System 7 on a Nook. Say What?

In case you missed it a couple of weeks ago, an intrepid tinkerer, coder, and apparent Apple enthusiast has succeeded in shoehorning System 7 onto the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch e-Book reader. This feat had been attempted a few years ago by others, but it took the work of 68k Macintosh Liberation Army Forum member FlyingToaster to bring the project to fruition. In this gallery of screenshots, you can see sights like System 7 loading in all the Nook’s greyscale glory, along with the infamous After Dark “Flying Toasters” screensaver and some classic games, too.

This impressive feat was accomplished with the aid of the open-source Mini vMac, an open source  Macintosh Plus emulator. For those who don’t know, an emulator is a computer program that copies (aka “emulates”) the functions of another electronic system entirely through software. In this case, Mini vMac created a “virtual system” that acts just like a real Macintosh Plus. So what we have is an e-Reader with an 800Mhz ARM processor and 256MB of RAM running an emulator on top of Google’s Android operating system all in the name of being able to run classic Mac programs from 1986-1994.

The actual usefulness of System 7 on the Nook e-Reader hardware is definitely questionable at best. However, the ability to imitate the entirety of an OS from the early 90’s running on a computer that weighed 17-20 pounds and could cost upwards of $2600 (depending on model) on a device from 2011 that weighs less than 8 ounces and under $100 is, to me, just incredible.