Gopher kills the LC

Macintosh LC

The LC isn’t a strong Macintosh.  It is after all, a low cost model.  And what I’m doing isn’t even slightly fair to it.

Since it has a mere 68020 running at a blazing 16Mhz with no 68881 nor any MMU running something like A/UX is simply out of the question.  However MMU less Mac’s can run MachTen.

Although I did make a backup of the disk to find out that this thing had been in Harvard of all places, apparently once belonging to Mark Saroyan.

Although there was nothing even slightly academic or useful on the disk.  I wonder if the software was even pirated as the last owner sure enjoyed all the various SIM games (city/earth/life/ant) it seems more than anything else.

I formatted the massive 50MB SCSI disk, put on a fresh copy of MacOS 7.0.1 along with the network driver and MachTen 2.2.

System 7.0.1

And as far as LC’s go, this one isn’t too bad, it’s loaded up with the maximum 10MB of RAM, although it seems the VRAM is pretty sparse as it’ll only go to 16 colours.  But since we are playing UNIX here, I didn’t see any need for that, and set it to mono.

I thought it’d be fun to install a gopherd server onto this machine, and that is where the fun started.

Granted it’s been a long time since I used a machine with no real L2 cache, let alone running at a whopping 16Mhz, and using a compiler like GCC is just incredibly slow.

So I thought I could just ‘cheat’ the system by taking the source code to GCC-1.42 and tweaking the SUN3-Mach configuration into a SUN2-Mach configuration but keeping it targeting a BSD like OS, along with setting it to compile to a 68020 without a 68881.  Oddly enough getting a cross compiler wasn’t so difficult, but the assembler on the LC, a modified GAS wouldn’t assembler the files. So I went ahead and built a68 from GAS 1.38 and now I can cross assemble from Windows. However I couldn’t get the linker ld from binutils-1.9 working.  I guess it was an endian issue somewhere, but my attempt at byte swapping files it was reading just led to further confusion.  And I figured linking on the target host wouldn’t be the end of the world, as compiling sure feels like it is.

I can’t see like anyone would care, but here it is: 
MachTen-crossgcc-1.42-nolinker.7z

So fighting the source and in a matter of a 30 minutes of on/off work I had it compiled.  All I needed to do then was FTP the objects to the machine, link and run.   Surprisingly this proved to be pretty simple.

gopherd running!

I managed to get a few pages out of it, and suddenly my telnet sessions dropped.  Looking over at the console and MacOS was busy being MacOS.

error of type 3

And that was that.

I tried another program to cross compile and upload phoon!

phoon cross compiled, natively linked.

It took a while to set the clock to the right year, as my minimal System 7 install doesn’t have the time control panel, and advancing 1 year at a time from 1999 takes time, by advancing the date to New Years Eve every minute 19 times to get us to 2018 with the old date syntax:

date 12312359

Lessons learned?

Obviously if I want to do something like this, I’m going to need a better Macintosh.  Or just not do things like this….

I’m kind of on the fence as to whither 68k Unix is really all that useful in the age of Ghz x86.  

Author: neozeed

I live in SE Asia, doing generic work, enjoying my life & family

19 thoughts on “Gopher kills the LC”

  1. MachTen sounds nice, until the bit where it crashed anyway. I know you love cross compilers, but once you couldn’t do the linking that way did you consider doing it in a VM instead of on the LC? I remember people complaining about how bad LC IIIs were, so I just read the Wikipedia article about the LC and it sounds like their performance was terrible, so I assume Basilisk II etc. would be faster.
    Maybe you would be better off with a more native solution. I worked at a place that had a Mac from that era running a web server, and I’m pretty sure the software used was NetPresenz (not based on my memories, but because I found that on a Mac from there last week!). Apparently it supports gopher too.
    Do you ever use Windows or NetWare to provide AppleTalk file sharing?

    1. I love the impracticalbility of cross compiling. I did run the massaged sources under emulation to the same result. However gopher is creating children is making MachTen mad.

      Sure there is other options for gopher, I just haven’t gone down there . I do have a netware 3.12 on qemu server, along with a pair of NT 4 servers, one running the AppleTalk server package, and the other running the Netware services where it also pretends to be a 3.12 server.

      I think 95 also has Netware emulation, but it needs to be part of a domain. I’ll have to try it, it’s been like 20 years

  2. Does anyone know about hp nonstop os?

    It would be pretty cool if someone could share their experience and even share the os itself 🙂

    1. Sorry I find twitter just full of people congratulating each other for changing their icons to various colours, and doing their best to hunt down and harass people. I don’t see any value in the platform @ all.

        1. It seems to me it’s much easier (and avoids garbage like Twitter completely) to just use an RSS reader – you get real configurable push notifications and no artificial limits and even better you aren’t tied to a trash platform like Twitter.

          You can check out IFTTT’s RSS applets, for example, if you don’t want to self host anything.

          I’m afraid that most people here would see zero value in Twitter and would actively avoid it – just my 2¢.

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