Mac OS Compatibility

Updated: 17 Mar 2019

1. Does Mac OS comes with a command line?

Yes, it does come with a command line. To open a command line, open Applications, Utilties and select Terminal. This loads the bash terminal, you can then run command line type programs, type Exit when done.

You can also access the command line at boot up by pressing Command+S for Single user mode or Command+V for verbose mode.

Colour terminal

More infomation about bash commands for Mac OS, visit, the bash command list page.

2. Can I get old programs to run under Mac OS?

For pre-Mac OS X computers, Classic Mac OS, you can use an emulator such as Basilisk, or Sheepshaver.
Some of the very old versions of MacOS X include Mac OS 9, but it is possible to download it from here.

For PowerPC only programs, you could use a Virtual Machine under VMWare Fusion, Parallels, QEmu or Virtual Box to run and emulate another version of Mac OS (upto MacOS 10.6 - Snow Leopard).
All versions of Mac OS from 10.7 (Lion) are now compatible with Intel or Universal programs only.

3. Where is the web server in Mac OS?

Mac OS comes with a web server called Apache which is installed by default. You can enable the Web Server, by opening System Preferences, Sharing, then enable File & Web. Click the button labelled Start to start Apache.

You can set up your web pages in the default \Users\username\Sites folder on your Mac.

4. How do I share a printer on Mac with another Mac or Windows PC?

Yes, you can enable sharing for Printers in Mac OS with other computers. In System Preferences, Sharing enable Printer Sharing. If enabling with Windows users, you will also need to enable Windows Sharing and configure a user account to share the printer. Any drivers have to be installed by the user on the other computer.

8. I cannot run Java applications or Applets. Where can I download Java?

You can download the Java Runtime files (JRE) from the Java website. You can also download the Software Development Kit (SDK) and program developments tools such as NetBeans from the same site. For Adobe products, you may need to still install Java 6.

9. Can I run Linux or Windows as well as or intead of Mac OS?

Yes, on the old PowerPC Macs there was YellowDog Linux. Now, with Intel Macs, you can install most distributions of Linux including Ubuntu, Mint Linux, SuSE, Fedora etc.
You can run some linux/unix programs directly on X Windows using a tool such as XQuartz which provides X11 unix functionality in Mac OS.
You can run Windows 7 or later and Linux on the Mac via Bootcamp or a Virtual Machine. Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported with Bootcamp.

10. Can I run MacOS on the ARM processor?

There have been rumour's of Apple running a version of macOS on the ARM processor (used on iPads and iPhones).
A open source version of the kernel called Darwin-XNU is available on GitHub and Apple sites. See Apple's OpenSource page for other projects.
There is also a port of ReactOS on the ARM processor.

11. Can I run PowerPC Apps or OS on the Mac?

No, not on modern Macs. Only Macs prior upto 2009 can run PowerPC programs on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier. A translator called Rosetta allowed Intel/PowerPC programs to be run on same system until 2009. New Macs can only run Intel or Universal compiled programs.