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Infinite Mac (macos8.app)
1038 points by bookofjoe on April 26, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 323 comments

Creator of the site here. There's a blog post with the technical details if you're curious about how it works and whose work it builds on: https://blog.persistent.info/2022/03/blog-post.html

There are also a couple of variants that boot either System 7.5.3 or KanjiTalk 7.5.3 (the Japanese version of MacOS): https://system7.app/ and https://kanjitalk7.app/

In middle school, we had a math teacher with an old mac setup that ran a physics simulator program. It came with a variety of starter templates, one of them was this crash test dummy in a car.

It was all polygons, but you could hit run and the car would accelerate and hit a wall then the circle head and arms would sort of fly around.

Anyone know what this software was? I remember running and re-running little simulations repeatedly, with little understanding of the science but very much enjoying the ragdoll physics of it.

Working Model, by Knowledge Revolution. I used to work there, and my first project was making the jump from 2D to 3D.

This is why I love this orange site.

Logged in users can change that color. For me it’s green.

Green is best, although that orange bar reminds me of Hercules monitors.

You’re missing out

Any stories / surprising bits from working there?

Oh man, there’s a 3D version? I has endless fun playing with the 2D one in the uni computer lab.

I was going to say Interactive Physics but I think that came prior to that, by the same people

I remember two programs like that, one that my middle school had called "Fun Physics," and one my high school had called "Conceptual Physics." The interfaces were exactly the same, and it wouldn't surprise me if Conceptual Physics was a rebundled version sold along with Paul Hewitt's course. Unfortunately, those names are so generic that I can't find them on Google.

You could author workspaces in Working Model and I dimly remember Fun Physics was built using WM.

Old software can frequently be found on archive.org—with much more focused selection than ‘the whole web’.

Oh wow, I remember this for sure. What a throw back. What was it called?

MATLAB or something from MathWorks?

I caught this the last time it came around HN. Thanks for making this. Browser accessibility of these classic systems and the painstaking work you undertook to integrate all of the third party software is really important for preserving the experience we had growing up with these machines.

My son regularly asks me to play Lemmings now because of this app :)

I poked around a few weeks ago and ran into a variety of errors when I dug into the more hardware-specific bits.

So I was shocked when I could use the Disk Copy utility to image Macintosh HD right into the Uploads folder & onto my (real) desktop.

"It Just Works" in the best Mac sense. Amazing job.

HOLY SHIT! You have a working ver of Bryce KPT! from 1994!

Jeasus - that brings back so many shitty 3D city scapes I made back then/

Can you get Aldus Pagemaker (5.0 preferably, /r/beggingchoosers, and all that) running on this please.

I haven't tried this myself, but you should be able to download and install it from https://macintoshgarden.org/apps/aldus-pagemaker-50 (drag the .sit on the emulator, and it'll be copied to the "Downloads" folder). You can then use StuffIt Expander to unstuff the .sit and Disk Copy to mount the install images (both are in the "Utilities" folder)

Incidentally, Apple reseller resource CDs[1] also contained fully functional copies of PageMaker, licensed only for customizing Apple marketing materials, along with the assets (product photography, custom Apple internal-use fonts) required to do so.

Creating period-correct marketing materials for projects like this emulator could be a fun art project.

[1] https://archive.org/search.php?query=arple

Holy hell. Thank you for that website. When I was a kid I downloaded a game called “Foodfight” from the Internet cafe. However, when I got the floppy home, I attempted to run it on my dad’s Mac but it would not launch. For the last 25 years I’ve periodically wondered about that game, if it was any good or not, and why it didn’t launch (first mystery solved, it’s written in HyperCard!). I can’t wait to tell my dad.

BitLowskii! REPORTE!

Welp, I can sorta get it there -- but I cant figure out how to install it after mounting:




Whats really interesting to me about this, was that just ~last week or so, I was wondering what ever happened to Kai (Kai's Power Tools - Kai was the inventor of it and it was a revolutionary glimpse into the future of what 3D worlds were going to be put into the hands of the masses via PCs.)

Once you have the disk mounted in your second screenshot, drag (all?) the 1.image files onto the Disk Copy window to mount each individual floppy, and inside "1" is a Utilities folder with a How to Install and a Aldus Installer/Utility app.

Is there a way to use appletalk on a LAN? I would love to get a game of multiplayer bolo going in my office.

There is! netatalk on linux is the package you need for that, and it's still built in to BSD, I believe. now weather that package still speaks the older versions of the protocol, who can say. Interestingly, a challenge you would have with this because this emulator is web based, your networking options would be fairly limited, even if you could emulate netatalk, the browser's security features would preclude you accessing hosts than the server it's on, it's the same reason Fabrice Bellard didn't add networking to his jslinux project.

netatalk provides macintosh fileshare hosting services on unix/linux. It has nothing to do with this use case.

Something involving a web server, a websocket (ws) server acting as a switch or repeater, a emulator specific websocket client to act as a network adaptor. Each emulator would then send packets via websocket to the ws server which would then send to the other connected ws clients. All the ws would be abstracted behind the emulated network adapter.

That would give you enough to let a bunch of Bolo addicts go to the same site and play multiplayer. It would also let them share files amongst those emulators.

But that wouldn't necessarily let any of them talk to an appletalk server near the server, eg on its real lan. For that you'd need a tuntap thing acting as a bridge or router.

That said, you probably wouldn't require that appletalk/netatalk server. As long as one emulator holds the maps or files etc you could use that as a file server. No tuntap required.


Since you can't listen for incoming connections from a browser, most likely no.

Coincidentally, Bolo networking was originally designed for serial networks like LocalTalk. The same network logic was used when UDP support was added. So there are assumptions made about learning of another player's network address from an third player, and is the reason why ubiquitous NAT broke Bolo internet gaming.

But if you have an old Mac around, you can play internet Bolo games using a Bolo packet re-writing proxy I wrote. We schedule games occasionally over at 68kMLA.


Maze Wars and Spectre VR were pretty fun on AppleTalk too.

Ah, giant 3d polygons. They just don't make games like they used to!

As someone who was involved in the creation of Infini-D back in the day, I can only say that this brought a smile to my face and that I've shared it with the whole original team. Thank you! Thank you!

Hey there! I opened Resedit and began deleting things in the System suitcase. Jammed the emulator up pretty good! Reloaded the page and it rebooted. Great work!

I would love it if you could include the game lunatic fringe in this.

Lunatic Fringe was part of After Dark, which is in the Control Panels & Extensions folder. If you drag that to the "Control Panels" folder in the System Folder and restart, it'll be enabled, and you can choose it.

There's an open source web version I worked on at GitHub if you want to play an in-dev version that works on modern computers.


Click to play: https://jackinloadup.github.io/lunatic-fringe/

Very impressive. A fantastic next step would be to emulate a NeXT so you can run WorldWideWeb, Tim Berners-Lee's original browser+editor. A bit like https://worldwideweb.cern.ch/ but including the whole NeXTSTEP system around it, allowing for looking at source code, editing pages, etc.

What a great tool that would be for educating how the original Web was built.

Just as a heads up -

I went to go create a new project in Think Pascal, and when I tried to enter a name all my keystrokes came out as boxes.

Using Chrome 100 on macOS Big Sur. English (Canadian) key layout.

This seems to work OK for me. Any chance a modifier is stuck down (try pressing command, option and shift to reset their state). If this still happens, can you file a bug at https://github.com/mihaip/infinite-mac/issues/new?

Any chance you can add Meat Gone Bad? https://www.macintoshrepository.org/6032-meat-gone-bad

Can I update the System 7.5.3 machine to A/UX?

A/UX is very picky about hardware. You can run it in the Shoebill emulator

Minor nitpicking: For some reason, the scroll thumbs (and their ghosts) do not work (visually). Otherwise, great work!

Thank you for the magnificent trip down memory lane!

Really awesome work!

What does one have to do to get as clear and pretty of a UI as that on the modern desktop OSes? Everyone switched from bitmaps to vectors over a decade ago and now everything is fuzzy, antialiased, scalable, flat, hard to make out.

Of course you can always run dwm on linux with a hodgepodge of makeshift utility apps, write your own keybinds to set your brightness and volume and other such inanities, but in order to get a 'complete' desktop experience you kinda have to opt-in to GNOME/KDE which are trying to do the same things as Apple or Microsoft, aesthetically speaking. And tough luck if you actually use Apple or Microsoft to begin with. I tried running bug.n and it seems to not work in win10, let alone win11.

>Everyone switched from bitmaps to vectors over a decade ago and now everything is fuzzy, antialiased, scalable, flat, hard to make out.

That makes no sense. Bitmaps have a fixed pixel density while vectors are infinitely scalable.

Vectors will scale to any pixel density, but they look irritatingly fuzzy at the lower pixel densities you commonly see in large widescreen monitors.

Obviously it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but decades ago bitmapped fonts could give you crisp text on any monitor, and in 2022 I'm using a popular, >$1300, very favorably reviewed monitor, and the text is ever-so-slightly fuzzy. It's plugged into my Macbook Pro right now, and the difference in how well the text renders on the two displays is plain.

I guess as soon as Apple started making laptops with 300dpi screens, it became okay to render fuzzy text on any screen that wasn't 300dpi.

The problem is you have it plugged into a macbook. Apple doesn't support subpixel anti-aliasing in any of its latest releases. Your monitor looks so fuzzy because Apple has removed the capability to make it not look so fuzzy.

This is only part of the reason. The other reason is that Apple doesn't actually do fractional UI scaling, they only ever render into a framebuffer at whole integer multiples of an internal "native" resolution and then scale down this framebuffer to the actual monitor resolution afaik (they still render natively to this multiplied resolution - no doubled pixels or anything like that).

This results in less crisp output than you would get if you actually rendered vector based UI at the exact monitor resolution or if you natively rendered bitmap art 1:1 with the monitor resolution.

This approach makes sense when you're only using Apples monitors because they can optimize their internal "native" resolutions for the handful of actual native resolutions they offer, but it falls apart when you start plugging in external third party lower dpi monitors.

(I believe this is also the same approach that Gnome 3 uses to do (experimental, with a toggle) non integer multiple UI scaling.)

Oh interesting, I was wondering why my HP (Ubuntu) laptop looked sharper than my Macbook on a QHD monitor.

To mitigate the issues you mention, I've long wanted higher res screens since forever (I had one of those early Vaio VGN-Z that was the only 13-14" laptop with 1600x900 displays when 1366x768 dominated; they were also the first to move to 1920x1080 with their next model).

And I had that Dell's first 24" 4K screen that required DP MST to go past 30Hz. I've tried disabling subpixel rendering to see if that resolution was really sufficient (185dpi) but you could then see text regain jagged edges. Thus I reasoned that, with my glasses correcting my myopia to better than 20/20, I needed to wait a while until I can fully enjoy nice, laser-printout-like text.

As a reminder, even laser printers printing at 600dpi use techniques similar to subpixel rendering to render that smooth text.

I am hoping for some 8K screens at 32" for productivity work (though that's still probably too low at 275 dpi), and I never get it why people keep talking about there not being any 8K content. My desktop is my 8K content, though I also lack the GPU to drive it at more than 30Hz :)

You’ll also need HDMI 2.1 compatible gear if you want 8k at 60Hz, and there are caveats.


Yeah, thus my mention of lacking a modern-enough GPU to drive them.

Thanks for a very clear and direct source for the bandwidth, I was under the impression HDMI 2.1 would not require DSC for 8k at 60Hz but never paid attention to the actual numbers.

DP 2.0 is what I need to wait for then :) What was the bandwidth it promises? 77Gbps, should work.

Then again, I feel like eGPUs are the way forward for this, as you can keep the GPU close to the screen, and your computer would talk a "semantically compressed" (or rather terser) language to the display output (eg. talk OpenGL to your display).

I think the secret is to go with much larger monitors and blow up the text size. Right now I'm typing this on a M1 MBP plugged into a curved 48" 4K TV that I use as a monitor. I can have the text scaled about 3-4x as large (physically) as on my Macbook and it looks great. Slight bonus, avoiding reading small text is healthier for your long-term vision.

> I'm using a popular, >$1300, very favorably reviewed monitor, and the text is ever-so-slightly fuzzy.

Some programs let you use pixel-perfect fonts, even today. For example, in iterm2 I do "Profiles > Text > Monaco Regular 10pt non-antialiased"

I've recently gotten a MacBook Pro 14 for work, and tried out Ubuntu 22.04 RC on a laptop, and I was confounded with how fuzzy both of them look today (Ubuntu with fractional scaling, but Mac even with 2x scaling on 4k screen).

Whatever setup was there on Ubuntu 20.04 which made text render clearly needs to come back (I used to use slight hinting setting, but it seems subpixel rendering is going away on Linux too). Please!

That's probably because Ubuntu 21.04 used Wayland by default for all but Nvidia [0] and 22.04 enabled it for Nvidia [1], and Wayland's fractional scaling is an ugly hack (both in how it's implemented and how it looks) [2][3]. Progress is being made [4], but it's quite slow.

Switch to the X session on the login screen and you should have good scaling again (also, lots of applications that do screen sharing, like Zoom, do not work on Wayland [5]). Or just be like me and use Mint, which has no plans for Wayland support and you don't have to think about any of this.

[0]: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2021/01/ubuntu-21-04-will-use-wa...

[1]: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Ubuntu-2...

[2]: https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/lficfe/wayland_fractio...

[3]: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/wayland/wayland-protocols/-/i...

[4]: https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/wayland/wayland-protocols/-/m...

[5]: https://community.zoom.com/t5/Meetings/Wayland-screen-sharin...

Thanks, good to know it's only due to Wayland, and that it's both being worked on there, and that there is a quick fix otherwise when I upgrade to 22.04.

Text fuzziness has had nothing to do with your monitor ever since we've gone digital with HDMI and DVI

Linux & Windows generally use implementations of antialiasing that aren't so "fuzzy," so you could always ditch that Mac for something that won't forcibly abstract away the details for you

It can still happen when different display panel pixel colour arrangements don't match subpixel rendering settings in software, though that'll usually happen with non-monitor displays like TVs.

True, though in practice I haven't noticed it to be nearly as obnoxious as Apple stuff trying to upscale at non-integer intervals

I'm using the U3219Q at 1:1 resolution (so 3800px wide) on BigSur and Monterey, and some display text is sharp at the beginning and end of the text block, but fuzzy in the middle. It's like there's an aliasing going on, where a text block that would be natively 100 px wide is shown at 99px or 100px.

It was better on previous versions, I think Mojave was the last good one.

Yeah, I was completely surprised when I moved from Ubuntu 20.04 to MacBook Pro 14 on the very same Dell U3219Q: MacOS made text editing completely unpleasant.

Then I upgraded my son's laptop to Ubuntu 22.04 RC, and I was greeted with the same fuzziness. I hope that's only due to Wayland, I haven't tried out the X desktop when docked.

This has nothing to do with the display, this is a MacOS scaling issue. Plug in a Windows device, put it at 100% scaling and it will be as sharp as it can get.

macOS is really limited when in comes to displays, because the display must have a PPI of around 110, or a multiple of that. It sucks how bad macOS is at scaling, especially with the terrible font rendering.

You can turn off ClearType to get rid of the aliasing in fonts on Windows

Back in the day, the fixed pixel density of the bitmaps was 1-to-1 aligned with the pixel density of the monitors. Every line was crisp and clean because there was no antialiasing across partial pixels.

The world in which we now live allows for a lot more crispness when it matters (because the pixel density approaches indistinguishable-by-the-human-eye-at-viewing-distance), but with the tradeoff that UIs designed to work at whatever scale on whatever monitor with whatever DPI do a lot of aliasing, and things tend to look, sometimes, just a tad muddier. Especially when vectorized icons get drawn in a rendering pipe that passes through the graphics accelerator.

If you have e.g. a diagonal line from a vector graphic then it will almost always be antialiased (i.e. light grey pixels along the edge of the black pixels - or maybe there aren't even any black pixels and they're just dark grey, which might look fuzzy to some).

The alternative is that you convert the vector line with a "nearest neighbour" pixel algorithm (or cleverer but fundamentally similar algorithms e.g. [1]) but then you get the aliasing artefacts that anti-aliasing is meant to avoid. For example, two parallel lines that are rendered 2.5 pixels apart might end up having a gap between them that alternates between 1 and 2 pixels along its length, which looks even worse.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bresenham%27s_line_algorithm

With hand-designed pixel graphics, this isn't a problem because you can manually choose to draw everything an integer number of pixels apart or avoid certain constructions altogether.

Sounds like he used to be younger and needs to see an optometrist.

Not necessarily; I fired up some old devices last month, and the way their bitmap icons and apps and screens appeared, can only be defined as "Crips" and "Sharp". I'm not saying prettily or beneficially so! But they were definitely very stark and constrasty (let alone colourful and "stand-out-ish"!) holding them next to my modern phone or PC.

I don't think "Vector vs bitmap" is necessarily the cause - more of design sensibility. When I look at the lineup of google apps on my phone which all look EXACTLY the same (3 primary colours in random rotation; I can only effectively use / distinguish them if I memorize location of icon), and then the same as slack and my son's daycare app which also use swirls of same 3 primary colours; and when I compare my Windows desktop and icons and browsers to old apps - there's a definite brutal sharpness to old stuff.

Because the pixels are larger on old display devices, I suspect.

What does one have to do to get as clear and pretty of a UI as that on the modern desktop OSes?

Buy a retina mac ;)

I kid but only partly. Running at integer (2x) scaling on a 200 dpi screen makes everything perfectly crisp. Anti-aliased text no longer appears blurry and lines are rendered at exact pixel boundaries.

Those old bitmap art displays didn’t do any scaling. Every pixel appeared exactly as someone drew it, with crisp boundaries. It’s the scalable part of vector graphics that fuzzes things up.

XFCE is pretty complete and can be tweaked into just about any retro desktop experience you want--i.e. you can make a panel feel like a start menu and task bar, or sit in the middle like a dock, have both a dock and top bar panel, etc.

If you really want you can also tweak some settings to totally disable antialiasing and switch to bitmap font rendering. On modern semi-high DPI displays (like a 14" 1920x1080 panel) it isn't that great though as most bitmap fonts are far too small to be readable (~8-12 pixels tall). For the most crisp and clear text, even crisper than old bitmap stuff, you really want a high DPI display in the 4k+ range. Try using a modern mac and you will be blown away at how clear and sharp the text renders.

With respect to the anti-aliasing on Linux, I run Xfce, which easily allows one to control the font anti-aliasing in the Appearance settings under the Fonts tab. I assume that GNOME and KDE have similar configuration settings. You can also get the same sort of controls in fonts.conf [0] for applications that don't respect Xfce's settings, like Firefox, as I recall. I could make everything as sharp as I'd like with the right settings.

In my experience, basically every window manager has some 90s-esque style as well.

[0] There's more information buried in here: https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Font_configuration

> now everything is fuzzy, antialiased, scalable, flat, hard to make out.

Use a high-DPI screen, for starters.

For fuzz, anti and anti-aliasing issues, you can sometimes make them worse with a HiDPI display.

All of these issues really boil down to render resolution not integer scaling to the display resolution.

If the render resolution is an integer multiple of the display resolution or vice versa, you will generally always get beautiful crisp rendering - this is exactly the approach Apple adopted, and is why they had to use some slightly less common resolutions like 5k on some devices - 2560x1440/"QHD" has integer scaling factor of exactly 2 for a 5k display etc.

The problem though is that outside of Apple devices, almost no hiDPI display will neatly integer sale. The vast majority of Hi-DPI monitors on sale today are 4k, and only 1080p really has a useable integer scaling factor there. 1080p of "useable" screen real estate on a 4k monitor is going to make all UI elements too big usually though... So you are forced to non-integer scaling and images that will not cleanly map to the grid of pixels in the monitor, which is where the fuzz and anti-aliasing etc starts... 1440p of "usable" space does not cleanly map to a 4k monitor, but many people run them this way.

5k is frankly a brilliant resolution for high quality ~200ppi style HiDPI rendering on 27 inch displays with 2x integer scaling for macOS and Windows especially, its tragic the resolution hasn't become more mainstream.

Yes, it’s a shame that there are only two 5K 27” displays to choose from, and both are expensive. The industry has dropped the ball on this for years, all those 32” 4K screens may be cheap but they’re no use to me…

On Linux

Step one plug in 4K 27" monitor.

Step two set scaling factor for gtk/java apps to 2. KDE/QT apps can figure out the correct DPI without hassle.

Step three set fonts smaller or larger if desired.

On Windows plug in 4K 27" monitor. Text doesn't look in my opinion quite as nice as Linux but it isn't fuzzy, small, or giant. Possibly font rendering could look nicer if I bothered to tweak it but since its basically boot to steam I see little reason to bother.

I keep hearing this argument that 4K somehow doesn't work or looks shitty and only 5K Mac displays provide an acceptable high dpi experience and I feel like I'm getting transmissions from an alternate universe where nobody had to scale UIs from screens that varied in DPI by a factor of 3 for almost 20 years. Long before 4K screens.

It's a shame Apple turned that into such a problem for their users, when Linux and Windows didn't. I guess they gambled wrong on how the market for monitors would evolve.

This is an interesting analytical failure. To explicate. You go through your day wearing only boots. You see people wearing sneakers and so one day you buy a pair the wrong size and put it on with a tag inside and walk around like that for a day. You think to yourself how do all these people do this every day did nobody ever show them a good pair of boots! Sir Boots4Life's analysis is faulty they aren't all walking around uncomfortable because they don't wear the wrong size nor wear a small object between footwear and foot for extra penance and everyone isn't walking around with a fuzzy screen.

There as it turns out are other ways to scale a UI other than integer scaling factors. Even if you don't use svg you can use different image sizes and scale fonts by smaller increments yet.

You describe their being 1080p of usable real estate which is a complete failure to use a meaningful unit of measure. Your 5K display, future 8k displays etc use more pixels to draw a button 3cm x 1 cm. They aren't wasting increasing number of pixels they are drawing the element with increasing fidelity. If we measured screen real estate in pixels one would conclude that a 5" screen and a 32" screen both drawn in 1080p have equal screen real estate. This is a clearly incorrect conclusion. Clearly screen real estate is measured in area with fidelity not real estate measured in DPI.

Increasing fidelity might bear on the smallest element one can possibly usefully use but its not going to bear as much on what size element people desire to use which has much more to do with how far the object is from a users face.

You are saying that 4K monitors require one to choose between giant elements that somehow waste all the pixels or exceptionally tiny ones. This is silly. First off 108Op displays that range from 12" - 32" already had to adjust elements to be usable even before 4K became a thing and there were already more knobs than scaling factor to achieve the same end result. 4K changed the existing equation that has existed for 20 years by an exact factor of 2. 8k changes it by an exact factor of 4.

TLDR: Set an integer scaling factor then tweaking your fonts a little bigger or a little smaller until it looks nice according to your taste. Nobody on earth expected a 24" 4K monitor to display twice as much content as a 1080p 24" monitor because they want things to be the same size on the screen only prettier.

Actually, I want stuff smaller on 1080p displays so I could display more stuff, but the low pixel density set a "seemingly unreasonably high" lower bound on how small stuff could be and still be usable or legible. (-:

It's pretty poor to regress on the vast majority of currently available displays just because there are a handful of multi-thousand-dollar monitors available. Apple can't even sell a 27" monitor for less than $1500 because the experience wouldn't be on-brand. If you look at the big-ticket items that Apple sells, they have cheaper versions of everything except displays. They only put their brand on the most expensive displays because they know what their software looks like on anything less.

MacOS looks great on my 250€ LG 24UD58 (24" 4K). Unfortunately they stopped making it and all 4K screens made now are 27" and up which is too big for 200% scaling :(

I switched to a Mac recently, prior to that I'd been using Elementary OS. I'm still using the same monitor though (a large 4k display), so any visual differences are quite obvious to me.

The Mac is definitely fuzzier than Elementary; that clarity is the main thing I miss. It seems pretty obvious that modern MacOS is designed for high DPI displays.

> but in order to get a 'complete' desktop experience you kinda have to opt-in to GNOME/KDE

try XFCE, it works.

You might be overestimating the complexity of creating such a hodgepodge.

i3wm = tiling window manager lxappearance = set gtk theme and settings qt5ct = set qt5 theme and settings kvantum more settings for qt ponymix cli for pulseaudio that sucks less than pactl pavucontrol gui mixer nm-applet tray applet that lets you select a different network i3status-rust nicer and more powerful status line for i3bar rofi a launcher that looks like nice and is more powerful

To this add all the other apps you already use.

The thing about this hodgepodge is that there really isn't much to be said about integration as the different components don't require or benefit from such. The connection between such are so bare direct and obvious that there isn't much of a question how to put it together. You change a line in your i3 config to start a different app at startup or trigger a different one with a keybinding.

If you had done so 5 years ago you could be using much the same configuration now and much the same configuration 5 years hence. I guarantee you that whether you use KDE or Gnome or Windows you are liable to spend a day here or there tweaking your environment even if Bob in accounting doesn't.

Most of the time when I notice poor font antialiasing it's due to the OS resolution or subpixel antialiasing not precisely matching the panel. An old OS will not have subpixel antialiasing, so if it looks correct you could try disabling subpixel/ClearType, or testing a bitmap font. If the old OS still looks wrong, your panel may be pretending to be 4k and actually stretching things a little. Also, any OS level scaling is likely to mess with things, so check that it's either 100% or 200%.

> What does one have to do to get as ... pretty of a UI

Are you being intentionally disingenuous? It is objectively not a pretty UI, it's a functional but quite ugly one.

I think, this is a rather relative statement. Modern UIs would have been perceived as toy-like and not fit for business back then. It all comes down to what we are used to. (That said, personally, I always favoured the System 7 UI over OS 8.)

Ugliness and prettiness are inherently subjective concepts. There can be no such thing as "objectively not a pretty UI"!

I think it's quite subjective actually. I like the UI.

"beauty is in the eye of the beholder"

I use Terminus 9pt whenever/wherever I can easily get it going for this reason. It's funny seeing all the replies from people who don't get it. Other fonts really do all look blurry next to bitmaps. I've switched terminal emulators at least once due to Pango dropping bitmap support. Still works in foot and alacritty. Probably others as well, but I also need Wayland support.

Ha! I remember feeling the same way when Apple started replacing the classic Mac system fonts (Chicago, etc.) with newer, anti-aliased alternatives ca. Mac OS 8. A couple dozen years later, I guess I'm used to it.

I don't get it. Windows 10 is all crisp 1-2 pixel lines and rectangles for me with sparse use of gradients, and the windows theming engine (used in XP, 7, etc) was all based on bitmaps.

MATE Desktop is still pretty simple and great

> but in order to get a 'complete' desktop experience you kinda have to opt-in to GNOME/KDE which are trying to do the same things as Apple or Microsoft, aesthetically speaking.

This is so true and that's why I deep inside mourn the end of this UI era.

This took me on a trip down memory lane back to my days in elementary school. I recall our class going to the computer lab once a week and having an hour to spend on an iMac G3, of which some were on OS8 and others OS9. Going back even further to kindergarten, our logins on those Macs were forced to use a simplified UI that displayed only icons/tiles of applications -- no browsing files or anything sophisticated from what I remember (edit: looks like they were called "Panels") [0]. The Incredible Machine [1] was what I personally looked forward to playing most. I'm sure nostalgia plays a big role in the feeling I get when toying around with emulators like this, but I'm also convinced that the simplicity, curiosity, and novelty of computing in the late 90s/early 2000s is something that I may never be able to replicate again in my lifetime.

[0] http://toastytech.com/guis/macos9users.png

[1] https://macintoshgarden.org/games/the-incredible-machine-3

I believe you're remembering "At Ease"


This is exactly what I'm remembering. Thank you for sharing.

We had one staff member in charge of both the library and computer lab at my school, and I always admired her know-how when we'd watch her demonstrate something or troubleshoot a problem. Looking back now at the selection of software she curated for us, the uniformity of the look-and-feel across all Macs on campus, having a networked file share accessible from the 2-3 iMacs/Macintosh LCs we had in each classroom and in the lab, I appreciate how she really went above and beyond for that period of time and fostered so much intrigue in me. I really have to attribute a lot of my interest in tech to her during those formative years.

I don't have any specific memory of using At Ease on a school computer, but we had a couple of them in the children's section of the local library.

My middle school is where they got really into computers, a bunch of early G3 iMacs in each classroom and each student had a networked home folder with a schoolname.org/~user website, back in the early 2000s.

I ended up not going into computers as a profession (so far), but I poke around with hobby projects and really appreciate how powerful the modern web tooling has gotten, though it's also vastly more complicated.

I got in so much trouble due to a gaping security hole in At Ease back in 7th grade. You could put a floppy disk in and it would present the documents and folders, but no applications. However, it would allow you to open Desk Accessories (a System <6 era type of special app which could multitask before multi-finder).

So being the nerdy troublemaker that I was, I used a DA to launch other programs such as ResEdit and bob's your uncle. I had installed all the cool After Dark screen savers on each machine including the little space game one.

They never figured out how I did it, but they did put two and two together that I was the one who had done it. They tried to suspend me for 2 days for it, but my Dad argued that they weren't providing interesting classes using the technology. Not only did I not get suspended, next year they ended up making Sim Earth into a class and using it as a teaching aid.

Thanks Dad, I miss you.

Security at the time was an afterthought, when I was in high school on OS 9 they whitelisted what programs could open on student accounts, but if you created a custom "Open X" button in the AppleWorks toolbar it would first show you an error that you weren't allowed to open it, and then open it anyway.

The check for whether a program was on the whitelist used the executable's 4-character "creator code", so you could also change that to an allowed code in ResEdit and make anything you want open without argument straight from Finder.

I used to use "RASM" which was the remote access status monitor, and was enabled for all counts by default.

Now if only someone could replicate the fan noise and that old computer smell.

Don't forget the grinding/croaking of those old hard drives!

The wurr chhkchkchk of floppies is what does it for me

Chk chk.... chk chk.... chk chk..... chk chk.... dkdkdk.

    Not ready reading drive A. Abort/Retry/Fail?_

I'm not sure how many people will remember this, but macOS 8 came with a program called Hotline, who's main activity was "publishing and distribution of a multi-purpose client/server communication software."

Most people I knew used it to pirate software and MP3s.

The way most of us used it was we'd find a server that had something we wanted (software, a crack, or music), and the login would be password protected. There would be a public readme file with instructions on how to find the password, which was typically behind a banner ad you had to click to generate revenue for the file host.

I was working as a web developer at the time, and the start-up where I worked literally had a dedicated server just for downloading music on Hotline, but Napster came along and we mostly forgot about Hotline.

I definitely remember Hotline! Got me into trouble in college...a friend and I opened up Hotline servers on our machines and threw a piece of software on there (probably a cracked version of Macromedia Flash or something like that...) and a README that said "please leave something if you take something". A few weeks later, we both got calls from the sys admin at our school asking us to come in for a little chat...we hadn't really been paying too much attention, and apparently people had put all kinds of software/games etc. on there and that we had been serving up from our machines (I believe the admin said "millions of dollars"...but he may have been trying to scare us straight...). We didn't end up getting into too much trouble for it (I believe we were banned from using the internet for a few weeks) and ultimately I got hired to work in the IT department, so it worked out for me at least...

Heh, in HS I convinced the Drafting Department (1988) that if we were ever going to draw anything in the "real world" (I was in 8th grade, but took HS level drafting) that we would only ever do it on a computer.

I pitched the school board and we were funded to set up a CAD dept - which of course I needed a server to share cad files etc...

I setup the system, and then my buddy and I setup a BBS on the server and were running a warez site frm the HS CAD Lab.

This was followed up with KDX, an idiosyncratic, extremely curious program that even offered a native Linux binary (that still works!). The program was (closed-source) freeware, and without a viable business model behind it, the developers eventually moved on. But I think that dynamic supported a refreshing alternative experience that flew beneath the radar, took the path less traveled, and achieved closure: my memory of KDX is of a quietly efficient program that felt largely finished. My goodness literally nothing feels like that anymore.

It's still offered for download by some of the few remaining Hotline/KDX-compatible file servers that are still floating around out there, like https://preterhuman.net/gethotlinekdx.php (scroll down to the KDX heading).

I definitely recommend downloading it for the sole reason that, connected to a server, bunch of windows open (what do you expect, it came from Mac OS, of course it's a GUI program), transfers flying along... it'll be using 8MB of RAM. Yes, on Linux.

Finished. Compact. Efficient.

I wish I could pull out some references for similar programs like it, but I have none :( the closest I can come ideologically is LIST.COM for MS-DOS (!). Ha.

But on the subject of file transfer itself, if anyone's curious, a very obscure alternative to Bittorrent and news servers besides Hotline/KDX is DC++. There are quite a few DC++ servers still out there, mostly in Russia (or at least there were when I last checked). I don't remember what client I used when I played with it a while ago, but I remember one of its features was that it would show the total amount of data available across all of the servers currently connected (the protocol works very similarly to Bittorrent but users send full directory trees to the "trackers"). Well, after connecting to every server I could find >:D my client started having serious swap issues so I had to give up, but for a little while there I think the statusbar was showing something like 4 PB+ available. Fun times.

Hotline didn't come bundled with the OS but was definitely good times.

Edit: oh and Carracho!


Website is still online, great times.

What's funny is I didn't remember it coming bundled, but it was on the linked site so I figured I just forgot.

I was at a place in the very early 2000s, and ran into our 'music server.' Everyone seemingly brought in and ripped all their CDs to this folder, and it was basically Spotify or something. Several terabytes - we were a re-seller of computers, so had the room for it.

This may have been during the iPod times, I recall having all the music I'd ever need. Knowing who was there, I have no doubt that's where a lot of Spotify came from.

Hotline was full of warez and such, but it was also home to a number of vibrant, welcoming communities. I was a little bit late to the BBS heyday, but Hotline served that purpose for me and for many others. There was one called REALbasic Cafė centered around a commercial cross-platform programming language that I spent a lot of time it. I even attended conferences with other members, flying across the country alone as a high school kid. I have nothing but fond memories of Hotline.

I don't know why I never looked into it more but this comment caught me off guard. I always wondered what hotline was because a friend of mine in high school's dad was a bartender part time in the carribbean and during the summer in chicago and he would source things his son needed or wanted through 'hotline' and I could never find it as a windows user.

I used it on windows and it had a chat feature. It's how I learned about the band Yellow Magic Orchestra from some random person that I'll never meet again.

Just seeing the logo gave me flashbacks to hogging two phone lines at night downloading - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotline_Communications

A few developers of the original Napster for Mac client usually hung out on FORTYoz’s (RIP) Badmoon Hotline server (e.g. catalyst). My teenage self always had fun watching them work through some problem they were facing.

On a side note, the https://hx.fortyoz.org link still works (although it points to a mostly outdated clone of ror’s original hxd).

The network is still up! Check out the Preterhuman wiki for some software listings and networks to join: https://wiki.preterhuman.net/Preterhuman.net_Hotline_Server

Most people use the KDX software, or PitbullPro, there are other implementations as well.

Hotline impressed me most because they wrote cross platform mac and windows servers and clients.

If I recall correctly - back when MacOS didn't have true pre-emptive multiprocessing, holding down a menu or a button would stall other processes/tasks. Hotline wrote custom controls so you could hold a button and things would still run.

That banner-password trick was how I made my first money online, decades ago. I’d password protect a zip of Pamela Anderson photos.

Made $2k in a week for a few minutes of effort, used it to buy my first computer, taught myself web development and went on from there.

It was BBS for the rest of us

Hotline was amazing! I remember downloading software mostly.

anyone still using KDX? i have a server running on telnet.asia

I love how these small online communities have managed to survive over the years!

There is also a dial in old school mac bbs with like 6 duplex lines going in, you telnet in. I wish I could remember the guys name.

When I look at this I think how these old UIs like MacOS, windows 95 or 2000 were designed for clarity and usability. And how things have gone downhill since then. I really miss easily distinguishable UI elements.

I'm of two minds.

The Mac famously had User Interface Guidelines that tried to keep everything consistent. I loved it and, like you, miss it.

But then designers came along and we got drawers (and then we lost the drawers), editable toolbars, brushed metal (and then not), etc...

The point at which I called bullshit was when Safari combined the URL text field with the loading progress bar. I disagreed with the design and said so — it looked to me like the URL was being text-selected as the page loaded. (Ah well, it appears to be gone now anyway.)

But I digress. I had begun to consider that users are now more comfortable with inconsistent UI with the ubiquity of the Web. That has perhaps freed designers to try random stuff on a per-app basis and not adhere so religiously to User Interface Guidelines.

But, yeah, it made life easier for developers too.

I'm happy for people to try things, but please at least draw outlines around / highlights on the actionable UI elements. We're at a point now so far into flat UI extremism that opening a new application is like a giant guessing game to find out which parts of the UI you can click on and what they do.

(Even the HN page I am staring at right now has styled all the links to an indistinguisable gray / black that looks totally inactive.)

I was just on a website - can't remember which - that said something along the lines of "to learn more, visit the documentation." I wasted a few minutes trying to find the documentation before realizing that the words "the documentation" were in fact a clickable link in the same color and font as the rest of the text, which you could only discover by hovering over those particular words.

> The Mac famously had User Interface Guidelines that tried to keep everything consistent. I loved it and, like you, miss it.

> But then designers came along

I mean, the Guidelines were written by designers. I don't have a problem with designers; I don't care for the Mac design, but at least it was consistent. But I don't think there's an OS with guidelines anymore; at least not any OS where 95%+ of what ships with the OS follows the guidelines (never mind what else the OS developer ships or 3rd party software). </rant>

before the OS vendors started ignoring their human interface guidelines, we had Kai's Power Tools, which some people loved--but I hated. I dont know if that was the beginning of custom UIs for every applications, or if it was just an outlier.

Interestingly, that the progress bar/URL field combo was co-invented by Steve Jobs: See https://donmelton.com/2014/04/10/memories-of-steve/

The idea that we could one day run todays operating systems in emulation (in the browser) seems so insane and infeasible but maybe one day it'll be possible. Advances in computation is one rare thing that cheers my spirit up in a world where a lot of scary trends are pointing down.

JSLinux, which was started in 2011, has been able to run Linux in a web-browser for some time now. [1][2]

[1] https://ostechnix.com/run-linux-operating-systems-browser/ [2] https://bellard.org/jslinux/

Isn't it already possible today with Wasm? Sure the browser adds overhead, but merely running an OS isn't super intensive.

Just for giggles, I tried launching with extensions disabled, and it worked so that "Extensions Disabled" appeared in the boot screen. Didn't click around enough after that to see if things no longer worked without these extensions.

Also noticed the scroll bar when navigating folders did not behave as expected. It's the only thing I noticed that made me notice which I find very impressive.

Amen to scrollbar not right -- although the folder contents do scroll, the "thumb" never moves from the top position. It should reflect how far you have scrolled, and be draggable.

It's exactly how I remember the Macs my grade school was using back then.

Click around a little bit, and boom, it is frozen. Do you wait? Do you force quit? The watch gives little feedback.

Cooperative multitasking architecture. If the frontmost thread doesn't `WaitNextEvent`, not even the OS gets a chance to update the UI (with some key exceptions... I think the mouse was interrupt-driven?).

OS 8 started to add preemptive multitasking, but it wasn't mandatory and apps had to buy-in to it (so they didn't break backwards compatibility).

Incidentally, games would squeeze a few more cycles out of the computer by using `getNextEvent` or accessing the input drivers directly, which wouldn't give other processes a chance to do things. This would lead to the hilarious consequence (especially when the networking era came along) that you'd play a game for a couple hours, quit it, and be greeted by several error dialogs as various processes that had been wanting to poll for timed events discovered they'd missed their polling windows because they essentially just came out of suspended animation.

The need for always-available network access finally spelled out the death of the non-preemptive architecture; networking simply couldn't tolerate the client dropping out of the universe for ages at a time.

Set the system clock to display seconds and then you can tell when/how long it's been frozen.

Found another greybeard Mac user! I learned this trick under System 6 and used it religiously until just recently. (My clock keeps perfect time, but seconds don't update, under MATE Compiz. Go figure.)

Hehe, you bet my menu bar clock on macOS 12 still displays seconds, some 25+ years later :)

Hah same. If it had kid pix it would be just like when I was a little kid.

Check the Graphics folder! (It crashed immediately for me in Firefox, though)

FWIW: The emulator dynamically loads chunks of the hard disk over the network, and will usually crash if that fails -- which can happen if the site is busy.

I tried it again and was able to use it this time!

Kid Pix is available as a JS app: https://kidpix.app

Was on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28073383

You know what's nice? The 13" (rescaled) 4:3 screen is easier to read than my current setup. Also, the menu's are nice and short. Very focus. I totally understand how I, and many people in the past, were able to pump out huge amounts of code in a week

Menus were short because they had to fit on the screen of a classic Mac (342 pixels) and the pull-down operation used to require holding the mouse button. I think by Mac OS 8 you could click to open a menu and yhey could probably expect at least 480 pixels if not 600.

Menus are supposed to have 7 +/- 2 items. Inside Macintosh Volume 1, if memory serves.

Yes. This matches to what was thought (at the time? I'm not sure if research has changed the thinking on this) to be the size of human working memory.

7 ± 2 was believed to be about how much a human could understand with zero layers of abstraction, i.e. "in parallel" (you can imagine your brain has 7 ± 2 registers, though that's a highly inaccurate model). Any larger, and your brain has to build abstractions to reference the item (i.e. item 10 becomes "the last item in the second half of that honkin' huge menu").

As opposed to "nested two levels deep under one item or another on the File…or was it View…or maybe Window…menu? No? Okay, then try holding down Option…"

I still think that searchable menus was one of the killer features of OS X vs. anything else at the time, and it's frankly amazing that the majority of Windows apps still don't have menu search.

This is the some reason I use raycast. I mapped search menu to a global hot key

Inside Macintosh. What a great set of volumes. I'd forgotten about them.

Other forgotten niceties are the spatial Finder and how double clicking on a window title basically folds the window into just the title bar.

Some of y'all are YOUNG. LOL.

I first used a Mac in about 1989, in college. I first got DEEP into one, for desktop publishing, a couple years later. I didn't OWN one until my late 20s, which by that point was an OS 9 environment for a couple years until OS X happened.

I never loved the old System like some Mac people do. It was faster and more stable than Win98, and definitely worked better on laptops, but that was a low bar indeed. It wasn't until OS X that the Mac got crazy stable and attracted the attention of web devs, which in turn drove the renaissance of the platform.

Yeah, I remember thinking how awesome it was to open up a bash shell and ssh into a server while using a Macintosh.

That's cool, but even cooler was that for many things you didn't even NEED to do that.

OS X shipped with regular Apache, and builds existed for all the dev tools and server languages you could want. I ran Mason on my Mac for a project I was on. I could develop locally, and then just rsync to my dev server to do next level tests, etc.

My Apple IIe was a BBS in 1982.

Related discussion from a few weeks ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30875259

I wish one could get Macintosh Common Lisp working on this. My introduction to programming was with MCL, and it was amazing to use. So much has changed over the past few decades. I wonder what it would be like to use it now.

Sigh, this makes me realize how much I loved computers when I was a kid (1990s) and how much I hate them now.

Huh, that's funny. I never really thought about it, but I kind of feel the same way now that you point it out. Or rather, I used to love computers just for the sake of being computers and was always a little annoyed by people who saw them rather as a means to a different end. However, today, I definitely see my macbook pro, ipad and iphone as nothing more than a means to an end, the way people saw old PCs.

When I was in my late teens I lived with an older friend who worked as a web developer at the beginning of the dot com boom. He would come home stressed from work and I'd think how can be stressed? He gets to work on a computer all day!

same. it's hard to describe how 10-year-old me felt about 8bit dithered graphics sparkling through phosphorus but 30 years later the magic is gone. I can't point to any one thing (maybe the advent of webapps) but it has something to do with software just generally becoming more and more sucky.

How user hostile technology has become killed the magic for me.

I constantly have to think about not being tracked on the web, manipulated by an ad or astroturfed, scammed by companies with fake reviews, exploited by "algorithms", dodging dark patterns, fighting my OS to do what I want, protecting my data and privacy, hackers stealing my data from companies I entrusted it with, cryptoscams, IoT devices leaking my data, malicious libraries (npm, etc.), hardware exploits (Meltdown/Spectre), obscure firmware, PC in my PC (Intel ME), etc. etc. etc.

The worry about viruses and trojans in the 90s pales in comparison.

I still enjoy tinkering with technology, but most days it feels like a chore, and I do it less in my spare time.

Exactly. On newer systems I sometimes feel a bit like an abused spouse. The love is there, but I'm always on guard, waiting for the insult or hit that comes out of nowhere. Every day it's "What unwanted thing will be forced on me this time?" or "How will I be taken advantage of now?"

I don't think it's entirely unintentional either. I think the feelings of being powerless to protect yourself, the expectations that at any time your own devices will have things silently changed leaving you with no choice but accept it, I suspect it's conditioning us to accept whatever is pushed on us and feel resigned as control is increasingly taken from us.

> How user hostile technology has become

Hm, I don’t know - old DOS was pretty user hostile, but it rewarded people with the patience to stick with it. Nowadays there’s no reward.

Old systems may not have been friendly, but they were never out to get you; they were merely indifferent, and your job was to make them work. Modern systems, for all their aesthetic effort, know that you are a valuable resource, and try to exploit you; your job is to keep them contained.

That's true - they were as user friendly as the technology let them be.

That's more a reflection of your mental state than anything relating to computers really. Kids today see ipads and nintendo switches the same way you saw old computers.

It's because we live in a very low-agency world, an effect which is massively more noticeable when you're underage, and computers represented a tiny universe where through hard work and learning you could gain control and eventual mastery.

I can’t tell if it’s just simple nostalgia, but I feel it too.

I got my first Mac when I was in 4th grade in 1994. (A Performa 630CD, which is so slow that I assume my AirPods have an order of magnitude more computational power.) By god I loved that thing.

And I think in part it’s because I could poke at it. You could fiddle around inside the System Folder. You could modify application resources with ResEdit. You could really dig in and see all the files, and then probably accidentally ruin something, but still, you could do it. And you simply cannot do that on an iOS device outside of jailbreaking, and increasingly you cannot do that with SIP and other security measures on macOS.

Which is probably for the best, for obvious security reasons. But I feel like I miss that joy of exploration…

The first app I opened up was ResEdit; the jack-in-the-box gave me a big wave of nostalgia... But yeah, it's hard to separate fond memories of youth from the changes in computing. Plus when I was a kid learning HyperTalk and then C on System 7 it was all for fun; no one was asking anything of me. Now my coding supports my family; I haven't done any coding for fun since a few years ago when I took a sabbatical from my SDE job and worked half-time as a farm hand.

It was a uniformly designed tool and simple enough that you could feel to have full control over. Nowadays not so much, either because of walled-garden aspirations (Windows, macOS) and/or increasing complexity and fracturedness (on Linux for example the whole X/Wayland, DE, GUI toolkits, hi-DPI and font rendering mess, package managers vs. snap/flatpak and containers, …).

May that be because most of the modern software, including operating systems, is a royal clusterfuck of superfluous abstractions and arbitrary design decisions prioritizing looks over function?

And games. Games back then were definitely better.

(I've never used classic Mac OS when it was current — almost no one here could afford a Mac, and those who could didn't buy one either because everyone else used Windows)

Tried to play Battle Chess and got some weird out of memory error. Gaming on the Mac...true to form! xD

I was able to start Marathon 2, but couldn't figure out the controls. (I didn't play it back in the day but knew of it)

This was my first multiplayer game on Mac and teaching myself AppleTalk, IP Addressing, etc — didn't work well except on a good school LAN. I can still hear the ... "they're everywhere, ahhhhh".

I believe (or I want to believe) this game was a predecessor to Bungie's more popular console game Halo, but not sure.

The Pillar of Autumn has the Marathon logo on it, so there’s definitely crossover between the two universes.

edit: https://www.halopedia.org/List_of_Marathon_references_in_the...

That's pretty damn complete. It has Think C, CodeWarrior, etc., and they seem to work.

It's awesome, but I could see the copyright police coming after it.

MetroWerks has a lot of reason to be annoyed at this

source: I wrote the MPW setup scripts for MWerks on a contract, presented to MWerks VP of Engineering; subsequently Jobs+black ops locked them out

Metrowerks doesn't even exist anymore does it?

The name CodeWarrior is now used by NXP for development tools targeting legacy (old Motorola/Freescale) platforms; see for instance https://www.nxp.com/design/software/development-software/cod...

I was hoping I could use Netscape Navigator to go to Hacker News and post a comment from it, but it has no network connection. And I guess it probably wouldn't be able to HTTPS.

I’m sorry this is so vague, I’m in transit right now; so I’m a little lazy to try to Google this from my phone - but there is some sort of proxy-type thing for these old Macs that allows you to use the ‘modern web’, to an…extent?

I think it kinda works the way Opera Mini does or something, if that makes sense?

It does totally solve the HTTPS issue. You could easily access HN using this method through even Netscape.

There is also - I want to say - again pardon me if I’m wrong here, but I believe it’s called ‘Classzilla’?

This is for - AFAIK - at least MacOS 9 (you might be screwed for 8, though) and does old.Reddit.com pretty okay for me as long as I have enough RAM in the unit, so it should also handle HN totally fine.

I actually think it - along with, unfortunately; an absolutely incredible modern Firefox port for PPC Macs running 10.4/10.5 called ‘TenFourFox’, are now abandoned - but very much still available.

It was a pretty big hit to the (admittedly small) PPC Mac community when it happened.

I personally still use TenFourFox almost every day as I use my PPC Mac collection often for various tasks, especially my quad G5 that has 16GB(!) RAM.

(Yeah, a PPC Mac with I believe 2 processors/4 G5 cores at 2.5(?)ghz, 2 512 GB SSD’s and 16GB of RAM. There is literally no better way to experience the heights of the PPC Mac days. So cool.)

Not specific to the HTTPS issue, but useful for older browsers on lower-powered machines:

Youtube creator and classic mac community contributor Sean/Action Retro has been running a proxy called FrogFind[0]. The project uses the Firefox "reader view" algorithm to serve stripped-down web pages for older machines. It's great for G3 and older machines that expect the web to be a bit more 90s. It really reminds me of using Google in/around 1998-99.

[0] http://frogfind.com

https://github.com/tenox7/wrp WRP - Web Rendering Proxy

Oh, wow; thanks for the link, this is very cute.

I believe some people have written WASM networking using a WebRTC data channel as the transport.

https://oldweb.today/ gives you that experience, using some of the same building blocks.

Boy did I go down the rabbit hole today with this. I found so many sites from my past that I ended up looking up in the Internet Archive just now. I really miss the web from 25 years ago. Design was simpler and things loaded fast. The focus was on content, not chrome (and tracking the heck out of you).

I know this is rose-colored glasses but hell, even interacting with the old Windows and Mac OSes was a breath of fresh air. There are things that show their age but there are also things that make it really easy for me to find my way around a computer.

Thanks for the link. That was a great trip down memory lane. I wonder if we'll ever adopt some of that old stuff ever again.

> things loaded fast

Did they really, though? Or did we just have more patience for general slowness back then? Things were simpler, no doubt, but the computers were also much slower (if you didn't have much RAM, loading a webpage would probably result in paging to the disk), the network was slower (even if you were lucky enough to have a T1, you were probably connected to it via 10 Mbps half-duplex ethernet), the servers you connected to were slower...

Don't get me wrong, I adore the simplicity and hackability of older systems, but I have a PowerMac G3, and even after maxing out the RAM at 768 MB (at launch, the max was 384 MB because there were no 256 MB DIMMs to test with), swapping the old 12 GB IDE HDD for a 32 GB CF card, fixing the ATI extensions to enable the dedicated GPU, and connecting it to a multi-gigabit network with symmetric gigabit fiber internet, there's only so much performance you can squeeze out of these things. Even loading 90s-era webpages on 90s hardware (with 2000s upgrades) is slower than loading many modern webpages on modern systems.

Oldweb.today kicks ass. Great project. If you're scrolling by wondering whether it's worth putting in your list of sites to visit, definitely do it.

Ah, reminds of my days working tech at a newspaper and dealing with Error Type 10 showing up at 2:00 AM as we tried to wrap production for the issue.

Sure, the OS was more stable than the Windows of that time, but I grew to hate those machines & their cute little bomb icon in the error message more than I've ever hated a Windows box.

In fairness to Apple it generally only happened with Adobe apps, usually right as a long job was about to finish. Those apps & their janky extensions that required trial & error to identify a conflict were awful. I hated them as much as I hated the machines. Whose fault it was didn't matter, they both ate countless hours of sleep.

I have really been missing window shading lately (and the control strip).

Working on OS X and beyond has always felt slower (animations) compared to window shading. It's been 20 years and I still prefer it.

yeah, there's no argument for getting rid of windowshade. it's way better.

File a feedback!

File a feedback!

Sure. What’s a feedback?

This does bring back memories, especially Think Reference! This was an application that came with Think C and contained a full reference to all of the System APIs. It was Inside Macintosh, with all documentation a simple click away. And it was all locally stored, and blazingly fast. After I had moved from Think C to CodeWarrior, Think Reference remained my go-to documentation.

Nowadays with everything on bloated web pages, a simple API lookup takes seconds, and may be out of date.

Good times.

Thank you!

As a Mac user since about 1988, this brings back memories!

It's sad but the UI feels almost futuristic.

Pretty cool. Tried to launch Warcraft though and it had a lot of graphical glitches (this is on Firefox/Windows)

It works if you don't run it fullscreen.

same on firefox/linux

Civilization and Battle Chess is in the games folder!

And Out of This World (or Another World...), which is one of my favorite games of all time!

I couldn't get Battle Chess to work. It kept giving me a memory error. I even read the readme file that says how to fix it but the option it mentions isn't available in the Controls pane for Memory. :(

Marathon Infinity is what I was excited to see in there. Runs well too! I can't say how many hours I spent between the base game and Anvil.

I spent so many hours messing around with Forge

Always wanted a proper 3D remake of Marathon - Halo didn't really scratch the same itch

> Always wanted a proper 3D remake of Marathon


"See you starside."

Frog blast the vent core!

And Hellcats - this takes me back

I remember playing that a lot!

Unfortunately it bombs with a Type 10 error.

And you can PLAY them!

This makes me realize how much I miss the old (spatial) Finder.

This is so cool, and I've just spent an hour reliving Prince of Persia, but there's some sort of sticky keys setting (not Easy Access, I checked, it's off) made the gameplay _exquisitely_ frustrating since Shift is the key for sword attacks---when the sticky keys turned on, some of the shift presses would be held in a buffer and not go through to the game.

But did it stop me from playing for the full hour? It absolutely did not.

Does anyone know of a way of running Windows 98 in a browser, but with a custom hard drive image that you can point it to? There's several sites for running 98 in browser but none let you use a custom virtual hard drive image. I'd like to do it for some fun retro stuff. I guess self hosting, but how do you do the whole QEMU <-> Browser part?

(custom floppy/CD image would also be an option as I could load the retro app that way)

> Windows 98 in a browser

This might be a good start:


The emulation has load/save state (.bin file), and apparently includes a floppy disk controller.


I adore this but wish it could catch cmd-W because i'm closing the entire browser window far too much and can't untrain my fingers

MARCHintosh project

related site: system7.app https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30893212

And plenty of previous discussion over here from earlier this month: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30875259

The Warcraft startup options are reminiscent of the 'about to edit video" ritual of the time. Just need to disable all extensions and plug in a "certified" (i.e. heavily marked up) SCSI drive.

[] Quit other applications [] Quit Finder also [] Switch to 640x480 [] Hide desktop [] Turn off File Sharing [] Disable screen saver [] Hide Control Strip

I would still use OS 8/9, warts and all, if it were practical and worked reliably with modern software/hardware.

I had this thought in my mind too - just with a few "modern" things I grew use to and it would be perfect (I am thinking application switching and maximizing windows). Without Nextstep, Copland was going to be the long-term answer and I remember looking forward to that, with how many system crashes there were.

If you select Thousands of Colors it changes the resolution and everything looks like negatives, I thought it only supported 256 Colors, but unexpectedly choosing Millions of Colors is also supported. ex: https://imgur.com/a/nqo8v0e

Looks like the project uses GitHub for issue tracking, so you can submit bug reports there: https://github.com/mihaip/infinite-mac/issues/new

This particular issue has been reported as https://github.com/mihaip/infinite-mac/issues/20

Damn, that's cool.

Avara and Bolo in one place really takes me back.

What is the best way to take an offline mirror of this site before it is taken offline?

git clone https://github.com/mihaip/infinite-mac.git

Or just use Basilisk.

F/A 18 Hornet in the games folder! I really loved that game in 3rd and 4th grade

Another World runs at full speed too

This looks great! But is there any way to turn off the blinking LED light on the faux monitor? It's so spastic it keeps drawing my eye away from the actual software. I never had a monitor that did that in real life!

What browser/OS are you on? The LED doesn't blink for me on macOS with Chrome.

Edit: it seems like it's the HDD activity light? It blinks during boot.

I'm using Orion (Webkit-based) on macOS. It was blinking non-stop while just reading the Stickies. I couldn't get past that to do anything else because it was so distracting. It definitely wasn't HDD-related for me. It was constant.

PostIt note on your screen? :-)

Virtual PostIt on the virtual screen.

Heh. I’ve still got a G4 PowerBook and can run Clsssic. Not that I’ve tried in many a year.

The OSX on it seems still pretty spritely today though I’ve obviously had to get the FireFox back port branch to be able to use a browser.

Check out Sorbet Leopard. It's an enthusiast enhanced version of Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. It's been updated to support modern web browsing and had the "bloat" stripped out of it so it runs extraordinarily well on G4 systems. I have it installed on a 1.67GHZ PowerBook G4 and it makes the computer totally usable today. It's amazing how well a 17 year old computer can run. Youtube is the only thing that doesn't work well, but it'll play back 360P video if you give it plenty of time to load. Amazingly, if you download "CorePlayer" this old G4 machine can play back local 720P h.264 files.


May 1st Sorbet Leopard is going to be updated with an App Store full of old PPC Apps. PPC Lives!

Font rendering seems off. It looks too pixelated and the pixels aren't even the same size. That said, I haven't used a real Mac so I don't know if that's how it's supposed to look.

This system was designed to be used primarily with CRT based displays, so back in the day it wouldn't have "looked" as pixellated even though these things were definitely defined that way.

It looks like a fractional scaling issue.

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