Mac Emulation with Basilisk II
by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Low End Mac,
8, 2002: Mac2Windows column
My review of Basilisk II,
an open source
Mac emulator for PCs (and other platforms) was posted on May 1st. I got
lot of feedback and have learned a lot from the people who responded to
Some things to note:
Christian Bauer, keeper of the Basilisk II flame,
points out "from
your article one could get the impression that B2 works with Mac Plus
ROMs, but it doesn't (it requires ROMs from a 32-bit clean '030/'040
Mac or from a Mac Classic)." Fans of the Mac Plus shouldn't despair,
however (more on
that in a bit).
And Ian Raymond had a different clarification. He
points out that
Lauri Petersen, who ported Basilisk II to the Windows platform "is a him,
a her." You can read his interview with Lauri. Among other things, it talks
reasons why there are no PowerPC emulators currently available.
Graeme Bennett, of MacBuyersGuide/PCBuyersGuide notes
that readers may be interested in his Basilisk II software compatibility list. Note, however,
this is unofficial: it lists the applications that Graeme has tried
so if the application you're interested in isn't listed, it's worth a
in any case; several applications that I'm running successfully under
aren't on that list.
Reader William Dawson found the performance of my
impressive but wondered what sort of PC I was running it on. The
I reported were achieved on a Compaq notebook with a Pentium III/750
and a relatively unimpressive Trident video card.
Several people were interested in emulating a Mac on
Why, you may wonder? For the people writing, it's to be able to run
software that won't work on more modern hardware and operating systems.
Pearson has one solution; he ported Basilisk II to run under OS X.
That won't necessarily help the reader only known as
after James Bond's superior, perhaps?) M wrote, "What I'd really like
could really use, because I have old software I wish to run, is that
Connectix would 'get with the program' and produce Virtual Mac for the
Mac. I really need something like Virtual Mac with Mac OS 6.0.8."
It may be possible to install Mac OS 6.0.8 on
Basilisk, but I
don't know if M is running OS X, letting him use Nigel Pearson's port.
Instead, he may want to check out vMac, a project to
emulate a Mac Plus. As with Basilisk II,
vMac requires a Mac ROM (either physically in a Gemulator ROM board or
a ROM image file) -- in this case, the ROMs from a 1987-era Mac Plus.
While originally designed to run on PCs (versions for
DOS, Unix/Linux, NeXT, OS/2), Richard
has gotten vMac to work on a Mac! A carbonized application, it will run
OS X or under earlier Mac OS versions with CarbonLib 1.2 or later.
Peter Johnson has taken it perhaps the final step. As
he has vMac up and running inside Virtual PC 4.0 on his FireWire
PowerBook running OS 9.2.2. An emulator running within an emulator. His
useless, but amusing."