The goal of the Mini vMac project is to help preserve software made for early Macintosh computers, the computers that Apple sold from 1984 to 1996 based upon Motorola's 680x0 microprocessors. The center of this project is a family of free and open source emulators that allow such software to be used on modern computers. The first member of this family emulates the Macintosh Plus.
Mini vMac began in 2001 as a spin off of the program vMac. It was originally intended to be of limited interest, a simpler version to serve as a programmers introduction to vMac. But vMac hasn’t been updated in many years, so Mini vMac may now be considered its continuation.
The “Mini” in the name now means that each emulator in the family is as small and simple as possible. The meta program and data that generate the emulators (the Mini vMac build system) is rather bigger. Besides the Macintosh Plus, there are also emulations of the Macintosh 128K, 512K, 512Ke, SE, Classic, and SE FDHD. Work is in progress on Macintosh II emulation. There are also numerous other options.
Mini vMac requires a ROM image file to run, and so can be legally used only by those who own a 680x0 based Macintosh. This leads to the question, if you need to own the real computer to use it, what is the use of the emulator? First, a real Macintosh won’t last forever. It is common for the power supply to fail. It is still legal to use the emulation after the real computer breaks.
And second, the emulation is more convenient than the real thing. It is much faster (on modern computers) and you can use a better screen, keyboard, and mouse. And it is easier to transfer files between the modern computer and the emulator.
In other words, it will be able to run old Macintosh applications that otherwise could not be used on newer machines.
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
New features in default compile:
· If Mini vMac doesn't find the ROM file in the folder containing the application, it will now also look in a specific central location. In Windows XP, "C:Documents and Settings[your_UserName]Application DataGryphelmnvm_rom". Windows 98, "C:WINDOWSApplication DataGryphelmnvm_rom". And in Vista, I think "C:Users[your_UserName]AppDataRoamingGryphelmnvm_rom". Usually "mnvm_rom" would be an alias (on OS X, on Windows this is called a short cut) to where ever you keep your ROM collection. This avoids having to create an alias to the ROM image for each emulated Mac you use.
Changed behavior in default compile:
· The alternate CPU emulation of Mini vMac 3.0.4 is now the main and only emulation. (The “-alt-cpu” build option is gone.) This makes Mini vMac slightly faster, and allows more accurate detection of illegal instructions without speed penalty. It also reduces the amount of code to be optimized in assembly language (Currently only done for PowerPC)....