As my question states,

Is it possible to virtualize PowerPC... FOR a PowerPC?

Consider that you're using Linux for PPC. You want to run apps written specifically for Mac OS 7.x through 9.2.2, all of which require PPC (let's say). Let's also say that you don't want to set up a dual-boot configuration on your PPC Mac because... well, you're lazy.

Emulators like Sheepshaver (for Linux on PPC) are fine for most basic needs, but for more intensive programs like games, complex math software, and pretty much anything that requires the MMU (memory management unit) will simply NOT run.

A PPC virtualizer written FOR the same PPC machine could allow those complex programs access to all the appropriate system resources it needs.... because its ALREADY THERE. There is nothing to be emulated!

So, even at least hypothetically... is it possible?

1 Answer 1


Hypothetically, it may be possible, but the tools may not exist. The best tool I could find though was QEMU and Mac on Linux. It says it can virtualize, but I have not tested it or used it. Qemu also says its for embedded PPC - which would be like the Xbox 360, and not an older Macintosh - so therefore still not allow PPC virtualization.

I see two problems that make this a bit harder:

  1. It depends on the chip you are trying to virtualize - the chip needs to have some virtualization instruction sets to allow this. Some of the G5s had this, but since I don't know what machine you have, its hard to verify. Thats what allows Intels to virtualize all types of OS now. This is pretty much what you are talking about 'its already there', but its not always there in all cases - the processor needs to know how to virtualize itself.
  2. Power of the machines today - even when the first Intel Macs came out, some were just as powerful or even more powerful than the G5's of the time. Now that years have gone by, many of the tools (like MoL) look like they haven't been updated in a while, probably due to community involvement. Thats probably because too, if you really needed to run a much older machine, you could emulate the older machine faster than the older machine could virtualize itself.

For most of the people that I have seen in your situation, the easiest route is to just get another machine in most cases (and thats what I have done before, years ago). You can even get pretty powerful G5's for pretty much nothing today. I had a friend about 2 years ago just give a dual proc G5.

  • Without double booting the best way to get OS 9 compatibility would be to skip Linux altogether and get an old copy of OS X Tiger with the Classic environment and use that instead.
    – Tyr
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 10:07
  • User mentioned that they didn't want to switch their system over, I am assuming away from Linux, otherwise I would have presented that in my answer.
    – jmlumpkin
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 11:20

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