Miscellaneous: MAC Emulator

started by Flaxen on Mar 4, 2004 — RSS Feed

Flaxen Flaxen
Posts: 28

Can anyone recommend a MAC Emulator, preferably a free download.

Also, I'm assuming that Safari is the browser of choice for MAC?

Incidentally, how do other people manage the problem of compatibility on MAC, I'm assuming an emulator is the only way, but would like to hear of any other solutions?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

There are a couple of Mac emulators for Winows but they are worse than useless as they emulate Macs from many years ago (System 8 is the most recent), not current ones and don't even do a decent job of that. http://www.emulators.com/. There are others (just as bad), just do a search for 'mac emulator' on Google. There is no way you can emulate current MacOS X (and Safari) on Windows.

More relevant perhaps is BrowserCam which emulates any browser online. Just send it your url and it will render it in the requested browser. It's not free though, it ranges for $10 per hour to $40 per month. Okay for an occasional check but it will only show what the pages look like, not how they work, which is something else.

Safari and IE5 are the most common browsers on Mac. IE 5 is nothing like IE 6, they are different programs entirely.

You can always ask the forum

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

Yup, no such thing. However, if you get a Mac, you can run OS X, Linux and Windows (through Virtual PC) all on one box.  While you're at it, you can take advantage of the Apache server built in, and all that entails.

One more indication that Macs are smart, and PCs are dumb.

Flaxen Flaxen
Posts: 28

Not that you're biased or anything!

I have to say, if I had the cash, or the space I'd be almost tempted to buy a MAC, just to see what the differences are!

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

That was very helpful Bax...

Something interesting to note is that MacOS X is very strongly based on NeXT STEP (as I'm sure you know) which was ported to the Intel architecture in the early 1990's (after NeXT's native hardware platform was near the end of its' existance).

This being the case, it wouldn't take a huge leap of logic to understand the possibility that a "Mac" browser could indeed be run on a PC using an Intel build of NeXT STEP.

I would imagine that it would come down to how much of the "added bits" between NeXT STEP and MacOS X are needed by the browser.  This may seem like a large canyon to cross, but understand that other Mac browsers (like Omniweb) were originally NeXT STEP applications, and it would be reasonable to conclude that these would indeed run on a PC under NeXT STEP.

Another avenue to explore is that Darwin, the core of MacOS X, is also avaliable as a build for the Intel architecture.

These may seem like far-fetched ideas however the reason that I bring them up is that I myself have noticed the need for PC users to emulate the Macintosh environment for the purpose of proofing websites.  Depending on the demand, either of these approaches might be quite reasonable, especially considering the price delta (both in inital purchase and ongoing maintenance) between Macintosh and PC hardware.

But maybe you're right, and PC's are just dumb...

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

Yes, Darwin, BSD, all the underpinnings of OSX are pretty well documented on Intel platforms. But I still don't see an emulator happening under Windows. Linux maybe, but not Windows.

Seriously, if you really want to check out what it looks like on a Mac, I would suggest just getting a (used) Mac. For viewing up through system 8.6 (using primarily IE5) something as lowdown as a 6100 will do the job. It'll be slow, but you can pick it up, monitor and keyboard and all, for $50, tops. They're also pretty small, which is good.
Spend about $200 and you can get something capable of running OSX. Maybe one of the G3 laptops, so it's taking up little room.

Flaxen Flaxen
Posts: 28

The used MAC avenue is one which I may have to go down in the end, but I might explore the suggestions from Mr Black too, one of our PC's is partitioned for Linux OS. Hadn't thought that could be helpful.

Or...as Joe suggested I could ask you guys who obviously use and cherish your MAC's to tell me whether something works or not..

If someone would do me a favour and have another look at http://www.highgroundcoffee.co.uk/coffees.htm

Two things I would like to know:

1. What does the navigation menu do? i.e. where does it start out when you load the page, what happens when you scroll down?

2. Whether the shopping cart system works i.e. do the 'add to basket' links take you to another page with your basket contents on? If so, could you theoretically complete the purchase?

If you spot any other irregularities that you think look wrong, keep them to yourselves ....no, seriously, let me know about those too.

If you do have a look, and post your results, please tell me what browser and version, etc.

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

Linux does you no good. It's a reasonable theory that a box running Linux or BSD COULD be made to emulate a Mac, but no such beast is out there, and I don't know of anyone working on such a thing.

The pitfalls are enormous and start at the processor level. The G* chips are RISC, where intel chips are CISC, and it just goes on from there. Instruction sets are different, the graphics rendering engine is way ahead of what anyone else is doing, and so on... don't hold your breath for a good Mac emulator.

The good news is that IE 5 is a rapidly dying browser on a small platform to begin with. Honestly, I think it's  worth just about as much concern as NS4 (which is to say very little).

Other Mac browsers behave pretty much as you would expect them to. The gecko-based browsers differ little from their wintel brethren, for example.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

On my Mac, http://www.highgroundcoffee.co.uk/coffees.htm in Mozilla 1.7, Safari 1.2 and iE 5.2 look and behave the same. When the page scrolls, the menu glides back to its original top left position (albeit at different speeds and degress of smoothness).

Can't see any problems with that or the cart either.

I presume that this is what you want to hear?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

Baxter said:
Linux does you no good. It's a reasonable theory that a box running Linux or BSD COULD be made to emulate a Mac, but no such beast is out there, and I don't know of anyone working on such a thing.


There is actually...http://www.genesi.lu/

Flaxen Flaxen
Posts: 28

Absolutely thats what I want to hear. Thank you very much for checking it out for me.

You'll be pleased to know that your advice to make sure everything validated was spot on.

Thanks again!

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

Not that I'm interested in taking this thread to a new level of irrelevence, but I would like to clarify a few points.

To begin, what I am describing is not emulation, but running a native 'Macintosh' operating system on Intel hardware.

Darwin is the core O/S on which the current version of the MacOS is based, and is currently avaliable in both PowerPC and Intel builds.

To further clarify, this has nothing to do with Windows other than both Windows and Darwin can today run on Intel-based hardware.

The significant difference between Darwin and MacOS X are additional libraries (sometimes referred to as 'toolkits') such as Cocoa and Carbon.

If an application (such as a web browser) does not rely on these libraries, it will run under Darwin on Intel hardware natively, without any need for emulation; If an application requires these libraries, it will not.

To get down to brass tacks, the only reason that these libraries are not avaliable on the Intel platform is because Apple chooses not to release them; it has nothing to do with the underlying hardware.  

This is only exemplified by the fact that what you know as MacOS X did not originate on the PowerPC processor but on traditional (CISC) Motorola processors (680x0).

This operating system was then ported to Intel where it sat untill Apple decided to ressurect the platform as a way to provide a modern O/S when they failed to produce an in-house sucessor to the original MacOS.

Therefore the only 'pitfall' has to do with Apple's bottom line, not processor architecture, graphics libraries or anything else.

Oh yes, and none of this has anything to do with Linux.

Here's a link to the Apple developer documentation in reguards to Darwin if you are interested in understanding the underpinnings of the MacOS:
Darwin - Open Source.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

mr.black said:


To further clarify, this has nothing to do with Windows other than both Windows and Darwin can today run on Intel-based hardware.



I'm an Apple developer and I know that Apple have been developing OSX on Intel in parallel with PowerPC and have a (nearly) current OSX lurking in their back rooms. Until IBM stepped in, things were a bit shaky for a while with Motorola not able to deliver a more modern processor. Jumping to Intel was, and still is an option, but all the apps would have to be recompiled for Intel and most companies don't want to have to do that.

Apple won't release an Intel version of OSX to the public if they are not producing the hardware and in the great leapfrog game, IBM is in front at the minute with AMD and Intel falling behind so there isn't much incentive.

In the end, the Mac ethos is not just an operating system, it's a complete deal - hardware, software, design, productivity and the only thing it lacks that Windows has is 'virus of the day'

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

Forum said:

I'm an Apple developer


Just out of curiosity, what are you working on?

Baxter Baxter
Posts: 157

It looks as though I misspoke (and misunderstood). I thought I was being clear that I agree wand understand  that the BSD and Darwin (and for that matter Next) roots of OSX have long run on intel-based hardware.

And I was aware of the in-house intel OSX builds. I still don't think we're going to see OS X run on a windows machine, for a multitude of reasons attributable to both Apple and Microsoft, but that's neither here nor there.

I should also apologize for slighting the linux community. Although I wasn't aware of the effort posted above, I was aware of other Mac On Linux efforts that have been pretty successful.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

mr.black said:


Just out of curiosity, what are you working on?


As you are probaly aware, my main focus is on pixel fonts. I've developed a font editor over the past few years and various font utilities but they are only for 'in-house' use, I have no intention of making them public.

I also dabble in MIDI programming and audio, being a musician but again, i'm not doing it as a business, just for my own use.

Mccannk29 Mccannk29
Posts: 1

I've got a problem with my web site displaying properly in IE on the Mac.  It screws up the side nav bar which is controlled by CSS.  Take a look at http://www.nhltrades.com/nrc/home_e.shtml and let me know what you think.  Apparently the .hover pseduo class has issues in IE but other than that I can't see any other problem.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

This link doesn't work but one thing you have to watch for in IE (Mac) is that it doesn't like nicely formatted markup. It puts returns in where they shouldn't be and the only way to fix it is to close the offending section of markup into one long line with no spaces between ...</div><div>...

IE Mac is now the weakest and most troublesome browser out there!

Mrblack Mrblack
Posts: 40

FWIW, this does in fact give you the ability to emulate a mac running OSX on a PC (albiet a very fast PC):

http://pearpc.sourceforge.net/

I haven't used it myself (I need a copy of OSX), but I've read several articles about sucessful installations.

Maskodok Eko Maskodok Eko
Posts: 171

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