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Floodgap ANSwers: AIX CDE Screenshots

If you'd like to use these pictures somewhere else, please ask me first. Thanks!

These images, believe it or not, aren't all that special, and that's good. It's good because it means that AIX on ANS was unexciting and generally the same administration and console experience as AIX 4 on native IBM hardware. Thus, the screenshots of AIXwindows Common Desktop Environment (CDE) below are pretty much what you would see from any AIX 4-running RS/6000 of this vintage, and that's exactly what Apple wanted.

AIX CDE is pretty bog-standard CDE. You would feel right at home on it if you used any other proprietary Unix workstation of the day. Indeed, if I weren't doing anything in a shell requiring AIX custom commands, I might not notice anything different from contemporary HP/UX or Solaris versions.

The images prior to arriving at the CDE desktop were taken with an Inogeni VGA2USB3 connected to stockholm (my ANS 500)'s VGA port, and are therefore from an analogue source since there is no direct access to the X11 display. Once at the CDE desktop, I captured the framebuffer directly with xwd. The screen resolution here is 256-colour 1024x768, which is the maximum supported by the ANS hardware. Other than to fix the analogue images to the same aspect ratio, I have not altered these grabs and they are at full resolution.

Logging In

When AIX first boots in graphical mode, it displays its logo (of the time) and a console window at the upper right. The console log is exactly what you would see on the screen from a text boot.

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CDE login (dtlogin). Again, this was the standard AIX logo of the period. An Apple-custom logo might have been fun here.

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The CDE "starting" screen for ANS AIX was rather plain. My HP/UX systems show many more messages here.

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CDE Desktop

A more or less default CDE session and workspace. The help viewer is at left, the application chooser is at right, and the distinctive CDE toolbar is on the bottom. Everything is based on Motif.

The applications I installed are custom; Quake obviously didn't come with the Apple Network Server. More on that in a moment.

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smit has a graphical client in AIXwindows. It's a little more mouse friendly but otherwise doesn't do anything that console smit (smitty) doesn't. Compare with the actual photograph of smitty in the ANS photo album.

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Netscape Navigator 3. Either NN 3 or 4 or Chimera would probably be your best browsing bets.

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Gaming on AIX

ANS AIX 4.1.5 is more-or-less compatible with IBM's Ultimedia multimedia extensions. I say more-or-less, because sound doesn't work and there is no 3D acceleration, but the other software bits are sufficient to run IBM's own port of Quake to AIX. Performance on a 200MHz 604e isn't stellar but it plays well enough. Note that it takes over the colourmap entirely.

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Similarly, Abuse by Crack dot Com was also ported. This is strongly mouse driven and plays rather better since it's a simpler 2D run-and-gun, though if you simply want to play it on classic Apple hardware the Bungie native Mac OS port is better quality. Again, don't try to run anything in the background that you care about watching since the colourmap will ruin your day. Sadly, AIX Quake 2 does not run on 4.1.5, and IBM never ported any other games.

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