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My application development team wants to test program builds on older MacOS X versions (10.4 and 10.5). Is there an emulator or virtual system capable of allowing this from inside our MacOS 10.6?

I've found that VMWare, VirtualPC and SheepShaver are Windows only solutions, and probably don't even emulate MacOS 10.0.

What about vMac, PearPC and MacOnMac? Do we need all the older MacOS X install CD's or does the emu software take care of faking out a base OS?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

First, you don't want emulation for software testing. What good is testing on a platform that is actually different from the one you want to support?

VMware Fusion and probably other virtualization tools allow running Mac OS X Server as a guest OS. I'm not sure if 10.4 is still supported, though. With some hacks, you might be able to run Mac OS X (regular) as guest OS, but it's unsupported and against Apple's license terms.

Your best bet is to install these older versions on a different partition for dual-booting. AFAIK, you can install to external hard drives and boot from them. I'd set aside one or two machines exclusively for compatibility testing if it's required frequently enough that restarting the computer becomes inconvenient. Especially since you probably also want to support PowerPC Macs, and they are unsupported by all popular virtualization solutions.

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Thanks for the VMWare server hint. The thing is we already have a server. The problem is that unlike Windows CDs for XP, older MacOS install media becomes impossible to purchase through Apple the day a newer version ships; having 3 versions without even counting PPC vs. Intel hardware is a bit of a problem, but we'll manage – Vlueboy Jun 3 '11 at 4:39
Accepting your answer. It's been a week and nobody else is interested. Thanks for taking the time to answer. I will go forward with the $80 Fusion package for emulating the server, since we have no "unused" hardware to dedicate exclusively. – Vlueboy Jun 12 '11 at 1:39

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