UNIX for the Mac? (Don't laugh...)

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Tim Maroney

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Dec 1, 1985, 3:28:53 AM12/1/85
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Does anyone know any strong reason that a 2 Megabyte Mac with a couple of
twenty meg hard disks could not be a perfectly good UNIX workstation? I
can't think of any major obstacles to, say, a 4.2bsd port, other than the
lack of memory management. Given the apparent ease of doing HyperDrive-like
hardware hacks, I don't see why a memory management unit could not be added
with relative ease and low cost.

The UNIX Mac might also be set up to run Macintosh applications as a special
type of process, setting up a Mac environment (which just means supporting
all the traps) at process start.

I know it would never be a Sun III, but I think it could be quite worthwhile.

Any flames, comments, suggestions, etc., to me or the net.
-=-
Tim Maroney, Electronic Village Idiot, CMU Center for Art and Technology
t...@k.cs.cmu.edu | uucp: {seismo,decwrl,ucbvax,etc.}!k.cs.cmu.edu!tim
CompuServe: 74176,1360 | CMU. Tomorrow's networking nightmares -- today!

g...@shasta.arpa

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Dec 3, 1985, 1:35:58 PM12/3/85
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> Does anyone know any strong reason that a 2 Megabyte Mac with a couple of
> twenty meg hard disks could not be a perfectly good UNIX workstation? I
> can't think of any major obstacles to, say, a 4.2bsd port, other than the
> lack of memory management. Given the apparent ease of doing HyperDrive-like
> hardware hacks, I don't see why a memory management unit could not be added
> with relative ease and low cost.

I guess that if you take a mouse (rodent type) and put on an elephant's
trunk, and an elephant's ears, and an elephant's tail, and an elephant's
body, and an elephant's size, you would finally end up with a squeaking
pachyderm!

Yes, folks, eventually, you MIGHT be able to port UNIX to the Mac, but it
would take so many hardware kluges which ar NOT supported by Apple that it
would hardly be a viable product. As a rule, third party developers do not
rely on each others' hardware. Perhaps the only exception I know about is
the Z80 softcard for the Apple II from Microsoft. (Besides the generic CP/M
software, a handfull of programs were written especially for this
configuration.) The changes you suggest all
require additions to an (undocumented) motherboard which Apple may feel
perfectly free to change in the future.

Just because the Mac has a 68K doesn't mean that it can (or should) run UNIX.

Gary Morris @shine

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Dec 6, 1985, 12:56:41 AM12/6/85
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In article <15...@Shasta.ARPA> g...@Shasta.ARPA writes:
>> Does anyone know any strong reason that a 2 Megabyte Mac with a couple of
>> twenty meg hard disks could not be a perfectly good UNIX workstation?
>Yes, folks, eventually, you MIGHT be able to port UNIX to the Mac, but it
>would take so many hardware kluges which ar NOT supported by Apple that it
>would hardly be a viable product.

Xenix is available right now for the Lisa (Macintosh XL), $795 from Microsoft.
I considered buying it but decided I didn't want to dedicate my hard disk to
unix and not be able to run Mac software without dumping/reloading the hard
disk. It will run with as little as 5 Meg of disk space. I know of two
people locally who use it. I'll bet it would run faster in a 2Meg Mac
w/hyperdrives than it does on the Lisa.

--GaryM
--
Gary A. Morris -- UUCP: ihnp4!seismo!s3sun!gould9!telesoft!garym
ucbvax!sdcsvax!telesoft!garym
ARPA: telesoft!ga...@sdcsvax.ARPA
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"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done
and why. Then do it." -- Lazarus Long

Danny Zerkel

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Dec 6, 1985, 9:19:08 AM12/6/85
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*** MESSAGE THIS REPLACE WITH YOUR LINE ***

> I guess that if you take a mouse (rodent type) and put on an elephant's
> trunk, and an elephant's ears, and an elephant's tail, and an elephant's
> body, and an elephant's size, you would finally end up with a squeaking
> pachyderm!

And, who's to say that you aren't just a mouse in human clothes? But how
would we know? Would you know? Would it matter? I would almost bet
that most people would (and do) treat you like a human, even if you were
(or are) a mouse.

> Yes, folks, eventually, you MIGHT be able to port UNIX to the Mac, but it
> would take so many hardware kluges which ar NOT supported by Apple that it
> would hardly be a viable product. As a rule, third party developers do not
> rely on each others' hardware. Perhaps the only exception I know about is
> the Z80 softcard for the Apple II from Microsoft. (Besides the generic CP/M
> software, a handfull of programs were written especially for this
> configuration.) The changes you suggest all
> require additions to an (undocumented) motherboard which Apple may feel
> perfectly free to change in the future.

Yes, folks, eventually, someone WILL port UNIX to the Mac (if that's what
they want, or think they want), but it will take an innovative SOFTware
design that would need no hardware kludges. Just because you don't have
the "innovative software design" doesn't mean it is not possible.
If computers were only capable of doing the obvious things, no one would
be more than mildly interested in them.

> Just because the Mac has a 68K doesn't mean that it can (or should) run UNIX.

Just because the Mac has a cpu means it can (and perhaps will) run UNIX.
If it is possible to run UNIX on an IBM PC, why not on a Mac? If it is
possible (and it is) to run UNIX on a PDP-11/20 with no memory management,
56KB of memory and 2.5MB of disk, then why not on a Mac? The only
thing you need is a hard disk (no hardware mods). It would be easier with
512KB, but 128KB might work. [For those who don't believe this, the
PDP-11/20 MiniUnix kernel was 24KB!, leaving 32KB for programs.] The only
thing you really need large amounts of memory for is sophistation and
blinding speed [eg., Amdahls and Crays running UTS and COS].

Of course, this doesn't mean it is a good idea. I like the ideas that
have been implemented in the Mac, especially resources. Combine the
Mac concepts with the Unix concepts and run it on a Cray, that's what
I want! I have a feeling that other people wouldn't mind either.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
the CommitEe For IDeas tHrough thOught ProvoKing sArcaSm! (CEFIDHOPKAS)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Danny J. Zerkel
(no relation)

The above opinions are virtual opinions held by virtually no one.

mike@smu

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Dec 9, 1985, 9:25:00 PM12/9/85
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If UNIX were to be put on the Mac, the toolbox (ie, the ROM) would probably
have to change. It's not currently reentrant. You'd probably want to get
rid of it anyway. Just a thought.


Mike McNally SMU -----------------------------------------
mike@smu "Is there Christmas in the hippie world?"
...{convex|texsun}!smu!mike -----------------------------------------

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