1. A2CLOUD Intro

10-Sep-23: I’ve restored these pages, which were published between July and December 2013, for all who might get use from them. Unfortunately, A2CLOUD is very out of date, and as far as I know it only runs on Raspbian Wheezy, which is ancient, and which is only functional on the earliest Raspberry Pi’s (1A, 1B, 1A+, 1B+, first rev 2B; and possibly Zero, Zero W, 3B, and later 2B). Given Wheezy’s age, it may not be functional even on those. Good luck; I don’t expect any of this to still work. There are also probably some dead links. If I could effortlessly make A2CLOUD work on newer versions of Raspberry Pi OS which support newer Raspberry Pi models, I certainly would, but it’s not simple, so it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. Ah well — A2CLOUD was pretty cool, and I’m proud of having made it. If you used it, thanks! And if you want to fix it up yourself, jump in!

Hello, and welcome to A2CLOUD! It provides any Apple II — even a IIc — with internet access, mass storage, and floppy disk transfer, via a Raspberry Pi, a tiny silent $35 computer. You can also use A2CLOUD with other Linux computers or virtual machines; click here for details.

This web page is the user guide; just read the posts in order. The table of contents is over on the right. You might want to start with the intro video below. (For other ways to use your Raspberry Pi with your Apple II, check out A2SERVER, and Apple II Pi, both part of Raspple II.)

5-May-15: A2CLOUD 1.8.1 is available, featuring compatibility with every Raspberry Pi including Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+, and non-Pi users now get the GSport emulator. If you already have A2CLOUD installed, type a2cloud-update to update, or start over with the Raspple II easy installation method (or upgrade Raspple II with a2cloud-update os). The complete version history is here.


2. What you need

To use A2CLOUD, you need various things. Here’s a video to show you what goes where, followed by your shopping list. (Don’t pay much attention to 2:00 through 6:00, as it’s now much simpler to set up A2CLOUD than when I made the video.)

Places to purchase are linked:


If you want simultaneous virtual drives and internet access from your Apple II:


Optional items:


If you have a straight-through serial cable rather than a null modem serial cable, and you are using a IIgs or IIc (no Super Serial Card), you can use a DE-9 (aka DB-9) male-to-female null modem adapter.

If you have a Super Serial Card, its jumper block needs to point towards “Modem” if you have a null modem cable, or “Terminal” if you have a straight-through cable. (Or, if you are using it with a Raspberry Pi console cable, that acts as a null modem cable, so reverse the jumper positions described here.)


(A note about the USB-to-serial adapter: there are lots of different brands and models of these. The only ones I have ever tested, including the TRENDnet model linked above, are those based on the Prolific PL2303 chipset. Other models based on other chipsets such as FTDI may also work; I just haven’t tried them.)

3. Prepare your Pi

Starting Fresh

If you have never used your Pi, you will need to prepare your SD card. Download Raspple II (a distribution of the Raspbian operating system with Apple II goodies preinstalled), and expand the .zip file. Copy all of its files to a 4 GB or larger SD card (8 GB or larger recommended). Then put the SD card in your Pi, and attach power. The operating system will automatically install, which will take about 20 minutes. If you don’t have a screen attached to your Pi, you’ll know when it’s done when the ACT/OK lamp on the Raspberry Pi board stops flickering.

(If you are starting over with the same SD card, or want to ensure the card is formatted correctly, you can use the official SD Formatter utility — carefully! — before copying the files.)


If you’re already up and running, or want to customize the installation

You can also install A2CLOUD from the Raspbian command line. Type:

wget appleii.ivanx.com/a2cloud/setup; source setup

If you want all the features, answer “Y” to the questions. Then be patient, as it takes a little while to install.

4. Go headless (optional)

For basic A2CLOUD use, I recommend going headless with your Raspberry Pi — that is, using it without a screen and keyboard. This will keep your USB ports free and reduce clutter, plus make it feel more like an Apple II peripheral. It’s pretty doable because you can always display your Pi’s screen on a newer computer on your network, and you can even log into its command line from your Apple II.

With that said, you may want a screen and keyboard attached if you want to use Apple II Pi, or you just feel more comfortable using it that way. So if you’re not ready to go headless, you can skip the rest of this post.


Log in to the Pi’s command line:

If you’re gonna go headless, then you’ll need to take a few steps so that you can control your Pi from another computer, which could be an Apple II, as I’ll explain in a few posts. But you can also use a current-day computer on your network.

On a Mac, open Terminal (in the Utilities folder of the Applications folder), and at the prompt, type ssh pi@raspberrypi.local to connect. If you have Windows, you can install Bonjour Print Services, and then use PuTTY to connect to the address “raspberrypi.local”.

If that doesn’t work, try updating A2CLOUD by typing a2cloud-setup. If it still doesn’t work, or you don’t want to install Bonjour Print Services for Windows, you will need to find your Pi’s IP address and use that instead. If you have a Mac, you can use Pi Finder to help with this; if you have Windows, you can use Advanced IP Scanner.

The username is “pi” and the password is “apple2” (or instead “raspberry” if you installed a fresh copy of Raspbian, rather than Raspple II). You should arrive at the Linux prompt.


Remotely Access the Raspbian desktop

You can access the Raspbian graphical desktop by using remote desktop software. Use the Remote Desktop Connection application included with Microsoft Windows, or its Mac version, to connect to your Raspberry Pi by putting in “raspberrypi.local”, or your Pi’s IP address. (If you would prefer to use a VNC client, configure tightvncserver. You could also use RDP or VNC clients for other platforms, like iOS and Android.)


Get a consistent IP Address

If “raspberrypi.local” doesn’t work for you for some reason, and you don’t want to have to use Pi Finder or Advanced IP Scanner every time you want to log into your Pi, I suggest you create a DHCP reservation in your router. This will make your router give your Pi the same IP address every time. Every router’s configuration screen is a little different, but they all require the same things: the 12-digit MAC (ethernet hardware) address, and the IP address that should be assigned to it.

Pi Finder and Advanced IP Scanner give you this info. Alternatively, from your Pi, type ip addr and you’ll find the MAC address as six pairs of digits separated by colons, in a line that starts with “link”, and the IP address as four numbers separated by periods immediately after the word “inet”. If you need help creating DHCP reservations on your particular router, check the manual, or Google for it.

If your router can’t provide a DHCP reservation, you can alternatively configure your Pi to have a static IP address (which is permanently set, rather than asking your router for it) via the method discussed here.


5. Install the software

If you used the Raspple II installation method, you’ve already installed the A2CLOUD software, and can skip the rest of this post.

If you don’t have A2CLOUD installed yet — because, for example, you installed vanilla NOOBS or Raspbian, rather than Raspple II — log in to your Pi, and at the Linux prompt type:

wget ivanx.com/a2cloud/setup; source setup

A2CLOUD is confirmed to work on Debian 7 (“Wheezy”), all releases of Raspbian, and possibly earlier versions of both. It is believed to work on other Debian derivatives, such as Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. (A2CLOUD does not yet fully work on Debian 8 or Ubuntu 15.04, or other distributions that use systemd.)

Follow the prompts; I suggest you answer “yes” to all of them, and everything on these pages will assume that you have. When you are asked to specify the size of your virtual disk (in KB), keep in mind that the larger it is, the slower it will be; hopefully this will change in the future.

When it’s done, the A2CLOUD installer will ask you to reboot your Pi. Do so, and wait about two minutes for it to complete. (If you’ve got a screen attached, wait until it shows you the login prompt; you don’t actually need to log in.)

You’ve now got your Raspberry Pi providing virtual drives and internet access for your Apple II!

6. Attach your cables

Figure out which of the following scenarios applies to you, and attach your USB-to-serial adapter(s) according to the options you see.

If you are using a Raspberry Pi with four USB ports, then use the pair of USB ports next to the Ethernet port, not the ones in the corner.

If you are using a Raspberry Pi model A or A+, consider its one USB port to be the “lower” port in the instructions below. If you have a USB hub attached to it, then port 2 on that hub is the “upper” port, and port 3 on that hub is the “lower” port. Since the physical ports these correspond to may vary by hub, you may need to try different ports to figure out which is which.

You’ll see mentioned below the “lowest-numbered” or “highest-numbered” port in a USB hub, which isn’t necessarily obvious. If you have a USB hub, try the leftmost or topmost port, and if that doesn’t work, try the rightmost or bottommost port. If you want to definitively know, see the note at the end.

If you have an Apple IIe with a single Super Serial Card, then “modem port” in these instructions refers to that card, and “printer port” is unavailable. If you have two Super Serial Cards, then the order is the reverse of what you might expect; “modem port” refers to slot 1, while “printer port” refers to slot 2. (Thanks to David Laffineuse for this report.)


You have one USB-to-serial adapter, and want to use it for virtual drives

You can use:

  • the lower USB port
  • any port in a hub on the lower USB port if it is the only USB-to-serial adapter in the hub
  • the lowest-numbered port on a hub with multiple USB-to-serial adapters

Connect the adapter to a serial cable attached to to your Apple II modem port.


You have one USB-to-serial adapter, and want to use it for internet

You can use:

  • the upper USB port
  • any port in a hub on the upper USB port if it is the only USB-to-serial adapter in the hub
  • the highest-numbered port on a hub with multiple USB-to-serial adapters

Connect the adapter to a serial cable attached to to your Apple II printer port.


You have two USB-to-serial adapters

Do both of the above.


How to figure out the lowest or highest numbered port on your USB hub

You can attach two USB-to-serial adapters to a USB hub attached to either USB port on the Pi. A2CLOUD tells them apart based on their being attached to a lower numbered port for virtual drives, and a higher numbered port for internet.

I did it this way so you can simply try the ports at either end of the USB hub and see if you get the results you expect. But If you want to know the actual port number, detach all of your USB-to-serial adapters, then plug in one adapter. Then type ls /dev/ttyUSBlower_hub* and see what it shows you. The number at the end is your USB port number. You can then move the adapter to a different port and repeat until you figure out which one is the lowest and which one is the highest.

7. Make your boot disk

You’re almost ready to use virtual drives, courtesy of David Schmidt’s VSDRIVE, which is included with ADTPro. You can also use ADTPro itself to transfer disk images to actual disks, and vice versa.

To access the virtual drives, you need to boot from the A2CLOUD disk. To get that, you need ADTPro to transfer it to an Apple II floppy. If you’ve already got ADTPro on an Apple II disk, boot it (choose Serial if prompted), and skip the video and the paragraph which follows it. Or, if you’ve got some other means of turning disk image files into floppies, you can download the 140K A2CLOUD boot disk or the 800K A2CLOUD boot disk, and skip the rest of this post.

If you don’t have ADTPro on an Apple II disk already, you need to get it running on your Apple II via a process called bootstrapping. Here’s a video to show you how to do that, or you can read the instructions below it.


First, turn on your Apple II and press ctrl-RESET before DOS or ProDOS can load. Next, if you have a screen, keyboard, and mouse attached to your Pi, type startx. Otherwise, log in with Remote Desktop Connection (as described in A2CLOUD: go headless) from another computer. Once you see the desktop, double-click ADTPro Server, and when the ADTPro server window appears, choose Bootstrapping->ProDOS->SpeediBoot and follow the instructions which pop up. When you get to the “LOADING MLI” phase on your Apple II, nothing may appear to happen for several minutes; just be patient and it will eventually kick in. (You can alternatively choose VSDRIVE+SpeediBoot to immediately gain access to the virtual drives, but as soon as you reboot, you’ll need to bootstrap again. It’s much more convenient to have a boot floppy.)

Once you’ve ADTPro running, put in a blank floppy disk and type F to format it (unless you know it’s already formatted). You can use any volume name. When it’s done, type R to receive, and then enter (in all caps) A2CLOUD.DSK for a 5.25″ drive or A2CLOUD.PO for a 3.5″ drive. The A2CLOUD disk will be copied from your Pi to your Apple II. (You can use ADTPro to transfer any other disk images to or from your Pi at any time.)

If you bootstrapped, once you’ve got your A2CLOUD disk, you can leave the ADTPro server window open, or reboot your Pi. If you close the window, or quit the Raspbian desktop without rebooting, ADTPro server will no longer be running; you can type adtpro-start at a prompt to get it going again, or reboot, or disconnect and then reconnect the USB-to-serial adapter on the lower USB port.

8. Use virtual drives!

Ok, almost there. Fire up your A2CLOUD floppy, and at the welcome screen, type V. (If you are at an Applesoft prompt, you can instead type -VSDRIVE.)

Once you’ve done this, you can access your blank virtual disk on slot 2 drive 1, and the 800K version of the A2CLOUD disk on slot 2 drive 2. Check it out by typing CAT,S2,D2. After specifying the slot and drive, they will stick for subsequent ProDOS commands (that’s a quick list; here’s a full manual). You will no longer have access to slot 6. To regain access to slot 6, do a full reset of your Apple II and boot any ProDOS disk as usual.

You can also run VSDRIVE from a ProDOS 8 program launcher (e.g. the BYE command). Nothing will appear to happen, but your virtual drives will become available. (If you don’t see VSDRIVE when you’re not in BASIC.SYSTEM, update ADTPro by typing a2cloud-update.)

If you need access to both slot 6 and the virtual drives at the same time, you can, after booting, type:


However, this version of the driver for the virtual disks is easily overwritten by other software, especially if you exit BASIC.SYSTEM. However, ProDOS Filer works ok, so it is included on the A2CLOUD disk if you need to transfer files from slot 6 to a virtual drive. Just type -FILER to use it. Note that if you’re transferring from the A2CLOUD floppy disk to the virtual A2CLOUD disk (in S2,D2 by default), you’ll first need to rename the volume of your boot floppy to something like A2CLOUD.DISK, so Filer can tell it apart from the volume named A2CLOUD in the virtual drive.

If you think Filer sucks, because it does, you can instead use ADTPro to transfer your entire 5.25″ disk to a new disk image on your Pi that you can use with VSDRIVE, or experiment with other copy programs.

You can also change the virtual drives to use different images, which I’ll explain in a later post.

9. Log in from your Apple II

If you’re happy enough controlling your Pi with a screen or keyboard attached, or by logging into it from another computer, then you don’t really need to read any of this post. But it’s more fun to log into it from your Apple II. You try it.

To do that, you’ll need terminal communications software which supports VT-100 emulation. The A2CLOUD installer provides both ProTERM and Z-Link for IIc, IIgs, and enhanced IIe; GS/OS users can also download and use Spectrum for color and graphic text. Apple II Plus and unenhanced IIe users have some options too.

Once you’ve connected with your terminal program — specifics are below — press return a couple of times, and you should see the Raspberry Pi login prompt. Log in with username pi and password apple2 (or raspberry, if you installed standard Raspbian). You should be taken to the Linux prompt. If you quit your terminal program, and then run it later, you’ll be right where you left off — you won’t have to log in again unless you restart your Pi.

Then you can download files and transfer them into your disk images or to your Apple II, and do other stuff on the internet. More on how in a future post. (Once you’ve got one of the below terminal programs working, you may also want to try out a faster serial port rate than the default 4800 baud.)

Once you get comfortable with logging in, you might want multiple terminal screens you can switch freely between. To do this, type screen. Then, whenever you need a new screen, type ctrl-A followed by C. You can go back to a previous screen with ctrl-A followed by P, or forward to the next screen by typing ctrl-A followed by N.  To close a screen, type exit or ctrl-A followed by K. When you close the last screen, Screen quits. All Screen commands start with ctrl-A; for a full list of commands, type ctrl-A followed by a question mark. A well-written, easy-to-follow guide on how to get the most out of Screen is here.



ProTERM is a robust and recommended terminal program, but it does not fit on the 140K A2CLOUD disk, and it needs to stay in the drive (or virtual drive) while being used. You’ll find it on the 800K disk, or the S2,D2 virtual drive. When ProTERM runs, select the “Null Modem (CTS/RTS)” driver and the IIgs/IIc/IIc+ printer port, or a Super Serial Card in slot 2. (Note that if you use your own copy of ProTERM, the IIc/IIc+ printer port is not listed, so for that machine you’d need to use the copy that A2CLOUD provides; thanks to Hugh Hood for this patch.) For printer, select No Printer In System. When you’re ready to connect, choose Parameters from the Online menu, choose 4800 baud and VT-100 emulation, hide the status bar, and select Line Status: Online. (Thanks to Tony Diaz and Intrec Software for making ProTERM free to the community.)



Spectrum, for the Apple IIgs, is not provided on the A2CLOUD disk, but is freely available for download. From the Settings menu, choose Port and select the printer port at 4800 baud. Then in the Settings menu, choose Online Display and select VT-100 (monochrome text), or ANSI (color and graphic text, though slower). Then from the Show menu, choose Online Display. If you are using ANSI, type term color after logging in, or term -d color if you don’t want to do it every time. You can also type term mono if you want to switch it back for use with other terminal programs. When you’re done, type Apple-W to “close” the display. (Thanks to Ewen Wannop for making Spectrum free to the community.)



Z-Link is provided on both the 5.25″ and 3.5″ versions of the A2CLOUD disk. While not quite as capable as ProTERM, it is able to fit on a 5.25″ disk and is self-contained in memory without needing further disk access. When you first run Z-Link, you need to configure it by pressing openApple-W and choosing 4800 baud, slot 1 (or slot 2 on a IIe). Then press openApple-T until VT-100 emulation is enabled. Finally, press open-apple-S and type the file name Z.LINK.CONFIG to save the configuration and have it be loaded whenever you run Z.LINK.

If you want to run Z-Link from a virtual drive on a IIc or IIgs, you need to first copy Z.LINK.CONFIG from your floppy, because otherwise it will go online immediately using slot 2, which makes the virtual drive stop working. Boot your A2CLOUD disk and set it up as above. Then, at the Applesoft prompt, type -VSDRIVE.LOW followed by -FILER. Once in Filer, rename the volume of your A2CLOUD floppy to A2CLOUD.DISK, then copy /A2CLOUD.DISK/Z.LINK.CONFIG to /A2CLOUD/Z.LINK.CONFIG. (This process isn’t necessary on a IIe.)


Apple II Plus and unenhanced IIe 

If you have an Apple II Plus or unehnanced IIe, there have been reports of success with using Kermit 3.87, or DCOM 3.3, for terminal access to your Raspberry Pi. They need to be set for VT-100 emulation, and on an Apple II Plus you need a Videx VideoTerm (but not UltraTerm) for 80 column support. I haven’t tried them, but here’s the relevant discussion thread.

10. Make a floppy or an image file

If you have A2SERVER installed — which you do if you installed A2CLOUD with Raspple II — it’s easy to download software with your modern computer and turn it into a floppy disk with your Apple II, or use it as a virtual drive. And it’s just as easy to make an image from an Apple II floppy that you can use in an emulator on your modern computer.

(If you don’t have A2SERVER installed, you can start over with Raspple II, or you can, at your Raspberry Pi’s prompt, type wget ivanx.com/a2server/setup; source setup to install it. If you’re not sure, type a2server-help; if you get a help screen, you’ve got A2SERVER.)

On your newer computer, you can browse your network and you should see  “raspberrypi” as a server you can connect to. You can log in as Guest if asked.

On Mac OS X, it should appear under Shared in the sidebar of a Finder window, or under “Network” from the “Go” menu of the Finder. On Windows, it should appear under Network. On Mac OS 7 through 9, open Chooser from the Apple menu and click on AppleShare.

(If you can’t browse to the server on your network, try typing a2server-setup to update it, and if that doesn’t work, type showip to get your Pi’s IP address. On Mac OS X, enter the IP address under “Connect To Server…” from the Go menu of the Finder; on Windows, type the IP address following \\ in an Explorer window.)

Open the ADTDISKS shared volume and copy any disk images you want to make into disks in there.

Then run ADTPro on your Apple II, which is on your A2CLOUD boot disk. Type R to receive, and type the name of the image file (case matters), and then choose the drive containing the disk you want to put the image onto. The disk will be erased, so be careful. Also, if you were using VSDRIVE before you ran ADTPro, you might not have access to slot 6; if you need it, reboot and then run ADTPro.

If you want to turn a disk into an image, do the reverse process: type S to send in ADTPro, and then choose the drive you wish. The image will appear in the ADTDISKS network volume on your newer computer.

You can type D for directory in ADTPro to get a listing, but characters are sometimes missing, so you might need to do it a few times, or refer to the ADTDISKS network volume on your newer computer.

Unix-type computers can also use scp to copy files to and from A2SERVER; Windows computers can also do so in the command window by using pscp in PuTTY. The shared volume is at /media/A2SHARED/ADTDISKS.

11. Learn some Unix

Once you’re logged into your Raspberry Pi, you can download disk images and use them with VSDRIVE or transfer them with ADTPro.

To do so, you’ll need to know some Unix. Just think of it as fancy ProDOS. Everything you type at a prompt is a Unix command, either built-in, or a program that gets executed. Most commands can take additional arguments (parameters) separated by spaces to modify how they operate. Note that everything in Unix is (usually) case-sensitive — that is, “ls” is not the same thing as “LS”.

Here’s some basics:

pwd will print the path of the current directory (like PREFIX)

cd /path/name will change the directory to /path/name (like PREFIX /PATH/NAME)

ls will list the files in the current directory (like CAT)

ls -lp will list the files in the current directory in long format (like CATALOG)

cp sourceFilePath targetFilePath will copy a file

mv filePath newFilePath will move or rename a file (like RENAME)

rm filePath will delete a file (like DELETE)

mkdir dirPath will create a subdirectory (like CREATE)

rmdir dirPath will delete a subdirectory (like DELETE)

logout logs you out

sudo shutdown -h now will shut down your Pi

sudo shutdown -r now will restart your Pi


There are also three “special” directories, indicated by a single or double period, or a tilde:

. means the current directory

.. means the parent (enclosing) directory

~ means your home directory (on the Pi’s default user, it’s /home/pi)


A couple of tips:

pressing up-arrow (or solidApple-up-arrow in ProTERM on a IIe/IIc, or in Z-Link)  at the command prompt will display previously typed commands

pressing ctrl-A while editing a command will take you to the beginning of a line

pressing ctrl-E while editing will take you to the end of a line


A2CLOUD provides some specialized commands as well, some of which will be covered in upcoming posts. To see a full list, type a2cloud-help.

If you need additional explanation of a command and its arguments, you can sometimes type “command -h” or “command –help”, and for most commands, extensive help is available by typing “man command”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots and lots of Unix commands for every purpose imaginable. If you think there are others which should be included here, please mention them in the comments.


12. “Insert” a disk image

To make things easy, A2CLOUD has commands to “insert” disk image files into the virtual drives:

vsd1 imageFileName will “insert” imageFileName into S2,D1

vsd2 imageFileName will “insert” imageFileName into S2,D2

vsd1 or vsd2 by itself will show you the path to the disk image currently “in” the drive

Note that the disk image you “insert” can be either DOS-ordered or ProDOS-ordered. VSDRIVE will figure it out. The disk doesn’t need to even contain ProDOS, as long as you’re using ProDOS software which can access it — for example, System Utilities can copy files from a DOS 3.3 or Pascal image.

To make new image files, you can transfer real floppy disks from your Apple II using ADTPro. These will arrive in /usr/local/adtpro/disks, which you can also refer to as $ADTDISKS for short; if you have A2SERVER installed, this folder is also available on your network to other computers, so you can use the images you create with an emulator.

Also from another computer, you can copy an image into the ADTDISKS network folder and then insert it into a virtual drive by typing vsd1 $ADTDISKS/imageFileName. (For virtual drive 2, use vsd2 instead.) Or you can download disk images from the internet directly on your Pi, which I’ll explain in a later post.

You can always put the A2CLOUD disk image back in virtual drive 2 with:

vsd2 $A2CLOUD

(The vsd1 and vsd2 commands create a symbolic link, which is like a Windows shortcut or Mac alias, to whatever file you specify as imageFileName. The symlinks are in /usr/local/adtpro/disks, and are called Virtual.po or Virtual2.po, respectively.)

13. Connect with other people

Once you’ve logged into your Pi — that could be from your Apple II using ProTERM or Z-Link or Spectrum, or with a directly attached keyboard and screen, or via SSH from another computer — you can start communicating on the internet.

Unless you’re using ProTERM or Spectrum on an Apple IIgs, remember to hold down solidApple when pressing the arrow keys when you’re using these programs.


IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

If you want to chat live with other Apple II people, all you need to do is type a2chat. It will launch an IRC program called Irssi and connect you directly to the #a2c.chat channel. (If you want to connect to other channels, instead type irssi.) Type /quit when you’re done. You might want to check out more detailed instructions for IRC generally or Irssi specifically.


Usenet newsgroups (discussion boards)

To access the Apple II discussion boards on Usenet (often referred to as comp.sys.apple2.*), type a2news and it will start the Tin newsreader. You will be subscribed to only the Apple II newsgroups by default; to access all the other ones, type Y (for “yank”) and subscribe to the ones you like. (If you have a preferred NNTP server you would like to use, you can set it by typing a2news -s your.server.address.)



You can indeed tweet from your Apple II, if you can believe it. Type ttytter and follow the instructions. For initial setup, you’ll need to sign in to your Twitter account from a web browser, which, if you don’t want to leave your Apple II, could be Lynx, as I will explain in the next post. If you need help, an extensive manual is available for TTYtter. You can also try starting it by typing ttytter -readline for enhanced input, though it is beta and may have problems.



There are email programs you can use, but they can be challenging to set up, so they have not formally been made a part of A2CLOUD for the moment. If you want to give it a go, see this comment to get started, and look for help on Linux forums if you need it.

14. Browse & download

If you want to get new Apple II software, there are a few ways to go about it.

You could try a desktop browser on the Pi, such as the included Epiphany (a.k.a. Web), Midori, or Netsurf, or install an alternative such as Chromium, the open-source cousin of Google Chrome, or Iceweasel, which is a rebranded Firefox.

You can also download with a modern computer, and copy to your Pi over your network. If you don’t want to immediately create a real floppy, see the next post for what to do with your downloads.

Or, for maximum fun, you can browse and download with your Apple II, because A2CLOUD provides you with the stuff on your Pi that you need. My general advice here is to just dive in and try these out if you’re not familiar with them. You’ll find no shortage of help for most of these if you search for it.

Unless you’re using ProTERM or Spectrum on an Apple IIgs, remember to hold down solidApple when pressing the arrow keys when you’re using these programs.


lynx: a text-only web browser which can access simply laid out sites. Examples: lynx ivanx.com, or a download site, like lynx mirrors.apple2.org.za. ProTERM and Spectrum work better for lynx than Z-Link does. (You can also try out alternative text-only web browsers.)

links: another text-only web browser you might, or might not, prefer to Lynx. If you see only a black screen when you start it, press the ESC key to see the menu.

cftp: What you’ll probably spend a lot of time using if you want new Apple II software. It’s for logging into FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers. Unlike the traditional command line FTP program, cftp is full-screen, uses the arrow keys, and is easy. Example: cftp ftp.gno.org

ftp: The traditional command line FTP program. Example: ftp ftp.gno.org. It uses (mostly) typical Unix commands. When asked for username, enter “anonymous” and then anything for the password. Use the usual directory listing and navigation commands (cdpwdls), to browse the site, then get filename to download a file from a site, or put filename to upload a file to a site. To see the current local directory (the one you’ll be downloading into or uploading from), type !pwd, and to change it, type lcd directoryPath. You can see all commands by typing help.

wget: a simple program that can download a full URL from an FTP or web site in a single command, e.g: wget http://appleii.ivanx.com/slammer/files/SLAMMER111P.DSK


15. Use disk images

Once you’ve downloaded stuff to your Pi, or copied stuff on to it from another computer on your network, you can immediately use the vsd1 or vsd2 commands for an uncompressed disk image file (.DSK, .DO, .PO, .RAW, .HDV, .2MG. ISO) containing ProDOS files, and then access them from your Apple II. The image file will be “inserted” into virtual drive 1 or 2, and accessible from VSDRIVE at S2,D1 or S2,D2.

If what you download is an archive file (.SHK, .SDK, .BXY, .ZIP, .TAR.GZ, etc.), you’ll need to expand it first, which you can read about how to do in the next post.

If you’re not sure whether the disk image you downloaded is ProDOS format or not, you can type a2cat imageFileName on your Pi, and it will catalog the disk and tell you the format at the bottom of the listing.

If it’s a DOS 3.3 disk, you can type dos2pro imageFileName to copy the files to a new ProDOS  image, or dos2pro imageFileName DOSFILENAME to copy a single file. Some programs may not work when copied to ProDOS.

Or, you can use ADTPro to transfer the image file to a floppy disk. To make a disk image available to ADTPro, you need to move it into into the ADTPro disk images directory (/usr/local/adtpro/disks) by typing forfloppy imageFileName. To access the files inside that directory, you can also refer to it as $ADTDISKS (e.g. ls $ADTDISKS).

You can also use vsd1 or vsd2 for non-ProDOS disks, but you won’t be able to access them from within ProDOS. However, you can use a ProDOS utility which knows how to access the format (e.g. System Utilities can copy files from DOS 3.3 and Pascal disks).


Some commands for working with Apple II disk images:

mkpo -b totalBlocks newImageFileName PRODOS.VOL.NAME will make a new disk image that has the capacity specified in totalBlocks. (A block is 512 bytes, or half a KB.) The maximum block count is 65535, though if you plan to use the disk image with VSDRIVE, a realistic maximum is 8192. If you omit -b totalBlocks, you’ll get an 800K disk image, unless your image name ends in “.dsk”, in which case you’ll get a 140K disk image. You can also omit PRODOS.VOL.NAME to get an untitled disk image.

dopo imageFileName will convert a DOS-ordered 140K disk image to a ProDOS-ordered image, or vice-versa. The original ordering will not be kept.

acmd will do lots of stuff with Apple II disk images (many formats, including ProDOS, DOS 3.3, and Pascal, are supported). Type acmd by itself to see usage; syntax for copying files in and out of images will be mentioned in the next post on transferring things to your Apple II. (cppo is an alternative, but it’s even slower. It does preserve dates, however.)

$VSD1 and $VSD2 can be used in commands to refer to the disk images assigned to virtual drives 1 and 2, rather than typing out the full path.

16. Expand archives

If you have an archive file, on your Pi, you’ll need to expand it.


Commands for general archive formats:

unzip archiveFileName will extract files from a .zip archive

gunzip compressedFileName will uncompress a .gz compressed file

tar xf archiveFileName will extract files from a .tar archive

tar zxf archiveFileName will extract files from a .tar.gz (or .tgz) archive (both of the previous commands in a single step)

unar archiveFileName will extract files from tons of archive formats, including obsolete ones like StuffIt and DiskDoubler. See The Unarchiver for a full list.


Commands for Apple II archive formats:

nulib2 -x archiveFileName will extract files from a ShrinkIt (.SHK, .SDK, .BXY) or Binary II (.BQY, .BNY) archive. This will mostly be useful when the archive contains a full disk image (typically, but not always, indicated as .SDK); if the archive contains files, use one of the commands below. You can view the contents of an archive before expanding with nulib2 -v archiveFileName.

shk2image archiveFileName imageFileName will extract files from a ShrinkIt or Binary II archive to a ProDOS disk image file (if the one you specify doesn’t exist, an 800K image will be created, unless the name you gave ends in “.dsk”, in which case a 140K image will be created). If you want the archive to be expanded directly to virtual drive 1 or 2, use $VSD1 or $VSD2 for imageFileName.

If you want the archive to be expanded into a ProDOS subdirectory rather than at the top level of the disk image, you can supply a ProDOS path, without the volume name, as an additional argument. The subdirectory (and any subdirectories within it) will be created if it doesn’t exist. For example:

shk2image archiveFileName $VSD2 PATH/TO/PRODOS.DIR.NAME

(You can also uncompress ShrinkIt archives on your Apple II by transferring the archive, as I’ll explain in the next post. It’s slower that way, though.)

For other (and older) Apple II formats: sciibin filename will decode a BinSCII file (.BSC, .BSQ); note that .BSQ files produce ShrinkIt archives when decoded, so use nulib2 -x or shk2image on the result. nulib2 -x filename will extract files from a Binary II (.BNY, .BQY) archive, and will automatically uncompress any Squeezed (.QQ) files within the archive; alternatively, unblu filename will extract files from a Binary II archive and usq filename will uncompress Squeezed files. unbit filename > outfilename will decode an EXEC file made by Executioner; unexec filename > outfilename will decode an EXEC file containing monitor input.

17. Transfer files

If you’ve got files on your Pi that aren’t inside one of your viritual disks, and you want to transfer them to your Apple II, you’ve got a few options.


Archive files:

If it’s an archive file, you can (and perhaps should) expand it directly on the Pi, as explained in A2CLOUD: working with archives and disk images. Otherwise, use one of the cool moves below, and then expand it with ShrinkIt or the appropriate program on the Apple II.


Copy a file into a disk image

acmd -c fileToBeCopied imageFileName

You can then use vsd1 or vsd2 to access the image file, or, alternatively, transfer it to a floppy with ADTPro. If you want to copy a file directly to a disk image already in a virtual drive, use $VSD1 or $VSD2 for imageFileName. You must immediately type vsdsync if you modify an image currently assigned to a virtual drive.

If you want to specify a different name and/or file type, you can use the long form:

acmd -p imageFileName APPLE2.FILENAME fileType auxType < fileToBeCopied

fileType should be a three-letter name (e.g. TXT), or a numeric type (e.g. 255 or \$E0). auxType is also needed for file types that require it (e.g. BIN), and can be either decimal, or hexadecimal if preceded with \$. You can use \$2000 for auxType if you’re not sure. If you want the file to go into a ProDOS subdirectory, you can specify the path as part of APPLE2.FILENAME (but do not include the volume name); any subdirectories that don’t already exist will be created.

(This is a slightly modified version of AppleCommander’s normal -p option: the file type and ProDOS file name are optional, the file name is checked to make sure it’s ProDOS-compatible, and any existing file of the same name within the image is first deleted.)


Transfer a file from your Pi to your Apple II

You can transfer a file to be saved on a local or virtual disk by using the YMODEM protocol. To send one or more files with YMODEM, type:

sb fileToBeTransferred1 fileToBeTransferred2 fileToBeTransferred3 (etc)

Once started, you will need to tell ProTERM or Z-Link to receive YMODEM. In ProTERM, choose YMODEM from the Receive menu; in Z-Link, type open-apple-downarrow, then option 4. In either one, accept the default options (unless you want to change them), and the files should transfer. If for whatever reason they don’t, and you can’t get access to the Linux shell prompt again, type ctrl-X until the prompt reappears. Transfer may be slow at the default 4800 baud rate; I’ll explain how to increase the baud rate in the next post.

If you are using ProTERM, you can also try ZMODEM by using sz instead of sb. ZMODEM is a more efficient protocol than YMODEM, it can auto-start, and it can recover from incomplete transfers, but those are less important in a direct-attached (rather than dial-up) situation, and I haven’t had as much success with it as I have had with YMODEM.


Transfer a file from your Apple II to your Pi

You can also go in the other direction — from your Apple II to the Pi. Type rb (for YMODEM) then tell ProTERM or Z-Link to send YMODEM. (If you prefer to send ZMODEM from ProTERM, just do that, and the Pi will automatically start receiving; you don’t need to type a command first.)

Another option is to save a file to a virtual disk — or transfer a real floppy using ADTPro — and then copy files out of the disk image on the Pi with this command:

acmd -g imageFileName APPLE2.FILENAME

If you saved to the virtual disk, you can type $VSD1 or $VSD2 for imageFileName.

acmd (AppleCommander) has some smarts, and it can translate (or “export”, as it prefers to say) from various Apple II file formats into modern formats. If you want it to give that a shot, use -e instead of -g above.

18. Increase serial port speed

I chose the default speed of 4800 baud for Pi as a lowest common denominator that should work in almost any situation, even a IIc using Z-Link without any kind of hardware handshaking serial cable. It should be fine for command-line stuff, but might be slower than you’d like if you use any full-screen programs (like cftp) or are transferring with YMODEM.

You can try to use a faster baud rate with the following command:

baud baudRate

baudRate can be 300, 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, or 115200. The change will take effect immediately (unless you’re not doing it from your Apple II itself, in which case it won’t do anything), so you’ll need to change the setting in ProTERM or Z-Link, too.

If you want to make the change permanent, with the change taking effect on logout, use:

baud -d baudRate

To see the current speed, just type baud by itself.

You’ll only be able to use 38400 or 57600 on a IIgs (and not with Z-Link), but Hugh Hood has come up with clever ProTERM macros that enable 115200 baud on any Apple II, and A2CLOUD provides them with ProTERM. If you use 115200 baud, you’ll likely drop some characters, especially on an 8-bit Apple II. One strategy you might want to try is to use a slower speed normally, but then “upshift” to 115200 for transfers. When you’re done, you can switch back to the slower speed.

To use Hugh’s macros, choose “Read Globals” from the “Misc” menu, and select either PT3.IIE.GLOBALS, PT3.IIC.GLOBALS, or PT3.IIGS.GLOBALS, depending on what computer you’re using. Then, for a IIe or IIc/IIc+, type solid-apple-F, and it will switch to 115200; you can still switch back to other speeds as usual from the “Online” window. For a IIgs, type shift-option-H, and it will switch to 115200 baud; to switch back to other speeds, type option-H to disable the macro. If you want these macros to automatically be available when ProTERM starts without having to use the “Read Globals” menu item, delete or rename PT3.GLOBALS, and then rename the appropriate globals file to PT3.GLOBALS.


19. Emulate an Apple II

Though the purpose of A2CLOUD is primarily to extend the functionality of your actual Apple II, there are also emulators provided in case you want a virtual Apple II. (If you’re using Apple II Pi, that’s in fact sort of the point.)

You’ll either need a screen attached to your Raspberry Pi, or remote desktop software.

For an emulated Apple IIgs, use GSport, a descendent of the KEGS emulator with significant enhancements by David Schmidt, David Schmenk, Peter Neubauer, Christopher Mason, and others. GSport’s features include Uthernet card emulation, AppleTalk networking, and ImageWriter and Epson printer emulation. Type gsport to if you are at the command prompt and want a full-screen experience, or double-click GSport on the Raspbian desktop. Press F4 for the configuration screen, and alt-F4 to exit. Usage instructions are on the GSport home page.

For a emulated Apple IIe, type linapple to run the LinApple emulator. It has some nifty features like built-in software downloading and a built-in help screen. More information is here.

You can also use GSport’s ancestor, KEGS, by choosing it from the menu of the Raspbian desktop. (To start the Raspbian desktop, type startx or use remote desktop software.) Usage instructions are here.

20. Apple II Pi

David Schmenk has created Apple II Pi, which takes a different approach than A2CLOUD. With A2CLOUD, the idea is to use your Pi as a peripheral for your Apple II.

Apple II Pi flips this around: you can use your Apple II’s keyboard, mouse, joystick, and drives to control your Raspberry Pi, primarily so you can use the GSport emulator, giving you a virtual souped up Apple II. To get benefit from this, you’ll need a screen attached to your Pi.

To use Apple II Pi, you’ll need the Apple II Pi card, or a Raspberry Pi console cable attached to a Super Serial Card (even in a IIgs) or a IIc/IIc+ serial port, via the appropriate serial cable and possibly a DE-9 (aka DB-9) male-to-male null modem adapter. The software is already installed by Raspple II or A2CLOUD (if it doesn’t seem to work, try updating A2CLOUD by typing a2cloud-update).

Once connected, boot the A2CLOUD floppy, and press space on the splash screen. The first time you do this, it will ask you to choose the slot of your Apple II Pi card or Super Serial Card. It should then connect immediately; your Apple II will sound a tone, and any keystrokes you type will show up on the Raspberry Pi’s screen, rather than your Apple II; on the Raspbian desktop, you can use your Apple II mouse. And if you want to see your Apple II prompt on your Raspberry Pi, type a2term; prepare to be pleasantly disoriented.

Apple II Pi also lets you go straight into GSport, bypassing the Raspbian command line, by logging in with username “apple2” (no password); type alt-F4 (or openApple-solidApple-4 on an Apple II keyboard) to quit. When you do, your Pi will fully shut down.

Apple II Pi has many more sophisticated abilities, such being able to develop 6502 code on the Raspberry Pi and execute it on the Apple II. For more info on how to use it, check out Dave’s web site and the Ultimate Apple 2 forums.

21. Release history and notes

A2CLOUD is sorta always in a state of development with tiny tweaks happening without announcement, often to the installer script rather than any visible features per se, and those changes and other small details are (somewhat) documented at the end of the script itself. But here are the noteworthy enhancements. To update, type a2cloud-update.

v1.8.1, May 5, 2015

  • ADTPro 2.0.1
  • Apple II Pi client 1.5

v1.8.0, March 17, 2015

  • compatible with every Raspberry Pi, including Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • GSport installed for non-Raspberry Pi computers, with option for new GS/OS+Spectrum installation, or GSport Internet Starter Kit premade image
  • Links web browser
  • desktop shortcuts and Apple II menu group for emulators and ADTPro
  • new a2cloud-update os command will perform full Raspple II update, including Raspbian OS and NOOBS install manager, A2CLOUD, A2SERVER, and Apple II Pi
  • many small improvements and fixes to A2CLOUD environment and installer script

v1.7.2, February 7, 2015

  • supports Raspberry Pi Model A and A+ (and Pi 2 Model B)
  • resolves issues with Raspbian 2015-01-31 (kernel 3.18)

v1.7.1, August 11, 2014

  • A2CLOUD is no longer “beta” on non-Raspberry Pi computers
  • A2CLOUD includes KEGS and Linapple on non-Raspberry Pi computers
  • A2CLOUD has a faster install script for non-Raspberry Pi computers (downloads binaries)
  • unbit/unexec/bsq archive tools are installed

v1.7.0, August 2, 2014

  • a2cloud-setup installs Java 8 if not already installed

v1.6.9, July 24, 2014 (KansasFest)

  • ADTPro 2.0.0 (quicker and more reliable transfer; selectable filenames from list)
  • confirmed working on Raspberry Pi Model B+ (use the USB ports closer to the Ethernet port)

v1.6.8, Apr 7, 2014

  • ADTPro 1.3.0
  • TTYtter installs properly on non-Pi systems

v1.6.7, Feb 19, 2014

  • A2CLOUD boot floppy contains A2PI client version 1.4
  • A2CLOUD boot floppy splash screen provides simple menu for virtual drives, Apple II Pi, or BASIC
  • A2CLOUD.HDV is now called A2CLOUD.PO (a symbolic link called A2CLOUD.HDV is still there for backwards compatibility/habits)
  • bug fixes for cppo, shk2image, and some launcher scripts

v1.6.6, Feb 17, 2014

  • beta support for Debian and Ubuntu Linux on non-Pi machines
  • ttytter support for color and avoiding non-ASCII characters when running  under Screen
  • opens LXTerminal window by default when starting graphical desktop
  • a2cloud-setup installs Screen if not already installed
  • a2cloud-setup shows installed and available versions
  • a2cloud-setup -y bypasses all prompts

v1.6.5, Feb 5, 2014

  • can use term mono and term color instead of term vt100 and term pcansi

v1.6.4, Jan 31, 2014

  • support for screen command to allow switching between multiple terminals on Apple II
  • term -f can be used to force emulation setting even when term doesn’t want to

v1.6.3, Jan 23, 2014

  • Set TTYtter to always use -ssl mode, which is required by Twitter after 14-Jan-14.
  • Set TTYtter to avoid display of non-ASCII characters on serial port shell
  • Set TTYtter to use color ANSI text (for IIgs) if shell is currently set to display it
  • Provided TTYtter readline module for enhanced input with -readline option
  • Added appleiipi-update command

v1.6.2, Jan 19, 2014

  • Improved display of non-ASCII characters in Apple II terminal emulation programs
  • Support for “PC ANSI” colored text and graphics characters , for use with Spectrum’s ANSI online display, via new term command
  • Added sciibin and unblu for converting BinSCII and Binary II files
  • baud command supports 300 baud, in case you really want to kick it old school

v1.6.1, Jan 14, 2014

  • Added telnet and ttytter (Twitter client)
  • fix for network boot failure when set up under v1.6

v1.6, Dec 31, 2013

  • ADTPro/VSDRIVE 1.2.9 (much faster virtual drives read performance, for the price of a short delay on the vsd1/vsd2 commands and a need to type vsdsync after changing an active virtual drive directly on the Pi; ability to run VSDRIVE from ProDOS program launcher, not just BASIC.SYSTEM)
  • if A2SERVER is installed, shares the ADTPro disks folder as ADTDISKS on the network
  • responds to name “raspberrypi.local” as alternative to IP address to Mac OS X (and Windows with Bonjour Print Services installed) computers on network

v1.5.2, Dec 22 2013

  • added dos2pro command
  • Apple II Pi is now installed with GSport emulator and “apple2user” packages
  • speedier install by downloading A2CLOUD disk images instead of building them

v1.5, Dec 1 2013

  • Adds IRC and newsreader clients (Irssi and Tin) and, with shortcuts for Apple II community (a2chat and a2news commands)
  • adds KEGS and LinApple emulators
  • installs Apple II Pi
  • easy installation via Raspple II

v1.2.3, Nov 2013

  • A2PI client version 1.3 added to A2CLOUD disk
  • faster install for unar/lsar, nulib2, and cftp (downloads rather than compiles)
  • console (built-in serial) login disabled, to allow Apple II Pi to have that port
  • installs xrdp/tightvncserver for remote desktop access from another computer
  • adds DSK2FILE image utility to A2CLOUD disk

v1.0, Sep 2 2013

  • first proper release with full documentation, bug fixes, and demo video

beta, Jul 27, 2013

  • internet access and virtual drives for any Apple II via a Raspberry Pi; introduced at KansasFest 2013