Running AIX 1.3 inside Virtual Box 5.2.16

IBM AIX has been around many years , actually its 32 years now. The latest version is AIX 7.2 and runs only on IBM ppc64 architecture. However around the end of the 1980s  a special port of AIX came out called AIX PS/2 or AIX386.

This short article will be about running this archaic version ( AIX PS/2 1.3) inside VirtualBox 5.2.16 (will work on all older releases too) on Linux x86_64 (will work on macOS and Windows too as long as you get VirtualBox running)

There is some information available still on the internet about AIX PS/2 1.3 for example here :

The last link contains all the needed floppy images (19 minimum) to get the base install done. Setup is lengthy and tricky (after-all this system is from early 90s and if you don’t get all the things right; very frustrating) So if you want to give it a try yourself, go ahead, its tons of fun. I will spare you the pain and time and provide the needed 2 boot floppy images and the VMDK image for your convenience

Download the AIX-1.3.tar.bz2 here https://drop.me/BlxnAD

Once you download the compressed tarball, decompress and extract and place in some working directory for VirtualBox files. Please note that AIX-1.3.vmdk is identical to aix.vmdk. Its there only as a backup in case we mess up.

user@panasonic ~/Downloads/AIX $ ls -la
total 32680
drwxr-xr-x  2 user user     4096 Sep 14 21:43 .
drwxr-xr-x 18 user user     4096 Sep 14 21:43 ..
-rw-rw-r--  1 user user 33453495 Sep 14 21:43 AIX-1.3.tar.bz2
user@panasonic ~/Downloads/AIX $ bunzip2 AIX-1.3.tar.bz2 
user@panasonic ~/Downloads/AIX $ tar -xvf AIX-1.3.tar 
AIX-1.3/
AIX-1.3/floppy02.img
AIX-1.3/floppy01.img
AIX-1.3/AIX-1.3.vmdk
AIX-1.3/aix.vmdk
user@panasonic ~/Downloads/AIX $

We will prepare a new VirtualBox Guest called AIX and configure with the custom drive (aix.vmdk) as PS/2 other target with 32 MB RAM as follws:

Choose floppy1.img as your boot-disk and boot the Guest

Choose Boot from Diskette (the aix.vmdk does not have MBR so you will always need to use the 2 floppies to boot it)

Select unix.gen (default) module to load, System mode: Multi User (press space to choose) and Run system from hard disk : Yes (press space to choose it)

You will be asked to insert 2nd boot disk, so swap to floppy2.img and press enter.

Now you can login as root, the password is password.

As noted by Supratim Sanyal you can even run a graphical X11 environment by typing

# xinit

And later once in the X11 environment you can execute xdt (IBM Graphical Desktop)

Here is a short video of the above

Also here are some test runs on booting AIX 7.1 and 7.2 in Qemu 3.0.50 on x86_64

And

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4 Responses to Running AIX 1.3 inside Virtual Box 5.2.16

  1. Trying this asap. Thanks. and more thanks for the DOOM music for the video!

  2. Pingback: Valuable News – 2018/12/08 | 𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚖𝚊𝚍𝚎𝚗

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