Relive The Good Old Days With Macintosh Pi
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Sunday, 10 July 2022

Feeling nostalgic for computing in the pre-millennium era? For so many of us, it was the computer games of the 1980s and 90s that provided the initial impetus for a career in programming. Here's a Raspberry Pi project that provides a retro Mac OS experience to reawaken memories of bygone times.

MacintoshPi is an open source project, shared on GitHub, that lets you run full-screen versions of Apple's Mac OS 7, Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 with sound, active Internet connection and modem emulation under Raspberry Pi. All the packages required are provided in a single script that  takes around two hours to compile and install. The project runs on Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, 2, 3, 3B, 3B+, but at the present time it does not run on the Pi 4. It also requires a legacy version of Pi OS  The instructions advise that it needs to be installed  on a clean Raspberry Pi OS Lite (Legacy). You can also use the full version of Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy), but in this case you must first switch to command line or set system start to CLI.

This project comes from Jaromaz, a Polish computer professional who is also an avid hobbyist. In his own words, he has:

been working on the topic of Apple computers emulation for about five years now (because I really like and appreciate Apple retro systems), and the topic is quite complex.

He goes on to itemize the issues he has had to overcome:

problems with building the correct images, with configuring system images for Internet support, with the appropriate configs for emulators, with the correct options for compiling emulators and (separately) SDL2 (because, of course, SDL2 from a package won't work in emulation), with performance, with the correct compilation of NetDriver, with versions of libraries (because they have to be legacy), with minimizing mouse movement delay, problems with sound, etc. etc. 

Having succeeded he decided to make the solution available to everyone which means you can now take a trip down memory lane with much less effort. If you want to sample the experience then take a look at this short video: 

There's a longer version of the video that can be found here.

The video experience is enhanced by the Mac Classic case used. How Jaromaz incorporated this into the project is described on his blog, together with details of all the software components. 

While the main focus is on the vintage Mac, the project also has a dual-boot option that support a Commodore emulator - so if you want to turn the clock back even further, how about a game of space invaders as it used to be played on the Commodore PET? 

jaromax coomodore

More Information

Macintosh Pi on GitHub

MacintoshPi – Mac OS 7/8/9 for Raspberry Pi

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 July 2022 )