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Best emulator for vintage 68k development

Crutch

Well-known member
Hi, I have looked into this before but never came up with a great answer —

I am looking for a 68k emulator that has all of the following features:
  1. Can run Macsbug (100% essential)
  2. Can have the emulation speed adjusted to emulate various machines/processor speeds
  3. Can access > 8MB of emulated RAM
Mini vMac is a wonderful emulator, but cannot do #3.

Basilisk II can do #3, but not #2 or #1 (by the way, anybody know why Basilisk II can’t run Macsbug?).

This seems like it should be a thing that exists! Am I missing an obvious solution? Any advice much appreciated!
 

Phipli

Well-known member
What about Mini vMac II?

It isn't 100% there, but it does pretty well at emulating a Mac II with 8MB RAM.
 

LaPorta

Well-known member
I was just about to say the above. MinivMac can be compiled to use greater amounts of RAM.
 

Melkhior

Well-known member
Qemu on the branch with Quadra 800 support works very well for me for me; it definitely handles 7.1 to 8.1 just fine and can take a lot of memory (up to the full GiB available in the memory map of the Q800 I think).
However, it's not really speed-adaptable (it goes full speed all the time) and I didn't try Macsbug.
 

joshc

Well-known member
Is it more so that you need these features for debugging/testing, and development could be done on another machine? Or am I missing something here?
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
Agree with @Melkhior - yeah, this sounds like qemu's Quadra emulkation is closest to what you want. Macsbug (and other debuggers) rely on bits that Basilisk II bodges rather than emulates—the Metroworks debuggers suffer a similar fate. If you want to use a debugger, you probably need something that actually emulates hardware
 

Phipli

Well-known member
Agree with @Melkhior - yeah, this sounds like qemu's Quadra emulkation is closest to what you want. Macsbug (and other debuggers) rely on bits that Basilisk II bodges rather than emulates—the Metroworks debuggers suffer a similar fate. If you want to use a debugger, you probably need something that actually emulates hardware
So... when are you setting up your 68k Mac by the hour cloud service? A rack of genuine LC IIIs, 1 cpu, one core and 8MB/80MB per user. Choice of 7.1 or 7.5.3. AUX in the pipeline if capital is forthcoming for the Q650 Rack.
 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
when are you setting up your 68k Mac by the hour cloud service

The product will be called 7aaS, "System 7 as a Service". It will be based around LC475 logic boards with VNC-speaking IP KVMs. Storage will be provided by a microcontroller-based SCSI to iSCSI bridge and an iSCSI SAN, so new system images can be thin-provisioned, reducing bootstrapping time to approximately instant.

I might have thought about how I'd do this too much...
 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
The product will be called 7aaS, "System 7 as a Service". It will be based around LC475 logic boards with VNC-speaking IP KVMs. Storage will be provided by a microcontroller-based SCSI to iSCSI bridge and an iSCSI SAN, so new system images can be thin-provisioned, reducing bootstrapping time to approximately instant.

I might have thought about how I'd do this too much...
I’ve got the boards if you really want to set this up. 🤪
 

Crutch

Well-known member
What about Mini vMac II?

It isn't 100% there, but it does pretty well at emulating a Mac II with 8MB RAM.

I was looking for > 8MB, where the ”>” was meant in the strict sense. :) I want 16 MB of RAM for developing a large-ish app under 7.5.5 (specifically it’s an arcade-type game, which is why speed is critical and I very much want to be able to slow down the emulator and ensure the frame rate remains fast enough to verify it could run on, say, a IIci).

(Agree Mini vMac II is great for what it is, I use it often, but not for this.)

Thanks for all the replies. I am looking for a one-stop emulator for doing dev on a modern Mac while in the back yard, including compiling, debugging, and testing for speed. @joshc having to compile on one machine and test on a different one is very much what I do not want.

@cheesestraws it sounds like you are saying qemu (which I have not tried, thanks for mentioning) can do my #1 and #3, but not #2. That does sound like an improvement since I can always speed-test on Mini vMac II if really necessary, but I’m very surprised a fully satisfying solution doesn’t exist!
 
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cheesestraws

Well-known member
Yeah, I think you'll get 1 and 3 but not 2.

I suspect this is because most Mac software after the monochrome macs already had to deal with wildly varying speeds if it wanted to work properly, so the audience for an emulator that has all three features is basically developers, and there probably aren't enough of us to justify that...
 

sfiera

Well-known member
qemu can simulate architectures on which qemu itself can run, can’t it? Perhaps you can simply nest qemu until emulation crawls as slowly as you’d like.
 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
oh no, oh no no no, oh no no no no :D

You know, if we built out an ATX PSU to LC PSU converter, and installed a large 1000w PSU, as could probably power a whole 4u rack of mounted LC475 logic boards.

I’m not sure how many you could mount inside a single 4u custom enclosure, but I’m sure it could be quite a lot. Especially if you used the entire depth of a case and had a single KVM connector integrated into the enclosure that connected to all of the individual LC475 machines.

We could include a rack mount WGS95 module, running A/UX and consisting of a large RAID that the LC475 machines connect to as a NAS. I do have a case of new old stock u320 147GB drives that work great with the SCA80 to 50 pin adapters made by a member here a few years ago.

Maybe we could figure a way to allow some 475 boards to split the PDS and offer Ethernet AND a IIe card for IIe availability on the rack.

Not sure if we want to go down the route of having some 475 machines host floppy drives. The wear and tear might break them. We could offer the service of an integrated ImageWriter II in a rack enclosure with a video camera live-streaming, and the ability for someone to design and print a banner in Print Shop that can be live-streamed.

I do have some modems, we could host a dialup option as well.

Let’s get started? 🤪🤣
 

CC_333

Well-known member
We could offer the service of an integrated ImageWriter II in a rack enclosure with a video camera live-streaming, and the ability for someone to design and print a banner in Print Shop that can be live-streamed.
While you're at it, why not offer to deliver the finished banner by drone?

c
 

nightingale

Well-known member
I use Basilisk primarily for my software development, and then after I compile, I test on Mini vMac which allows me to adjust speed down to close to what a true 68000 CPU would be, although I still find it slightly faster than a real machine. I use a Macintosh Plus ROM, and I find the emulation to be quite accurate. Then I eventually copy to an actual floppy and test on a real system.

Main reason I use Basilisk for coding is because I can adjust the screen resolution, and I use 800*600 window for this. I can't imagine trying to code in a 512*342 window.

I didn't even know about Mini vMac II, but I'm going to go try that out right now!
 

Phipli

Well-known member
I use Basilisk primarily for my software development, and then after I compile, I test on Mini vMac which allows me to adjust speed down to close to what a true 68000 CPU would be, although I still find it slightly faster than a real machine. I use a Macintosh Plus ROM, and I find the emulation to be quite accurate. Then I eventually copy to an actual floppy and test on a real system.

Main reason I use Basilisk for coding is because I can adjust the screen resolution, and I use 800*600 window for this. I can't imagine trying to code in a 512*342 window.

I didn't even know about Mini vMac II, but I'm going to go try that out right now!
I have mini vmac II on my phone - I made a thing that wraps a file in a compatible disk image from a browser and I use it for quickly checking things like "what is in this .sit" etc.

 

Crutch

Well-known member
Main reason I use Basilisk for coding is because I can adjust the screen resolution, and I use 800*600 window for this. I can't imagine trying to code in a 512*342 window.

I didn't even know about Mini vMac II, but I'm going to go try that out right now!

You can set the screen resolution in Mini vMac, even (through cool hackery) when emulating a Plus.

I find the lack of Macsbug support in Basilisk makes it unusable for development.

 
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