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Mac OS System7

A screenshot of a very tiny c program written on System7

I’ve got to use macOS by nature of my work. Lately I’m increasingly down on this. Here I will not re-hash anything about the current state of Apple’s hardware and software ecosystem. I don’t care.

Wanting to take a trip down nostolgia lane, however (to when I was 2 years old) I thought I’d install Mac OS System 7. What follows is a quick guide for doing the same.

Luckily this is made easier with Mini vMac! First, prepare the way:

mkdir Macintosh
cd Macintosh

This is where we’ll be doing all of our work from here on out.

Also of note, I’ll be doing this on Debian, but I think the instructions are generic enough to work on any system supported by Mini vMac.

After preparing the way download a prebuilt binary of Mini vMac or build it from source.

Once done, I then move the application into my Macintosh directory.

You now have an emulator capable of immitating (emulating) an old Mac! This is like having hardware but theres nothing on it — no bios, no operating system, and no software. We’ll do that next.

Download a ROM,

wget -O vMac.ROM

Download an opperating system,

unzip -d System7

At this point you should have 2 or 3 things in your Macintosh directory deppending on if you put the Mini vMac binary in the directory:

- minivmac
- System7.DSK
- vMac.ROM

At this point you are ready to fireup Mini vMac and start configuring stuff!

Launch Mini vMac, you’ll see a gray screen with a flashing floppy disk on it. Drag the System7.DSK on to that screen. If I haven’t led you astray the system should boot to the System7 Finder.

If that worked we can proceed to installing” our operating system, or, more accuretly, making it the default for Mini vMac to read from at launch.

To do this, within your Macintosh directory, create a new blank disk,

dd if=/dev/zero of=devboot.dsk bs=83886080 count=1

Drag this newly created disk, devboot.dsk on to Mini vMac to mount it. You’ll be prompted to initialize the disk. Do so. Once initialized it will appears on the desktop.

Now, within Mini vMac, drag the System7 folder on to your newly created and mounted disk. Copying the System7 disk to the devboot.dsk may take a little while.

When done, return to your Macintosh directory and rename the devboot.dsk,

mv devboot.dsk disk1.dsk

Now, when you launch Mini vMac you shouldn’t need to mount an operating system, the emulator should use System7 by default.

You now have a system with 4 available mb to play with! Go nuts.