Development on a Macintosh SE/30 and Quadra 650

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Dec 8 2011
Posts: 19

Hi all,
I am a newbie to the forum, and (almost) newbie to Macintosh systems. I recently acquired a Macintosh SE/30 and a Macintosh Quadra 650, and I'd like to try my hand at software development. In particular, my idea was to port the old Minix OS to the Macintosh SE/30 (for starters) as a native OS, rather than an application running under System.
My stumbling block is documentation on hardware, like memory maps, registers definitions etc.
I found this technical note:
which refers to Macintosh SE/30 Developer Notes (part number M0061LL/A, which I haven't been able to find anywhere.
Some development notes can be found here:
Which I *think* has the same information as:
but the former is not directly accessible, so if the contents are the same, there is no trace of specific documentation for the Mac SE/30 (and also the documentation on the Quadra 650 is scant at best.)
I have the Apple Guide to Macintosh Family hardware 2e, but it does not go too deep into details (for example,
Also, do any of the Inside Macintosh volumes deal with actual hardware of the SE/30 and Quadra 650? I know the first three volumes deal with the early Macintosh, but my understanding is that the architectures changed quite a bit.

Thanks in advance for any and all information you can provide,


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resman's picture
Joined: Feb 9 2006
Posts: 213
Re: Development on a Macintosh SE/30 and Quadra 650

HI Antonio-

Unfortunately you will find Apple drastically changed its policy from the Apple II to the Macintosh in regards to hardware information. If you are interested in getting down and dirty with the SE/30 (my favorite 68k Mac, too) I would suggest looking what the NetBSD group (MacBSD before them) has done to decode much of the hardware functionality. Installing NetBSD would be a great start. The latest version work well with an SE/30 of 32 MB or more if you want to run X, less if just a console. Check out more info here:

Be forewarned, developing on a 16 MHz 68030 will teach you a great deal of patience, especially using modern tools. Luckily NetBSD allows you to cross-develop on modern hardware running some type of *nix. Another option is A/UX, but finding resources (disk images and documentation) is getting harder and harder.

Good luck,


Joined: Dec 8 2011
Posts: 19
Re: Development on a Macintosh SE/30 and Quadra 650

Hi Dave,
thank you for the reply. I suspected as much. I had started to take a look at NetBSD and MacMiNT, but it's not easy, as the internal documentation is somewhat lacking, and there are no development documents I could find.
I installed the latest version of MPW on both the SE/30 and the Q650, and the Macintosh Development System on the SE/30 (booting from a floppy in System 6.0.3) but these are far from ideal, the former being quite complex to use, and the latter I don't think handles the 68030 at all. Do you know whether there is an assembly system like DevPac on Atari/Amiga?