Updated May1, 2006
Make Your PC Think
But OSX emulation isn't ready for
But there it was, the free demo of Fusion, the strangely named first Macintosh emulator, which ran in DOS. Later versions ran in Windows, a major breakthrough.
Getting the DOS version to run was not for the faint-hearted and Tech Support from owner Jim Drew (top left) was all but non-existant most of the time. So I reached out to the Web for help and launched the Unofficial Fusion Support Center in September, 1998. It had 7098 visitors who posted 3301 messages in the first year. Times have changed. The emulators are now old hat and there's not much to report on the forums devoted to them, including mine. Fusion and rival Softmac from Darek Michocka (bottom left) merged, then went out of business. They've been supplanted by freeware Basilkisk II which is much better than either of them ever were.. All are non-PPC, and while PowerPC emulator PearPC running OPSX was looking good last year, nothing has happened for months.
But Basilisk, which can run up to OS 8.1, is far from being a slouch. It gives you the Windows My Computer icon on its desktop for instant cross-platform file exchange. To make a Mac CD, Toast4 has no problem. Depending on how fast your PC is, and how much RAM you can spare, all three knock the spots of a real Quadra900. Word, WordPerfect, Quark and even Photoshop are fast.
The only drawback is with browsers. Being non-PPC, you're stuck with earlier and slower version of Netscape and Explorer -- but there's also a Macs-only browser, iCab, which knocks spots off them. B2 also lets you share your internet connection with your PC using DSL, LAN, Cable modem, or dialup.
The emulators are fun. But the main practical use is giving you the ability to read a Mac floppy, Zip, or CD while on your PC and be able to transfer its files to Windows with copy and paste or saving to My Documents
All three require a software ROM obtainable from a real Mac, and emulators have been known to buy, borrow, beg, download, or "steal" such an item. There's a fourth way to run Mac programs, but it's not really an emulator and doesn't require a Mac ROM.
BasiliskII was developed by Christian Bauer (photo left), a student of physics at the University of Mainz, Germany. The Windows version is constantly being fine-tuned by Lauri Pesonen, (right) a software engineer in Finland. There are also SBeOS, Linux and Amiga versions.
So why is such potentially best-selling software free, I asked Lauri Personen by email.
"Why not?" Lauri emailed back. "Money isn't everything. I'm not really rich, but I have everything I need. Besides, I could not sell B2 even if I wanted to, because it's GPL'd [General Public License]. I started working with the Windows port for selfish reasons. It was meant to be for my own use only, not to be distributed on the 'net. Things got out of hand pretty quickly though. But it has been fun."
from the University of Victoria
History of Apple
History of Browsers
Jim Watters Downloads Page
Mac Emulation Forum
Christian Bauer's Home Page
Lauri Pesonen's Basilisk2 for Windows
FastCounter by bCentral