I love that some people have too much time on their hands. Thanks to Slack developer Felix Rieseberg, you can now run Mac OS 8 on a 1991 Macintosh Quadra 900 without any messing about with separate emulators and OS installs. The whole thing runs on your Mac as a single, standalone Javascript app…

You can also run it on a Windows or Linux machine.

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.

Bear in mind that this is written entirely in JavaScript, so please adjust your expectations.

The underlying emulator is Basilisk II, a 68k Macintosh emulator by Christian Bauer et al, modified and compiled with Emscripten by James Friend.

Rieseberg says it should run most Mac OS 8-compatible apps, and even comes with some supplied ones.

You’ll find various games and demos preinstalled, thanks to an old MacWorld Demo CD from 1997. Namely, Oregon Trail, Duke Nukem 3D, Civilization II, Alley 19 Bowling, Damage Incorporated, and Dungeons & Dragons.

There are also various apps and trials preinstalled, including Photoshop 3, Premiere 4, Illustrator 5.5, StuffIt Expander, the Apple Web Page Construction Kit, and more.

But if you want to load others, you can do that.

Can I transfer files from and to the machine? Yes, you can. Click on the “Help” button at the bottom of the running app to see instructions. You can transfer files directly, or mount disk images.

All you need do is copy files into the macintosh.js folder in your user directory and restart the app. Open the Unix volume on the desktop and you’ll find them in there.

If you want to mount disk images, just place the .iso or .img volume into the same folder and re-open the app. Rieseberg does caution that there is a “considerable” performance hit for each mounted volume, so one at a time might be advisable.

The same also works in reverse if you want to transfer files from the emulator to your Mac: Just open the Unix volume and the macintosh.js folder within it, copy files to that folder, and then quit the app. That will force a sync that copies them to the folder on your own Mac.

One thing you can’t do, sadly, is connect to the web.

The web was quite different 30 years ago — and you wouldn’t be able to open even Google. However, Internet Explorer and Netscape are installed, as is the ‘Web Sharing Server,’ if you want to play around a bit.

Of course, Javascript isn’t exactly the most efficient environment, so I found the app was using around 100% of one CPU core, but it’s certainly a fun trip down memory lane!

You can download the app from GitHub — just scroll down to the Downloads section.

Via the Verge

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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