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RoboCop runs DOS, Terminator runs MacOS & Apple II.
It's true. DOS and Mac OS (classic) power the most awesome cyborgs and androids of cinema.
What Operating System would you use to power a lethal android sent from the future… or an awesome, law-enforcement cyborg?
If you said Linux, UNIX, or some sort of Real-Time embedded OS… you’d be wrong.
There are, apparently, only two correct answers:
Mac OS (classic)
In the 1987 classic, RoboCop, the titular cyborg is powered by, you guessed it, DOS.
Want proof? Check out this screengrab from the film where RoboCop is booting up his systems:
COMMAND.COM. CONFIG.SYS. An .EXE file.
Yep. There can be no doubt… RoboCop runs DOS.
But… which DOS? MS-DOS? PC-DOS? DR-DOS?
Honestly… it’s darn near impossible to tell based on this screenshot. It’s definitely not FreeDOS (as that was created after RoboCop)… but, otherwise, it could be any of a number of different MS/PC compatible DOS systems.
My money is on PC-DOS. RoboCop just feels like he would be an IBM guy. The guys that built RoboCop did wear neck ties, after all.
Back in 2003, we saw the third installment of the Terminator franchise: “Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines”.
In the third movie, Schwarzenegger plays a T-101 model Terminator sent from the future (naturally). At one point during the film, the T-101 needs to reboot. And we are treated to a very brief shot of the boot status screen.
At first glance, this appears to be just a mess of barely decipherable computer techno-jargon. But, if I can direct your attention to the lower left side of the “RESTART” screen, you’ll notice some recognizable items…
Wait just a second! What we have here are the names of Extensions of classic Mac OS (the pre-OS X stuff)! And “ODBC Setup PPC” is a classic MacOS control panel for PPC based Macs!
But, what version of Mac OS would robots of the future use to power their most lethal fighting machines? Well. There’s one clue that helps to narrow it down:
The “Keychain” functionality of Mac OS was added in MacOS 8.6. Meaning that the version of MacOS being booted on this T-101 Terminator would need to be between MacOS 8.6 and MacOS 9.2.2 (the very last version before Apple completely discontinued the classic Mac system).
In other news, if you hooked a T-101 Terminator up to a monitor, and plugged in a keyboard and mouse (I’m assuming there’s an ADB or USB port on him somewhere)… this is likely what you would get:
Since publishing this article, it has come to my attention that the original Terminator model (the T-800 from the first movie) was actually powered by… An Apple II!
That, right there, is from the point of view of the T-800 model Terminator. You’ll note the 6502 Assembly code on the screen… including comments! This is clearly taken from software intended to run on an Apple II.
So the T-800 was a 6502 powered Apple II… and the T-101 model was a PPC powered Macintosh running MacOS 8.6.
The Terminators were clearly Apple fanboys. ;)
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