10 min read
On a sunny and windy Sunday, January 1st, 2017, I was walking around the area of San Francisco north of the panhandle, and found this copy of Adobe Illustrator 5 for the Mac sticking out of a garbage can. What luck! It was complete, and had all installer disks, manuals, and a serial number. Perfect way to spend the holiday -- installing Illustrator on my Amiga 1200!
For those wondering how Mac software would run on an Amiga, please allow me to explain. The traditional Amiga runs using the same central processing unit as the original Macintosh line: the venerable Motorola 680x0 series, or 68k for short. Because the Mac and Amiga used the same central processor, it takes just a layer of emulation of certain Mac hardware features to get Classic Mac OS (6.x/7.x/8.x) to run on the Amiga. Enterprising engineers over the Amiga's lifetime made this possible, originally by combining hardware and software, and later by using software only. Since no processor virtualization is necessary, Mac programs can often run just as fast.
(My Amiga 1200 has a 68030 inside, and it runs at roughly 50 megahertz. My Amiga's 68030 has an MMU (memory management unit), so it can map the Mac's operating system ROMs [firmware] into memory. Earlier or weaker Amigas with 68000, 68010, or 68020 processors required add-on cards, like an Emplant, to house the Mac's ROM chips. These add-on cards also had other niceties, like Mac-native floppy controllers and serial ports, which are difficult or impossible to duplicate using stock Amiga hardware.)
Two Amiga programs which can emulate the Mac OS with no additional hardware are FUSION and ShapeShifter. ShapeShifter is a direct descendent of a currently vogue Mac emulator, SheepShaver, which began its life on BeOS. It was released as freeware.
Software being on floppy disks might be seen by some people as an obstacle. Even to those initiates who still have floppy-based equipment, accessing the data still is not always straightforward. I recalled while pulling this box from the garbage can that the Mac-formatted, 800k double-density 3.5" disks inside cannot be read natively by the Amiga, even in spite of its reputably flexible floppy controller. This 800k Mac floppy format notoriously requires the floppy drive to change its motor's rotation speed as it accesses different portions of the surface area of the magnetic storage medium inside the disk. (For those interested -- commonplace modern USB floppy drives can rarely even read bog-standard 720k MS-DOS-formatted double-density floppy disks, let alone these 800k Mac disks.)
Lacking an Emplant board or similarly wacky floppy-reading hardware, I broke out my PowerBook G3 Series "WallStreet" with fully Apple-stock built-in floppy, to use Apple's Disk Copy to grab disk images. I'd then transfer the disk images from the G3 to the Amiga by using my PCMCIA -> CompactFlash -> SD Card adapter. Compact Flash storage is supported natively in Mac OS 8.6 and higher (possibly earlier, too), and is supported on the Amiga 1200 via its PCMCIA slot and additional software available via Aminet. (Do note that not all SD cards or Compact Flash cards are compatible -- generally older, smaller, slower cards are the ones which will work.)
My initial go at creating disk images using Disk Copy were not compatible with Disk Copy 6.1.3 on my Amiga ShapeShifter's System 7.5.5. I'd transfer the images over, use ResEdit to set the type and creator codes properly, and then after mounting the disk images I'd meet with disappointment