Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Apple & Unix : The early years

Since 2001 and the release of MacOSX, the operating system of Apple Macintosh computers has been Unix based but this was not the first time Apple developed and released a Unix for the Mac. 

In 1988 Apple released A/UX which was based on Unix System, it came with a version of the Apple Mac graphical user interface and ran on select Motorola 68K Macs. It was able to run Mac and X-Windows applications. Unix commands could be run via a dialog box which also allowed the user to select command line options in a user friendly way. The initial version of A/UX included the System 6 Finder with the Finder switching to System 7's with A/UX version 3.0.

Despite the positive reaction to A/UX from some quarters, A/UX was never a great success for Apple and today remains in obscurity. Apple thought A/UX could help them get the Mac into big business and the growing enterprise market. Apple finally dropped A/UX in 1995, the already announced v4.0 never seeing the light of day.

This wasn't the end of Apple's pre-MacOSX Unix efforts though. In 1994 they released the Macintosh Application Environment for Solaris and HP/UX. It could allow Macintosh applications to be run on Unix computers from Sun and HP. It again used a version of the Mac OS 7 Finder and special tools for importing and exporting to and from the Mac and X environments. MAE was discontinued in 1998. Thus ending Apple's involvement with Unix... well for the time being...

Screenshot from WinWorld