I am retroactively jealous. As a PhD student, I really wanted to try A/UX but none of the old Macs that folks were getting rid of had an MMU. The ones on eBay that did were well out of my price range.
A/UX was actually not that much fun. It was based on SVr2 (not r3 or r4) which was long in the tooth at launch, and the MacOS emulation later had all sorts of caveats and things that didn’t work. It really existed so Apple could bid on government contracts that specified “Unix” or “POSIX”.
I have an SE/30 I’ve been meaning to recap (it still works but is starting to show some telltale signs). The sad part for me is how rare the expansions and upgrades for it are getting. You could have a 640x480 greyscale internal display and an upgraded processor and a built in ethernet port… if you’re extremely lucky and spend thousands on ebay.
The Mac SE/30 was an amazing computer in its day. I can’t imagine going through all the stuff this person went through to get one working, though. Maybe because I’m just not a hardware person.
I have a few ex-corporate 4 MB SE/30 with thinnet ethernet cards in storage. I haven’t tried to start them in 15 years probably. In the late 90s I loaned one for a while (with a quick and dirty FIlemaker database app) to a friend with a retail store whose Windows PC had just died.
The thing that absolutely blew me away in 1989 when the SE/30 came out was that it supported 128 MB RAM (with large DIMMs not yet available) while the RAM you could buy one with was 1 MB or 4 MB.
The first computer I paid my own money for was a Mac II/cx, which is the same machine as an SE/30 except for being in a box with expansion slots and no build in monitor. The prices were pretty much the same. I bought it as a 0/0 – 0 RAM and 0 disk – and put 3rd party RAM and disk in it. I used that until I bought a PowerMac 6100AV.
I thought it was pretty cool you could completely disassemble a IIcx, IIci, or Quadra 700 by removing only one screw which secured the hard drive & floppy drive bracket to the chassis bottom. Everything else just clipped into place.