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.

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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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2