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OSH's picture
Joined: 2010 May 19
MacOsS 9.0 under QEMU - is it possible?

Well, I have weird ideas always...
I've installed QEMU for Windows. I know, it can emulate PPC. So my question is - is it possible to create a VM under QEMU, which will be capable to run OS 9.0? I've tried to install it, but I do something wrong - I can't even see an Mac Face on screen...
Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance!


themacmeister's picture
Joined: 2009 Oct 26

I believe there is too much custom firmware on old Macs for this to work. I believe it can boot some PPC server (IBM) OS, but even then it doesn't get through the boot process.

You will get much better and easier results with SheepShaver.

PS. I installed OpenStep 4.2 from floppy/CD on real hardware, so I know where you are coming from Smile

kataetheweirdo's picture
Joined: 2009 Apr 10

Firmware? I wouldn't use that word for Mac OS 9.x and older. It's more like a classic boot-up ROM. See, any Mac OS Classic emulator needs to recognize the ROM files in such a way that they can be used alongside with the Mac OS. This is not easy, as the Mac itself has several variants on these ROMs. On top of this, the MMU apparently isn't advanced enough to emulate 9.1 and later.

Natalia posted on what needed to be done, which is to say quite a bit.

In other words: It's not emulated now and not very likely not to emulated by QEMU in the (near) future

noway's picture
Joined: 2011 Sep 14

An idea from 2014 isn´t that weird any more. Wink
For some time now Qemu runs MacOS 9.0 and up really nice.
Depending on the build branch, networking is paossible, as is resolution switching and sound.
Sound is only working well with the screamer build running MacOS 9.X.
See here:
Experimental builds: December 24 2017

Great work methinks.
Many thanks to the skilled developers and to Cat_7 for providing the various builds plus the easy to follow setup guides!


To share files with Qemu, one solution is a HFS Extended volume mountable in SheepShaver or Qemu.
To have a look how the sreamer build performs right now, here is a Speedometer 4 screenshot.
Left is Qemu W7-64, with a Optiplex 780, X3360 cpu.
Right is my (meanwhile broken) iMac Bondi blue.


Obviously fast enough for all office tasks, even on outdated hardware.
Qemu is also good for apps not working in SheepShaver e.g. MS-Office 98.

adespoton's picture
Joined: 2015 Feb 15

It's worth noting that the screamer builds have decent audio emulation under OS 9, but audio fails completely under OS X. Conversely, with the non-screamer builds, USB audio works in a stuttering way under OS X, but will cause the emulation to hang after a short time under OS 9.

Also worth noting that QEMU as of the latest builds can run OS X Server (and 8.6 in blue box) through 10.5 PPC. The Windows build is somewhat slower than the OS X and Linux builds. It should be possible to compile it under WIndows 10 WSL with a Linux target to regain some of the speed on Windows, but I don't think anyone's done that yet.

There's also rudimentary support for host/guest sharing using a DOS share; it doesn't like resource forks though. Easier to use SMB filesharing or just have an HFS disk image that you can mount on the host on OS X or in HVF Explorer on Windows/Linux.

Maximum R.I.S.C.'s picture
Joined: 2017 Oct 18

Cameron Kaiser (at TenFourFox) is working on this right now on his new Power9 Talos 2 setup. From what he says it works pretty well, but he isn't getting much in the way of speed.