Apple Quadra 700

Apple's Quadra line of personal computers (PCs) was the high end of their Motorola 68000 family (m68k) Macintoshes. This particular Q700 has an MC68040 CPU running at 25 MHz and 20 MiB of RAM. It may not sound like much, but it easily doubled the performance of MC68020-based professional Unix workstations from Sun, Apollo, et al. from a few years before it. This made them great candidates for running Unix.

We purchased this Quarda 700 used for my wife to run Mac OS 6 and later 7 and a variety of desktop publishing applications in the mid '90s for professional work. Over the years I acquired a couple NuBus video cards which Mac OS was able to use concurrently even with some of my large, fixed-frequency Unix workstation monitors. At one point I had Mac OS 7 display a single window spanning all three monitors at different resolutions and color depths (one 8-bit grayscale); I'm fairly certain Windows and Linux still can't do that, though the commonplace of 24-bit color video cards makes the feat irrelevant.

Eventually we replaced this computer with a PowerPC Mac clone whereupon I promoted it to the museum with an install of Linux/m68k (the first Linux port to another architecture) using a Debian distribution. Apple's proprietary boot ROMs have never been cracked for direct Linux boot. Instead, this system boots into a minimal Mac OS and runs a Mac application that boots the Linux kernel. Unfortunately the Linux kernel eventually dropped support for the m68k architecture, though I never bothered to update it to NetBSD since then.