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November 17th, 2006


One of the drawbacks of the new Intel Macs is that you can’t run Classic apps on them–at least not officially. That’s where SheepShaver comes in. It’s actually a Classic Mac emulator for Windows, Linux, and other OS’s–including Mac OS X. And if there are Classic apps you need to run, this will allow you to get an Intel Mac. Well, probably; I haven’t figured out all the kinks in the system yet. But I just started tonight…

SsguiiconI tried to use SheepShaver a few times before, but was stopped cold by one of my pet peeves: crappy documentation. As I’ve said before, I absolutely hate it when people go to so much trouble to build a really cool app that you’d love to use–but they write the instructions so only people who know tons about running a command-line interface can make heads or tails of it. It’s like writing a really cool novel–in Aramaic. With no translations available.

Well, fortunately, a translation exists for SheepShaver, and what makes it maddening is that the instructions are so easy. Easy enough that you wonder how the app’s makers could have been so brilliant as to make an app like this, and yet be so stupid as to write pages of documentation without creating so simple and easy-to-follow a instruction list as this guy did.

What it comes down to is this: you download SheepShaver. Then you download something called a ROM (don’t ask). You need to have a Classic OS installer disk (OS 8.5 to 9.0.4, if you use OS X); a universal installer (not specific to the Mac you bought) would be best, but a restore disc can be used as well, as it turns out). Run the SheepShaver app, locate the ROM, create a virtual disk, and start it up.

Now why couldn’t they put it so simply?

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that, but the Uneasy Silence guy covered all that the average user would need to know. And if you want it to work perfectly, then you’ll still have to go to a support forum and check out fixes people have come up with. For example, I still can’t get the audio to work–a big glitch if I want to use that sound editing app which works so well in OS 9. And for some reason, the screen redraw is slow as molasses if I use a large resolution.

As for overall usefulness, there are not really too many apps I need to use, but a few that I’d like to I kind of miss–old games, for instance, and the sound editing app I came to really like. I still have my G4 PowerBook, so Classic still runs on that, but sometimes I want the big screen and a more comfortable computing environment. But this would likely be more useful for my dad, who needs to run a Classic app for the work he does–one that won’t ever get upgraded to Mac OS X.

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  1. Howard
    December 5th, 2006 at 21:45 | #1


    You might want to check the actual help files on the sheepshaver site, not only the FAQ.


  2. Dennis Leavell
    May 9th, 2007 at 18:51 | #2

    Thanks for the instructions (link), but I still don’t get it. I’m still learning on the Mac. I have a bona-fide copy of OS9 from my old G3 iBook. Can I use this to install SheepShaver? All I want to do let my boy play his OS9 games, but daddy isn’t smart enough to figure it out. Can you give me a step by step using the OS9 disk?


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