Re-visiting Gopher on A/UX

Rather unintentionally some 7 years ago (to the day!) I was playing with an early gopher server on Linux, musing that one day it’d be cool to run it fully on A/UX (what is it anyways?!). And thanks to Qemu’s 68040 support the time is at hand.

First off I need to run this on Linux so I’ll need to build the appropriate branch myself. Thankfully Cat_7 has boiled it down to a really simple formula:

git clone -b q800.upstream https://www.gitlab.com/mcayland/qemu q800-upstream
cd q800-upstream
./configure --target-list=m68k-softmmu --enable-gtk --enable-sdl
make

In my case I remove the gtk and sdl as I’m running this headless.

Now onto the OS itself. While I had numerous images built over the years for Shoebill there was one major issue when compared to Qemu, and that is Shoebill loads the kernel directly while Qemu emulates the hardware so it will boot MacOS 7 directly. While on the surface this is mundane that does mean however that none of my images will actually work on Qemu as they don’t include a blessed copy of System 7. Not that I care that much I could always do a simple dump/restore [ dump.bsd 0f – /dev/rdsk/c0d0s0 | (cd /mnt; restore xf -) ] of my A/UX stuff that I care about anyways. Luckily since I had added that SCSI file support to Cockatrice I could still partition out some disks and install from there.

Now for the further bit of bad news for me is that I found that the 68020 based Shoebill ran 3.0.0 far more stable than 3.0.1 or 3.1. So I’d built everything around 3.0.0. And of course trying to boot 3.0.0 on a Quadra 800 just gives you a hard lock up. I don’t have the setup disk for 3.0.0 but mounting the CD-ROM gives you access to the disk tool (the 3.0.0 version doesn’t check for the Apple string on SCSI ROMS so you can partition with that as well). Anyways too much time thinking I’d done something wrong until this had to be pointed out to me:

Compatibility matrix from penelope

That’s right, 3.0.0 doesn’t run on the Quadra 800. Much longer ago I had a Quadra 950, fantastic beast of a machine, and yes it ran 3.0.0 just great. So shockingly running the right versions got me up to a working system just fine.

Now of course back in the Shoebill days I got ‘3.0.1’ kind of working by cheating. The /mac programs didn’t work on Shoebill however I could copy them over from 3.0.0 to get a working system. Could I substitute a 3.0.1 kernel & /mac directory onto a 3.0.0 system?

So first up the System 7 install from A/UX 3.0.0 is too old for a Quadra 800. Obviously just use the one from 3.0.1. Great.

This lead to a problem where the root filesystem always needs to be checked in single user mode. Something that is shockingly hard to do when your Quadra runs so fast as you have less than a second to hit the ‘top’ button to halt the autoload.

Naturally the standalone runs fine, with no errors.

Thinking that it’s the start-up scripts I remove all the fsck’s and then get this message:

Great a kernel panic. ialloc: dup alloc. Thinking that maybe it’s confusing the UFS, I go ahead and format the disk in SYSV and restore the image onto that.

This gets me another kernel panic, this time no root filesystem. Surprise the SYSV filesystem was made optional in a default install. I run ‘newconfig sysv’ from 3.0.1 and copy that kernel back, and for good measure the shared libraries from 3.0.1. Now I get a different error:

Interesting, I try to hit restart, and instead I get dumped into text mode!

Victory!

So here we are a 3.0.1 kernel with a 3.0.0 userland! I’m going to use this as a server anyways so I don’t really care about the Mac UI. Naturally so many twists and turns I’ll just skip to the end. Networking didn’t work correctly. Maybe I should have copied all the network stuff from 3.0.1 over but at this point it’s basically a 3.0.1 system so why even bother?

So the next thing of course is just to setup Qemu to listen on a loopback and add some disks. A lot of disks.

./qemu-system-m68k \
-L pc-bios \
-m 256 \
-M q800 \
-vnc 10.11.0.1:35 \
-serial stdio \
-bios Quadra800.rom \
-net nic,model=dp83932,netdev=ne -netdev user,id=ne,hostfwd=tcp:10.11.0.1:42323-:23,hostfwd=tcp:10.11.0.1:40070-:70,hostfwd=tcp:10.11.0.1:40080-:80 \
-drive file=pram-aux.img,format=raw,if=mtd \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=0,drive=hd0,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.0" \
-drive file=scsi0.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd0 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=1,drive=hd1,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.1" \
-drive file=scsi1.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd1 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=2,drive=hd2,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.2" \
-drive file=scsi2.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd2 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=3,drive=hd3,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.3" \
-drive file=scsi3.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd3 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=4,drive=hd4,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.4" \
-drive file=scsi4.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd4 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=5,drive=hd5,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.5" \
-drive file=scsi5.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd5 \
-device scsi-hd,scsi-id=6,drive=hd6,vendor="SEAGATE",product="ST225N",ver="1.6" \
-drive file=scsi6.vmdk,media=disk,format=vmdk,if=none,id=hd6
Yeah well… great!?

One nice thing is that since we are on Qemu I don’t have to use raw disk images, I can zero stuff out and use VMDK’s. Nice. I guess I could bridge the VM later, but for now NAT is fine enough as all I need is telnet & gopher. So I grab gopher2_3.1.tar.gz, rebuild and move over my gopher site from Linux into A/UX and I’m up and running in no time. It was shockingly easy. I update a few things to reflect it running on A/UX now.

Currently 2 days of uptime!

And just like that I took my semi popular gopher site, and moved it to A/UX seven years after thinking that this would be a ‘good idea(tm)’. I’m sure it won’t backfire spectacularly.

I don’t know if any of this is useful or interesting but it was to me. It’s been nice that Qemu has been able to keep uptime in several days, I had 3 days of uptime before I took it down to max out the storage so I could possibly do more with it.

Naturally it’s still available as gopher://gopher.superglobalmegacorp.com

Qemu’s Macintosh Quadra in alpha usability! (runs A/UX!)

I’m being a bit unfair as far as Alpha’s go it’s rough to get going but wow it’s GREAT! For starters it’s a Quadra 800 so System 7.1 through 8.1 will work. Also this has full 68040 capabilities so yes that means MMU and YES A/UX (and NetBSD!) will run

As always you can find more on emaculation, the best source for news and info on emulating the Mac.

Additionally you can find the setup guide here.

Many of my Shoebill/Cockatrice III images didn’t work at all. Some at least were picked up as blank disks. I had less luck with freshly created raw/vmdk or qcow2 disks. Not sure at all. My minimal 7 2gb disk worked fine as a donor, and even converting to a vmdk was fine. Sooo YMMV. But hey it’s an Alpha and YES IT CAN WORK.

Another plus is that the idle loop works fine so it won’t burn 100% of your CPU. This could possibly be a great gopher server!? Time will tell.

Presenting MacFlim

This is beyond super cool! Video has always been something of the realm of ‘high end’ machines, back when QuickTime became a thing it was lauded at running in a postage stamp sized window with absolutely incredible artifacting. And that was running with a Quadra (68040) back in the day, the transition from 68000 to PowerPC really helped with video on the desktop with much faster clocks and better caching.

The idea of video on any of the compact black & white Macs, even the ultra high end SE/30 68030 based Mac seemed something out of fantasy. But thanks to modern processors, massive storage and the ability to front process the video, it is now possible to do playback on a B&W mac!

Enter MacFilm 1.0 by Fred!

This is some super cool ‘impossible’ tech for the low end macs!

This is nothing short of incredible!

Of course the ‘downside’ is there is no audio.. And it’s directly blitting to the 512×342 B&W display so if you are not running on a 1 bit original display it’s not going to work or just blast seemingly junk to the screen.

Maybe if big 80’s media wasn’t so slow, or massive SCSI disks didn’t cost as much as a car we could have been enjoying an almost Brazilian future of black and white movies on tiny CRT’s.

HFS Utillities

I got a question the other day about how to easily move files in and out of Cockatrice III, especially since as part of my ‘try to make it stable by cutting features out’ approach I removed the ability to mount foreign directories under Basilisk II.

For my personal use, I have an AppleTalk LAN, and I just use a Windows NT 4.0 server with AppleTalk, as a file server/proxy and that works pretty good for me, so much so that I didn’t even think of any other way of doing this.

HFV Explorer 1.3.1

One of the quickest and easiest is HFV Explorer, however the ‘catch’ being it doesn’t read SCSI disk images (aka things with partition maps). But for the ‘massive floppy’ images it’s more than fine.

HFSUtils is another approach, it’s like the old ‘MS-DOS utils’ of ancient Unix days, allowing you to ‘mount’ a disk image, and copy files in and out. I thought I’d give this a spin to copy Marathon into my virtual OS 8.1 image. It’s pretty straight forward first ‘mount’ the disk image:

C:\Cockatrice>hmount.exe scsi0.dsk
C:\Cockatrice/scsi0.dsk: contains 1 HFS partition
Volume name is "SCSI0"
Volume was created on Sat May 19 14:04:04 2018
Volume was last modified on Mon Nov 16 14:59:02 2020
Volume has 1056545280 bytes free

Now make a directory:

C:\Cockatrice>hmkdir scsi0:xfer:

And then copy in the file:

C:\Cockatrice>hcopy marathon.sit scsi0:xfer:

C:\Cockatrice>hdir scsi0:xfer:
f  ????/UNIX         0   5627676 Nov 16 15:34 scsi0:xfer:

C:\Cockatrice>

And just like that it’s there!

And yes it unstuffs!

And just like that we have downloaded a game from the garden, copied it into a virtual SCSI disk, and gotten it to run, from the painful CLI.

Wasn’t that great!?

Cockatrice III 0.5a update

Here’s to US!

Well this is a ‘small’ update, but with a big change, the audio is for the most part working great now thanks to this fix from rakslice. Namely changing SDL to MSB:

desired.format = AUDIO_S16MSB;

And another MinGW tweak, and yeah it’s GREAT!

Even stuff like RealAudio work now! I’ll add some self hosted video later as it’d just get struck from anything public.

Also since the RealAudio player is timebombed for installing, I added some lazy offset to remove however many billions of ticks from the clock letting you jump in some random point in the past when it won’t care.

I guess the final if any justification for a bump would be rebuilding with GCC 8.1.0 on MinGW. I somehow butchered the slirp.h to make it too MinGW’ish so it won’t clean build on Linux or OS X, but I have re-butchered a private branch and it works.. I just need to merge and clean but I’m not in the mood at the moment.

I could be crazy but it “feels” faster.

At any rate, I found that System 7 is more agreeable to running Return to Zork, just use some toast image mounter from within MacOS, and it’ll run!

Also there is some ULONGLONG weirdness going on, so I had to backout Peter’s changes for larger disks. No doubt some standard type thing change in GCC 8.

You can download binaries/source from Sourceforge.

Download Cockatrice III
Download Cockatrice III

Making MacOS Mojave more like MacOS

I was looking for some generic music and I thought I’d just download some MIDI files, and go with that. I mean come on, it’s 2020, even Windows 10 can play MIDI’s and even Microsoft has finally put in some sampled sound banks back in the what Vista days? Maybe XP??

Anyway, Apple has had sound banked MIDI for ages, going back to MacOS 7.something with a really revamped and great one in MacOS 8. Anyways I download Cuba Baion, and it doesn’t know what to do with it. I drag it to QuickTime 10, and it doesn’t know either.

So I fire up a Snow Leopard VM, and it too has QuickTime 10, and although it cannot play it, it offers to open up QuickTime 7 for me, and it plays. So I do the natrual thing, and zip of QuckTime 7, and copy it to Mojave, and lo it runs!

Back in the day, I bought QuickTime so I search my emails, and yep April of 2006 there is the receipt with the code!

I put in my pro key from back in 2006 and it happily registered.

Awesome!

Now, another thing from Snow Leopard that isn’t around anymore is X11. Can it be that easy?

I copy the app over, along with /usr/X11 and yes, that’s all it takes, and now I have X11 running on Mojave!

Too bad Catalina users, you can’t do any of this.

So I was offered a MacPro 6.1 aka the trashcan.

And well it’s a Mac. I did the Windows Key + R to boot into recovery mode and install some old version of OS X over the internet. Nice.

I updated to Catalina and kind of forgot about the break with the ‘awesome world of home 32bit computing’ as it’s all 64bit now.

Needless to say none of my favourite stuff runs.

I’ve been maintaining a subscription to Crossover for a while, as I really like to support the future of Wine. I know a while back they too had the 64bit freakout, but they apparently found some shim to keep on running Win32 apps. And sure enough I loaded up my old Fortran Power Station bottle and it actually run!

Fortran on OS X!

Sadly SQL Server 4.21 seems to lock up, but it has been doing that under Wine when I last gave up on OS X a few years back. I tried some Win16 games (SimCity) and it bombed out. Looks like there is no support for Win16 apps. Pitty.

Steam is 64bit now, however none of Valve’s hits that have 64bit versions for Windows have made the 64bit leap for OS X. I have a feeling it’ll never happen as OS X users are so few and far between they are literally outnumbered by Linux users.

I did fire-up Subnautica, and of course the PC with the RTX 2070 blows this thing away. Although it’s hardly a fare competition. But who wants to play fare?

It’s far too early to really tell, and who knows I might just wipe this thing and install Windows. In my opinion OS X 10.6 was the greatest release ever bridging the divide from PowerPC to x86, just as 10.2.7 on the G5 was the greatest PowerPC version to bridge that 68000 divide. I still have that G5, but now my 2006 machine is dead. I’ve seen them in the used stores for around $100 USD. Although I don’t know if I can be bothered as they are incredibly heavy. And I’m pretty sure 10.6 will run on VMWare thanks to hackintosh efforts.

Also I should add as a personal note, my 2006 MacPro 1,1 died. I let someone else use it, and she broke it in one day. I’ve had it for years, several moves in the USA, then to Canada, then to Hong Kong. It died with only one day on the job. Sad.

Installing Classic (MacOS 9.2.2) from OS X 10.4

I just got another PowerBook, and the disk had been wiped by the prior user, and all it did was boot up to the blinking mac face. So not very useful. I did luckily buy some CD’s from a user on reddit a few months ago, so I had 10.4 install DVD, and an install of 9.2.2 for the emac.

Now the OS 9, is an install disc, not one of the recovery discs, and naturally the aluminum powerbooks don’t boot OS 9, so I’m kind of out of luck for getting Classic working, or so I had thought. I copied the System Folder from the CD onto the hard disk, and told the classic applette to boot it, and it updated some system files, and then gave me this fine message:


The system software on the startup disk only functions on the original media, not if copied to another drive.

So this got me thinking, back in the Sheepshaver days when trying to boot from an ISO as a disk file, it fails the same way because the image is read/write. If it’s read-only it does boot up however. So I used disk util, and made a new read-only disk image from a directory, and pointed it to a directory that I’d moved the CD’s system folder, desktop to. After mounting the read only image, it booted!

Now for the best part, I then kicked off the installer from the CD, and had it install a copy of OS 9, onto the OS X disk.

OS 9 Installer running under OS X

It’s worth noting that just about every optional install fails. It’ll come back with an error, and you can skip the component. It’s probably just easier to install the minimal OS image.

But rest assured it really does install.

After the install you can eject the CD, unmount the read-only copy and tell the classic to stop and then boot from the new installed copy of OS 9 on the OS X disk. It didn’t interfere with my OS X from booting, although the ‘sane person’ would probably have disk image make a small (1gb) read/write virtual disk, and have the installer install to that.

So to recap, copy the system folder from the CD onto read-write media, and let classic update it. get it to the point that it’s not happy about being mounted read-write. Move it to a read-only disk image and have classic boot from that, and then run the OS 9 installer to install itself to whatever target disk you need or want.

SimCity 2000 on Classic / OS X

I’ve run Netscape 4, IE 3 & 4, QuickTime 4, and the SIMS version 1 (the OS 8/9 carbon version). using 10.4.0 on an aluminum powerbook.

I don’t know if anyone else has done this, I couldn’t find any real concrete guides for installing OS 9 from OS X.  So here we go.

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.  

the easy way bundle

The easy way bundle

I came across this hefty box, “the easy way bundle”, as it bills itself, the easy way to save over $1,000 on four popular software packages for your new Macintosh computer.  Clearly the box has seen better days over the last 27 years but amazingly the contents are just fine.

$399.00 USD

It’s amazing how much more cheaper software has gotten over the years.  Software used to be super expensive on the PC level, it really wasn’t until the office bundling with new machines that drove the price down.  Back in the 80’s and early 90’s it wasn’t uncommon to pay upwards of $500 USD for a single application, like a spreadsheet or word processor.

bundle contents

Inside the box is more boxes, and inside those boxes is a rare sight, manuals!  Actual printed manuals!  That is how you know this is something of near museum quality.  I kind of like being able to read a physical book from time to time, and it’s really great.

Oh and incidentally the disks all worked, much to my amazement.  I just needed to get a working Macintosh with a drive that can read 800kb disks and an Ethernet card.

4 great programs!

Although it does list four packages, it really is 3, featuring:

  • WordPerfect 
  • Lotus 1-2-3
  • SoftPC

AccessPC is simply a FAT driver for MacOS to read MS-DOS floppies & removable media.

So let’s take a quick look!

An actual software license

I haven’t seen something like this in a long while, an actual license printed on nice stock certificate stock paper (remember those?!), with a hologram tag.  Does WordPerfect even exist anymore?  Can I mail this in for an upgrade?  Does it even matter?

Install options for WordPerfect

While the install options give the impression that WordPefect is a really full featured word processor once loaded up for some reason it really felt barren.

Although it does have the important proofing tools, don’t expect a dictionary or thesaurus to have anything more than the words, no definitions or anything like a style guide.  It did ship on floppy and I guess I’ve just become so spoiled living in the future with terabytes of storage and an overwhelming supply of deference media.

Going back to 1992 is a real trip to not only how clean some of the UI elements feel, but just how seemingly feature sparse the more advanced applications feel.

Personally I never really liked WordPerfect so I more so installed it as a curiosity, much like when I had WordPerfect for Unix.  I’m the crazy one that likes MS Word.

Lotus 1-2-3 1.00 for the Mac

With that said, I went ahead and installed Lotus 1-2-3, and I was really surprised, that the installer was not only really appallingly bad, requiring you to copy the contents to the HD before installing it (so you need a lot of free space), but there was no copy protection at all either on the disks, or in the form of a certificate/serial code.  In school I did start with 1-2-3, but with the onslaught of Microsoft Office had quickly moved to Excel, and after 30+ years I really don’t remember much of the slash commands, let alone how to use if effectively.  Luckily the menu is okay to walk through, and of course there is Macintosh style menus so you don’t even have to deal with the slash menu if you don’t want to.

SoftPC

SoftPC didn’t come with a box within the box, just the two manual sets & the disks shoved into the manuals.  I doubt it came like that, but this is all I have.

SoftPC licensing stickers

Compared to the WordPerfect certificate, the stickers hidden in the folds of the SoftPC manual just feel cheap.  And the years have not been kind as you can see with the discoloration, and the cheap adhesive on them has completely dried off.  After I had scanned this they have all fallen off the backing paper.  Although I also have version 3.1, I didn’t want to lose this so I’ll just save it for prosperity.

And SoftPC is a great program, although it really is an absolute crutch, allowing you to run PC software on your Mac.  Flash forward 30 years, and the industry continues with VMware & Parallels.  What is more amazing is how so many leaders in PC emulation completely missed the virtualization market.  But most people would think you were a little strange to run a PC on a PC.  Or more than one at the same time.

The SoftPC platform

SoftPC emulates a really barebones PC, it only supports a maximum of 640kb of RAM, and the CGA graphics adapter.  For anything more advanced you really need to get SoftAT, which supports more options.  Or even better, get a copy of SoftPC 3.1, which not only allows more memory but bundles a copy of MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1

SoftPC 2.52 CGA running Space Quest 1

I found the emulation of the CGA kind of lacking when compared to version 3.1  Although some games like BattleTech render just fine, Space Quest just looks horrible in version 2.52.


SoftPC 3.1 CGA running Space Quest 1

Although to be fair it doesn’t look so much better in version 3.1 either.  However 3.1 emulates both EGA & VGA (along with expanded & extended memory) giving a far more richer 286 based emulation solution


SoftPC 3.1 EGA running Space Quest 1

As you can see there really is no comparison to the EGA version.

Although there are far more better solutions today to do PC emulation, for some reason there is always something cool to have an emulator running an emulator.. Sadly the 80386 based emulation didn’t come to the 68000 based platform, instead the later generation emulation was only available to the PowerPC.

I guess it goes to show, but of all the applications I have for MacOS, I enjoy SoftPC the most.  I suppose I need better softwares.