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44 votes
Accepted

Why did MacOS Classic choose the colon as a path separator?

Colon was inherited from SOS for the Apple III Unlike one may assume, MacOS (1984/01) did not inherit the colon (:) from Lisa OS (1983/01), which used a hyphen (-) as path separator, but from Apple ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 225k
30 votes

Why did MacOS Classic choose the colon as a path separator?

The original Macintosh File System did not support directories. But the Mac did support multiple floppy drives from the start, and colon : was used in fairly standard fashion as a drive prefix ...
RETRAC's user avatar
  • 13.8k
30 votes

Why did MacOS Classic choose the colon as a path separator?

I think the colon deserves to be considered the original, the one true separator character. All others are mere imitators ;-) My rationale for this is the seminal paper A General-Purpose File System ...
dave's user avatar
  • 35.9k
25 votes

Building hello world on a Macintosh IIfx with MPW

Classic MacOS uses : as a directory separator. / doesn't have a special meaning and is a legal filename character. Additionally, a leading : is a relative path, not an absolute path. MacOS ...
Kelvin Sherlock's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

What were the most common software distribution formats for MacOS Classic?

Up until things like Compuserve and AOL (and then Internet for the masses) came around, floppy disks would have more or less been the only option. (CD-ROM drives in consumer machines arrived only a ...
ssokolow's user avatar
  • 7,095
21 votes
Accepted

What was the significance of the cursive 'ƒ' in an application name?

It wasn’t typically in the application’s name, it was in the name of the folder containing the application, and used to mean “folder.” For example, the folder containing SurfWriter, its Apple Guide ...
Chris Hanson's user avatar
21 votes

Early implementations of the `system()` call in a consumer OS

MS-DOS allows an application to invoke a nested application. Processing of the former application will be suspended until the latter application returns, whereupon the former application will ...
supercat's user avatar
  • 37.1k
20 votes

Why did MacOS Classic choose the colon as a path separator?

It's not completely accurate to focus on slashes as the established solution — . was also in the mix, being DEC's choice for both TOPS and VMS. That said, I'm going to speculate wildly that it comes ...
Tommy's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

Why did Mac OS 7 perform poorly with virtual memory enabled?

There are several reasons for the low performance of virtual memory. The implementation had a significant effect. It keeps ALL of the contents of memory in the VM Storage file, plus however much ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.7k
17 votes
Accepted

How are File Timestamps recorded in classic Mac OS?

The HFS filesystem stores file metadata in a single large file called the "catalog file", with one record for each file or directory. Creation and modification times are stored as 32-bit unsigned ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,627
17 votes
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How do I allocate more memory to an app on Sheepshaver running Mac OS 9?

Click on the application icon, select "Get info" from the "File" menu, and adjust the memory allocation in the window that pops up.
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,627
16 votes
Accepted

A good method for formatting a modern device in HFS (Not HFS+)

If you have a system running on your IIci you could presumably use that to format your drive, but I'm guessing that's not the case. To build a working image on the SD card, there are two things to ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
15 votes

What were the most common software distribution formats for MacOS Classic?

The "System 6/7-era" extends from 1988 to at least 1997 — 10 years that saw a a lot of changes in the IT industry[1]. From personal experience, Software distribution was mostly on physical ...
Michael Graf's user avatar
  • 10.1k
14 votes

Why did Mac OS 7 perform poorly with virtual memory enabled?

I would say poor performance was due to System 7's implementation, and the constraints needed to support existing applications/drivers/extensions. Looking through the documentation, it's not hard to ...
Brendan Shanks's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Did the Macintosh Classic series use DMA to display video?

Access to the memory is toggled between the CPU and the video controller every four CPU cycles (the length of a word access[2#p32]) during display of the frame buffer.[1§2] The processor is a Motorola ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 18.7k
14 votes
Accepted

Classic Mac OS colors to modern RGB

The fact that the color channel values range from 0 to 65535 instead of 0 to 255 is a trivial difference. You can just divide by 65535/255 = 257 (and round to the nearest integer). The real problem is ...
benrg's user avatar
  • 2,472
13 votes

Early implementations of the `system()` call in a consumer OS

All versions of Atari's GEMDOS (first released in 1985) supported Pexec(). Flags permitted launching the child process and waiting for it to finish, or merely loading the child into memory (for ...
Jim Nelson's user avatar
  • 3,773
12 votes

Do any 'remote control' solutions exist for Mac OS 9.x?

One option would be mac-minivnc a recently published open source project on Github. It claims to be a VNC server for classic Macs (including the 68000 models!) but I haven't used it. When classic Mac ...
RETRAC's user avatar
  • 13.8k
12 votes

How to mass-reset the protected flag in classic MacOS

The easiest way I've found out is to use the FileTyper package. Contained within is a tool to create a so called Autotyper. The UI presented allow to precisely specify to select only locked ("...
PoC's user avatar
  • 1,282
11 votes

Early implementations of the `system()` call in a consumer OS

Since you mentioned CP/M: At least in its original 8080 incarnation, CP/M does not have any system call that allows a program to launch another and regain control when the program it launched ...
john_e's user avatar
  • 7,768
11 votes

Classic Mac OS colors to modern RGB

For the System 7 icon colours at least, it may help to look at them as hex values: R G B 65535, 65535, 52428 : ffff, ffff, cccc 65535, 52428, 39321 : ffff, cccc, 9999 52428, ...
scruss's user avatar
  • 21.7k
11 votes

What were the most common software distribution formats for MacOS Classic?

In terms of formats for BBS/online distribution, StuffIt and MacBinary were common for binary transfers. BinHex was common for 7-bit text-based transfers. All three preserved the data fork, resource ...
Kelvin Sherlock's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why does my Macintosh SE FDHD only see 2 of the 4 megabytes of RAM?

AH! I found out what it was. I'm stupid. Apparently, I'm supposed to remove the jumper for the 4 MB config. http://www.ccadams.org/se/ram.html I hope this question helps someone else out.
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,531
10 votes
Accepted

Classilla on SheepShaver for Windows

Usually when you see that message is because the metadata for the file isn't set correctly; this is typical if you're looking at MacOS Classic files that are not on a HFS filesystem. Brief ...
bjb's user avatar
  • 16.4k
10 votes
Accepted

Creating an System Extension (INIT) for classic Mac OS

Turns out the solution was to open ResEdit and lock the INIT resource within my compiled extension. Everything worked as expected after doing this.
acolchagoff's user avatar
  • 1,231
9 votes

Dual-booting Windows 98 on an iMac G3

Windows 95 and 98 require an x86-type CPU (and more generally, a PC, with BIOS, etc.), so they can't run on PowerPC G3-based computers without an emulation layer of some sort.
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
9 votes

Classic Mac OS colors to modern RGB

If you have images that use these palettes, the AppleRGB.icc colour profile can be used to apply the γ = 1.8 of the old Apple Trinitron colour monitors, amongst other corrections required for colour ...
scruss's user avatar
  • 21.7k
8 votes

A good method for formatting a modern device in HFS (Not HFS+)

The HFS Utilities package looks like it will let you format the disk from a Linux system; modern Windows may also be supported (it says "95/NT", which means you may run into permissions errors on ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,627
8 votes
Accepted

How can I debug a Mac OS Classic application?

Back in the day, MacNosy was the go to disassembler tool to attack things like that. He also wrote a debugger. I can't speak to its status today. Apparently the web site still exists: https://www....
Will Hartung's user avatar
  • 12.3k
8 votes
Accepted

ResEdit Decompilers

You might be thinking of Resorcerer (apparently still available for purchase), which was like a beefed up version of ResEdit and included CODE disassembly functionality. Macintosh Garden has some ...
Kelvin Sherlock's user avatar

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