So Apple is finally moving to ARM

Dawning of a new era. Again.

Details don’t seem to be anywhere near as complete as I’d like them for now, but the long speculated move to ARM has finally begun. Interestingly enough, it’s the end of OS X 10.x as now we have version 11, currently named macOS Big Sur:

I guess the more interesting thing will be the emulation in the new Rosetta2, if this is actual emulation or is this going to be relying on LLVM’s intermediary byte-code, allowing a user experience more akin to Java.

With the move to ARM, this will spell the end of the Hackintoshes. Which is a shame, as the best way to experience OS X, most certainly has been on non Apple hardware. I guess time will tell regarding the adoption of the desktops, but as always since the introduction of the Apple Store & Apps, computers have accounted for a negligible fraction of Apple’s sales. Even sales of iPads surpass those of all the computers combined.

The upcoming transition kit will be a Mac mini sporting the A12Z SoC, 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. This is the same processor in the current iPad Pro.

The Transition Kit is $500 USD, however it’s invite only. You can try your luck here at:


Naturally I was denied the opportunity to give them $500.

I suppose as time goes on more and more details will become available. I’m sure there will be a race to get Qemu to run Big Sur, although Im sure the retail product will be signed and encrypted, and Apple will consolify their ecosystem.

On the gaming side, however being able to run iOS apps on the desktop means that the Mac is now a serious gaming contender for the casual market. Can apple bridge the Candy Crush gap where Microsoft failed with RT?

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.


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.

Stop Mojave from updating to Catalina

I don’t know how unique my experience is, but Catalina is so unstable it’s totally unusable. Downgrading to Mojave (which was it’s own thing) has made the trashcan a far better Mac experence.

You have to do this from an elevated terminal, but it’s a quick fix to block the stupid Catalina upgrade:

TrashCan:~ jsteve$ sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate –ignore “macOS Catalina” Password: Ignored updates: ( “macOS Catalina” )

And there we go.

Up to date!

And there we go, Catalina is now banished!

Although that means this 2013 machine is really now obsolete and stuck in the past.

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.

So my old machine’s 16GB memory limit is becoming a problem

MacPro guts

And like a sucker I saw this 2010 MacPro for sale, $300.  It was running OS X 10.13 aka High Sierra, and I though oh cool it’s obviously able to run the latest OS, and even better with 32GB of RAM, and apparently the single processor model can go up to 48 or 64GB of ram giving me that breathing space I need.

So I happily get the machine, put in some new SSDs, and spinning disks, and decide that I’m going to split it up half for OS X, and half for Windows 10.  Sounds easy right?  And for the hell of it, I wanted to install a copy of 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), since it’s the last version with Rosetta, and I’d love to compare GrandPa’s G5 to this 2010 space Odyssey.  Snow Leopard installs just fine, but the real fun comes from High Sierra and it’s APFS.  I installed & licensed a copy of Windows 10 Pro onto the Mac without issue, installed the bootcamp drivers, and.. well it installs Okay but drivers are a whole different story.

Apparently there is an ongoing war between Apple and ATI regarding bootcamp drivers, so the Apple UEFI cards won’t work with the stock drivers under Windows.  You can go and look for patched ATI drivers over at, although I had no luck with the Radeon HD 5700 that was in this machine, as it’s GPU never showed up in the Windows 10 device manager.

I still wanted to get accelerated graphics, and I decided to keep the old ATI card in the machine so I wouldn’t’ lose boot graphics from the UEFI ROM, but a card that needs additional drivers is fine, which opens the door to Nvidia.  I wasn’t ready to spend a fortune on a card, and I wanted one that didn’t draw that much power, so the 1030 was a perfect fit being cheap and not requiring additional power hookups.

GeFroce 1030

I just went with the cheapest one I could find retail.

Naturally the NVidia cards work fine in Windows, but of course Apple won’t use any stock plain PC cards.  But thankfully NVidia has ‘internet’ drivers that cover quite a few of their cards, including the 1030-1080’s. I had further issues with the built in audio drivers, which Windows always prefers to load some generic “High Definition Audio Device” driver, but it never makes any noise.  So I bought a cheap external USB Sound Blaster Play! 3 dongal, which works fine.

Old Xeon in MacPro

And then there is the fun with VMWare, I upgraded both VMWare Player to version 14, and Fusion to version 10.  And yeah, the Xeon W3565 is far too old.

No new VMWare for you!

Although my version 10 key of Fusion works on version 8, just as VMWare Player 12 works fine on Windows 10.

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, in the bootcamp boot driver selection, the High Sierra volume cannot be selected.  Even if you install onto a HFS+ volume, upgrade a 10.6.3 volume or whatever you do, High Sierra converts the filesystem into something that bootcamp doesn’t understand, so the only way to boot between the OS’s is to hold down the option key, and select the OS from the ROM, which thankfully after an update understands and boots APFS.

You think it’d be easy to just push an update to the bootcamp boot tool, but apparently it isn’t.

I don’t know why, but for all the money Apple is sitting on, they really don’t feel that together or with it.  I know in the whole ’99-05 time period they were not only fighting for their lives, but the whole OS 9 to OS X transition phase, just felt so much better done.  Ever since 10.4 it feels like things are just subtracted, nothing really useful added.  First Classic support, then PowerPC, then Rosetta.  Going from 10.7 to 10.13 really hasn’t been all that exciting.  Which has been the general state of things, with everyone for the most part just running VMS or Unix.

Adding an Xserve RAID

Xserve Raid

So yeah, I wanted to get a ‘real’ SAN for a while, but they always cost too much.  So I just decided to look for something older, like a MSA-1000, which are surprisingly still expensive.  Failing that I thought about how I could get that MacPro 2010 for ~$300 so I said what the heck and picked up a super cheap 7TB fully loaded out Xserve RAID.

I got a PCI-133 LSI Logic “LSI7202XP” Fiber Channel card for my G5, as I figured that this stuff was of the same era, may as well configure it with a PowerPC.

Configure the LSI

After setting the LSI to 2GB and in point to point mode, the system needed a reboot, and it would report a link on the FC adapter. Great.

To actually configure the array, you need the Xserve RAID admin tool, along with a working copy of Java on your machine.  I downloaded version 1.5.1 which is thankfully still on Apple’s site. It runs fine from OS X 10.5, although the readme does make mention of 10.2, so perhaps it’d run there, although I didn’t feel like booting into 10.2 to find out.  By default the password for read only access is ‘public’ and for admin control it’s ‘private’. Yes just like SNMP community strings.

Finding the array

You need to connect the Xserve RAID to an Ethernet network.  I’ve only used the MSA’s and they let you configure them over the FC, but no so with Apple, it’s a Bonjour enabled service, so you don’t have to setup the Ethernet, just plug it in, and that’ll be good enough.

Creating the array is straight forward, however the SAN with it’s two controllers aren’t redundant, rather it’s really 2 SAN’s in one chassis with a left & right hand side.

A new disk appears!

So the solution is to use 2 connectors to the dual card, I have 2 DAC cables so I’m set.

But for now it’s just more so messing with the unit.  I’ll probably just set it in JBOD mode, and pass it up to something like Solaris 10 with ZFS exports.

Booting my PowerMAC G5 from SSD

Grandpa’s G5

In my last trip to the United States, I scored yet another PowerMac G5, a model 7,2 which is one that is capable of running OS X 10.2.7 for the G5.  It was the proverbial dream come true, used by an elderly man to keep track of photos in iPhoto, which he used maybe a handful of times a year.

Needless to say, he wasn’t too pleased that his copy of Snow Leopard didn’t work on the machine, and he dumped the G5 for a much quieter MacBook.

At any rate, it also included an Apple Studio Display.  I found another Cinema Display in the used hardware market for $25, which even though the display works the screen was damaged at some point and shows scratches on the surface when the display is a solid colour.

At any rate, the machine was deadly slow to boot, I upgraded the RAM from 256MB to 1.2GB, and replaced the ancient disk for a SAMSUNG SSD PM830 2.5 256GB flash drive.  Now it’ll boot up in under 30 seconds from the graphics initialization.

That makes this the only machine I have capable of running MacOS 9, although in emulation under OS X 10.2.  I have the Jaguar DVD set, but Classic mode was removed in 10.5.  It was the ending of the PowerPC era, just as 10.6 was the last version to ship with Rosetta.

Its a fun machine from the era of the introduction of personal 64bit RISC computing to the home user, although too bad the full industry didn’t catch up until later, just as 32bit desktop computing had a few stumbles out of the gates.

Darwin 0.3 & 1.0 on Qemu

Darwin 0.3 PowerPC

Interestingly enough a lot of the same weirdness of missing bits I saw on the x86, is also on the PowerPC.

There is no nice installer, the CD image actually boots MacOS 8.6 which currently won’t run on Qemu.  However Darwin 1.0 uses MacOS 9, which will.  There is not install program for Darwin, rather you need a secondary disk, that is partitioned so the volume manager will pick it up, and then you restore a backup onto the target disk.  Naturally the restore program from 0.3 won’t work, but the 1.0 will under the G4 Cube MacOS 9 CD-ROM install.

Also I couldn’t figure out the boot parameters so I used Steve Troughton Smith’s BootX loader to get the OS booted.

qemu-system-ppc.exe -L pc-bios -drive file=..\darwin03.qcow2,index=0,format=qcow2,media=disk -drive file=BootX_custom.dmg,index=2,format=raw,media=disk -prom-env “boot-device=ide1:2,\BootX” -prom-env “boot-args=-v rd=hd0 debug=0xffe kdp=2” -prom-env “boot-file=ide0:8,\mach_kernel” -M g3beige

It’s a little convoluted but it does work.

I put together a binary package for Qemu on sourceforge here: Darwin03-PowerPC_qemu-2.11_04_22_2018.7z

Currently there is no networking, I’m guessing I need drivers from OS X 1.x but Ive had really bad luck with the mouse to try to open a terminal window to see if the new sungem NIC is functional at all.

Mac OS X Server 1.0 installs on Qemu

OS X Server 1.2 on qemu single user mode

That’s right, the ADB is usable enough now to type and move the mouse, meaning that OS X Server can now be installed within Qemu!

It’s incredibly slow, and the mouse is incredibly jumpy, but it’s actually running!

Basically, like A/UX, you boot up into MacOS to partition the drive.

qemu-system-ppc-screamer.exe -L pc-bios -m 256 -M mac99 -prom-env “boot-args=-v” -prom-env “auto-boot?=true” -prom-env “vga-ndrv?=true” -hda 2GB.vmdk -cdrom “Mac OS X Server 1.2, MOSX_Booter.iso” -sdl -device usb-mouse -device adb-keyboard -boot d

OS X Server 1.2 MacOS 9 Create OS X Server partition

And then kick off the installer:

OS X Server 1.2 MacOS 9 Start Install

Which really isn’t much to do, other than tagging the partition, and prepping the machine to reboot.

It’s OK

Qemu doesn’t emulate the NVRAM, so it’ll complete with this ‘non fatal’ ‘fatal error’

After that, boot into the OS X Server kernel, and continue the install:

qemu-system-ppc.exe -L pc-bios -prom-env “boot-args=-v rd=sd0″ -drive file=2GB.vmdk,index=1,format=vmdk,media=disk -M g3beige -cpu g3 -drive file=”Mac OS X Server 1.2, MOSX_Booter.iso”,index=0,format=raw,media=cdrom -prom-env “boot-device=cd:9,\\:tbxi” -m 256 -net none

OS X Server 1.2 installing text mode

It will then format the disk, and copy over the base operating system.  After that it’s time to shutdown, and reboot the VM.  I couldn’t figure out a pure hard disk boot, but again using the CD-ROM, you can just tell it to pull the root from the hard disk.

qemu-system-ppc.exe -L pc-bios -prom-env “boot-args=-v rd=hd0″ -drive file=2GB.vmdk,index=1,format=vmdk,media=disk -M g3beige -cpu g3 -drive file=”Mac OS X Server 1.2, MOSX_Booter.iso”,index=0,format=raw,media=cdrom -prom-env “boot-device=cd:9,\\:tbxi” -m 256 -net none

OS X Server 1.2 installing

And after this, it’ll want to reboot again.  Launch it up and now we get the initial setup

Setup Assistant

And with that out of the way, we can logon!

And after a while, it’ll load up the desktop

OS X Server 1.2 Desktop

As mentioned above, the mouse is incredibly jittery.  Doing anything graphical is very difficult. But here we are, running OS X/Rhapsody for the PowerPC!

That’s all!

Because the mouse is VERY jumpy at the moment, Im going to make some pre-configured disk images available because running the disk tool under OS 9 is a major pain.  The first image has only been partitioned, while the second has completed the ‘text mode setup’, aka a minimal install.

And that’s it for now!