Hello and welcome. In 1997 i was lucky enough to be given my very own Apple Network Server 500/132 to play with.
Unfortunately i was given zero documentation, just the server, a power cable, the keys, and the
AIX 4.1.4 CD. The Apple Network Server (codenamed "Shiner") was introduced in February 1996 and discontinued almost immediately. This was
unfortunate because it was an excellent machine but fortunate for me as it meant that i got one free! The machines were
discontinued for the reason that they weren't selling, and they didn't sell (in my humble opinion) becuase they were only really advertised to Mac Users,
and many mac users are scared of command lines, after all that's the reason that most bought macs in the first place.
The machines shipped with AIX 4.1.4 and from what i can tell this can be upgraded all the way up to .... AIX 4.1.5.
After that I believe that IBM dropped support. To make matters worse Apple Network Servers have ROMS programmed specifically not to run
MacOS, even though there is no real reason why they shouldn't. The only slightly non standard thing about them was their fast wide
scsi chipset (Symbios Logic - Formerly NCR - 53c825a) which had previously never been used by Apple in any hardware.
Rumor had it that any of the Apple Network Servers can be made to run MacOS by installing a ROM SIMM from a
powermac 9500. The 9500 is the most similar mac to the Apple Network Server however the device trees still have many differences.
I have had several people try differing ROMS in their Apple Network Servers with varying results. From what i can gather an ans with said rom
swap will boot to a certain extent but since the video is different from the 9500 it dies at that point. I have had other reports that fitting the
ati card from the 9500 will then add video to the ans but only the external scsi is supported. This really removes the motivation from running
mac os on the ans. My advice would be to wait for the Linux PPC port of Sheep Shaver, the excellent mac os emulator.
After cursing at AIX a lot i decided to install linux ppc on my box. This was extremely difficult as
at the time nobody else had made public any instructions or how to do such a thing though the linux ppc faqomatic claimed it could be done.
I pressed on recompiling endless kernels on my 8600, pestering everyone i could for information, but i simply could not crack the scsi side of
things. I gave up and the ans became a coffee table until July 1998 when Nick Sklavounakis and Fred Gildred
let the world know that they had cracked it and posted their rather crude instructions on how to do so on the linux ppc web site.
I did not finally manage to recreate the installation until late 1998 after Aaron deMello posted
clearer instructions for more stupid people like myself.
Update July 05
Steven Milos email@example.com is decommissioning a number of ANS servers. Indeed this server now has
it's RAM maxed out and a few extra drive connectors thanks to him. He has more. If you are interested in a list please email him.
I've also done some overdue housekeeping on this site, removing broken links etc.
Update March/April 1999
My Ans is now running with even more juice. I found a person on eBay who has a stock of over 30 sets of 200Mhz Upgrade Cards for the Apple Network Server available.
He was willing to sell the card at $50, a lot cheaper than the competition, I paid $30.80 to get it shipped to the UK and it's now humming along beautifully. If you want to track him down his
email address used to be firstname.lastname@example.org, but he is moving very soon so if that address turns up nothing just ask www.ebay.com's online search engine for the current address for the user garka.
I have also fitted a 1 Megabyte Level 2 Cache which i originally bought for my faithful old 8600. This too works like a dream.
New documents online today include the Hardware developers documentation , The NS Theory of Operations from the Apple Service Source, and information on updating to AIX 4.1.5 (This is the most common question that arrives in my email).
Since there is little or no information on such machines available on the net i shall post what little i have
managed to compile. Disclaimer 2: many of these files have been posted anonymously to newsgroups
as a response to my cries for help. I am unsure of the legality of the apple documents, if you work for apple and have a problem with
any of these files then please let me know and i will remove the offending items immediately.
- Setting Up the Network Server
Apple's Manual on setting up the Network Server. 2.6MB pdf file.
- Using AIX, Appletalk Services & MacOS Utilities on the Apple Network Server
Installation, use and administration. 1.9MB pdf file.
- Using a Network Server PCI RAID Disk Array Card
Installing the card and configuring and administering disk arrays. 1.2MB pdf file.
- Network Server Hardware Troubleshooting Guide
Mirror of Apple's web page on troubleshooting the apple network server. HTML with images.
- AIX Binary Application Compatability
Mirror of Apple's Web page on which AIX binaries will work on ANS AIX. HTML with images.
- AIX Update to 4.1.5
Info on Updating AIX to 4.1.5, note this is designed for people who ordered the CD update to
AIX 4.1.5 from Apple. 21K pdf file.
- 500 / 700 AIX Update Sites
For those of you not luck enough to have the CD from Apple, here are Apple's recommended sites for
getting updates to AIX on line. 22K pdf file.
- Apple's Diagnostic Utility v 1.1
Boot floppy image for the Network Server, carrys out basic tests on hardware. You can read the Read Me file here.
Apple Disk Copy Image stuffed (stuffit version 5) and MacBinary Encoded 195k file.
- ANS 500 & 700 service source
This is a guide to servicing and upgrading Apple Network Servers. Note:this is a very large (9.7MB) pdf file.
- Network Server Theory of Operations
This document describes the chain of events that occurs
when a Network Server is powered on. It is designed to help
you better diagnose server failures to boot. 98K pdf file.
- Network Server developers guide
Guide to development (mostly under AIX) on Apple Network Servers. 568K pdf file.
- Network Server Hardware developers guide
Guide to developing hardware on Apple Network Servers. Also includes a memory
map for the various components of the ANS series, including the lcd display, very useful. 848K pdf file.
- Apple Network Server Advert
Not really a resource, but worth a look anyway. This is one of apple's original adverts for the ANS. 280K gif file.
- Apple tech note 1044
This is titled
Understanding PCI Expansion ROM
Choices for Copland and is the first technote to document the open firmware found in Apple Network Servers. 144K pdf file.
- Apple tech note 1061
Open Firmware, Part I:
The User Interface 204K pdf file.
- Apple tech note 1062
Open Firmware, Part II:
The Device Tree 160K pdf file.
Further Sources of Information
MacOS is a trademark of Apple Computer. AIX and PowerPC are trademarks of IBM. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.