[TUHS] Apple IIe Unix?

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Nov 27 09:00:22 AEST 2020

On Thu, Nov 26, 2020 at 4:56 PM Will Senn <will.senn at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi All,
> So, I'm about to get my very own Apple IIe and while it's an incredibly
> versatile machine for assembly language and hardware hackery, I'm not aware
> of any Unices that run on the machine, natively. Does anybody know of any
> from back in the day?
> It's got a 65c02 processor and somewhere around 128k of RAM, but it's also
> pretty expandable w/7 slots and a huge amount of literature about how to do
> stuff w/those slots.
My favorite 8-bit processor, maybe my favorite all around.  So simple, one
accumulator and two index registers but it is only 64K of total address -
although with bank switching more memory could be added in 4K banks on a
number of Apple II's, but you have 16 address bits and worked a register
that switched in and out the 4K banks. and there is of course no protection
hardware nor the concept of user/kernel in the hardware.  The size of the
Apple Floppy disk was rather small, and your need 3 to run things like the
UCSD Pascal system to have any experience other than constantly switching

There are a number of C compilers available but with its limited and fixed
stack (8 bits only), so it is difficult to run programs of any size (in any
language - automatics are often managed off the stack).

Running a full UNIX on it was not really possible although a few of the
Unix style utilities were moved to it and a number of simple monitors were
written that swapped programs in and out DOS style.   At one time, I had a
fairly good version of the Bourne (V7) syntax shell we got running, but it
had to be swapped in and out slowly.  That is; you run the shell, type a
command, when exec is done, the shell is tossed out and the new program
installed in memory.
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