Any hope for a functional PPC Mac emulator?

asiga

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Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
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Hi to all,

I'd like to be able to continue using PPC Mac software in the future. With the time it will get harder and harder to find PPC replacements at eBay. I've been searching about possibilities for emulating PPC Macs, and found about PearPC and Qemu. It seems both of them can boot OS X, but with very limited functionality (no sound, no G5 emulation, no OpenGL...)

Am I the only person in the planet interested on this? I think it's doable, and a realistic goal, but I don't see much developers interest in getting it done :(
 

roadbloc

macrumors G3
Aug 24, 2009
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Snow Leopard in a VM? I'll never forgive Apple for ditching Rosetta so soon. Lousy software support.
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
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Snow Leopard in a VM? I'll never forgive Apple for ditching Rosetta so soon. Lousy software support.
It doesn't support G5 emulation, but I didn't think of this possibility, so thanks for this suggestion.
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
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well The Best I have been able to emulate is a Grakle PCI Mac with a G3 CPU and 2040MB of Ram in QEMU I got it running tiger. QEMU does have the option to emulate a Sawtooth But when I try to boot from it I get Still wating for root device (it cant find where its booted from) altho the change log for QEMU 2.2.0 said OS X gusts can now boot on Mac99 (sawtooth) but they dont? QEMU can emulate a G5 (970) CPU altho it only works on Mac99 and OS X wont even load the Kernel it hangs loading bootX when I do Mac99 with the G5 CPU.
 

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Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
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I don't think you're going to find any emulators that emulate a G5 Mac. So few programs took full advantage of a G5 that G4 emulation is sufficient for nearly every use.

If you have a piece of software that is PowerPC-only, that achieved significant speedup from moving to a G5, and which doesn't have a reasonable Intel-compatible replacement, then your best bet is to buy an actual G5.

Otherwise, you can run Snow Leopard in a VM officially supported. I run Snow Leopard Server in Parallels on my Yosemite Mac. I let Apple's Rosetta do the PPC emulation for me, rather than relying on sometimes-buggy third-party full-system emulation.
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
807
997
well The Best I have been able to emulate is a Grakle PCI Mac with a G3 CPU and 2040MB of Ram in QEMU I got it running tiger. QEMU does have the option to emulate a Sawtooth But when I try to boot from it I get Still wating for root device (it cant find where its booted from) altho the change log for QEMU 2.2.0 said OS X gusts can now boot on Mac99 (sawtooth) but they dont? QEMU can emulate a G5 (970) CPU altho it only works on Mac99 and OS X wont even load the Kernel it hangs loading bootX when I do Mac99 with the G5 CPU.
Did you manage to get sound on the G3?

Also, did they fix the bug that caused wrong colors when running OS X on a OS X host?

I'd like G5 emulation not because of greater speed (it's an emulator anyway), but because of compatibility with some of my binaries and G5-specific codes (I'm a developer). Also, the G5 can run 64bit binaries on Tiger (non-UI programs), or complete 64bit with UI on Leopard. I do have some terminal programs (without UI) that run in 64bit on Tiger with G5.

It seems QEMU might be able to boot OS X with G5 emulation at some point. That would be perfect!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,168
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Sheepshaver

I would also throw Sheepshaver in there as well. That's an OS9 emulator for those interested in running OS9 on unsupported systems.

Speaking to PearPC specifically and emulators in general though, while I don't believe emulators are a lost cause, their development has certainly been curtailed compared to when they first came out.

What really killed them was BootCamp and the Hackintosh. Running either Windows or OS X natively versus an emulator is always preferable. So, development was cut back as a result of that.

Recently, I've seen some new life in these projects but only because people are now starting to want to run older versions of OS X and OS9 and older versions of software on their current equipment.

Back in 2006 or so I had OS X 10.2.8 running on a Windows 2000 PC. I could never get ethernet to work and it was dog slow and crashed all the time. For what I was trying to do it just was not going to work.
 

LightBulbFun

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Nov 17, 2013
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Did you manage to get sound on the G3?

Also, did they fix the bug that caused wrong colors when running OS X on a OS X host?

I'd like G5 emulation not because of greater speed (it's an emulator anyway), but because of compatibility with some of my binaries and G5-specific codes (I'm a developer). Also, the G5 can run 64bit binaries on Tiger (non-UI programs), or complete 64bit with UI on Leopard. I do have some terminal programs (without UI) that run in 64bit on Tiger with G5.

It seems QEMU might be able to boot OS X with G5 emulation at some point. That would be perfect!
No I do not believe QEMU has implemented sound for PPC emulation yet But there are ways to fix the colour bug when running QEMU in OS X (look at the Yosemite buttons in my screen shot)
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
807
997
No I do not believe QEMU has implemented sound for PPC emulation yet But there are ways to fix the colour bug when running QEMU in OS X (look at the Yosemite buttons in my screen shot)
I believe PowerMacs allowed to install third-party audio cards. Was any of the QEMU-emulated audio cards supported by the PowerMac? If affirmative, maybe it's relatively easy to get it working... I suppose it would be a matter of "plugging" it in the correct I/O addresses of the mac99 machine, wouldn't it?

Btw: looking at the qemu-ppc mailing list archives, I see they're aware of the problem with the optical drive in the Mac99 machine. They realized about the problem just after the 2.2.0 release, so it shipped with this bug. But, except this optical drive problem, 10.4 should install and run on Mac99. I hope the 2.2.1 release fixes it (maybe it's already fixed in the repository, but I don't know). Once it's fixed, I'll try to install it, and to run G5 ppc64 (command-line) executables on Tiger. Man, if ppc64 executables work, my smile will be *big*
 
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LightBulbFun

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Nov 17, 2013
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You say its a ODD problem in the emulation but even using a pre install tiger image with Just a HDD in mac99 I still get still waiting for root device... they say the next QEMU version will fix this?
 

asiga

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 4, 2012
807
997
You say its a ODD problem in the emulation but even using a pre install tiger image with Just a HDD in mac99 I still get still waiting for root device... they say the next QEMU version will fix this?
I don't know whether 2.2.1 will be better, equal, or worse than 2.2.0 (because there're regressions sometimes). But there've been may commits since 2.2.0, so I assume it's likely that it will be better :)

Anyway, according to this post, you should be able to install and boot 10.4:
http://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/qemu-ppc/2015-01/msg00051.html
(what they don't tell if it's with g3beige or with mac99)

Btw, I don't know if I'm reading correctly this other post from last July, but it seems to imply that with the patches in the thread (and with the repository status at the time of the post), it was possible to boot 10.2 and 10.4.11 with Mac99:
http://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/qemu-ppc/2014-07/msg00167.html
(but I don't know if I'm reading it correctly)
 

LightBulbFun

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2013
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I don't know whether 2.2.1 will be better, equal, or worse than 2.2.0 (because there're regressions sometimes). But there've been may commits since 2.2.0, so I assume it's likely that it will be better :)

Anyway, according to this post, you should be able to install and boot 10.4:
http://lists.nongnu.org/archive/html/qemu-ppc/2015-01/msg00051.html
(what they don't tell if it's with g3beige or with mac99)
looks like there its g3beige since with out any -M option QEMU will go to g3beige