Infinite Mac: turning to the dark side

About a year ago I came across the Previous emulator – it appeared to be a faithful simulation of the NeXT hardware and thus capable of running NeXTStep. While including it in Infinite Mac would be scope-creep, NeXT’s legacy is in many ways more relevant to today’s macOS than classic Mac OS. It also helped that it’s under active development by its original creator (see the epic thread in the NeXT Computers forums), and thus a modern, living codebase.

Previous is the fifth emulator that I’ve ported to WebAssembly/Emscripten and the Infinite Mac runtime, and it’s gotten easier. As I’m doing this work, I’m developing more and more empathy for those doing Mac game ports – some things are really easy and others become yak shaves due to the unintended consequences of choices made by the original developers. Previous is available on multiple platforms and has good abstractions, so overall it was a pretty pleasant experience.

↫ Mihai Parparita

By porting previous to WebAssembly/Emscripten, Infinite Mac now offers access to a whole slew of NeXTSTEP releases, from the earliest known release to the last one from 1997. There’s also a ton of applications added to make the experience feel more realistic. This makes Infinite Mac even more useful than it already was, ensuring it’s one of the best and easiest ways to experience old macOS and now NeXTSTEP releases through virtual machines (real ones, this time), available in your browser.

I’ll be spending some time with these new additions for sure, since I’ve very little experience with NeXTSTEP other than whatever I vicariously gleamed through Steven Troughton-Smith‘s toots on the subject over the years. Mihai Parparita is doing incredibly important work through Infinite Mac, and he deserves credit and praise for all he’s doing here.


  1. 2024-03-27 2:59 pm
    • 2024-03-27 4:25 pm
  2. 2024-03-27 8:27 pm