The Altair 8800 arguably launched Microsoft. Now [Dave Glover] from Microsoft offers an emulated and potentially cloud-based Altair emulation with CP/M and Microsoft Basic. You can see a video of the project below. One thing that makes it a bit odd compared to other Altair clones we’ve seen is that the emulator runs in a Docker environment and is fully cloud-enabled. You can interact with it via a PCB front panel, or a terminal running in a web browser.
The core emulator is MIT-licensed and seems like it would run nearly everywhere. We were a little surprised there wasn’t an instance in the Azure cloud that you could spin up to test drive. Surely a few hundred Altairs running at once wouldn’t even make a dent in a modern CPU.
There are plenty of Altair emulators and even replicas with authentic CPUs out there. But we have to admit the Wiki documentation on this one is uncommonly well done. Even if you don’t want to use this emulator, you might find the collection of data about the Altair useful.
Don’t know how to use a computer front panel? Learn on the Altair or a PDP/8, even if you don’t have a real one. For simulated hardware, the project that turns an Arduino Due into an Altair works well. If you just want to play Zork, you can do that in your browser, for sure.