The IBM RS/6000 7025-F80

Notes on my IBM Enterprise Server.

System Information



Notes on serial

I have one NULL-modem cable that seems to work, and of the two USB/Serial converters, one works. My Libretto CT70 works as well. The settings that works for me is 9600 8N1 and Hardware Flow Control.
Here's a log of booting installation cd from stand-by state, via serial, the first part is the Service Processor Firmware. The communication was initiated by pressing ENTER

I've not achieved login via serial console, I've tried lots of stuff, except "the right cable" which I may not have, or, maybe my USB-Serial device does not implement the missing lines.. This section will be updated if I ever get it working. However, the serial was enough to allow me to configure the installed AIX system enough to get access over ethernet.

Getting network access

Inserting the AIX install media (version 4.3.3), and pressing 5 right after
the first beep (when it tells you to do so), made it boot from CD.

The installer allows you to, well, install the system, or enter a shell
to attempt to recover the system (the third option).

After many failed (and painful, due to how slow the machine boots) attempts at
getting Login to run on the serial console, I decided to try if I could maybe
get networking working instead, telnet is a lot nicer anyway..

I inspected the inetd configuration and it looked like telnet should be enabled.
So I used smitty to configure the ethernet card for DHCP.

I also used the passwd to change the root password to something known.
(If you don't want to reset the passwords, you could use John The Ripper to
crack the passwords, they crack in seconds).

I couldn't believe my eyes when the machine answered pings and telnet let
me login.

History of my system

While I explored the system a bit, I respect that it may contain sensitive information, and so, while I did learn who operated it, and what the machine was used for, I've chosen to destroy any non-system data. So, what I've learned is that the system was in the posession of "Aarhus Radiolager", and there was a Navision XAL database system installed on there. The user .profiles indicated that whenever a user logged on, they were not presented with a shell, but instead with the Navision Text User Interface (TUI) asking them to login. Navision is a system which is used for accounting, and as so, might contain sensitive information, for this reason, I did not attempt to login to the system, but exited as I saw the "login dialog". The database files have been deleted. The disk volume was overwritten with random bytes before being reformatted. A 128 port async pci card is installed and I found a few user-made scripts relating to the serial ports, suggesting that the machine may have been used via serial terminals.

Next steps

This system is.. extremely big, heavy, slow (to boot) and generally unwieldy.. Impractical for any purpose in 2021.. But... It's history, it's beautiful in its brutal industrial design. It's amazing to think that for almost no money, we can now own industrial-quality machines that served entire corporations.

I'm considering whether to reinstall the AIX system, maybe going for version 5.3. I have no planned uses for the machine. It does use over 200 watt just being turned on, and it's not entirely silent, even if not as unpleasantly loud as more modern systems.

I will probably experiment with X11, even if I can't get graphics on the system directly, I should be able to use it as an X server, and connect to it from my Linux machine, assuming the X11 protocol is 22 years backwards-compatible.


Multiple PCI shielding plates are missing, suggesting that at some time, more PCI cards have been installed. It also seems unusual to have a system ship with PS/2 connenctors for mouse/keyboard but without a display adapter, but not impossible. Unfortunatey, while exploring, I didn't catch the output of diag -a which probably told me exactly what was removed.. Oh well.

I tried multiple PCI VGA cards, from S3 to ATi, even an MGA one which looks to have the same chip as one of the officially supported cards. While the LED indicator did turn on for the card, diag did not mention it, and lsslot listed it as an unknown device. So I guess you can't just throw any random PCI graphics card into one of these machines and expect it to work. It should be noted that while all ports are 64 bit, and there should be compatibility with 32 bit cards, I have only access to 32 bit cards, and so, do not know if a random 64 bit pci graphics card might have worked.. If I stumble upon an officially supported card (for _VERY_ cheap) I might consider getting it. It'd be such a fun picture: Sit in front of this giant and play solitaire ;)