As Apple Macintosh turns 35, Android, Linux, OS X users get to run its classic apps

Classic Mac apps compiled for 30-year-old CPUs can now live on in the Advanced Mac Substitute emulator for Linux, Mac OS X, and Android devices.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Mac hacker Josh Juran has built an emulator, dubbed Advanced Mac Substitute (AMS), which promises to run old Mac apps compiled for Motorola 68000-series CPUs on modern hardware.

With Apple's Macintosh today marking the 35th anniversary of its launch, the project could offer fans of Mac apps from 1984 a chance to relive the experience on Linux, Mac OS X, and Android devices. 

One of the key goals of the AMS project, spotted by Ars Technica, is to run the apps without needing a copy of old MacOS installation CDs as is needed for other Mac OS emulators.  

Juran describes AMS as an 'API-level reimplementation of classic Mac OS'. The only hardware AMS emulates is the 68000 CPU, and it's built to work without an Apple ROM or system software. 

Old games that Juran demos working in AMS to varying degrees include The Fool's Errand, the Amazing maze puzzle, Solitaire, Missile, and an animation of NyanCat. 

Apps that come with AMS available on GitHub include a Welcome message app, Tic-Tac-Toe, and the NyanCat animation. After dismissing the Welcome app, users need to use the command line to launch other prepackaged apps.   

Ars Technica notes that AMS is still very much a work in progress and currently only works on Mac OS X up to version 10.2 on versions for both Intel and PowerPC CPUs. It won't work on MacOS Mojave. Also, the Linux port doesn't support keyboard input. 

SEE: Apple iOS 12: An insider's guide (free PDF)

News of the AMS emulator project comes as the original Macintosh these games were first played on turns 35. 

The late Steve Jobs revealed the Macintosh to Apple shareholders on January 24,1984 at the Flint Center in Cupertino, showing off his vision for computing with a graphical user interface. 

About a week later he delivered a similar but more polished performance aimed at potential buyers of the Macintosh at the monthly Boston Computer Society meeting. 

The 90-minute presentation at BCS would become a template for today's flashy product reveals, but the video of Jobs working the stage hadn't been seen by the wider public until Time found the original tape and published it online on January 26, 2014, a few days before the 30th anniversary of that presentation.       


Solitaire, along with the Fool's Errand, the Amazing maze puzzle, Missile, and an animation of NyanCat, are among the games seen working on AMS.

Image: Josh Juran

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