Running NEXTSTEP 3.3 PARISC on an HP Apollo 9000 Model 712

5. September 2009, 22:57

A few years ago I bought this nice small PA-RISC machine made by Hewlett Packard in the early nineties on eBay….. It is an HP Apollo 9000 Model 712 and had HP/UX 10.20 preinstalled but I really was interested to see it in action as an alternative to a NeXTSTEP Box…

My HP 712 Box has the following configuration:

here is a very detailed description of its architecture …

Let’s take a look inside:

Inside the HP 712 gecko

Here is HP/UX 10.20 in action:

running HP/UX 10.20 on the gecko

Although I also had the NextStep CD needed for installation and the CD even booted on the machine – it got stuck somewhere – as can be seen here:

Inside the HP 712 gecko

After some reading e. g. here , here and here

I realised, that my SCSI CDROM – a Teac RS56 – was not capable of a certain feature, namely to read 512 byte sectors instead of the usual 2048 byte sectors.

If you see the following error message (“request timeout…”) you have the wrong CDROM drive…

Inside the HP 712 gecko

I finally found a list of old CDROM models which should be able to do so and recently bought an Apple CDROM 600i off eBay with the hope that it would let me set a “jumper” to enable the 512 byte sector mode.

Apple CDROM 600i

Well it did not have such a jumper but I nevertheless tried to install NextStep again – and it worked!!!

This is the result:

Inside the HP 712 gecko

Now I’ve got a nice Nextstep workstation which runs Nextstep flawlessly and is surprisingly fast while doing so! I know this because a few years back I bought an original Next box from a fellow student which turned out to be the black and white 17 inch model and it was quite slow altough it is supposedly faster than NextStep Cube with its 16,7 Million colours…..


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