Would You Believe? A VT220 Connected to a Mac Pro

A Tumblr employee with a love for UNIX and the old-time CRT-based, VT220 terminals has succeeded in connecting one to his Mac Pro and making it work perfectly. It was an exercise in tech love and MacGyver wizardry. Here’s the story.

“Jstn” explained: “…in the early days of office computers, it was rare that you would actually have one on your desk. Instead there might be a central mainframe (running Unix) and everyone would have a terminal that connected to it over a long serial cable or modem connection. One computer, many users.”

Inspired by the feeling that those old VT220 terminals were beautiful (they were) and a desire to have one connected to his modern Mac, jstn figured out, step by step, how to work through the hardware and software issues. It didn’t help that, along the way, Apple put up a roadblock in the UNIX getty terminal code in OS X 10.5, but a workaround was found. Here’s the awesome result.

Mac Pro & VT220

Salvaged VT220 connected to a Mac Pro

If Apple has had any lingering doubts about the continuing mystique and attraction of the UNIX side of OS X, this project should put those doubts to rest.