Relive the good old days with the Macintosh Pi

Feeling nostalgic for computers in the pre-millennium era? For so many of us, it was the computer games of the 1980s and 90s that sparked a career in programming. Here’s a Raspberry Pi project that offers a retro Mac OS experience to bring back memories of times gone by.


MacintoshPi is an open-source project shared on GitHub that allows you to run full-screen versions of Apple’s Mac OS 7, Mac OS 8, and Mac OS 9 with sound, an active internet connection, and modem emulation on the Raspberry Pi. All required packages are provided in a single script that takes about two hours to compile and install. The project runs on Raspberry Pi Zero 2W, 2, 3, 3B, 3B+, but currently it does not run on the Pi 4. It also requires a legacy version of Pi OS. The instructions indicate that it needs to be installed on a clean Raspberry Pi OS Lite (Legacy). You can also use the full version of Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy), but in this case you must first switch to the command line or set the system boot to CLI.

This project is by Jaromaz, a Polish computer professional who is also an avid hobbyist. In his own words he has:

I’ve been into Apple computer emulation for about five years (because I really like and appreciate retro Apple systems), and the subject is quite complex.

He goes on to enumerate the problems he had to overcome:

Problems with building the right images, with configuring system images for web support, with the appropriate configurations for emulators, with the right options for compiling emulators and (separately) SDL2 (because SDL2 from a package is obviously not in the emulation works ), with performance, with correct compilation of NetDriver, with library versions (because they must be outdated), with minimizing lag in mouse movements, problems with sound, etc. etc.

After being successful, he decided to make the solution available to everyone, which means you can now take a trip down memory lane with a lot less effort. If you want to try the experience, watch this short video:

A longer version of the video can be found here.

The video experience is enhanced by the Mac Classic housing used. How Jaromaz incorporates this into the project, he describes in his blog together with details on all software components.

While the main focus is on the old Mac, the project also has a dual-boot option that supports a Commodore emulator – so if you want to turn back the clock even further, how about a game of Space Invaders like it used to be was played on the Commodore PET?


More information

Macintosh Pi on GitHub

MacintoshPi – Mac OS 7/8/9 for Raspberry Pi

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