Do You Want A Full Spec Cut Price Macintosh, or Not?

By Stuart Rogers and Paul Miller, 16 October 2008

Most home computers made in the last five years have the same basic components which come from a few factories in Japan and the U.S.A. Components (Hard Drives Floppy Drives, Processors) can be the same across many models of computer. Sometimes the only real difference is the system installed at the factory which tells the computer to behave like a 'MacTM', PC, or AmigaTM.

At last a real bright spark, (Christian Bauer) has written a shareware program called 'Shapeshifter' that exploits these similarities and simply tells your Amiga it's a MacTM. This works because both computers use the same processor chips - made by Motorola. It does involve copying the special secret 'Mac' instructions from the ROM chips in a Mac by using another program supplied with `Shapeshifter' which, as you might imagine, means that the people at Apple are not too happy about this state of affairs. Christian Bauer is 'in discussions' with them. So if you do want to do this legally (as things stand at the moment) search for 'Shapeshifter' and a friendly `Mac' owner as fast as possible.

Mac Amiga - Stuart Rogers and Paul Miller

The next question you're going to ask is how good is it? The answer is, your Mac will operate at the same speed and have the same processing power as the Amiga you converted it from; an '030' Amiga will be equivalent to an LCIII, an '040' Amiga will be equivalent to an LC475. I must stress that buying a brand new Amiga A4000 for 52000 will not give you the equivalent 52000 Macintosh.

However if you already own a high end Amiga, 'Shapeshifter' is a real bargain.

With 'Shapeshifter' installed you can use your Amiga/MacintoshTM as one or the other, even both at the same time! Why would you want to do that? Consider AmigaTM accessories, scanners, Drawing pads, Video grabbers, etc. Their Mac equivalents are often twice the price. You can convert work made with your Amiga into the various Mac formats inside your machine (using shareware conversion programs). Shapeshifter' in MacTM mode runs everything from graphics programs to communications software.

Stuart, the IBM programmer who first showed me this program has tested it to near destruction using every Comms program and Utility he could find. His findings are as follows:

You will need an Amiga A2000, A3000, or A4000 for best performance.

It will run on an Al200 but you must have a minimum of 6mb ram, preferably more for all these machines.

The Al200 will run in 2 colours but is much better if it is expanded with a faster processor (@ £800.00 - £900.00 for an expanded Al200 with 8mb ram, a hard drive and an '030' processor).

You must have access to a 'legal' copy of the correct 'Mac' ROM which must be from an '040' 'Mac' for an '040' 'Amiga' and '030' 'Mac' for an '030' 'Amiga'.

`Shapeshifter' is now at version 3.2a.lha which is the main archive. You don't need the MWBMac.lha icon pack. You should also get the SSBootfile which is a bootable filedisc containing the freely distributable system 7.01 and some useful shareware programs.

Basically I would say that if you have (or are intending to have) an Amiga then you should seriously take a look at 'Shapeshifter'.