 was available on tape, and later CD-ROM, I think there was a floppy version, but without a doubt a 20MB disk is far too small. Just as anything under 4MB of RAM is not going to be realistic. Adding in these components you are going to be into the low end of SUN’s catalogue. And why would you take a chance on Apple when you could go to an established Unix vendor?
The other issue is that Unix being Unix you really needed a MMU, and Motorola MMU chips were expensive. Also A/UX had drivers for SCSI only. This prevented a ‘low end revolution’ as the low end machines like the 605 didn’t have SCSI, or full 68040’s. Even the end of the line Quadra 800, sold for an eye watering $4,679!
What was the heart of A/UX? It was a Unix with a one button mouse, and optional X-11.. with A ONE BUTTON MOUSE?! It was a SYSV Unix, not a BSD, but did include BSD TCP/IP, NFS & UFS filesystem. It was shunned by the FSF as a first tier platform so people had to fidget with code to get it to compile. It was GSA C2 certifiable, but did anyone actually use it in that role?
It was also a Unix with a version of Outlook, and Excel, AfterDark, Fortran 77, and a dead simple UI.
Even after all this time, answering what A/UX was seems to be an identity crisis.
Where did it go right?
One of the big deciding factors in getting workstations for government compliance was the so called C2. This meant things like enforced passwords, auditing and POSIX. It’s everything that the POSIX subsystem for NT was built for, to check just enough boxes, while for Apple A/UX just gave them an instant win. I have no idea if it ever happened but I’m sure somewhere someone was using a Quadra with Word Perfect and A/UX to be a super expensive and certified Mac. Obviously the MAE project dovetails into this, giving commercial MacOS applications to Unix users, but so many others have covered that, and the short version is that it’s incredibly fragile and not very robust at all.
I’m sure someone used it as a fileserver, heck even in the PowerPC generation there a straight port of AIX to a server along with AppleTalk modules.
Its easy to point to using UniSoft SYSVr2 as being a cost factor, but it really was the hardware requirements. Without any AUX for the LC it was doomed. This wasn’t going to be the Unix for Grandma. Transitioning to the PowerPC removed the braindead CPU problems of lacking a MMU or FPU, but I suspect that the tricks of the 68000 translator would not have run, and certainly wouldn’t pull off things like device drivers. Worse stil people just got used to System 7, and had hopes that the fabled Copeland / System 8 would bring about something strong enough like a Unix without any of the complexities.
Timelines, however slipped, Apple had flirted with MkLinux but didn’t fully commit. Indeed these were dark days, it’s like they were so dead set on going forward to not see a seemingly obvious solution to the OS problem in the past.
Looking at Carbon, and Toolbox32, it’s hard not to imagine a world pushing ISV’s to write for a protected MacOS, but they’d never had bought NeXT. As a matter of face, I would argue that without Steve’s media connections from Pixar, Apple would have slid away into irrelevance, as media outsells the PC tech anyways. Even in 2010 Jobs had called Apple clearly in the ‘post PC era‘.
So this started out as a weird thing that killed a day for me. I thought it was a little fun to look at but, ultimately I proved that I could extract files, but not from the requested image.
So let’s get into some more details, my failure, and well it’s been raised into another chance for some luck/fast knowledgeable hacker to get a payout to extract a single file.
As mentioned above the computer is the Texas Instruments S1500, the disk image was dumped on bitsavers years ago as s1505_cp3540/s1505_cp3540.dd.gz. As you may guess it’s a raw ‘dd’ of a disk.
Now looking at a few sources namely unix-ag the OS in question is TI System V, an AT&T SVR3.2 derivate. Running strings does reveal ‘SysVr3TCPID’ And this appears to be the Unix Version Banner:
(c)Copyright 1993 Hewlett-Packard Company, All Rights Reserved.
(c)Copyright 1986-1992 Texas Instruments Incorporated, All Rights Reserved.
(c)Copyright 1984-1988 AT&T, All Rights Reserved.
(c)Copyright 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985-1990 The Regents of the Univ. of California
(c)Copyright 1980, 1984, 1986 Unix System Laboratories, Inc.
(c)Copyright 1990 Motorola, Inc.
(c)Copyright 1989-1990 The Santa Cruz Operation. All Rights Reserved.
RESTRICTED RIGHTS LEGEND
Use, duplication, or disclosure by the U.S. Government is subject to
restrictions as set forth in sub-paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in
Technical Data and Computer Software clause in DFARS 252.227-7013.
3000 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304 U.S.A.
Rights for non-DOD U.S. Government Departments and Agencies are as set
forth in FAR 52.227-19(c)(1,2).
Along with further extraneous info like:
TI Sys V
Hewlett-Packard 9000 Series 1500
Fantastic. Well digging around you’ll eventually find that SYSV filesystems have a magic number, and it’s 0xfd187320
So a simple search through the raw filesystem reveals some:
And this fits the bill, as the next 32bit ‘word’ is the version, in this case 2 to indicate 1024k blocks ,and improvement added to SYSVr2. One thing is that the struct to read a super block is 512bytes (or is it always?), and the magic number is near the end, so from the above offsets, subtract 496 (decimal!) and you can get the start and sizes of each filesystem. Fantastic!
Speaking of SYSVr2, Do you know what is another SYSVr2? A/UX.
Shoebill was panned for not emulating the full Macintosh, rather it reads the kernel directly from the filesystem, and boots into it. That means Shoebill can read UFS/SYSV. Great start?
So I took the filesystem code from Shoebill, hacked it enough to let me build on Visual Studio, and point it to a raw filesystem and take a look. I put it here: filesystem.c
Now I’m impatient so it still needs a legit Apple A/UX virtual disk. Granted we don’t need it, but it made it easier to let the existing code fiddle with apple partitions, but when it comes time to read SYSV blocks, I closed the file handle and swapped things around. And that lead to this:
As you can see there is a LOT of zeros. However the magic & type align.
Meanwhile here is what an A/UX SYSV filesystem looks like. Notice far less zeros.
Additionally I was able to get another 68k based SYSV Unix disk, and yeah not all zeros. Also yes, using the Shoebill code it extracted files just fine.
However using my approach on the filesytem I always only get a directory with 2 enteries the ‘. ..’. I modified the source to just count inodes and write them to disk. And use inode 2 is just a tiny file. No doubt with all the zeros the disk is either very corrupted (backup superblocks?! where?! how?!) or the kernel implicitly knows these things, or finds them somewhere else.
I’ve been authorized to give a bounty of $200 USD to be able to extract arbitrary files from the 1505 disk image. I thought I’d give it a shot, but I don’t get how the super block aligns but the data doesn’t. Unless there is some other insane padding thing for a 1k superblock? The more I think about it, it’s probably likely as I know at some point I was skipping 3 blocks from an offset to get to a superblock, and 3 is just a weird number. 1 block header, 2 block superblock makes more sense.
Additionally this table may prove useful, especially for the ‘skip 3’ or pad to 1k:
Tape and disk utility is in progress...
26 partitions, 12-longword descriptors:
Name Start Length User Comments
1 * LABL vl 0 2 FFFF
2 * PTBL pt 2 3 FFFF
3 SAVE sb 5 3 FFFF
4 FMT fp 8 9 FFFF
5 TZON tz 17 296 FFFF
6 * unx1 lb 313 1024 0002 TI Sys V 3.3.2
7 * unx1 lb 313 1024 000A TI Sys V 3.3.2
8 * unx1 lb 313 1024 0013 TI Sys V 3.3.2
9 * unx1 lb 313 1024 0014 TI Sys V 3.3.2
10 unx2 lb 1337 1024 0002 TI Sys V 3.3.2
11 unx2 lb 1337 1024 000A TI Sys V 3.3.2
12 unx2 lb 1337 1024 0013 TI Sys V 3.3.2
13 unx2 lb 1337 1024 0014 TI Sys V 3.3.2
14 unx3 lb 2361 1024 0002 TI Sys V 3.3.2
15 unx3 lb 2361 1024 000A TI Sys V 3.3.2
16 unx3 lb 2361 1024 0013 TI Sys V 3.3.2
17 unx3 lb 2361 1024 0014 TI Sys V 3.3.2
18 * cfg1 cb 3385 17 FFFF TI Sys V 3.3.2
19 cfg2 cb 3402 17 FFFF TI Sys V 3.3.2
20 cfg3 cb 3419 17 FFFF TI Sys V 3.3.2
21 * root fb 3436 12288 FC02 TI Sys V 3.3.2
22 usr fb 15724 32768 FC02 TI Sys V 3.3.2
23 jdis an 48492 2 FFFF multi-volume file system anchor
24 pipe fb 48494 1024 FC02 pipe file system partition
25 * swap pb 49518 32768 0002
26 prt1 fb 82286 448972 FC02 part of jdis multi-volume
Did you know there is almost nothing left to document that this poor machine even existed?
Actually I held onto this, as I wanted to do something crazy for that Marchintosh thing but life got in the way it fell by the wayside, and well now it’s September, and I already have a Qemu instance running A/UX so my ‘at best’ hope of Basilisk II with MMU emulation is all but moot.
While it may look like 2 very old emulators, which they are, the interesting thing here is that this old version of Basilisk that only has Macintosh Classic emulation is using the 68000 emulation core from UAE 0.6.8. It took a lot of downloading stuff, a lot of other nonsense, but I eventually found it, and was able to diff around to find the changes made were rather inconsequential, there by letting me rebuild UAE back on top of Basilisk.
My plan had been to either use far newer UAE cpu core, say from Previous as it has working MMU support, or Musashi.
I was building hard coded for TDM GCC 5.1.0 on MinGW. It doesn’t matter anymore but I threw it up on github since that is where all the cool kids are.
I’ve haven’t built the FreeDOS kernel in a while and I have to say it’s pretty easy. I’m taking the easy way out here, so I’m using OpenWatcom v2, because I figured the tools should be both at least Win32/Win64 and halfway up to date. Don’t get me wrong, MS-DOS Player is a fantastic app but I don’t want to lean on it for 100% of the build.
I configured it for something in my mind generic with the following flags:
build fat16 wc 86 win
Naturally it had issues with 3 executables, two of which are generated as the project builds, and I just did some silliness to have MS-DOS player make ‘native’ versions:
The same went for sys\bin2c.exe but it’s not rebuilt every time so it doesn’t matter.
And with that in hand it boots. YAY
And now for some absolutely unfair testing. Before anyone complains, yes this is absolutely unfair I mean hell if you bought Windows 3.1 in 2021, I guess get OS/2 or just keep digging at the yard sale and get MS-DOS. Anyways here we go:
Turning off InDOSPolling gives this lovely crash. Naturally then it’s still required.
My go-to test, Running Infocom/FASA BattleTech Crescent Hawk’s Inception in CGA mode in a Window hard locks the VM before anything is drawn to screen. Bummer. And that is pretty much the story of FreeDOS under Windows on this build. Again it’s 2021 who even needs Microsoft VDMs?
That said there must be some weird hook in MS-DOS that Win32s relies on. Just like before Win32s fails to run.
The holy trinity of ‘bad’ Windows 3.0 games, Sim City, Sim Earth and Sim Life work just as they did in the prior version, with Sim Earth instantly quitting. Not sure what is going on there. It does launch with virtual memory enabled, but then proceeds to corrupt all the file handles and Program Manager loses it’s mind. In the productivity front Excel v3, and Microsoft Word v2 run fine. Yay!
So in conclusion doing Win16 things in Windows 3.1 is seemingly fine.
With all the talk of 64bit versions of Pinball I thought I’d share simple script to extract Pinball from an XP x64 CD-ROM so you can take it with you. It’s portable so thats nice too, although it doesn’t use any wad/pak/zip files so all the assets are loose files:
Naturally you’ll want to substitute F:\ with whatever drive letter your CD-ROM/ISO file is mounted on.
And thanks to a long needed feature in Windows 10 you can verify that yes indeed it is a 64bit version.
Isn’t that awesome?! Obviously ARM64 users are left out in the dark, as far as I know there was no ARM64 versions of Windows XP. As a matter of fact, was there any public versions of Windows XP for ARM? Naturally the Surface RT shipped with 8.0
Anyways at long last we can have our 64bit pinball despite the weird bugs, and how the plunger is mostly hidden no doubt due to yet more weird floating point/integer size inconsistencies
In my case I remove the gtk and sdl as I’m running this headless.
Now onto the OS itself. While I had numerous images built over the years for Shoebill there was one major issue when compared to Qemu, and that is Shoebill loads the kernel directly while Qemu emulates the hardware so it will boot MacOS 7 directly. While on the surface this is mundane that does mean however that none of my images will actually work on Qemu as they don’t include a blessed copy of System 7. Not that I care that much I could always do a simple dump/restore [ dump.bsd 0f – /dev/rdsk/c0d0s0 | (cd /mnt; restore xf -) ] of my A/UX stuff that I care about anyways. Luckily since I had added that SCSI file support to Cockatrice I could still partition out some disks and install from there.
Now for the further bit of bad news for me is that I found that the 68020 based Shoebill ran 3.0.0 far more stable than 3.0.1 or 3.1. So I’d built everything around 3.0.0. And of course trying to boot 3.0.0 on a Quadra 800 just gives you a hard lock up. I don’t have the setup disk for 3.0.0 but mounting the CD-ROM gives you access to the disk tool (the 3.0.0 version doesn’t check for the Apple string on SCSI ROMS so you can partition with that as well). Anyways too much time thinking I’d done something wrong until this had to be pointed out to me:
That’s right, 3.0.0 doesn’t run on the Quadra 800. Much longer ago I had a Quadra 950, fantastic beast of a machine, and yes it ran 3.0.0 just great. So shockingly running the right versions got me up to a working system just fine.
Now of course back in the Shoebill days I got ‘3.0.1’ kind of working by cheating. The /mac programs didn’t work on Shoebill however I could copy them over from 3.0.0 to get a working system. Could I substitute a 3.0.1 kernel & /mac directory onto a 3.0.0 system?
So first up the System 7 install from A/UX 3.0.0 is too old for a Quadra 800. Obviously just use the one from 3.0.1. Great.
This lead to a problem where the root filesystem always needs to be checked in single user mode. Something that is shockingly hard to do when your Quadra runs so fast as you have less than a second to hit the ‘top’ button to halt the autoload.
Naturally the standalone runs fine, with no errors.
Thinking that it’s the start-up scripts I remove all the fsck’s and then get this message:
Great a kernel panic. ialloc: dup alloc. Thinking that maybe it’s confusing the UFS, I go ahead and format the disk in SYSV and restore the image onto that.
This gets me another kernel panic, this time no root filesystem. Surprise the SYSV filesystem was made optional in a default install. I run ‘newconfig sysv’ from 3.0.1 and copy that kernel back, and for good measure the shared libraries from 3.0.1. Now I get a different error:
Interesting, I try to hit restart, and instead I get dumped into text mode!
So here we are a 3.0.1 kernel with a 3.0.0 userland! I’m going to use this as a server anyways so I don’t really care about the Mac UI. Naturally so many twists and turns I’ll just skip to the end. Networking didn’t work correctly. Maybe I should have copied all the network stuff from 3.0.1 over but at this point it’s basically a 3.0.1 system so why even bother?
So the next thing of course is just to setup Qemu to listen on a loopback and add some disks. A lot of disks.
One nice thing is that since we are on Qemu I don’t have to use raw disk images, I can zero stuff out and use VMDK’s. Nice. I guess I could bridge the VM later, but for now NAT is fine enough as all I need is telnet & gopher. So I grab gopher2_3.1.tar.gz, rebuild and move over my gopher site from Linux into A/UX and I’m up and running in no time. It was shockingly easy. I update a few things to reflect it running on A/UX now.
And just like that I took my semi popular gopher site, and moved it to A/UX seven years after thinking that this would be a ‘good idea(tm)’. I’m sure it won’t backfire spectacularly.
I don’t know if any of this is useful or interesting but it was to me. It’s been nice that Qemu has been able to keep uptime in several days, I had 3 days of uptime before I took it down to max out the storage so I could possibly do more with it.
I’m being a bit unfair as far as Alpha’s go it’s rough to get going but wow it’s GREAT! For starters it’s a Quadra 800 so System 7.1 through 8.1 will work. Also this has full 68040 capabilities so yes that means MMU and YES A/UX (and NetBSD!) will run
As always you can find more on emaculation, the best source for news and info on emulating the Mac.
Many of my Shoebill/Cockatrice III images didn’t work at all. Some at least were picked up as blank disks. I had less luck with freshly created raw/vmdk or qcow2 disks. Not sure at all. My minimal 7 2gb disk worked fine as a donor, and even converting to a vmdk was fine. Sooo YMMV. But hey it’s an Alpha and YES IT CAN WORK.
Another plus is that the idle loop works fine so it won’t burn 100% of your CPU. This could possibly be a great gopher server!? Time will tell.