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SheepShaver OS 9 Emulator for Intel Macs

SheepShaver is a free program which emulates an OS 9 environment within a window under OS X on Intel-based Mac computers (or Windows or Linux).

According to the SheepShaver website:

"SheepShaver is an open source emulator of PowerPC based Macintosh computers. Using SheepShaver it is possible to emulate a Macintosh computer capable of running Mac OS 7.5.2 through 9.0.4. Builds of SheepShaver are available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X."

Tests and user reports confirm that JacqCAD 4.30b6 (or later) runs acceptably well through SheepShaver on modern Intel-based Mac computers running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) through Mac OS X 10.15 (Catalina) as well as MacOS 11 (Big Sur) and MacOS 12 (Monterey). It should run on MacOS 13 (Ventura) but we do not yet have test data..

For example, from a JacqCAD user, September 12, 2020:

I wanted to let you know that I did get JacqCAD running on my 2018 Mac mini running Catalina 10.15.6.
My husband said the Sheepshaver from your email kept getting stuck and he couldn't get it to work. But, he found one that did work and used that with your instructions: The SheepShaver Wrapper for OS X and macOS
So, wanted to pass that along in case anyone else has a similar issue.

Another user has has written a detailled description of how he set up SheepShaver under Windows XP in order to run JacqCAD, titled "JacqCAD running on Mac OS 9 in the SheepShaver for Windows emulator_02Aug2011.pdf. While this is a draft version of his report, it should provide a great deal of help to others wanting to use JacqCAD under Windows. His draft report can be downloaded as a PDF (some links don't work). or in the original .DOC format with intact links, or as a web page.

However, there are significant limitations to this approach:

• SheepShaver is an amateur product in the best sense of the word - meaning it was a "labor of love" motivated by intellectual curiosity rather than by any commercial intent. Its original creator has ceased development and there is no formal source of support. There is an active SheepShaver user group whose members may be able to offer advice, but in general you are entirely on your own. We can not provide any SheepShaver support.

• SheepShaver is an emulator which means that it runs relatively slowly because every PowerPC computer instruction in JacqCAD must be translated into a sequence of Intel instructions to accomplish the same end. The very high speed of modern Intel CPUs does make it possible to emulate a PowerPC Mac with acceptable speed for JacqCAD use.

• It is somewhat complicated to set up SheepShaver because copyright restrictions prevent anyone from providing a copy of OS 9, so you have to find an original OS 9 Install CD or disc image. It must be for OS 9.0 (9.1 or 9.2 will not work), and it must be one of the "generic" CDs compatible with any Mac; the model-specific versions distributed with a specific Mac model may not work. These can be found, in your or friends' collections of old CDs or on the Internet, but it may require diligent searching.
On the other hand, once you have successfully created the SheepShaver environment it can easily be copied to your other systems with a simple "drag and drop".

• SheepShaver's OS 9 environment is only partially integrated with its host OS X environment. For example it is not possible to simply "drag and drop" files between OS X and OS 9 folders. The only connection is via a single "shared" folder which is visible to both systems. File transfers must be done in two steps: first moving the file under OS X into the shared folder, then moving the file under OS 9 from the shared folder into one of the OS 9 folders. When SheepShaver is not running, none of the OS 9 folders are accessible (see exception below).

• SheepShaver is fairly stable but not "bullet proof". It has been known crash occasionally.

• In theory SheepShaver can also run on PowerPC-based Macs, which would make it possible to run JacqCAD on a PowerPC Mac under Mac OS X 10.5 (which do not support the "Classic" environment needed by JacqCAD). However, comments on the user group and my own tests indicate that SheepShaver's current release is much too unreliable on PowerPC to be useful. Not very surprising considering that running on Intel-based computers is SheepShaver's primary intent and focus...
Fortunately every PowerPC-based Mac (G5 and earlier) is capable of running Mac OS X 10.4 which does provide "Classic" support and is fully reliable with JacqCAD.

For serious production use we recommend a PowerPC-based G4 or G5 Mac running at at least 1 GHz CPU speed. These are widely and inexpensively available on the second-hand market and will provide better performance than SheepShaver on most Intel Macs.
When purchasing a G4 or G5 make sure that they come with Mac OS X 10.4 (or earlier) and Classic support installed; and also procure a compatible Mac OS X 10.4 install CD/DVD in case you someday need to reinstall the system software.

The above having been said, SheepShaver may be very useful to those who already have an Intel-based Mac and want to experiment with JacqCAD or to those who need to travel with a single computer and can tolerate a somewhat slower JacqCAD performance.

For those interested in using JacqCAD on Intel-based Macs via the SheepShaver OS 9 emulator the key resource is the SheepShaver user group from which you can can download SheepShaver software and instructions for its use. It also supports an active discussion forum to which you can address questions. We can not provide any SheepShaver support and all SheepShaver related questions should be posted to the above user group.

The most important document is Ronald Regensburg's "Setting up SheepShaver for Mac OS X" (Last updated March 20, 2010).

That is the document I used when setting my SheepShaver on my Intel-based "iMac 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo" under Mac OS X 10.5.8. The same process also worked under Mac OS X 10.6.2. Here are some notes and clarifications about the process:

Because I was going to be doing many installs as part of testing I decided to use a "disk image" of the OS 9 Install CD rather than the CD itself - doing so reduced the CD handling and speeded up the installs.
When making the disk image with Disk Utility it is very important to choose Image Format "read/write" instead of "compressed", "read-only" or "DVD/CD master". After Disk Utility is finished, if the disk image has been mounted be sure to Eject it, and don't forget to use Get Info (cmd-I or File > Get Info) to Lock it so SheepShaver will believe it is a real CD.
To use the disk image simply get into SheepShaver's Preferences and Add it to the list of Volumes (remove it later after you have completed the OS 9 installation).

In SheepShaver's prefs you can set the RAM Size as large as 1024 MB, but do not exceed 1024! Higher values will cause SheepShaver to hang and you'll have to use the stand-alone Preferences program to reduce the setting.

The "shared" folder, shown as "Unix" on the OS 9 side, can only be used for file transfers. Do not try to run programs from within "Unix" nor try to have an OS 9 program access files there. The problem is that the shared folder has a Unix structure (OS X is Unix based) which OS 9 does not fully understand. SheepShaver provides only enough features to support file transfers between "Unix" and the OS 9 volumes. When OS 9 programs attempt to read or create files on "Unix", they have difficulties accessing the file resource forks and chaos ensues...
File transfers between OS X and SheepShaver's OS 9 are a two step process: from OS X copy the file into "shared" then from the OS 9 side copy it from "Unix" into one of the OS 9 volumes; reverse the sequence to move files from the OS 9 side to OS X.
Name your shared folder something that will remind you about this limitation. I use WormHole to remind me it is only a connection between two different universes...
Also, keep in mind Regensburg's recommendation that file deletion within the shared folder should only be done from the OS X side.

You will want an OS 9 "work" disk in which to store all your programs and files (the volume into which OS 9 has been installed is best left unchanged). You should allocate a large amount for this "work" volume - several GB if you have sufficient free space on your hard drive.

There are two approaches to creating this Work volume:

either Create a "work" disk from within SheepShaver's Preferences. This is recommended as the most safe approach.

or create it using Disk Utility's File > New > Blank Disk Image...; name the Volume (I used "Work"), set the size (use Custom if none of the preset values are what you want, I used 4 GB), Volume Format = "Mac OS Extended", Encryption: "none", Partitions:"Single partition - Apple Partition Map", Image Format: "read/write disk image". Then in SheepShaver's Preferences Add the just created Work.dmg file to the list of Volumes and restart SheepShaver.
The advantage of this approach is that when SheepShaver is not running you can double-click on the Work.dmg file to mount it as a volume in OS X. This makes it much more convenient for transferring a large number of files.
However, you must remember to dismount (Eject) it from OS X before starting up SheepShaver (and remember to Quit SheepShaver before remounting it on the OS X side!). If it is mounted simultaneously by both OS X and OS 9 its two "owners" will conflict and you may damage the directory and lose files!

Note that in either case you have to name the volume twice - first for the name of the disk image file and second for the name of the volume. I use the same name, e.g., Work.dsk if creating in SheepShaver or Work.dmg in Disk Utility for the image file and Work for the name of the volume - which is what you'll see in OS 9.

If creating the new disk image via SheepShaver's Preferences, next time you start SheepShaver OS 9 will tell you that it has found an unformated disk - give it permission to format the disk using the same volume name as before and selecting Mac OS Extended format.

If using the Disk Utility approach, you then use SheepShaver's Preferences to Add the newly created disk image file to its list of Volumes then Quit and Restart SheepShaver.

When choosing your Window size in SheepShaver's Preferences it is best to set the window at least 44 pixels less tall than your display so as to leave room for OS X's menu bar at the top. Full width is OK if you so desire. If you set your window to maximum height (display - 44) it is best to also set OS X's Dock to "hide" so that it won't constantly float over the bottom of OS 9's window. (Apple > Dock > Turn Hiding On)

Restarting: OS 9's Special > Restart is of limited utility because it only restarts OS 9 without affecting SheepShaver, hence will not solve any problems internal to SheepShaver. In fact an OS 9 Restart won't even take note of changes to SheepShaver's Preference settings. Instead I recommend using Quit SheepShaver from OS X's Menu Bar followed by restarting SheepShaver.
Normally problems in SheepShaver have no effect on OS X. However, I have seen one instance in which it apparently was necessary to reboot the OS X system in order solve a SheepShaver/OS 9/application problem which persisted across SheepShaver restarts. Not to be done until the other alternatives have been tried, but may occasionally be needed.

After installing OS 9, don't forget to go into OS 9's Apple > Control Panels > Sound to select "Built-in" for Output; until you do so your OS 9 Mac will be mute.

Other Control Panels settings you should check:

Appearance: Fonts - Large System Font: choose Chicago

Appearance: Fonts -UNcheck "Smooth all fonts on screen", otherwise when you use JacqCAD's Text Tool the fonts will be "anti-aliased" which, while great for most uses is a disaster for Jacquard designs!

Control Strip - select "Hide Control Strip, it doesn't provide any useful capabilities and just gets in the way

General Controls: UNcheck "Shut Down Warning", it only gets in the way of reboots.

Rebuilding the Desktop: per Regensburg "To rebuild the desktop, launch SheepShaver and press option-command keys as soon as you see the extension icons marching along the bottom of the SheepShaver screen/window. Keep the keys pressed until you see the dialog asking if you want the desktop to be rebuild. Note that this only works while starting SheepShaver, not while simply using OS 9's Special > Restart.

System software updates:

The Mac OS 9.04 updater can be downloaded from Apple to update OS 9 to the latest version supported by SheepShaver.
Download the file (Mac OS 9.0.4 Update.smi.bin), double-click it in OS X to "dearchive" it to simple "Mac OS 9.0.4 Update.smi", move it via shared/Unix into your Work drive, then while in OS 9 double-click it (the copy on Work!) to mount it as an "Update Mac OS 9" drive. Double-click the drive, open the folder within, double-click on "Mac OS Install", and follow the instructions.

Do not update QuickTime. Version 4.0.3 comes with OS 9.0 and is the highest QuickTime version supported under SheepShaver.

For convenience I have created a compressed archive of the version of SheepShaver I tested along with the "keycodes" file and the stand-along Prefs program.
You will need to acquire the necessary "OS 9.0 Install CD" and copy of the "Mac OS ROM" in order to build a working system.



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