A2CLOUD: 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.

4 thoughts on “A2CLOUD: log in from your Apple II

  1. eric F

    “Screen” didn’t seem to be installed on my Raspple II 1.0.5. Easily remedied with “sudo apt-get install screen” from the Pi.

    1. ivanx Post author

      Good catch — I just discovered it myself the other day. Will be fixed in the next release of Raspple II and A2CLOUD.

  2. Paul Ogren

    I can not get pro term to work. I can get z.link to work at 19200 but PROTERM won’t cooperate. I tried making a new a2cloud boot disk but I still get the pt3.bios file that I have to DELETE to get it to ask me for modem. I pick null modem with rts/cts and SSC slot 2 and then jigs printer port.
    I get a pt3 dialing error and then it asks for the program disk which it can’t find.

    I am using a ROM 1 iigs with a SSC in slot 2.

    SO far I think this is awesome.


  3. mocheez

    There must be something I’m missing… I have my Raspberry Pi with latest Raspple release installed. I have the A2cloud 5.25″ floppy disk ready for my Apple //c. I’m using the serial-to-usb cable (the one I successfully use on a daily basis to transfer my disks with ADTPro) connected to (either) usb port on the PI, and modem port on the //c… But A2Cloud invariably hangs when I hit “V” on the Apple //c splash screen. But when I unplug the USB cable while A2cloud is still running on the //c, I finally get a prompt on the screen. I’ve tried both the modem and printer ports on the //c side and both the upper and lower USB ports on the PI side : same result. Before I start to think the problem comes from the cable, I have one question : Do I have to first locally log in the Raspple session on the PI (with keyboard and screen) before I can access it from the Apple //c, or is just firing up the Pi enough? Thanks.


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