I just bought a Macintosh Centris 610 and I'm trying to do some C programming on it. But I can't find the terminal and someone told me there isn't a terminal on classic MacOS.

My goal is to have a terminal with a c compiler and vi, and run programs in the terminal. Can you help me get there?

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    Welcome to Retrocomputing Stack Exchange. Please read the tour. As it stands your question is a bit unclear. Do you want access to a terminal or access to a C compiler or access to the ability to run programs?
    – wizzwizz4
    Oct 20 '17 at 6:37
  • Hopefully a terminal with a c compiler and vi, and run programs in the terminal.
    – user7008
    Oct 20 '17 at 6:38
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    You'll have to install a terminal, Vi etc. because System 7.1 to 8.1 were completely GUI.
    – wizzwizz4
    Oct 20 '17 at 7:11
  • The Classic Mac OS view: there's no terminal because there's no attempt whatsoever to be UNIXesque — no POSIX layer, no attempt to rationalise everything into looking a bit like a file — and from the very first Mac onwards, the display was a fully-bitmapped glass screen. There is no stdout, there is no stderr. Even in 1984, having a computer pretend to be a teletype in order to fool itself was a kludge. Of all the benefits one acquires from being a UNIX, elegance is not one.
    – Tommy
    Oct 20 '17 at 11:23
  • @Tommy Hmm, that's interesting.
    – user7008
    Oct 20 '17 at 15:21

You should take a look at the Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop: it provides a C compiler (within a development environment) and a command-line window. I don’t know whether its terminal emulation is sufficient to run Vi though — a classic Mac developer wouldn’t have used Vi.

Resources for developing in Classic Mac OS MPW? has more information about this, along with pointers to various resources (including downloads).

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    I would strongly recommend Metrowerks CodeWarrior for Classic MacOS development because it is much easier to use the MPW and features a full IDE. Oct 20 '17 at 14:51
  • @MichaelShopsin Thanks, Michael.
    – user7008
    Oct 20 '17 at 15:20

The classic Macintosh does not have a terminal, it’s an entirely graphical environment.

Many small developers used THINK Pascal or THINK C (which became Symantec C++) to develop Macintosh software, Apple’s Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop was popular among professionals and provided a command line and Makefile style environment (though still window and mouse based—more like a text editor with scripting). Metrowerks CodeWarrior succeeded THINK C as many developers’ main environment with the introduction of the Power Mac.

I’d strongly recommend trying some development with THINK C, Symantec C++, MPW, and CodeWarrior before you decide that you need something like a VT52 connected to a VAX circa 1981 in order to do interesting programming.

  • This answer could do without the snide remark towards VAXen. Particularly on a retrocomputing site. Oct 21 '17 at 3:51
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    It’s not a snide remark about VAXen, it’s a snide remark about people whose assumption is that programming means writing C in vi on a terminal or in an emulator. Oct 21 '17 at 6:23
  • @ChrisHanson The reason I bought the Centris was to explore the OS code and customize it to my own liking. The terminal's purpose is to gain access and control. Vi is just integrated and efficient because you don't need your mouse, so why not use it for programming?
    – user7008
    Oct 21 '17 at 7:57
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    @Sorn that’s why I said “on the Mac” (this particular Mac). Oct 21 '17 at 15:40
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    Exactly: On the classic Macintosh, there is no separate layer of “access and control” that a terminal program would give you. If you’re going to “explore the OS” you should keep an open mind that not everything will be structured like UNIX. Oct 23 '17 at 0:31

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