Best Classic Mac Software
This page lists some of the best software for the Classic Mac OS, in my admittedly biased opinion. Listings are alphabetical, and some programs have OS X versions as well as classic ones.
DaylightSavingsTime is a control panel that automatically changes your system clock and toggles the DST bit when daylight savings time starts and ends. Not necessary with Mac OS 8.5 or later, it's a great thing to have with older versions of the Mac OS.
Disinfectant 3.7.1 is a free antivirus program for the Mac. It does not handle any macro virus or deal with the AutoStart Worm. There will be no future updates.
Eudora (freeware) is an excellent email program, although I prefer Claris Emailer. The Light mode is feature limited, the sponsored mode displays ads, and the $50 paid mode is full featured, ad free, and includes SpamWatch.
- Eudora Lite 1.3.1 supports System 6.0.x.
- Eudora Lite 3.1.3 requires System 7.0 or later and will work on a Mac Plus or better.
- Version 4.3.3 requires Mac OS 7.6 or later and a PowerPC processor.
- Versions 5.0.1 and 5.1.x require Mac OS 8.1 or later and a PowerPC processor. The OS X version supports 10.0 and later.
- Version 5.2.x is available in both Classic and OS X versions. The classic version requires Mac OS 8.6 or later and CarbonLib 1.6 or later. The OS X version supports 10.0 and later.
- Version 6.x requires Mac OS 9 with CarbonLib 1.6 or later or OS X 10.0 or later.
iCab, the perennial beta browser from Germany that's being developed for Mac OS X, the classic Mac OS, and even 680x0 Macs. The 680x0 version supports Mac OS 7.1 through 8.1. The PowerPC version supports OS 7.6.1 through 9.2.2. iCab 3.0 requires Mac OS 8.5 through 9.2.2.
Macjordomo (Leuca) is a remarkably easy to use mail list manager. The program is under constant update. I recommend running it on a separate computer from your mail server, since bad subscriber commands can occasionally lock it up. Because it runs a Mac Plus, you won't need a lot of power to do this. I used it to manage several email lists in the past.
NetPresenz 4.1 (Stairways, free) lets you use your Mac as a web server, FTP server, and with Gopher (whatever that is). Running it on my vintage Mac II, it served pages about 50% faster than MacHTTP.
Netscape Communicator 4.8 (Netscape) used to be my favorite Web browser. Not as svelte as Navigator 3.0, but you don't have to (or want to) install all the options. (Netscape Navigator 4.0 is too stripped down - it can't even send email!) Netscape 7.x is available to OS X users.
PopChar Lite v2.7.2 gives you a pulldown window displaying the entire character set in your current font. Much easier than remembering some of those obscure keystrokes. Requires System 7 to 9.x. Also a download link on Pure Mac.
SIMS 1.8, the Stalker Internet Mail Server (Stalker) is faster than EIMS (Eudora Internet Mail Server). Better yet, it offers spam filtering -- essential in the era of junk email. The latest beta adds support for multiple spam blocking lists.
Microsoft's free TrueType fonts are nice, but they are no longer available for separate download. Just install Internet Explorer, and you'll have them. Low End Mac is optimized for their Verdana font, which is more legible on screen than Arial or Helvetica.
Address Book 4.2.4 (shareware, $30) is a great program for storing addresses, printing envelopes and address books, etc. (Jim Leitch, the author of Address Book, passed away in October 1996. Address Book was being handled by Jim Smith Software, but I am no longer able to locate jimsmithsoft.com on the Web.) Available for download from our server.
Default Folder 3.1.5 (shareware, $25, St. Clair Software) does what Boomerang and Directory Assistance used to, until OS 8 broke them. Of course, it works with System 7, too, and tracks the various folder's you've been working in. It also works beautifully in Classic mode, and I wish OS X had a way to make navigating as simple and powerful as this little Control Panel does.
GraphicConverter (Lemkesoft, shareware, $30 or $35) is a great, easy-to-use image editor that can work with more graphic formats than you can shake a stick at. Only drawback: makes much larger GIF files than Photoshop (which means after working in GraphicConverter, I run the GIF through Photoshop to reduce file size and use the Export For Web option).
MenuChoice 2.1 (Kerry Clendinning, shareware, $15) is much faster and more flexible than Apple Menu Items. Requires System 7 to 9.x. Download from our server.
SmoothType 2.3.1 (shareware, $10) provides anti-aliased TrueType and Type 1 fonts, which can look just great on your screen. Be forewarned, this will make your Mac more sluggish. Try it to see if the improved look is worth it. (Alas, it doesn't work well with FrameMaker 5 and/or Mac OS 8.1 on my Power Mac at work.) Recent versions of ATM and ATM Deluxe (much more expensive) offer anti-aliasing with Type 1 fonts.
ramBunctious 1.6.2 (shareware, $12) allows you to create RAM disks. The RAM disk that you can create using Apple's Memory control panel has two drawbacks:
- to turn it on or off, you must restart your Mac
- it loses all data when you turn off the computer.
Since ramBunctious is an application, you can launch RAM disks as you need them. It can also mirror any change to your RAM disk to an image file on your hard drive, making it easy to restore the contents of your RAM disk. Also available for OS X.
Remember? (Dave Warker, shareware, $20) is a helpful program to remind you of birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments. Version 3.4 supports System 7.x and later; version 4.2 requires Mac OS 8.0 or later and supports OS X.
AppleWorks (formerly ClarisWorks) 5.0 (Apple, under $100) is simply the best integrated software ever made. Period. For most users, it's all the word processor and all the spreadsheet they'll ever need. It's a shame Apple hasn't updated it in years and isn't including it with the new Intel Macs.
Claris Home Page 3.0 (FileMaker, discontinued) is the easiest to use page design software yet. This entire site was constructed using Home Page. You can learn learn and use all the HTML tricks you want - but you don't have to learn any.
Claris Emailer (Apple, discontinued) is an excellent email program, easily handling multiple accounts, offering sophisticated filtering, and very intuitive. Free 60-day trial version available from Claris. Helpful review on MacSpectre.
FileMaker Pro (FileMaker, about $200) is easy and powerful, perhaps the best and most Mac-like database ever created. Version 4 even supports putting your data on the Web. (I'm still working happily with version 3.)
Speed Doubler 8, Copy Agent (Connectix, discontinued) provides smart file copying (only replaces changed files), a more intelligent disk cache, and, for Power Macs, a better 680x0 emulator than Apple has. Speed Doubler works through Mac OS 8.6; Copy Agent requires Mac OS 8.5 or later and eliminates the disk caching and 680x0 emulation. Look for these on eBay.
RAM Charger 8.1 (Jump Development, $40-45) dynamically allocates RAM as programs need it. I'd call that smarter than RAM Doubler, which it is compatible with. By launching applications using the minimum amount of memory they need, RAM Charger lets you run more programs. (Not yet compatible with Mac OS 8.1.)
Photoshop (Adobe, under $600) is the best image editor I've worked with. Hint: You can sometimes buy a good color scanner bundled with a full version of Photoshop for less than the cost of Photoshop alone or pick up an older version on eBay that has all the features you need for a lot less than the cost of a new copy.
PowerPrint and PowerPrint Pro (Infowave, discontinued) <see review> let you print to almost any parallel-port printer from your Mac. PowerPrint was for a single user; the Pro version let you put the printer on a network. Excellent with DeskJets, OfficeJets, etc.
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ