Run Mac OS 9 on Your XO Laptop!

olpc windows xo
Mac OS 9 on the XO

Thanks to the ingenuity of rraucci on the OLPC News Forum, we now have Mac OS 9 for the XO laptop! As he says:

Running Mac OS 9 on your OLPC XO is a good way to have a Mac kind of experience with your little green laptop.

Now I'm not sue if this is a pure Mac experience - you need to have Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid for the XO and SheepShaver, a PowerPC Macintosh emulator. But as a consolation, you do get Microsoft Office.

This is yet another adult OS option for the XO laptop brought to you by G1G1 hackers. One that could be very exciting for those hyped up by Macworld. Now if we could only get Aquatic Sugar for the XO..

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it's great to see more "adult" OS Poitons than just linux distros

i hope someone can make an attempt at OS X !

You're running OS 9 in an emulator on Ubuntu. Congratulations, that's really slow and obsolete. I have a hard time seeing this as a realistic option.


Running Office 2001 in Mac OS 9 / XO works pretty good for me now. The Mac emulation is slow but usable - and I can save Word docs directly to /home/olpc/Desktop and they're available in Ubuntu / XFCE to transfer to a memory stick, print, etc.

Running under a host OS also allows me to shut down SheepShaver / Mac OS from Ubuntu if the emulator or OS jams up - and the whole system doesn't shut down.

It also lets me use the suspend / resume system to keep Mac OS 9 as the current OS. So it's kinda like having a Mac netbook running MS Office - for $188.

Compared to other emulators I've used on the OLPC, it's faster / more stable than Windows 98 / Qemu, and better than Windows XP / Qemu, which froze on launch and absolutely refused to work.

I'm just starting to work my way through PearPC, which may be able to run Mac OS 10.3 / 10.4 on the XO through a PowerPC emulator.

My point is, the OLPC is slow to start with, and working in an emulator is going to be even slower. Additionally, having to emulate another architecture will use more processing power and decrease battery life drastically.

Additionally, running OS 9 is like running Widows 9x; everything runs in single user mode. OS X is secure by the UNIX design, but OS 9 is secure only by obscurity.

You're less secure than Linux, you have less software than Windows 9x, and it runs slower than either of them. It's the worst of both worlds.
This is why I have a hard time taking this concept seriously.

Actually Mac OS 9 runs fairly well under Ubuntu under SheepShaver, depending on the platform. On the OLPC, there are system constraints, but there are always system constraints.

Windows 98 / XP probably runs like crap on an Asus EEE, and wouldn't be great on the OLPC. But it would run just dandy on a quad-core system with a nice video card.

There's a ton of Mac educational software for OS 9, as well as Microsoft Office. Most any of it isn't available under Linux.

But it could run under Mac OS 9 on the XO.

...Windows 98/XP would run like crap on the Asus EEE? Seriously? You're just trolling now.

* Quad cores? You may be thinking of Vista, though that's still an exaggeration. The video card is irrelevant.

* 98 and XP They're completely different kernels and were released like five year apart. They have vastly different default minimum system requirements.

* Windows XP can be stripped down to run decently on older hardware. Not nearly as nicely as Linux can, but it's definitely not out of the question.

* Windows 98 ran just dandy on machines with less than half the system specs of the XO. Oh, and it had Microsoft Office, also.

* Windows 2000 has low system requirements, is more secure/stable by design than Win 98 and OS 9, and runs almost anything 98 or XP can. It would probably be the sweet spot between system requirements and complete don't-even-think-about-using-this-OS-seriously obsolescence.

* There's more educational software for Windows than there is for OS 9, as well as Microsoft Office. A huge percentage of it runs under Wine in Linux.

Oh, and all of this would be running naively on the processor, faster, making better use of system resources than an emulator could.

Apologies for the previous comment; I'm trolling more than you are that this point. ;-)

Re: PearPC
Wouldn't it be more productive to just run a native x86 version of OS X and attempt to strip it down as much as possible for speed? Having a version of Mac OS that ran decently naively on the XO would be really cool.

Hey, whatever, no need to be insulting.

I was only pointing out that the experience of running any OS on a Netbook is going to suck compared to running an OS on a fast laptop or desktop - so a blanket statement that X OS will run faster than Y OS under any conditions doesn't seem right to me. Emulating a CPU is probably always slower than running natively, but not exclusively.

And it also seems that you can't count video card RAM out of the picture. Depends on what software you're trying to run. Having more VRAM in your system, and being able to adjust the VRAM in your emulator, would have to give you a performance increase.

I'll give you there is a lot of educational software for PCs too, but I doubt most of it would be happy running under Wine trying to imitate Windows.

But I could be wrong.

I've got a bunch of Mac OS 9 software to test on the XO this week. I'll see if any it runs at an acceptable rate, as MS Office 2001 does.

>Re: PearPC
>Wouldn't it be more productive to just run a native x86 >version of OS X and attempt to strip it down as much as >possible for speed? Having a version of Mac OS that ran >decently naively on the XO would be really cool.

I agree, running OSX86 on the XO would be pretty cool. I'll have to see if the Linux / Ubuntu development for that has progressed. If I could rig a Ubuntu Intrepid desktop to run OSX86 booting off an SD card, I should be able to replicate that for the XO. Might be able to run Mac OS 10.3 or 10.4 in 128 MB of RAM.

To my understanding PearPC is a more advanced PowerPC emulator than SheepShaver. It includes an MMU, and can run Mac OS 10.3 + 10.4. But runs as an emulation, so it has the same problems as SheepShaver.

I have it running Mac OS 10.4 on a PC laptop under Windows. I'm looking around for an Ubuntu port, so I can try it on the XO, but there isn't a lot of development going on for it still.

Wouldn't it be more productive to just run a native x86 version of OS X and attempt to strip it down as much as possible for speed


yes that would be interesting

we could strip down some very large files like screen sharing and Photobooth

Rather than monkey with the XO OS which has limited hardware and will not run OS X, is there anyway to use the XO display on another netbook machine like the Lenovo S10E N270 1.6G 512MB 80GB 10.1 XPH? That XO display is one of its strong suits, plus the battery. Or perhaps there is a way to swap out the XO motherboard for something better, like the Lenovo's or Dell's mini 9 which can run OS X.

Why don't you just use openoffice, it is compatible with all your office documents. It also isn't as much of a burden to your ram and processor then a virtual machine.

You could also run wine and use a windows version of office if you really wanted too

who cares??? why run os x at all or even ancient mac os 9 when you can have a full featured ubuntu with current updates running !!! I am typing this right now from my 10 year old powerbook g3 with ubuntu ---> this old 'book rocks and runs much better with ubuntu than it ever can with os x or os 9, 8.6, yada yada --- you mac people never seem to get it ---give up the mac os pleeeeeze