Thursday, April 2, 2020

Swift on Mac OS 9

Jordan Rose (tweet, Hacker News):

It’s April 1, and that means it’s both April Fools’ Day and the anniversary of the founding of Apple Inc. While this year is a sober one due to current events, I think a lot of people still appreciate what people are creating and sharing to keep spirits up, whether that be music or art or…impractical programming projects. And while pranks on April Fools’ seem less and less fun, obvious jokes and whimsy, not at anyone’s expense, are still something I believe in…and even better if they actually work.

Last year I implemented the world’s best code visualizer. This year I decided to seriously attempt something that I’d thought about in the past: getting a Swift program to run on Mac OS 9.


Fortunately for me, I’m not the only one interested in building Classic apps on modern macOS. At some point I found about the mpw project: an emulator specifically for running Apple’s Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop tools.


Was it possible that AIX and Classic Mac OS used the same calling conventions for their procedures, and they could just interoperate without any extra work?

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Woefully unnecessary work here, but you know what? I love it!

I wonder if any actual apps could be spit out for the classic Mac OS using these bridges discussed. LightsOff being ported to old systems, not because of the work on Swift, but the prior work with Carbon and mpw is pretty cool. If anything else could come over I would support it with the enthusiasm of a reformed classic computer geek (I loved putting old machines to modern uses). I am a person who reluctantly gave up his old Macs because of space issues, but would love to break out a PowerBook and hammer out a workflow with it, not joking.

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