Mac OS 8.1 as an app for macOS, Windows and Linux

If you were involved with computers in the 1990s, you may remember the early versions of Mac OS or Windows. From Windows 3.1 to Windows 98 there was just as much development as in Apple's operating systems. For example, in July 1997 this came about Mac system Mac OS 8 out. In January 1998 it got an update to version Mac OS 8.1. And it is precisely this version that the developer Felix Rieseberg has now emulated in Javascript and made available as a free download for macOS, Windows and Linux on GitHub. I took a look inside;)

TL; DR: You can go directly to the GitHub page here

Mac OS 8.1 as an app for macOS, Windows and Linux: With macintosh.js, which you can download for free from GitHub, the programmer Felix Rieseberg emulated the 1998 Mac operating system.
Mac OS 8.1 as an app for macOS, Windows and Linux: With macintosh.js, which you can download for free from GitHub, the programmer Felix Rieseberg emulated the 1998 Mac operating system.

Nostalgia fun with Mac OS 8.1 in the emulator

An outdated user interface, pixelated graphics and, compared to today, rather cumbersome usage mechanisms - Mac OS 8.1 is certainly not attractive for younger readers of this blog. But if you want to relive your computer past and use old apps in their original environment, you can now download the old Mac operating system free of charge as "macintosh.js". In addition to the app as a standalone and installer solution for the Apple Mac, the Windows PC (32-bit and 64-bit) and the Linux machine, there is on the GitHub page for the software also the source code. This allows you to see all the details and also make changes for your own version of the app.

What did Felix Rieseberg have preinstalled?

Of course, it would be boring if you just had an empty operating system without apps and games. Fortunately, this is what the programmer of the emulator thought and equipped his simulated version of Mac OS 8.1 with some content for use. Here are a few examples as an excerpt from the list of apps and games:

  • Adobe Photoshop 3.0.5 (tryout)
  • Adobe Illustrator 5.5 (Tryout)
  • Adobe Premiere 4.0.1 (Tryout)
  • AppleCD audio player
  • oregon trail
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Duke Nukem 3D (demo)
  • Civilication II (demo)
  • QuickTime Player
  • And more

macintosh.js FAQ - Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions and answers about the emulated version of the old Mac operating system. These are partly a translation of the FAQ area on the GitHub page, but partly also findings from my little test on the app (under macOS 10.15.6 Catalina). 

  • Does it even work?
    Yes, it works very well. In addition to my test on the MacBook Pro, the functionality under Windows and Linux is also highlighted on the download page. However, one should be aware that everything was written in JavaScript - so one should not set expectations in the maximum range.
  • Which computer is emulated in the app?
    The virtual machine is a Macintosh Quadra 900 from 1991 with a Motorola CPU - and thus a computer that was about to switch to PowerPC Was offered by Apple in the mid-1990s. In the app itself, a memory of 256 MB is also displayed, with 9,1 MB used memory.

  • Can I add or remove files?
    Yes, data exchange with the virtual machine is possible. The instructions for this can be found by clicking on "Help" in the bar under the program window. Files can either be exchanged directly or drives can be mounted.
  • Can I access the internet with the emulated Mac OS?
    No. The Internet over 20 years ago was completely different from today's, which is why the old software can no longer display the new WWW. You couldn't even use Google anymore. However, Internet Explorer and Netscape are installed, as is the "Web Sharing Server". So if you want to try it out, you can do it.
  • Can I use the app for serious projects?
    Probably not. Rather, the program is intended as a toy and does not represent the best, fastest or most stable emulation of an old Macintosh. Anyone looking for a quick and easy way to use an old Mac OS will certainly be comfortable with it. 
  • I cannot double-click files and folders - what do I do now?
    I noticed this problem during the test. The workaround is simple: mark the desired file or folder with a single click and then open it with the key combination [cmd] + [O] (or [⌘] + [O]). It can also be more cumbersome: in the menu bar Fillet -> Open Click.

  • Are there any more emulated operating systems?
    In any case. I already met you three years ago in this post an emulation of Apple's "System 7" is presented. You can start and use this directly in the web browser. The same applies to the web emulation of Windows 3.1 in the 1992 version mentioned in the linked article. You can find another article Windows 95 as an app. And there are certainly more offers.

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