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A/UX Grows Up

A/UX, Apple's version of Unix for the SE/30 and Mac II line never gained a great deal of popularity. Version 2.0, due out in June, should help A/UX's reputation significantly though, judging from the rave reviews it has received on Usenet. A/UX runs many MacOS applications, including multiple application under MultiFinder. Apple claims that only "32-bit clean" applications should be expected to run, but users have said that in reality most standard Mac applications do run, including Word 4.0, Wingz 1.1, and Excel 2.2.

A/UX comes on different media, including CD-ROM, 80 MB hard disk, floppy disk, and tape. Prices vary between the media, with CD-ROM the cheapest at $795, floppy and tape at $995, and the 80 MB hard disk coming in at $2395. (Looks like another area in which Apple is trying to make it worth your while to buy a CD-ROM player.) A/UX ships with five manuals: the Installation Guide, A/UX Essentials, Setting Up Accounts and Peripherals, Roadmap to A/UX, and A/UX 2.0 Release Notes. The rest of the documentation, true to Unix, is online in the form of man (manual) pages. You may not need the documentation as much, though, because A/UX has Commando-style dialogs allowing you to build complex Unix commands by choosing items in a dialog box. It's not as fast as typing the command in, but it is faster than looking for the syntax in the documentation.

For those of you who drool over the details, A/UX is System V Unix from AT&T with BSD networking, sockets, signals, etc. It supports two Unix file systems, System V and Berkeley FFS, along with the standard Macintosh Hierarchical Filing System (HFS). You have to partition your hard drive and you must use System 6.0.5, but that's to be expected.

One person mentioned that purchasing A/UX 1.0 and using the free upgrade would save a lot of money, but another person said that he checked with the bookstore at Stanford and it was too late to do this. MacWEEK reported that upgrades ranged from $275 to $550 depending on the media, so perhaps the upgrade was only free to academic users.

Information from:
Jeff Noxon -- jeffn@nuchat.UUCP
Ron Johnston -- johnston@Apple.COM
Steve Goldfield -- steve@violet.berkeley.edu
Chris Ranch -- csr@ubvax.UB.Com
Philip Machanick -- philip@Kermit.Stanford.EDU

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 22-May-90, Vol. 4 #20, pg. 7