Once upon a time, I bought a Mac Plus, and decked it out with 4MB of ram, and a 40MB SCSI hard disk. I thought it was so cool, I even got a cable to talk to a normal external modem, and used it as a compact terminal to BBS, although the 800Kb floppies were a bit of a pain….

Anyways it was OK for a while but system 6 is so… limiting. Then I started using it for a foot rest, as I couldn’t do anything really more with it. Then someone at college pointed out that Minix actually supported a bunch of 68000 based machines, namely the Amiga, Atari ST, and the Macintosh!!!

The best part of the Mac port being that you didn’t have to format, repartition or anything, as it was essentially and operating environment!

The best parts being, that it had vi, and even a C compiler! Although without documentation getting things in & out of the Mac seemed impossible, and I kind of gave up on it.

But after digging around these ancient Linux things, I thought I’d take a look at MacMinix again.

To start, Brad Pliner has an excellent site, with lots of documentation for this port of Minix, including some PDF’s of the instructions.

I’ve detailed some of the install steps on gunkies.

The only real downside will be that the C compiler is ancient… It really can’t compare to MINT’s GCC.

Mini Vmac’s Macintosh II

While browsing around, it came to my attention that the great project Mini vMac‘s Macintosh II emulation has now progressed to the point where it can actually start running stuff!

So I downloaded it, searched high & low for the necessary files, and was booting in no time!

mini vmac 26 boot
mini vmac 26 boot

While it’s not as full featured as Basilisk II, it is a *LOT* smaller, and easier to work with. By default it’ll emulate a Macintosh II with 8 MB of ram. Hard disks & floppies are only supported through the shim method of the older Mini vMac, so you can just drag & drop your images onto the screen. I tested it with an old game I had floating around on my Mac SE30 Space Quest…

mini vmac 26 space quest
mini vmac 26 space quest

And it runs well enough.

Over all I have to say it’s easy to use, very responsive, and just GREAT!

If you have a need for 68000 MAC programs, you may want to give this one a shot… And it’s so small, the Win32 binary is 144kb!!!


SheepShaver on Windows
SheepShaver on Windows

I was hoping for this to be a full featured review but alas there are a few major issues to prevent wide spread use of this emulator…

First you really need access to a Power Macintosh of some kind to use this. You’ll need a ROM and a version of the OS that isn’t for free on Apple’s site. Right now I’m using my 7.6.1 CD to run stuff, and it works great. Honestly its way better than the real deal.. Unless you are running something CPU intensive… Like SIMH on MiNT (all 68000 code) on Sheepshaver (PowerPC emulator)… it can be quirky at times.

However let me say if you do have MacOS 7.6 – 9 you’ll love Sheepshaver. If you feel left out from the PowerPC to Intel transition and feel you need this old clunker around to run some 68000 apps or even PowerPC system 7-9 applications that are not carbon compatible, sheepshaver is freaking AWESOME.

I’m still running Vista x86_64 on my laptop where I do most of my work, so for me I needed to download Sheepshaver. Now it does mention it can run MacOS 7.5.2 however the copy on apple’s site is a massive disk image… So you’ll need a Mac to extract it… Yeah I know.  I did make an ISO image to help those who need/want it.

I haven’t tried it, however I do know that 7.5.2 did *NOT* work on my 5400. The good news is that the disk images work between MiniVmac & Sheepshaver. This has saved my sanity (perhaps yours as well!) This does mean that you can also use HFVExplorer to move files in/out of Sheepshaver. A word of caution, the SLiRP networking causes my setup to crash… I really don’t know if it’s Vista 64, and I’m not in the mood to test within Virtual PC… emulating within an emulator is a recipe for disaster.

Another thing you’ll need is the GTK+ runtime for the gui configuration… I found mine by googling the term “gtk-2.12.9-win32-2.exe” … For some reason sourceforge seems to have issues at the moment with its projects unless you know exactly what you are looking for.

That being said I love sheepshaver. I run it full screen at my laptops native resolution (1280×800) and with the sound on, and it FEELS like a Macintosh Laptop. Even my 1.8Ghz laptop feels snappier than the 120Mhz PowerPC.. But from the Sheepshaver site, they do say to expect to run at 1/8th the speed.. So my laptop “feels” like it’s 225Mhz. A SCREAMER! Of course this would be horrible for people expecting to run photoshop & friends.

There is no doubt about it, Sheepshaver is great for running old games and applications.

A few tips though. Turn off Virtual memory in Sheepshaver. There is no need for it, as it’s far better to allow Sheepshaver to just have more memory.. In this day & age odds are you can easily allow it to have 64 – 256 megabytes. While you are unable to turn off the disk cache, you should tune it down to 64kb. Although the CPU isn’t much faster than many of the Power Mac’s, the disk IO of a modern computer far exceeds it. Most computers are actually IO bound, so running older systems with faster IO gives the appearance of them running substantially faster. It’s only nested emulation that brings it out how slow it is.

I’ve also found that older version of the OS support more software, and run better.  That is 7.5.3, 7.6, 8.0 and 8.1.  8.5, 8.6 and 9.0 have more PowerPC hooks in them, and SheepShaver hooks the 68000 code to do it’s paravirtualization (it doesn’t emulate any hardware), and the more older tied to the 68000 code tend to be more stable.

That being said, running Mathematica, SoftPC, and Photoshop would not be a “good idea” if you are expecting faster performance. But at the same time, it’s great being able to run old software that you’ve purchased throughout the years.

vMac/Mini vMac

Simply put vMac is a quick & fast Mac Plus emulator. That being said, it will emulate a 68000 cpu with 4 (yes, FOUR) megabytes of ram.

Now you will need a ROM from a plus Macintosh in order to run this. I actually did own a plus (it made a good foot rest), but before I moved I ripped the ROM, and trashed it.

vMac started in the late 1990’s but has been largely abandoned. But not to worry, this is where mini vMac stepped in, and took over the torch as it were.

Mini vMac can be downloaded here:

The good news is that it’s small, and portable so you can pick this up for several platforms. And yes, there is a version for PowerPC Macs so you can run some super ancient software with system 6 and prior on System 8/9 PowerMacs.

Assuming you have your rom in a file called vmac.rom you are almost ready to go! Now you need a copy of the operating system. Luckily Apple has made systems prior to 7.6 free, and you can download them from here:

And the System 7.5.3 updater:

Although for the first timer, I ‘d recommend something like this:

to get up & running quickly.

Now I’d highly recommend a utility called HFVExplorer. This will let you create a ‘hardfile’ to simulate a hard disk, and allow you to move files you’ve downloaded into your hardfile. You can find a copy here:

A good utility to have on the mac side is DiskCopy. You can download a copy from Apple here:

If you still have legacy 400k, 800k floppies you will require a real Mac to read them. They are formatted in a different method that a PC cannot read. However this changed with the high density drives (super drivers they were called) which a PC can at least read/write raw disk images of them.

Putting it all together:

Ok with mini vMac, your rom, a hard disk file & the system 7 boot disk you should have enough to have a booting instance. It should be about that simple.

I happen to love this game Captain Blood, and I found a copy for the Macintosh and using HFVExplorer I just move it into my disk file, unstuff & run.

The whole point is that this ancient game bypasses the toolbox for video calls and will crash on the Powermac I just bought, however it’ll run fine in emulation.

Next up we’ll cover the PowerMac emulation…!

Some 5400/12 – Performa 200 restoration notes

(Image from Wikipedia) I never took a picture of mine.
(Image from Wikipedia) I never took a picture of mine.

I’ll throw out a little tidbit about the Power Macintosh 5400/120, otherwise known as the Performa 200. If you do not have any Mac OS CD’s this will be *VERY* hard to get going with nothing. The good news is that there are boot floppies available out there.

The bad news is that they are encoded in a method in which you’ll have to get access to a working Mac. If there was somewhere I could post these files forever I would.

Anyways the boot disk is this one:


Which I currently see online here:

Now it’s a diskcopy 6.4 image. Which you’ll need a Mac. I was able to finagle one from a Mac, however I’m wondering now if it’s possible to do this via emulation. During this whole resurrect my $12 Mac I’ve come across vMac, Basilisk II & SheepShaver.

I plan on doing some serious review, however it is worth noting that while both do run fine, they are actually buggy on weird stuff vs the real iron.

From what I gather with the boot disk, you can boot your Mac up, partition & format it, and install this super small bootable System 7.6 onto the hard disk. It will complain about you doing it this way, but it will work, allowing you to get the box up & running somewhat, to let you try some methods of getting the install disk for 7.6 onto your Mac.

It is worth noting that the 7.5.3 on Apple’s download site that is provided for FREE does *NOT* work on the 5400! I did at one point try it, and I got some wonderful message :

The System Software 7.5.3 Installer script does not recognize this Macintosh. Please use the original disks that came with your computer.

Sadly all information I see is that this thing shipped with 7.5.3 Oh well. I eventually found a boot floppy!

The site I gleaned this boot disk from was this:

If anyone does anything MacOS for a living or is going to play with a Mac you ought to save the whole thing! It’s VERY useful, more so than Apple’s documentation.

Anyways I’ve tweaked up a copy of the SIMH PDP-11 to compile and do a small test under MiNT/MacOS. Tomorrow we shall see if it’s usable.



Recently I came across a Power Macintosh 5400/120 at a garage sale for the bargain price of $12! I couldn’t believe my luck, for under $20 I had a fully working computer!

Except that it won’t run OS X 1.0
And it only has 8Mb of ram.

Because of its memory restrictions it can only run Mac OS 7.6

What to do….


MINT back in the day for AtariST’s was a UNIX like layer that ran on top of TOS (The Atari MS-DOS like OS) and provided basic Unix services. With the program aptly called JET (Just Enough TOS), the Macintosh 68000’s can setup a TOS compatible interrupt vector table, and run TOS procedure emulation to run the MINT binaries under MacOS!

So, it’s UNIX!

Sort of.

First you need to disable Virtual Memory… That’s bad.
Next it doesn’t support TCP/IP so it’s like being on Unix v6. But it’s fun at any rate.

You can find the binaries at my mirror of here.

It includes gcc 2.5.8, and a somewhat basic environment. It does have lots of potential, but the biggest gripe is that 8Mb of ram just isn’t enough to do any serious compiling, and yes it will crash with virtual memory enabled. Also since it is 68000 programs it is running under emulation.. I have to admit that I am tempted to buy some kind of 68000 based Macintosh to run MacMiNT.

I know this may not be terribly useful to people, but then again someone has to do something fun/weird on a $12 machine. I fully expect to either get a ‘bigger’ 68000 box, or more ram and run something like simh on it. I can only wonder how usable the PDP11 or the Interdata32 are.

And for anyone, like me wants a ‘clear’ program, just because, here is a simple one, just remember to link with -ltermcap.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <termcap.h>

void main()


char buf[1024];
char buf2[30];
char *ap;
char *clearstr;