LisaEm is Apple Lisa emulator that runs on OS X, Windows and Linux. When it came out, Apple Lisa was a revolutionary machine, and a first personal computer to offer graphical user interface. It also implemented document centric approach to using computers. With LisaEm, you can try this piece of computer history.
To use the emulator, you need Lisa ROMs and Lisa Office System disk images (Office System was the name of the OS). LisaEm offers an option of using virtual hard drive (5 or 10 MB), so you can install Office System onto it.
For more information on these images, have a look at this article, or this forum thread.
To install Lisa Office System, power on the machine (File -> Run), insert disk 1 (File -> Insert diskette) and select to start from disk (first option). Then follow the instructions and insert additional installation disks when prompted. When asked whether you’d like to share disk with MacWorks, select Don’t Share (this basically asks you whether you’d like to setup disk for dual boot with MacWorks). Installation is quick and easy and you’ll have your virtual Lisa up and running in few minutes.
Once you have Office System installed, you can then install additional applications (such as LisaWrite and LisaCalc) if you have their disk images. Since Lisa is document centric, copying applications and running them is slightly different from what you are used to.
To install say LisaCalc, inert LisaCalc disk and double click to open it. Then select LicaCalc icon and from File/Print menu select Duplicate. Drag duplicated icon (which will flash) to Disk on your desktop. Then do the same with LisaCalc Paper icon.
To create a new LisaCalc document, go to Disk and double click LisaCalc Paper icon. This will create new document, which you then open with double click and LisaCalc will launch.
Lisa also had copy protection – when you copy any of the applications like LisaWrite and LisaCalc to hard disk, it will write computer’s serial number onto the floppy disk, so that you can’t install it on another Apple Lisa. LisaEm offers a feature to reset the serial number written on the disk, so you don’t have to worry about this when copying applications to disk.
Here are a few screenshots of the installation process and running a few Lisa apps.