Everything with the new MacBook Pro has been going swimmingly, up until this afternoon when I ran headlong into a brick wall. You see, I’ve got this one little utility which was written in 1991 or so which takes Mac fonts and converts them into PC versions so that I can transfer files back and forth, enabling my PC programs to edit Mac-authored files, and vice versa. Now that I’m on the Intel Mac, I can’t run OS 9 in the background under emulation like I used to on my iBook. So, I booted up the trusty old G3 tower under my desk to use the application there. Because I’ve hooked my second monitor to the MacBook, I don’t have a monitor on the G3—no problem, I’ll just use Remote Desktop, right? Wrong. Remote Desktop 2.X is incompatible with Intel Macs, so I have to upgrade to 3.0, which costs $300. Argh! Now my iTunes server, downstairs on the porch, is cut off from remote administration. Double Argh!

I found a website which points to a little application called SheepShaver, which purports to run OS 9 on Intel hardware, but apparently one must have the boot ROMs handy to be able to get the thing hooked up—something I don’t have time to fool with right now. When I get a moment to get it sorted out, I’ll write about it here. But for now, I have to dive under the desk to swap the monitor cables. Again.

Update: After a bunch of false starts and failed attempts, I found this article, which is a lot more detailed than the first. Knowing which ROM to use, which install CD to use, and the correct keyboard file helps out a lot. Still no success, though.

Update 12.27: I got Basilisk working with a copy of a Quadra 650 ROM linked from the second article above. SheepShaver just didn’t seem to like the ROM I pulled from the OS9 disk; whatever. Basilisk is running OS8 with no problems, and that’s all I need.

Update 1.1: I’m going to run through this so that folks can benefit from my experience:

Download Basilisk. Uncompress the Basilisk file.

Download the Quadra 650 ROM found here (and good luck if it’s not still available.) Drop it in the Basilisk folder.

Open Disk Utility (found in Applications->Utilities.) Click on New Image, and make a disk image at the size you’d like (my image was 500MB, and after installing OS8, I had 350MB of free space left.) name it what you like-I called mine “OS 8 Disk”. Drop that in the Basilisk folder as well.

Start up the “BasiliskGUI” application. Cringe at the UNIX-tastic UI goodness!


Under the “Volumes” tab, click Add and browse to the image you just created (in my case, the “OS 8 Disk” volume.) Inside this volume, you’ll install the operating system.


Under the “Keyboard” tab, click browse and navigate to the BasiliskII_keycodes file in the Basilisk folder. This way you’ll be able to use the keyboard under emulation.


Under the “Serial/Network” tab, select slirp in the Ethernet Interface pulldown. This allows the OS 8 emulator to use the ethernet interface.


Under the “Memory/Misc” tab, bump the RAM size up to 128MB or so. I have the Mac Model ID set to Quadra 900 and CPU Type set to 68040. For ROM File, click Browse and navigate to the quadra650.rom. This is how Basilisk gets to the point where installation can start.


Additionally, under “Graphics/Sound”, I changed the refresh to 15mhz and width/height to 800/600.

I used an OS 8 install disk for my installation. Put it in the machine and click the “Start” button. This should bring up a window with the happy mac and start booting off the install CD.

Install OS 8 with whatever options you like. Restart the emulation; it should bring up the installed OS. From here, you should be able to get online, bring up a web browser, and use OS 8.

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be running OSX, Windows XP and OS8 on the same machine concurrently, I would have laughed at you.

Update 3.19.07: I was able to get the shared folder working with Basilisk, finally, and it’s much easier to use than mounting and unmounting the disk image.

Date posted: December 21, 2006 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on OS 9 on an Intel Mac

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