Mac SE/30 Linux Web Server


It looks like old Pentium boxes aren’t the only systems being relegated to web server duties. This is a supposedly easy install of Debian ‘woody’. The Linux distro can not be booted directly and needs to be started from OS 7.5.3. The guide gives some handy tips on what security upgrades need to be installed. I’m guessing most highschools finally threw these out last year, but you may still luck out.

[thanks MarkDavid]

23 thoughts on “Mac SE/30 Linux Web Server

  1. i have one of these. i have been hunting for a ethernet card for it for a long time. its a pds slot but it has a breakout slot thing for the transcever because the slot is horizontal but the masive ide looking jack is flat on the mother board. Anybody out there who can help me out?

  2. Sorry, that’s weaksauce. I built my Blackintosh SE/30 back in the day and took it to DefCon 7. My friend Frogman had one similar.

    Josh… tag me by sending mail to any address at I have a card I could sell you that does 10BT Twisted pair and AUI. I think I have 3 or 4 of those asante card with the cable tethered attachment for the SE/30.

    My Blackintosh:

    *64 MB of RAM (maxed out),

    *I removed the floppy drive and it now has a pair of 10,000 RPM 10GB Seagate Barracuda drives for a total of 20GB

    *NetBSD 1.5.3 in that picture, but I more recently installed OpenBSD 3.4 on it. It also boots via Mac System 7 though, same as the one in this hack.

    * Asante’ 10BT/AUI Ethernet Card

    *It has an external CD-ROM via the SCSI Port in the back

    * Sanded the case, painted black and clear-coated. The paint job used to be better than the one on my car! It got scratched up from going to DefCon 3 years in a row. :(

    * Filled the “apple” logo indention on the mouse with black paint, then sanded the whole mouse, so it’s smooth and white-ish colored, instead of textured and that sun-damaged yellow color

    * Painted the keyboard black except for the keytops, then clear-coated the whole thing.

    The end result is quite tasty. I use it for PHP and MySQL development. It’s running PHP 4, MySQL 3, and Apache 1.3

  3. WOW! That blackintosh is pretty sweet. If you could get a whole army of those things, cluster them for distributed processing among other resources, you could actually get a semi-powerful machine. Not to mention one righteously weird display.

  4. I always wondered, do the old Mac families run as quietly as today’s lineup? I mean – my iBook is all I can remember… but was keeping the sound down always an Apple thing.

    It makes me laugh when my friends boot up their PC laptops (loaded up, killer machines btw) and they start with a whirr of the fan. Fans – bah!

    So – yeah, I’d love to try this hack (and love to own a SE) but is this realistic? What sort of power does the SE consume?

  5. The SE/30 is not the same as the SE… Hold out for an SE/30 if you’re going to buy a really old classic-looking mac. Don’t buy a classic or a classic II either. The SE/30 is the best price/performance tradeoff for the baby mac form factor.

    My Blackintosh is rated at 2A, auto switching 100-240VAC. There’s a fan on the analog (video) backplane near the high voltage flyback transformer. Looks like a 2.5 incher to me. The main current draw is the CRT monitor. I’ve successfully powered this thing with the 450W inverter in my wardriving vehicle before, just to say I did. Some of the newer “digital” inverters with voltage/wattage draw displays I’ve had issues with getting this to work with.

    As far as noise goes, the seagate barracudas are loud hard drives, but even normal harddrives like the 1.2 Gig Quantum Fireball that was in it when I bought it, was louder than the fan. It’s a whisper quiet machine, you really don’t hear much more than the whirring hard drive.

    There are some really common problems with the SE/30 that are easily solved with some tech references and sometimes a soldering iron. As always, there is a CRT and it’s high voltage stuff inside, so you must be careful when poking around inside. I recommend checking out the forums and articles at for help, they have a 68000 processor series specific forum for talking about the older macs, and they have other forums as well. Also is a good resource for learning more about these old, yet still useful relics of computing history.

  6. Yes, A/UX will work just fine on an SE/30, or any other Mac with an 68030 (or 68020 if the optional PMU is installed). As a lark, I ran it for a week. The ability to run MacOS apps w/in it was *very* convenient. Finally removed it, because it nearly maxed out my 20 or 40MB drive of the day.

  7. There’s enough room in the case for a CD drive, but barely. My SE/30 has two slots, one standard for the floppy drive, and a wider slot above for the slot-loading CD-ROM. Also, you can max out at 128MB of RAM, but you need Mode32 (free) from Apple. Quite the machine for the time.

  8. Hi, i have a Macintosh LC in perfect condition, it is a color mac as well.. This is mine..
    Is there a site that anyone has come across that could help me turn this bad boy into my own little server? Any help would be great because if i can’t find any good use for it or if it is going to cost me a lot of $$$ to get it to something then i probably will just sell it. Thanks in advance.

  9. i have an se/30 i would sell. it has all power cords, mouse, and ‘official’ padded carrying case. if you are interested, let me know and i will look up its RAM etc when i get home, and respond. it lives in chattanooga, TN.

  10. i’m also after a se/30 ethernet card. have openbsd 3.9-current running on it, and configured hardwired ppp at 57600 baud – very slow, especially file transfer of compressed files. will probably have to bite the bullet and disable compression….. or get an ethernet card!

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