A/UX 3.0 installation and multi-boot configuration
These are my notes to myself and those who are interested in setting up
their systems to boot A/UX and "something else." A/UX has some drawbacks as
a primary OS, and being able to dual-boot or triple-boot or whatever greatly
increases its utility.
Warning: These are the steps that worked for me. If there is a better
way of doing something, I'd like to know about it. These steps are not based
off any Apple documentation.
Double Warning: A/UX is still a copyrighted product owned by Apple.
If you have an A/UX system for which you need replacement installation media,
you can check Gamba's download page
for a list of places to download Macintosh operating systems, including A/UX.
Triple Warning: Before you embark on this, make sure your
Mac is a supported model, and that you are using a supported CD-ROM
(if it is an Apple ROMmed CD-ROM, it has an excellent chance of working;
I have installed from an external CD 300 and an internal Apple 24x SCSI
drive stolen from a beige PCI Power Mac). If the installer doesn't find
the CD, you will be hosed.
Normally, there are several partitions on an A/UX disk: the MacPartition,
which actually boots the machine; the UFS root partition, which
actually has the kernel and is booted by the MacPartition; a swap partition;
and an Autorecovery nee Eschatology partition, which is supposed to be a
repository for critical files during system recovery but in my experience and
the experience of others really serves the purpose of being a disk space
The partitioning scheme I prefer has two HFS partitions: one for the
MacPartition, and then any number of standalone HFS paritions on the side to
use your favourite extensions without messing with the MacPartition's system
folder and causing trouble. (You can also install other system versions here
without hurting A/UX.) I also don't bother with the Autorecovery
partition, since even if it did (does) work, it has little functionality
that a good fsck doesn't.
The disk partitioner you will use during the A/UX setup will allow you to
seemingly create nice fat partitions which may not work when you
try to actually install A/UX to them. More to the point, A/UX
cannot be safely used on partitions larger than 4GB under any circumstances,
and filesharing is risky above 2GB, mostly due to inherent limitations of
System 7.0.1. So:
If your disk is 4GB or smaller
Congratulations, you have lots of flexibility, because the partitions you
create should "just work" and the A/UX driver will be satisfactory. My
IIci A/UX booter was built in this manner on a 1GB Seagate Hawk drive.
You will need a copy of HDSC Setup 7.3.5 for the first portion of this --
don't use A/UX's. I like the patched version on Gamba's hard drive page.
This assumes you have some familiarity with Apple's hard drive partitioning
utilities. Boot from your HDSC Setup-enriched boot floppy.
Now boot A/UX with the boot disk and A/UX install CD. Go to Custom Install
and Step 1 (to continue partitioning).
- Remove all previous partitions; alternatively, low-level format and
initialise, whatever it takes to clean the HD off and just leave the Mac
Driver in the first (small, several kilobyte) partition. Update it from
7.3.5 if you like.
- Create your main MacOS partition however large you like it. Leave at
least a couple hundred MB free for A/UX, plus whatever swap size you want.
On my 1GB Seagate, I made the MacOS partition 256MB, leaving around 700MB
total for the MacPartition, swap and A/UX. Lock it for safety!
- Create the MacPartition as a regular HFS partition. It doesn't need to be
more than 4MB or so (even that is plenty big).
- Leave the remainder unpartitioned.
Thus endeth the Partitioning.
Step 2 of the Custom Install puts the MacPartition boot files on the
MacPartition. Start this step and make sure it chooses your MacPartition,
not your locked MacOS partition which you will reserve for your beloved
MacOS. This is very fast, typically.
Step 3 of the Custom Install installs
the actual guts of A/UX. It should find your "root & usr" filesystem
and chuck everything on it without further preamble. Pick the filesets
you want installed.
If your disk is larger than 4GB
If you have a large disk, you may get better performance from an alternative
disk driver, and some people have reported that the boot driver can get
if the startup volume is too far away from the driver partition. If you notice
that the wrong volume is starting up than the one you selected (and you're
sure your PRAM isn't scrambled and your PRAM battery is good), then you are
bitten by this bug and you need another driver. Note that no Apple-ROMmed
drive that came with any 68K Mac was anywhere near this size, so this wasn't
a problem back in the day. Also, make sure you are using an upgraded Startup
Disk CDEV, see below.
The driver I recommend for big disks
is LaCie Silverlining 5.8.3, which is A/UX aware and
comes with lots of LaCie devices (it is not hard to find used). I don't know
if later versions will work. I do know that the last Classic-capable
version of Intech SpeedTools will not work (I tried and it actually
nuked the A/UX slices! don't use it!), and I am told that FWB
Hard Disk Toolkit should work, but I don't know which version. My Quadra 800
uses Silverlining on an 18GB Seagate Barracuda.
Silverlining should be able to take over the driver partition and move things
around appropriately, but I'd simply format the drive from scratch. Use
HD SC Setup 7.3.5 (the patched version above) to remove all existing
partitions, then run
Silverlining itself to create the new partitions. You can boot from some
Silverlining CDs, but I booted from a 7.6 second SCSI volume for this
purpose. Hint: Silverlining's
input methods are a bit wonky, so be methodical. Select Partition
Type from the pull-down menus with the cursor in the size column first, then
enter the size, then the volume name, as appropriate. On my 18GB
Barracuda, I used this scheme:
You will notice that Silverlining will see that we have two A/UX slices (not
counting swap). It
will give you two commands. Write these commands down: you need the device
string (something like /dev/rdsk/c2d0s0) for each command for the
next set of steps.
- (64K for Silverlining: don't enter this, it is done for you)
- 2091751K for "Root & Usr slice 0"
- 26624K for "Swap slice 1" (or as you like)
- 4096K Macintosh Volume (for the MacPartition)
- 2091751K for "Free A/UX slice 3"
- 2091751K for 8.1
- 2091751K for 8.6 (it has a 601 card)
- 2091751K for a common partition
- the rest unallocated
Thus endeth the Partitioning. Now boot off your A/UX boot floppy and CD.
Follow these steps carefully!
- Select your target drive. Go to Custom Install.
- Do not repartition the drive. Skip to step 2. Step 2 will install
the MacPartition to the 4096K partition above. Make sure it chooses the right
- Stop here without going on to Step 3, quit the installer, and reboot your
Mac, which should boot
from the MacPartition.
- The A/UX boot-up process will fail, leaving the standalone shell window
open, which is what we
want. The reason it fails is that Silverlining doesn't know how to
newfs the file system, which HD SC Setup A/UX does for us, so even
if we had gone on to Step 3 it wouldn't have worked. Get each device string
from those commands Silverlining emitted and, at the #
prompt, enter these commands, replacing 111 and 222 with the
device strings you wrote down:
ufs:mkfs 111 [number of K * 2]
ufs:mkfs 222 [number of K * 2]
For example, in our case above, they were 2091751K, so the number of 512-blocks
is 4183502. My disk was at SCSI ID 2, and the slices were 0 and 3, so the
commands would be
ufs:mkfs /dev/rdsk/c2d0s0 4183502
ufs:mkfs /dev/rdsk/c2d0s3 4183502
(A parenthetical note: we can't use newfs itself here, because we
don't have a disktab. You could have, if you could have booted to
A/UX, but we're doing this from scratch.)
- Quit the booter with Command-Q, insert the A/UX CD and reboot with the
A/UX boot floppy. Now move on to Step 3, which will install the operating
system, selecting the packages you want installed. Go on and install all
of them; they will consume a trivial amount of space in this configuration.
If you get an error like Can't mount /dev/dsk/c102d0s0, you did
the mkfs step wrong. Remember, it's ufs:mkfs (if you forget
the ufs: part, it formats it as SVFS, which is not bootable).
Once finished, you will be instructed to reboot. When you reboot and the
MacPartition starts up and tries to initialise A/UX, it may fail
resoundingly (unless you used the Easy Install approach, which works
around this problem).
Don't be discouraged. This failure is because the Launcher's
standalone copy of fsck looks for an Autorecovery partition, which we have
gloriously eschewed. Go to Settings, Booting. Pick "custom command" and
fsck command to
While you're at it, whether it boots or not, consider
launch command to
launch -v so you have a
better idea what's going on. Save the settings. (In future,
you can always interrupt a
boot by pressing Command-Period (Cmd-.) when the splash screen comes up.)
Boot with Command-B. This first boot will rebuild the kernel according to
your system devices. Get a cup of coffee, preferably from Colombia, because
on my IIci this took a good few minutes. You will then be instructed (forced)
Welcome to A/UX. If you did it right, on the next boot, the system will come
up, start A/UX (and you'll see the kernel coming up), and then drop you into
... the Finder? However, if you go under the applications menu on the top
right, you'll see the Command Shell. Select that, et voila -- a real shell
in your real A/UX system.
At this point, you're on your own. Things to do might include:
Remember to shut down the usual way, i.e., Special, Shut Down. You can
also log out under the Special menu as well. When you do shut down or
reboot, don't forget to unlock your MacOS partition next time you have
HDSC Setup handy if you locked it with the steps above.
Things To Remember
Although there is a MacTCP control panel, you can't use it to change your
network settings, and there is no DHCP client support. Network
settings are managed The Unix Way, which is to say, ifconfig and
the like. They will then show up in MacTCP. For that matter, change your
DNS settings in /etc/resolv.conf (create it if it does not exist).
The Startup Disk control panel in A/UX and the MacPartition is absolutely
useless on multi-partite disks of large size. The control panel from 7.6.1
is a better choice and will work just fine. Remember to keep your old one
just in case, and leave the Startup Disk window open as you select restart
or shut down. Note that this means you will need to reboot and stop the A/UX
boot with Cmd-Period to run the 7.6.1 Startup Disk control panel from the
MacPartition; it will crash the A/UX Finder instance if you run it there.
If you have a Power Macintosh card in your system, you must turn it
off before booting from the MacPartition into A/UX. You can still have it
plugged in the PDS slot, but it must not be activated (you can tell which one
is running from the startup chime -- either the musical sting (68040) or
the ominous strings (601)). If you don't do this, you may need to boot from a
floppy or CD to get your startup disk switched to something else.
Things Not To Do
None of these apply to your MacOS partition (but this DOES apply to the
MacPartition as well as the ute-and-root
partition), which we created to allow you
to have some partition on the system for these things.
- Don't install any version of MacOS other than the installed version on the
MacPartition or the ute-and-root partition. You will be very sorry.
- Don't install OpenTransport or any other version of MacTCP or AppleTalk.
- The video subsystem works at 24-bit, but is very slow. Since I have an
8*24*GC card, I tried using the accelerator extension and I was very sorry
(and it was
very difficult to get the Control Panel out because the Launcher does not
properly mount the filesystems read/write if they are not marked clean).
If you must use more than 8-bit colour, 16-bit is a better performance and
This document is perpetually under construction. Have fun!