29 Year Old Apple Computer Finally Gets An OS Update

The Apple IIGS is the 16 bit upgrade to the popular 8 bit Apple II computer line, and with its massive boost in graphics, an Ensoniq sound system, and backwards compatibility with the 8 bit machines makes this box desirable to many retro enthusiast. The last OS update, 6.0.1, was released over 22 years ago. While it worked well for the early 90s, it was by no means perfect.

Last Sunday, a post popped up on callapple.org, announcing Apple IIgs System 6.0.2. Updates include a driver for the unreleased Apple II Ethernet card,  fixes various bugs in the file system translation system, various bugfixes to existing system programs,  fast drawing and animation tools, and of course an update to the finder to show the new revision number.

With a hope for even more bug fixes in a possible 6.0.3 revision its good to see people still giving the old Apple II line some love, as the old Apples don’t have as large of a following as their Atari and Commodore brethren.

36 thoughts on “29 Year Old Apple Computer Finally Gets An OS Update

    1. There are many projects inside of Apple that never ended up shipping, and knowledge of them escaped Apple. The Apple II Ethernet card is one of them.

      In 2013 the source for GS/OS leaked, and among the things that were leaked was a driver for it. The people who took the source and fixed bugs (and who did this release of 6.0.2) apparently decided to ship the driver, because, hey, why not?

      1. Did any of the prototype Ethernet cards escape Apple’s clutches so they could be reverse engineered to be put onto a FPGA and work with the driver?

        I used to have a Yeager prototype Duo 280 (quick google search shows that was 12 years ago!). It was neat but not terribly useful, especially with the monochrome Duo 250 lid cheaparse Apple installed on it. Apparently they spent that $ on the production quality labels for the bottom stating it was a Yeager Prototype Unit, not for sale, not FCC tested etc. I sold it, a Duo 230 engineering sample (which curiously had no labels on its bottom) and a bog standard Duo Dock 2 – and they seem to have vanished into a black hole. Searching every so often turns up nada on them.

        Wishing I had the Yeager back to sell on eBay, might get more than the $80 I got for the lot back then.

    1. We thought about it, but since systemd was written in C using larger data types it was more efficient to bang rocks together and write 65816 assembly like real men. :P

  1. Given that this relies on proprietary Apple IP that was leaked and circulated without permission from Apple, what makes these guys think they aren’t going to be hit with a DMCA take down notice or a copyright lawsuit?

    1. An update for a 29 year old OS that didn’t cost Apple a dime for a system that they no longer make is nothing but a PR positive. If they were smart they would follow up by open sourcing their ancient software used by hardware that they no longer produce.

      1. There’s a ton of “underground” Apple IP that’s around in various easy-to-find places on the internet. The complete source to system 7 comes to mind as one of the more interesting examples. Apple really doesn’t seem to care.

    2. Seeing as you could freely download ProDOS and GSOS 6.0.1 directly from Apple’s FTP server up to last year when they took it down, including their IP stack and drivers for released hardware, I don’t see why this would be treated any differently by Apple…

  2. I grew up with one of these and first learned programming with Applesoft Basic. I have many fond memories. Sadly it stopped booting at some point and we couldn’t fix it so it ended up in the trash heep. It was a limited edition with Woz’s signature too. :(

    1. That edition wasn’t as limited as you’d think, but I’m sorry to hear about your loss. :-( Kegs (win/linux) and Sweet16 (OS X) can help you re-live the glory //gs days if you want.

    1. Often when you’re dealing with obsolete stuff, the issue isn’t “who owns the rights”, so much as “what are they gonna do about it?”.

      Even if Apple did give a toss, they’d have to track down “offenders”. The users could defend themselves in court, but would more likely just pull their heads down and refer to things more discreetly. I don’t think it’s likely that anyone’s going to get into trouble for this.

    2. We’ve pretty much concluded over the last decade that you’re good as long as you don’t make a production run of millions of units and charge for their IP. It’s too small of a niche market. Even if you wanted to, getting Woz to sign on would be a seriously trivial effort as long as you license the stuff properly. It’s not impossible, just that there’s obviously no demand for it so nobody has had to test that water. Apple has never gone after emulators that include their roms, system disks, etc. It will only cost them lawyer time for zero profit so they just turn a blind eye.

  3. WhoIS, for the interested, is a guy in Georgia USA, company is A.P.P.L.E. registered in Japan. That’s one way to be “officially A.P.P.L.E.” if we just make the periods really tiny in a custom font.

    1. Registered in Japan doesn’t mean it’s registered to a native-born Japanese citizen. Don’t read too much into it. :P (I know who registered it and he lives there but he’s not from there.)

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