Many Mac users today never had the “thrill” of using the pre-2001 Mac operating system on a Motorola 680X0 or PowerPC-based Mac. Thanks to developer Felix Rieseberg, a 68k Mac emulator called Basilisk II by Christian Bauer and others, and a compiler called Emscripten by James Friend, you can now run a virtual 1991 Mac Quadra 900 on your current Mac.
Rieseberg starts his Github description of what he calls simply “Macintosh.js” on a jovial note: “This is Mac OS 8, running in an Electron app pretending to be a 1991 Macintosh Quadra. Yes, it’s the full thing. I’m sorry.”
What surprised me is how fast this emulated Mac is; much faster than any “real” Mac of the time. Under the multicolor Apple icon, you’ll be able to find a bunch of the common features of Mac OS 8 including the Control Panels, Jigsaw Puzzle, and even the 1991 version of Stickies!
How to Download and Install
When you point your browser to GitHub, don’t panic! You’ll see a directory of code listings that might cause you to think this is going to require a graduate level degree in computer science. Nope, just scroll down the page until you see this:
Mac users want to click the “Standalone” icon under the macOS heading. Doing that downloads a standalone application to your Mac’s Downloads folder. Drag the Macintosh.js.app file to your Applications folder. Now all you need to do is open the app to have your retro fun.
If somebody can figure out how I can connect my Apple QuickTake 100 to a 2019 MacBook Pro, I might be able to find the software that came with that early digital camera…
Macintosh..js is a fun trip down memory lane, and I expect that I’ll keep it on my Mac for a long time…just to appreciate how good our current Macs are!