Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 11th Feb 2017 11:36 UTC

A neat piece of computing history - a combination of a hardware dongle and software that lets you run up to System 7 on a NeXT machine (and with some hacking, Mac OS 8).

The latest addition to my NeXT/Mac collection, a Daydream ROM box made in about 1993 by Quix Computerware AG. This unit plugged into the host NeXT's DSP port and contained genuine licensed Macintosh LC ROMs. This allowed the NeXT to boot off the ROMs and thus become a Mac. It was the first time Apple licensed Mac ROMs to a 3rd party and also offered the same performance as a Quadra 950 at a much lower price point and that was including the purchase of the NeXT system. It ran up to system 7.5 officially though with a few hacks 8.1 can be made to run. It is not a Mac virtual machine; it actually boots as a Mac.

The manual contains more information, and it explains that Daydream installs a secondary kernel that in turn boots the Mac ROM.

This in and of itself is quite cool, but as it turns out, that's not where the story ends. People - including some of the original Daydream developers - have hacked this tool to remove the need for the hardware ROM dongle by inserting the ROM directly into the secondary kernel. This means that if you have a 68k NeXT machine, you can boot directly into System 7 or Mac OS 8. Or, more likely, if you have a NeXT emulator such as Previous, you can boot your NeXT emulated machine directly into System 7 or Mac OS 8 (video).

Incredibly cool, and I had no idea this existed. While NeXT and Apple people were doing these awesome things, I was still using MS-DOS. Strange realisation.

Order by: Score:
or you could just use an Atari or Amiga
by cybergorf on Sat 11th Feb 2017 12:29 UTC
Member since:

With the "Emplant" card you could even emulate the Mac-floppy drive, by re-clocking the Amiga┬┤s custom chips.

Later "Shapeshifter" got rid of any need for additional hardware.
(Even later "iFusion" would turn your PPC-equiped Amiga into a PPC-Mac.)

Since Amiga got plenty of 68060 cards but Apple switched to PPC, it was the fastest way to run System 7.

Edited 2017-02-11 12:31 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Odwalla Member since:

The Sybil device, that allowed for the low density Macintosh disk reading, was a hack. Changing all of the frequencies on the Amiga chips to force an Amiga disk drive to be variable speed screwed up the video display whenever a disk was being read. Also, none of the Amiga Macintosh emulator choices included legal ROMs. The interesting aspect of this article is the rarity of the device and that it was officially sanctioned by Apple.

Edited 2017-02-11 13:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

cybergorf Member since:

That's true.

But you if I remember correctly, you could order ROMs (as update) from Apple. So at least in Europe, you could run such a system legally.

While the Emplant-hack was screwing with the display, it made it at least possibly to read and write the original floppies.

Reply Score: 1

JLF65 Member since:

It screwed with the video... unless you had a good multi-sync monitor or a video card. Most of the people the product was aimed at had some kind of RTG video card, so it wasn't a big problem. The Amiga was also capable of reading two speed zones of Mac disks and writing one speed zone without the need for any device. All the various Mac emulations included the ability to format disks on the Mac set so that the Mac wouldn't write to all but those speed zones (by marking the other sectors as already used). The issue was kinda moot when Amiga released HD floppy drives as then all HD floppies were compatible, PC, Mac, or Amiga.

As to the legality of roms, it was 100% legal to buy Mac roms and OS software. What was argued by Apple was their shrink-wrap TOS that claimed it was only legal to use said OS on actual Mac hardware. At the time, such "licenses" were considered non-binding. It's only (relatively) recently that courts have started holding such licenses as binding. You have the idiots at Blizzard to thank for that.

The EMPLANT card was only secondarily a hardware dongle. It primarily gave you the ability to read all available Mac roms, a SCSI port for using high-end Mac SCSI peripherals like film readers and the like, and two fully compatible AppleTalk ports. The ability to run without the EMPLANT was added later with the FUSION software, but still took advantage of the card if it was present.

Reply Score: 4

bugjacobs Member since:

Oh the "legality" is a block around the feet of fun and geekery ..

I bet the original creative people in the childhood of computing didnt really care much about "the legality", besides I think you could extract the roms if you owned a machine .. ? Like you can now with Amiga emulation (unless you simply buy the roms from Cloanto or similar).

And EMPLANT and such were highly publicized in commercials at the time .. so it was no shady business (??)

Back in the day it was pretty awesome that you could run Amiga, MS-DOS and Apple on the same computer AT THE SAME TIME .. As long as you had enough memory... Decades before Virtualbox and such ...

Edited 2017-02-11 14:44 UTC

Reply Score: 4

leech Member since:

Spectre GCR (from everything I had read) was a quicker way to run Mac software than the Mac at the time it was released. Atari ST, the better Mac?

Reply Score: 2

Spectre GCR
by kryogenix on Mon 13th Feb 2017 06:54 UTC
Member since:

While not officially licensed, you could run MacOS on an Atari ST if you had some Mac ROMs using the Spectre GCR cartridge. The whole setup was cheaper than a Mac. Along with PC Ditto you could have an ST that could run just about anything.

Reply Score: 2

Most used DOS back then
by Seeprime on Mon 13th Feb 2017 15:43 UTC
Member since:

Most of us used MS-DOs because the IBM clones were cheap. Businesses like cheap, when work can still be done on a cheap machine. Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3 were all widely used by businesses at the time. Fun memories.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Most used DOS back then
by leech on Tue 14th Feb 2017 07:41 UTC in reply to "Most used DOS back then"
leech Member since:

Most of us used MS-DOs because the IBM clones were cheap. Businesses like cheap, when work can still be done on a cheap machine. Word Perfect, Lotus 1-2-3 were all widely used by businesses at the time. Fun memories.

Businesses used IBMs because they literally had ingrained in them "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." It'd been around for so very long...

DOS was terrible, and IBMs were far from cheaper for what you got with them. When the Amiga/MAC/ST first showed up, your standard IBM compatible had pc speaker for sound, most likely CGA graphics, and monstrously expensive everything. EGA had only come out a year before and was still pricey.

Macs were black and white, and so the cheapest solution to get color displays and not 8-bit were the ST and the Amiga. Sadly, any advantage they had were lost due to lack of research and marketing after the initial hit to market. With both companies having management that did terrible things. Whether from Atari's side, where they pissed off all the developers and distributors, to Commodore's taking long vacations and spending money on everything but what it would take to make them a success.

In the end, we all lost because now we have two companies that have really been driving 'innovation' for the past few decades, and what has that gotten us? Strong attempts at lock in, and privacy concerns...

Reply Score: 2