AIX Versions and History

AIX is a mature and stable Unix, with a current shipping version of 4.3. It's hardware platform is the RS/6000, which uses a PowerPC RISC chip, which is also in use by the latest generation Macintosh computers. AIX has roots in the IBM RT system of the late 80s which used a RISC cpu of a different design.

IBM supports versions of AIX back to AIX 3.2.5, and has pledged to support them with Y2K patches as needed. AIX 3.2.5 is still commonly encountered in older shops that do not have in house support staff, or have legacy systems. In fact, LensCrafters is still running on AIX 3.1.5 for their in-store systems. However, AIX 3.1.5 is no longer supported by IBM, and is known to have Y2K related bugs. (Lenscrafters has customized their AIX system images to overcome this problem).

In AIX release history, the jump from AIX 3.1.5 to 3.2 was a fairly major release jump. As was the jump from 3.2.5 to 4.0.

A special flavor of AIX is AIX SP. This OS release and supporting software are used in high availability / fault tolerant systems. These systems provide both a highly available and highly scalable environment.

AIX is pretty much balanced between the BSD and System V flavors of Unix. It does however have more proprietary features than other Unix systems. These are not all bad, but it does mean that experienced administrators may have a slightly larger learning curve for AIX than for other Unixs. These features include things such as printing, device management, software installation maintenance, a reliance on Logical Volume Manager, and an increased reliance on GUI administration tools.

AIX's proprietary features generally make it easier to manage, and AIX systems perform fairly well in shops without full time administration staff.

Back Last Updated: January 27, 1999