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kataetheweirdo's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 10
QEMU and Mac OS 9.2.x

Recently, some patches were included into the main QEMU branch that allowed enough progress to boot up Mac OS 9.2.x from a CD. The major catches are that:

  1. You can't have any extension in the boot-up CD. There's no acceleration (or network support) to speak of for Mac OS 9.x at this point, anyhow.
  2. It appears to be much more stable with an emulated G3 than with an emulated G4.
  3. It seems like one can only get it booting from a CD. There have been attempts to install it to an emulated hard drive or boot it from a premade hard drive, but it doesn't work even with all the extensions and control panels removed.

You can download the latest version of QEMU to see this emulation in action (2.5.0-rc0). This version is in a release candidate state, so prepare yourself for any bugs and report them to the QEMU wiki.

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24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

Thanks for the update, this really sounds good.
Would you mind putting together all needed links here to get things rolling?
From what I read, the latest proceedings are available for Windows only?

kataetheweirdo's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 10

Nope. Just about anyone can run it. However, it somewhat touchy and I couldn't get it running myself. It has NVRAM allocation issues and is unable to get past the boot-up screen, regardless of the setting. People have actually been able to reach the desktop.

Emaculation Thread (One of the longer running threads at Emaculation; page 11 contains a lot of useful stuff for this purpose. It also has a handful of useful info.)
The latest posts for the above thread.
QEMU binaries for Windows (Also has building instructions)
The Official QEMU wiki
The Official Repo for QEMU (Make sure you get the libraries)

QEMU is silent, likely because of implementation issues with the sound cards. The beige G3 Mac (g3beige) emulated uses a Burgundy, but the Sawtooth (mac99) uses a Screamer. Both of these are listed under legacy audio in Onboard Audio.

It's a shame that 9.2.x can only boot from a CD so far, but I wouldn't count out other stuff from booting. I'll be seeing how far older versions of the Mac boot up.

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

At least OS9.2 is booting in an emulator and it does look amazing, doesn't it?

Bildschirmfoto 2015-11-27

For those wanting to try on a 10.11 host, gtxaspec posted his "simple" package at Emaculation:
http://bebop.gtxent.com/qemu_easy.zip

If you do not have Hombrew installed like me, do that as described here: http://brew.sh/index.html

Finally build the needed pixman library by pasting this in Terminal:

brew update && brew install pixman glib

(Thanks djblastyfone!)

Double click "qemu_os9.command" from the _qemu_easy package and watch the magic!

The same procedure is working with OS X 10.10.
IF Xcode is not installed the Hombrew installer will ask for the Xcode command line tools and installs them.
The provided test.raw image may be opened in SheepShaver to throw some small apps on it.
To have a look how the emulated G4 performs:

Bildschirmfoto 2015-11-28

45.5 is not too bad on a 3GHz C2D, the emulator should be quite usable.
SheepShaver scores about 210 on the same rig, but SS only partially emulates a Power PC 604 cpu.

kataetheweirdo's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 10

QEMU 2.7 is right around the corner and it can boot up Mac OS 9.x by default. Using 2.7 rc0 in 64-bit Windows 10, it does run slow and has mouse issues when windowed, but I can't wait to hear the progress QEMU will be making. I haven't been able to install it yet, but I have run the few apps I could run from the CD and wrote up about those work in an eMaculation topic.

kataetheweirdo's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 10

Right now, 2.7 only allows one to switch resolutions in the console and it doesn't display 8-bit color mode correctly. 2.8 fixes this and it will have the ability to switch resolutions. Sound support is also something to look out for.

Also, 10.0 and 10.1 can install and boot up in the new custom build of QEMU. We're currently testing out anything we can in QEMU with varying degrees of success.

It's still much more stable running a G3, though. However, 2.7 does allow you to install and boot with a hard drive in 9.1 and 9.2.

3371-Alpha's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 15

This is very interesting & cool. If someone could repackage this into a gui app (similar to the now defunct Q.app) and compile it as universal binary, it could not only act as a replacement for Classic on Leopard PPC but also for Virtual PC!

kataetheweirdo's picture
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Keep in mind that networking is still a WIP (it only seems to work for 10.0.x-10.4) and sound doesn't really work, especially since it doesn't emulate the Mac's sound hardware. There's also no hardware acceleration, meaning that 3D games can run but they will go slow.

Wait at least until QEMU can do sound properly. It's also a bit on the slow side, since QEMU fully emulates a PPC (that is, it actually emulates the PowerPC MMU).

3371-Alpha's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 15

I wonder if it's possible to add the "dynamic core" feature that DOSBox uses to QEMU? In theory it could boost performance by 20%, though it'd take a lot of coding to implement.

OS9Gaming's picture
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Joined: 2015 Nov 28

Just to update this thread with some latest updates:

QEMU has a nice tutorial on getting Mac OS 9.2.2 running. It runs and networking works out of the box. It's easy to talk to the host OS over the network or accessing the internet. The system does lag sometimes, but it will get the job done.

See the installation manual: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/QEMU/Mac_OS_9

and here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/mac-os-922-universal