How to run Mac OS 8 in an app inside Catalina

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Here's how to step back in time with a virtual Mac running OS 8, complete with apps of the day, and favorite features like WindowShade and 3D folder icons, in a self-contained application within macOS Catalina.

Okay, so you can't really do any productive work in it. But you also cannot run this emulator without beaming.
Okay, so you can't really do any productive work in it. But you also cannot run this emulator without beaming.


Get it while you can. While we're all looking forward to macOS Big Sur, developer Felix Rieseberg has instead looked back three decades to revive Mac OS 8. We're also looking forward to Apple Silicon but he's taking us to a time before Intel and even before PowerPC.

"Bear in mind that this is written entirely in JavaScript, so please adjust your expectations," he writes on Github, where the emulator can currently be downloaded. "The virtual machine is emulating a 1991 Macintosh Quadra 900 with a Motorola CPU, which Apple used before switching to IBM's PowerPC architecture in the late 1990s."

The Mac OS 8 macintosh.js app itself is by Rieseberg, but it runs through the Basilisk II 68k Macintosh emulator. Reiseberg's app can be downloaded complete, though, without a separate install of Basilisk II, and run from the regular Applications folder.

It is of absolutely no practical use whatsoever, but that doesn't matter in the slightest. Launching it, you're immediately back to the 1990s with Apple's then-new, now-so-painfully-old design aesthetic.

That includes the much missed "Welcome to Mac OS," and it includes System 8's somewhat less missed marching row of extensions. At least none of these clash and mean you long for the days of Conflict Catcher.

The Mac emulator's screen is stubbornly tiny on a modern Mac screen. And as you use it, you get a little disorientating conflict between your real Mac's cursor and your new virtual Mac's one. It can take some getting used to just where to click to open folders and applications, but you can do it -- and there are apps to open.

It really works, too.
It really works, too.


Reportedly thanks to "an old MacWorld Demo CD from 1997," the emulator includes Photoshop 3, Illustrator 5.5 and the forgotten old standby, Stuffit Expander. All of them work, within any limitations on their original demos, and you can use them with modern Mac files.

While AppleInsider couldn't get this to work in testing, reportedly you can drop files into the emulator's folder and they will appear in Mac OS 8 after restarting the app. Similarly, if you still have classic Mac disk images, those should be mountable here.

What you can't do is see how the internet was back then, even though Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer are included. "For what it's worth, the web was quite different 30 years ago - and you wouldn't be able to open even Google," notes Rieseberg.

It's not the oldest window back into Mac history, though. In 2017, an online emulator was released which presented the full System 7.0.1. Neither that nor the new Mac OS 8 one are supported or even condoned by Apple, though.

So you can no more be sure it will escape lawyers than you can do any serious work in it. But it's a clear labor of love and such a joyous treat to run on today's hardware.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,218member
    I 've played with this on and off since OS X's early days

    https://sheepshaver.cebix.net/#info
    dysamoriamaltzwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 27
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,890member
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    tommikele
  • Reply 3 of 27
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,218member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    If a few people who are stuck at home have some fun with this then yes, he's made a small dent.
    dysamoriaGG1lordjohnwhorfinmaltznarwhalmknelsonviclauyycsvanstromOferfahlman
  • Reply 4 of 27
    Finally, I can break for 8 again. 

     
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,128member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    Why does it matter what this person does with their time?
    maltznarwhalOferfahlmanbulk001buttesilver
  • Reply 6 of 27
    I’m always floored when I see what can be accomplished with the steaming pile of **** that is Javascript.
    auxiosvanstromrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 27
    maltzmaltz Posts: 229member
    MacPro said:
    I 've played with this on and off since OS X's early days

    https://sheepshaver.cebix.net/#info

    Ditto.  There's even a Windows version.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,236member
    I’m always floored when I see what can be accomplished with the steaming pile of **** that is Javascript.
    Agreed.  It's the new C++, which was despised by the OO programming community when it first came out, but still somehow managed to become the defacto standard OO programming language over time.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    It totally did make a dent for me. It has reminded me of how far we came since I started my visual media adventure on system 7 and Photoshop 2.5. And how mindblowingly new system 8 and Photoshop 3 felt when they came out. How bright and promising the future seemed. And look at us now. :|
    svanstromentropysfahlmanbuttesilverwatto_cobraTenPoundTabby
  • Reply 10 of 27
    XedXed Posts: 752member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    Has he done anything productive?! You're asking this under an article where it mentions some very impressive things he's produced? WTF have you ever done? If a Senior Staff Engineer at Slack doing impressive things with JS in his spare time isn't enough for you to be impressed then what is?
    narwhalmknelsonviclauyycsvanstrombraytonakadaeonbuttesilveruraharafastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 27
    It’s been a couple of years since I went down this particular rabbit hole, but as the author and long-time maintainer of this site (which began as an iTools page):

    http://www.earlymacintosh.org/

    I can say emulators are a thing and you can run quite a bit of interesting stuff if you know what you are doing.
    watto_cobraTenPoundTabby
  • Reply 12 of 27
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,446member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    John Cleese has said that he was on track to become a Barrister, but then he either saw, or was on a chat program with a famous actor/comedian/entertainer. That was when he realized that a serious career was fine, but it was just as important to make people smile, to make them happy. Because of that he went into writing, which led to Monty Python, and from there the rest. 

    So yes the person who programmed this has done something productive. He made something that will make people smile. 
    viclauyycMacProbuttesilverJapheywatto_cobramaltz
  • Reply 13 of 27
    I have images of some of the old Living Books CD-ROM's, and my kids would love to see them. This'll be great!
    viclauyycwatto_cobraTenPoundTabby
  • Reply 14 of 27
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,488member
    This is very cool!

    I’ve been itching to dig my old IIfx out (how I lusted after those when they were brand new) - this just may inspire me.  I have an SE/30 I need to fix the analog board on (probably just needs some capacitors) a passel of SEs and my original Plus.  And a brand new 5 pack of PhoneNet adapters - I need to get the gang out for an old fashioned LAN session of Nettek.  I dunno why classic macs have been on my mind of late - was cruising eBay looking for a decent used IIci but there wasn’t much that wasn’t grossly overpriced.    The cost of nostalgia...
    edited July 2020 MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 27
    I run a modified Sheepshaver from Colombia. Univ. It runs OS 9 on Mojave in a 2012 iMac.
    MacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 27
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,218member
    docno42 said:
    This is very cool!

    I’ve been itching to dig my old IIfx out (how I lusted after those when they were brand new) - this just may inspire me.  I have an SE/30 I need to fix the analog board on (probably just needs some capacitors) a passel of SEs and my original Plus.  And a brand new 5 pack of PhoneNet adapters - I need to get the gang out for an old fashioned LAN session of Nettek.  I dunno why classic macs have been on my mind of late - was cruising eBay looking for a decent used IIci but there wasn’t much that wasn’t grossly overpriced.    The cost of nostalgia...
    Wow, we have the same old gear lol.  My IIfx died sadly.  It fired up a few years ago for a few minutes then, nothing.  I was very sad.  My also have an SE/30 but the internal HD is dead but it works with floppies and also an external floppy drive.   I do have a working Power Macintosh G3 that runs both MacOS 9 and OS X.  I sit here with a MBP, Mac Pro and a 27" 5K iMac and it seems like yesterday all those old machines were 'the lates and greatest.'  Not to mention I can recall all too clearly my Apple ][e 64, my Lisa and my Apple ///.
    watto_cobradocno42
  • Reply 17 of 27
    xamaxxamax Posts: 135member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    Yes, just read the article again!

    I for one have a Mac OS 8 App so simple and beautiful that the author never managed to replicate properly in OS X etc so SheepShaver saved my day. Now I’ll be looking into this too.
    watto_cobraTenPoundTabby
  • Reply 18 of 27
    MacPro said:
    docno42 said:
    This is very cool!

    I’ve been itching to dig my old IIfx out (how I lusted after those when they were brand new) - this just may inspire me.  I have an SE/30 I need to fix the analog board on (probably just needs some capacitors) a passel of SEs and my original Plus.  And a brand new 5 pack of PhoneNet adapters - I need to get the gang out for an old fashioned LAN session of Nettek.  I dunno why classic macs have been on my mind of late - was cruising eBay looking for a decent used IIci but there wasn’t much that wasn’t grossly overpriced.    The cost of nostalgia...
    Wow, we have the same old gear lol.  My IIfx died sadly.  It fired up a few years ago for a few minutes then, nothing.  I was very sad.  My also have an SE/30 but the internal HD is dead but it works with floppies and also an external floppy drive.   I do have a working Power Macintosh G3 that runs both MacOS 9 and OS X.  I sit here with a MBP, Mac Pro and a 27" 5K iMac and it seems like yesterday all those old machines were 'the lates and greatest.'  Not to mention I can recall all too clearly my Apple ][e 64, my Lisa and my Apple ///.
    Here’s what you need for the SE/30:

    https://www.bigmessowires.com/floppy-emu/
    MacProwatto_cobradocno42
  • Reply 19 of 27
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 438member
    Quite useless.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 720member
    lkrupp said:
    Sounds like a talented individual. Has he done anything productive that improves the world or makes a dent in the universe?
    More productive than your comment which didn't improve the world.
    adaeonbulk001buttesilveruraharafastasleepwatto_cobraTenPoundTabbydocno42
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