Mac OS 8 emulator available as a downloadable app

Slack developer Felix Rieseberg has transformed Mac OS 8 into an app you can install on your Mac, a crappy Windows PC, or even on Linux.

macintosh.js is Mac OS 8 running in an Electron app pretending to be a 1991 Macintosh Quadra.
macintosh.js is Mac OS 8 running in an Electron app pretending to be a 1991 Macintosh Quadra.

Tom Warren for The Verge:

Rieseberg decided to turn an entire 1991 Macintosh Quadra with Mac OS 8.1 into a single Electron app. It even includes a number of apps and games, thanks to an old MacWorld demo CD from 1997. The app can be installed on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

The macintosh.js app is written entirely in JavaScript, and it uses a virtual machine to emulate a Macintosh Quadra 900 with the Motorola CPU Apple used before its transition to IBM’s PowerPC chips. Rieseberg has managed to get classic games like Duke Nukem 3D, Civilization II, Dungeons & Dragons, Namely, Oregon Trail, Alley 19 Bowling, and Damage Incorporated running. There’s even a bunch of apps and trials preinstalled, including Photoshop 3, Premiere 4, Illustrator 5.5, StuffIt Expander, and Apple’s Web Page Construction Kit.

MacDailyNews Take: Tested on a 16-inch MacBook Pro running macOS 10.15.6 Catalina and this virtual Macintosh Quadra 900 with a 68040 40MHz processor and a whopping 256MB of memory not only works, but it works rather well!


    1. Nothing, because it wasn’t. I started with MacOS 5.x in 1989, and I’ve used every version since. OS X is faster, smoother, more stable, and has more features. It’s also free (Apple shifted between free and pay upgrades for a while). Only downsides are that it won’t work in 128k of ram, and it arguably doesn’t have as much eye candy — and some would say that’s better.

  1. BTW, I’ve been a Mac User right from its 1984 start. I believe that the later OSs are better overall. However, the “look and feel” of Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) seems to be the OVERWHELMING favorite of ALL long-timer Mac users I’ve queried, with its nesting of better-looking folders, its skeuomorphic (and better-looking 3-D) icons, and its BEAUTIFUL dock, which was released from its “cage,” to which it has again become imprisoned. It seems that today’s MacOS (I refuse to use a lower-case “m”) requires more steps (clicks) to complete tasks than Snow Leopard required, making the Mac much LESS efficient than it has previously been.

    Tim Cook and all you Apple VPs: bring back the “look and feel” of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard! You need to bring the Mac back to “All It Can Be,”: as it once was. Let’s have fewer clicks to complete actions and tasks. STOP increasing the number of clicks, just to give Apple’s engineers promotions.


    1. My first Mac ran on Snow Leopard, I can attest to the decline in the “look and feel”, not to mention the speed and stability of the OS since. Maybe now with the apparent and unexpected about face away from the iPad and towards the Mac with Apple Silicon, it’ll get the attention it deserves. Although with the “iOS-ification” and visual flattening of MacOS, I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Good luck trying to add or run OS8 applications that aren’t included in the emulator. I ran the clunky interface and it seems to be a closed environment. Anyone got any ideas on this? I tried a cd-rom and a game (by trying to transfer the material to emulator) and it was a no go!

  3. I’ve gotten nothing more than 30 minutes of the Spinning Rainbow Pizza of Death. It won’t force quit. The Activity Monitor now won’t open. Use at your own risk, I guess.

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