Mac OS 8 resurrects as a cross-platform application

Apple released Mac OS 8 approximately 23 years ago and, as is evident, today that is not worth anything. But there are those who have taken the time to repackage the entire operating system and even various applications and games in the form of a simple application for the mere joy of doing it or, as they say in the world, because they could do it.

If the experiment sounds familiar to you, it’s for a good reason: it’s not the first time it’s been done. It was the same developer, Felix Rieseberg, who in 2018 surprised us with the Windows 95 application, using the same technology that he used on this occasion to ‘resurrect’ the almost as old Mac OS 8: Electron; and that’s why I have used the same headline that I used then.

It turns out that Rieseberg is one of the developers of Slack, a collaboration service for work teams whose PC application is made with Electron, a framework based on Chromium and Node.js that GitHub created to facilitate the development of cross-platform desktop applications with web technologies. Thanks to Electron we currently have applications such as Skype, Visual Studio Code … and this Mac OS 8.

Thus, with the help of several collaborators, Rieseberg got to work and transformed a 1991 Macintosh Quadra with Mac OS 8.1 into an application that you can run on any current computer with Windows, Linux or macOS itself. The app, conveniently called as macintosh.js, is written entirely in JavaScript and although it is still a curiosity, it is ‘fully’ functional.

This Mac OS 8 use a virtual machine to emulate the Macintosh Quadra 900 with the Motorola CPU that Apple used before making the jump to IBM PowerPCs, and in addition to the system, it includes various pre-installed applications, such as Photoshop 3, Premiere 4 or Illustrator 5.5; and also various games, such as Duke Nukem 3D, Civilization II or Dungeons & Dragons. But don’t get too excited either, which is still an experiment.

In fact, Rieseberg warns that even though the package integrates web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape -in the versions of that time, it is understood- “you won’t even be able to open Google”, a sign that time has not passed by. However, the interesting thing about this is not being able to use a Mac OS 8 as such, but simply with JavaScript you can recreate an entire operating system of the time.

If you want to take a look, you will find the project in this GitHub page. The download takes about 250 MB and although for Linux there are only installers, for Windows and Mac there are also self-executables. Who said that going back to the past was not possible?






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