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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
Best emulator for 68k programming?

So one of our Garden members is looking to do some 68k programming. I shared that Basilisk II may be an easy way to get started, being that the availability of 68k hardware is both pricey and with Basilisk II, the shared mounted Unix volume makes it so much easier to move data in and out of the emulated Mac environment.

I know SheepShaver follows the same path as Basilisk II, but I don't know which of the two might work better for 68k or FAT programming. Even QEMU might be an option, but that one has harder setup steps and only supports 9.0.4 and up.

As far as the programming tools to use, I hand-off that part to my programming guru friends that reside here since that's not my forte at all! Feel free to post some of the easier-to-use and more effective programming environments and languages for this task.

If Bry wasn't swamped trying to squash covid on his side of the world, I know he'd jump all over this.. I know we're all gotten even more busy than the busy we already were tackling life 2020-style.. life has become more real and precious to us. But I'm very encouraged by the determination I see in a young mind to do some old-school programming and want to offer what I can, which isn't much more than at least getting a good Mac up and running for this task. The bulk of my know-how is setting up Basilisk II, but is that really the best emulator for his needs?

I proposed either Mac OS 7.6.1 or 8.1 as good Mac OSes to use, but should he go older than either of these two? And because of Dan's awesome System7Today website, I've leaned on System 7.6.1 as my go-to OS for my older Macs, but 8.1 is really more like 7.7 in my opinion, so it's almost the same to me and I really like a couple of it's GUI properties, lol..

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kataetheweirdo's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 10

Mac OS 7.5.5 was the last Mac to run on any 68k Mac, but that shouldn't affect emulation too much. Mini vMac or MESS are arguably far better, with the latter having its own debugger and with emulation very similar to actual Mac II hardware. It does require a decent amount of command line knowledge though.

Back in the day, a lot of programmers used either Think C or MPW, which both mean they use K&R-style C. Though in the case of tools, it really does depend a lot on how knowledgeable your friend is in particular languages. Unsurprisingly, there aren't too many for newer languages.

Duality's picture
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Joined: 2014 Mar 1

Agreed that "real" hardware is a bad fit unless what they're doing requires it. My concern is that any 68k hardware is going to break down in a few years with regular usage, if not sooner. Recapping and sourcing new components is more time and labor far beyond anything in software, like setting up QEMU.

I wouldn't focus too much on the details of what emulator is being used. Many people like Mini vMac for the nice Gryphel Project apps that help with bridging with the host OS and its own range of debugger options.

Some flavor of System 7 should be fine.

We've had many threads on how to get started with programming, such as this one. Even though it mentions Mac OS 9, several of us were nudging towards System 6/7 resources instead.

snes1423's picture
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Joined: 2020 May 13

Thanks for posting this cbone!!!! yeah I am trying to see if we cannot port this over to Windows rt 8.1 I know that you can run any program if you were to jailbreak

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

when I think of jailbreaking, I think iPhones, lol Laughing out loud but I take it you mean a Windows RT mobile device?

That I couldn't answer intelligently, as I haven't come across any ARM devices using that version of Windows.. I have heard it would be the only version of Windows an ARM Chromebook could use natively, but that also makes finding any kind of software useful for it a daunting task, I'm saying this based on some old research I did on that once a while back!

snes1423's picture
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Joined: 2020 May 13

yes over at the XDA forums they jailbroke it so you could run apps other than the store ones aswell as some 32 bit ones minivmac and dosbox were ported thanks to this among others

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

ah okay, I stand corrected! well then, that is good news Smile

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

My environment of choice for classic app compiling is SheepShaver runningn 9.0.4 and CodeWarrior Pro (I think 10, might be 12 -- one of them definitely works better than the rest in that it can compile FAT binaries that work back to System 6, plus can compile universal binaries that work under OS X up to 10.5 PPC).

Back in the late 90s/early 2000s I also maintained an exhaustive website that tracked compilers available for Mac OS. There were hundreds of them -- mostly free.

Most of the links are dead now, but many of them work inside archive.org:
https://web.archive.org/web/20040216191047/http://thunder.prohosting.com...