The information I give you in the video is readily available below, along with all the links you will need to download the files -http://www.emaculation.com. Basilisk II is a Windows program that emulates 68K Macintosh and is used for color 68K emulation, since Mini vMac remains the best option for B&W 68K emulation and its more realistic than Mini vMac.
- 2002.05.01 -Tip Jar
Emulation, using software to make one kind of computer act is ifit was a completely different piece of hardware, is older thanpersonal computing itself.
For instance, when Bill Gates and Paul Allen first read of thepioneering MITS Altair personal computer in the January 1975 issueof Popular Electronics, they set out to write a BASIClanguage compiler for it. The problem was that they didn't have anAltair - but they did have access to a Harvard computer lab andinformation about the Altair's Intel 8080 processor.
So they wrote an 8080 emulator, and used it to write the codefor their BASIC. By March, Paul Allen was offered the title ofdirector of software for MITS, and Gates and Allen's partnership,then known as Micro-Soft had its first sale.
More recently, emulation software such as Connectix's VirtualPC has allowed Mac users to boot a PC on their Apple hardware,running any of a wide range of PC operating systems and applicationsoftware.
But what about the opposite, emulating a Mac on PC hardware? Itturns out to be a much more difficult task. The problem? At theheart of every computer is a relatively small amount of code whichruns in between the operating system and the processor'shardware.
On PCs, this is relatively simple and simple-minded. By theearly 1980s, companies like Compaq and Phoenix had successfullyreverse-engineered the BIOS used in IBM's original PC, makingpossible the wide range of PC-clones that dominate that markettoday. When Virtual PC boots up, it runs a licensed PC ROM BIOS asone step in creating a genuine fantasy PC.
Macs have much more complex ROMs, containing (among otherthings), the Mac Toolbox and QuickDraw, sets of software routinesthat define basic ways the computer is going to work. Apple ownsthat code and doesn't allow it to be shared. As a result, it's notas easy to make PC think it's a Mac.
Basilisk II is one of several programs that try to emulatea Mac on PC hardware. All are 680x0 emulators; no one has releasedemulation software for a PowerPC CPU. Like the commercial SoftMac, Basilisk IIrequires Mac ROMs to work, either installed on a US$200 card soldby the SoftMac people or (more commonly) with ROM image filescaptured with SoftMac's CopyROM utility (and transferred from aMac-floppy to a PC hard drive using SoftMac's free GemXplor filetransfer utility).
Where SoftMac is marketed commercially, Basilisk II is an opensource project, originally written by Christian Bauer, anddistributed under the GNU General Public License. In other words,it's freely available and not crippled.
Like many open source projects, versions have been developed fora variety of operating systems. In this case, Basilisk II isavailable for BeOS R4 (both PowerPC and x86), x86 Unix (tested withLinux, Solaris 2.5, FreeBSD 3.x, and IRIX 6.5), AmigaOS 3.x, andWindows NT/2000/XP/9x. Source code is available fordownloading.
The Windows versions are maintained by Lauri Pesonen. Whileyou're on her site, be sure to scroll down the page to the link forMarc Hoffman's unofficial manual.
Unlike commercial products for the Mac like Virtual PC, gettingBasilisk II up and running is a bit of a project. Hoffman's manualis a big help here,
The first step is getting access to a genuine Mac ROMs - eitheron a permanent basis, installed into SoftMac's hardware card, orlong enough to capture to a disk image file. (Legally, you shouldown the Mac you're using in this way). You'll be limited by theversion of the Mac ROMs you're using; don't expect colour supportif you've started off with the ROMs from a black and white-onlyMac Plus, for example.
Once you've installed Basilisk II and copied the ROM image fileover, you're ready to create a hard drive image, configure BasiliskII, and install the Mac OS from a bootable CD or set of floppies.(Don't expect to be able to download a Mac OS on your PC andinstall it from there. Trust me, it won't work).
Basilisk II has a reasonably friendly graphical configurationutility. It can be used to set the display options, to choose whatspecific 680x0 processor to emulate, and to dedicate a portion ofyour PC's RAM for the Mac's use. Your fantasy Mac can be told thatyour PC's CD drive, floppy drive, keyboard, and mouse areMac-equivalents, and that the hard drive and ROM image files arethe real things.
CD and ethernet setup varies between Win9x and NT/2000/XPsystems. Again, Hoffman's manual is invaluable at walking usersthrough the necessary steps.
An especially nice option is the ability to make the PC's 'MyComputer' show up on the Mac desktop, making it possible to copyfiles back and forth between the virtual Mac and the main PCdrives. Also nicely implemented is the ability to share the PC'sInternet connection.
How well does it work? I currently have Basilisk II installed ona 750 MHz Compaq notebook running Windows 2000. Using ROM imagesfrom an old Mac Quadra 610, Ihave it set to emulate a 68040 CPU and have given it 128 MB to playwith. I'm running it in an 800 x 600 pixels window with 16-bitcolour. I've given it a 500 MB virtual hard drive.
At various times I've installed Mac OS 7.5.3, 7.6.1, and 8.0,and I'm currently using 8.1, which was the last version to run on680x0 hardware. You can't use Mac-emulation to learn aboutOS X on your PC. Still, OS 8.1 is reasonably modern and hasgood Internet support.
It boots in under 20 seconds, even when loading a reasonable setof control panels and extensions. I've got Netscape 4.05 and iCabbrowsers running happily along with older versions of MicrosoftWord and Excel, ClarisWorks 5.0, and even an old Photoshop (ver2.5). I can connect to my iBook via AppleTalk.
(If I ever install an 802.11b wireless PC Card in this PCnotebook, I'll see if I can share it for wireless Internet andnetworking access with this virtual Mac).
Subjectively, performance feels pretty good. Crude benchmarktesting measuring CPU whetstones (using the 68k DWhet utility scored 17647- slower than 60 MHz PowerPC 601-powered Macs (scoring about 22000)and quite a bit faster than 33-MHz 68040 Macs (scoring about 5500).Of course, even with its score close to that of low-end originalPowerPCs, this 680x0 emulator can't run PowerPC-native Macoperating system or application software. However, those resultsjive with my subjective sense that my emulated 68040 is faster thanany real 68040 Apple ever sold.
It works, but is it good for anything? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Isn't it enough that you can have that authentic Mac look andfeel on your PC desktop? I suppose Web designers forced to workwith a PC could use it to test whether their pages will work withMac browsers - at least with the older versions that will run inemulation.
And if you have a vital (or favourite) piece of older Macsoftware, this may be a way to continue to use it when dragged,kicking and screaming, over to a Windows system.
Or take it all the way - set your Windows system to autoloadBasilisk II at startup so your PC can boot right to a Mac OS.Convert your PC into a superfast virtual 68040 Mac and never haveto fuss with Windows again.
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Alan Zisman is Mac-using teacher and technology writer based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Many of his articles are available on his website,www.zisman.ca. If you find Alan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.
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