After reassembling it and connecting all wires it started happily. The machine has 4 megabytes of RAM and a 20 Mbyte hard drive connected. It also came with nice carrying case, making it portable sort of. The operating system is System 6.0.7
Internet on a Mac Plus
Can a vintage 1986 running System 6.0.7 connect to internet? Sure it can! It requires some things to do it and it might be as useful but nevertheless it is connected. Here is how.
A Mac will not speak TCP/IP natively. The networking provided using the LocalTalk port on the Mac is speaking AppleTalk only. This means that to be able to connect to internet the IP packets has to be tunneled to a gateway that will provide routing to internet. Appletalk will on the other hand provide a host of nice features like sharing printers and accessing file servers.
Getting the Mac on the LAN
This what is needed. First you need a couple of LocalTalk dongles or MAU to have the Mac access the LocalTalk twisted pair bus network. You also need some LocalTalk wiring. There also were Farallon Phonenet which used ordinary twisted phone wiring.
The Dayna Mini EtherPrint is a LocalTalk to EtherTalk bridge that simply moves packets back and forth. Already with this device connected to my home LAN and the connected to the small LocalTalk network I was able to see my old Apple Laserwriter 12/640PS printer in the Chooser and it successfully printed documents. A good start!
A nice guy in the Netherlands has made an image that among other contain the netatalkd daemon. This image is made for the dirt-cheap OrangePi One computer. When added to the LAN it will be able to serve out files from the /AppleShare folder. With the OrangePi connected on the network I could use the Chooser to find the file server!
But how can I get files on to the file server that the Mac could read and execute? Slowly I needed to grasp a number of things I previously hasn't been aware of. A Mac file has two parts. One Data fork and one Resource Fork. Netatlkd uses the AppleDouble scheme where the Data fork is in the main folder but the Resourece fork is stored into to a hidden folder called .AppleDouble. The file names are the same.
The way to get a file, usually in Stuffit format, to the Mac was then to use the Stuffit Deluxe version on a Windows Virtualbox, setting a preference that the resulting unpacked file should be stored in MacBinary format. The file that is unpacked is then transfered to the OrangePi and when there the "unbin" command is run for each file. Unbin will split the file forks in the AppleDouble format. Now the file was accessible in the Mac.
But MacTCP was not the only thing that was needed to get online. Since the Mac is not natively IP speaking IP packets has to be tunneled over AppleTalk. A tunnel needs two endpoints. One is the Mac and the other is the MacIPgw daemon on the OrangePi One. The MacIPgw implements the draft-RFC MacIP protocol to tunnel IP over DDP. Yet again thanks to the nice Dutch guy all configuration is already done and it just simply configuring the IP address in MacTCP which is needed.
Another option is get a Shiva FastPath, Farallon Starrouter, Cayman Gatorbox, Webster Multport/LT. But all of these are quite hard to find and they are not implementing the file server function so I went for the solution described above. Yet another option is to use AppleTalk Remote Access. PPP do contain ATCP (AppleTalkControlProtocol) to set up AppleTalk over PPP. I am not sure whether this is related to AppleTalk Remote Access.
Whith this in place and the MacTCP Ping program transfered to the Mac it was possible to test the basic functionality using the most basic test tools. Yes indeed! Google name servers can be reached.
I now downloaded more Mac applications to test. I downloaded the web browser Mosaic, but it turned out it could only be run on System 7 and above. The only possible browser that could be run on System 6 is the MacWWW / Browser written by some guys at CERN.
The MacWWW experience
The only pages that worked was the Apache default page and System 6 Heaven. Well I guess that it is symptomatic. The Mac plus could actually view Internet web pages!
While the browser experience wasn't the best NCSA Telnet 2.6 worked much nicer.
There are a number of open telnet services available that could be tried out for fun. www.telnet.org. The OrangePi image with MacIPgw also contain a telnetd server which can be testes.
Maybe play some zork online at telehack.com?
This old computer which just 4 mbytes of memory and 512x342 pixels black and white screen can still do a lot things. Maybe program some BASIC as well?