Bernie II the Rescue

Author's note: We tested and reviewed Bernie ][ the Rescue version 1.0.1. Version 1.2, with improved printing, support for programs needing option key sequences, and other improvements was released during the week of January 20, 1998, too late for our review, but not for you to try out.

What is Bernie?

Bernie II the Rescue is a Power Macintosh program from F.E. Systems that emulates an Apple IIGS. Using Bernie you can create ProDOS disk images (data files that act as disks) onto which you can install your software, and then you can run your Apple II software on your Power Macintosh.

Bernie II the Rescue was created by F.E. System's Henrik Gudat, who also created Hermes/ShadowWrite, Space Fox and other Apple II utilities. The software is shareware, and registration costs $25.00.

Bernie has been upgraded several times, and new updates are in the works, even as this is written. In that sense, Bernie is incomplete; but even in the present version (1.0.1) it enabled me to use almost all GS Software that I normally use on my home IIGS, including AppleWorks GS and HyperCard IIGS.

Why an emulator?

Why would someone use an emulator when they could use a real IIGS? Well, I have been using Bernie principally at the college where I work part-time on weekends. As a lab supervisor, I often have long periods of time where I don't have much to do (of course there are other times when I feel like I'm teaching a full-blown course on using computers), and having access to Bernie on the Power Mac 8100 there allows me to work on HyperCard IIGS and test out other IIGS software. Others might want the emulator for times when their IIGS needs repair. And still others, faced with replacing a IIGS that has broken down, will find the cost of Bernie's registration a lot easier to swallow (if they already have a Power Macintosh) than replacing a blown IIGS monitor or cpu.

The other advantages of the emulated IIGS environment is that on a faster Power Macintosh, the speed of the emulated IIGS is also faster…and in our present situation of hard-to-find accelerator cards, that's a big bonus. In addition, if you have a Power Macintosh, Bernie is one piece of the puzzle that lets you run just about every operating system there is on one machine. There are emulators to use on a Mac for Windows 95, Windows NT, Unix, Commodore 64s, and Ataris).

How does it perform?

In using Bernie II the Rescue, I have tried it on two different Power Macintosh 8100s as well as on a PowerBook 1400. Bernie booted with an assortment of desk accessories and inits, as well as running almost every program I used with it. There was a problem using HyperCard initially, because the option key (widely used in HyperCard for accessing scripts) was not working properly, but a recent update solved that problem. Other programs, including AppleWorks GS, ShrinkitGS and Teach, all worked fine.

Bernie does have limitations, including restricted printing, incomplete support for some Apple II video modes, no access to the Mac's serial ports (hence no telecom programs), and a bit of a learning curve (if you are unfamiliar with disk images). However, support has been good, including emails, a constantly updated web site, and a new mailing list (see below for more details).

How does it work?

The first step to using Bernie, after downloading it, is to get an Apple IIGS ROM image. (The ROM of an Apple IIGS is software contained on a chip inside the computer that is needed for operating the computer.) Bernie also needs the ROM, and includes instructions for making a ROM dump (in which the contents of the ROM chip are put into a file you transfer to your Mac); the F.E. Systems Web site also has a link to another Web site where you can download the ROM image. Next, you must create a hard disk image on which to install your software. (A disk image is a computer file that is an exact duplicate of a disk.) Bernie allows you to create the hard disk image (or you can use the Mac shareware program ShrinkWrap or Apple's own DiskCopy), and then you can boot your new IIGS with the system installer disk and begin installing the software. You can use actual Apple II ProDOS disks in the Mac disk drive, or you can download the images from Apple's web site ( and mount the images and install from there. Disk images, which get mounted in RAM, are a lot faster, so I would recommend using those if possible. After you have installed the software, you use a menu command from within Bernie to set this new hard drive as your startup disk. Once you have paid your shareware fee and received a registration code, your preferences will be saved; until then your preferences are not saved, and Bernie is limited to 30 minutes per session.

Once your hard drive is set up, a typical session with Bernie involves starting the emulator, then booting up your IIGS. Once you see the IIGS desktop in the emulator window, you use your IIGS programs as you always have. While I am partial to Apple's Finder, I have read reports of ProSel 16 (a Finder alternative) also working fine with Bernie, and expect that Wings (the program starter that comes with Salvation Supreme) would work as well.

As mentioned above, the faster your Power Macintosh, the faster Bernie's emulation environment will run. In addition, the more RAM that you allocate to Bernie II the Rescue, the more is available to your IIGS.

The mail list

F.E. System's primary support is their new mail list. Begun in mid-January, the list quickly began receiving more than 20 posts per day. To join the list you send a message to the listserve which registers you as a subscriber, and then as messages are received they are sent back out. This can be a bit overwhelming, so there is also an option for setting the list to digest mode, in which all messages for a day are collected in a single file, which is then mailed out to you. The mail list postings are also collected and archived on F.E. System's web site.

To subscribe to the mail list, send an email to:

and in the body of the message type:

SUBSCRIBE bernie Your_FirstName Your_LastName

replacing "Your_FirstName" and "Your_LastName" with your actual first and last names. If you wish to subscribe to the digest, then after you get an email informing you that your subscription has been registered, send another email to the same address, and in the body of the message, type:

set bernie digest

It doesn't matter what you put in the subject of these email messages.

Obtaining Bernie II the Rescue

To download Bernie II the Rescue, visit the F.E. System's Web site at:

and follow the instructions you find there. The program is not an especially large download, and once installed it will give your IIGS programs a new home that should last for years to come.

If you need system software or Hypercard GS, you can obtain them at the following Apple Inc. site:

This article was updated on August 29, 2008 with the new web site for "Bernie ][ the Rescue", and link to Apple, Inc. site for Apple IIGS software.