Friday, March 07, 2008

Flashback to MacOS 9 - we've come a long way

os9desktop.pngA sequence of computer hand-me-downs here left us with an old PowerPC iBook with no owner. Leopard won't run on it and I'm so in to all the Leopard features and multi-touch stuff that it's getting hard to use.

Digging through my disk collection I found the original recovery CDs and thought I might travel back in time and try running MacOS 9 again.

Oh nostalgia!

It wouldn't connect to my WPA2 encrypted network so I shared the ethernet from another Mac and that worked just fine. The old Internet Explorer can't render many popular pages, this blogger page was rather scrambled and ironically, the Low End Mac page was unreadable.

os9sherlock.pngRandom notes: The old launch bar along the bottom of the screen was very functional compared to the dock we have now. Fonts all look rather jagged. Sherlock doesn't work any more, there must be a proxy that no longer exists.

No Google in there at all!

There is an early iTunes and iMovie but really what were we thinking with that brushed metal look?

It certainly shuts down faster than MacOS X but I would have to say that Tiger runs faster on a PowerPC G3 than MacOS 9 does which is certainly to the credit of the OS team who have done amazing optimisations over the past 8 years.

Would I go back? No way. I am totally in to Leopard and totally addicted to having a Unix shell and all those great tools available to me. I can't imagine what we'll be running in 8 years from now.os9About.png

Gosh, plenty of free memory there. I used it for a while, had a poke around some of the old apps just for fun. I wonder if I can install some sort of linux on this thing?


Anonymous said...

I re-watched Blade Runner recently (lovely HD release BTW). It's an excellent film that, on the whole, hasn't dated very much. Those huge floating video screens with Japanese women popping pills are just as creepy and distopian as they ever were.

The computer screens however were completely retro. I think it's generally better for filmmakers to just not show computer user interfaces because we simply have no idea what they're going to look like, even a short time hence. Although they had a pretty credible guess in Minority Report...

I'll always remember Mac OS pre-X fondly but like you have no desire to return there (although WinXP sortof feels like it...)

On a slightly more helpful note I have an old PowerMac 7600 and I've run both NetBSD and Yellow Dog Linux at various times, mostly with success. It wasn't exactly easy due to the 7600 being equipped with an early revision of Open Firmware; this is a problem that I don't think you'll have with the iBook.

I think the best way to use a machine like this would be as a terminal server. Simply have it log in via VNC or XDMCP to a more modern and capable machine running elsewhere.

Peter Marks said...

The whole challenge of science fiction is to avoid making specific predictions about what technology might actually look like and focus on the social aspects.

The only success I can name is 2001 which I think stands up pretty well.

The current trend in UI by Apple as shown in the iPhone interface and parts of Leopard, is to use cartoon style "boing" animation effect to draw your eye to the right place - for showing a menu item from help or the found word in a search. Core Animation makes this easy for developers, I hope we don't go overboard with this or it will be like the early days of desktop publishing....

Anyhow, perhaps this will be in our future but I wouldn't be prepared to "burn it in" to a science fiction work.