Charles Moore's Mailbag

More Tiger Browsers, OS X 10.5 Runs on Late 2009 Mac mini, Catweasel Floppy Controller, and More

Charles Moore - 2010.06.02 - Tip Jar

Another Browser for Tiger

From Alejandro in response to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Increasingly Left Behind by Browser Updates:

Dear Charles,

I've noticed that you write about web browsers a fair bit, most recently on browsers for Tiger, but I don't think you've ever mentioned OmniWeb. Might I suggest you give it a try, if you haven't already? The current version supports Mac OS 10.4.8 and up.


Hi Alejandro,

Good suggestion. I've checked out OmniWeb in the past, but not recently. However, I like to keep one each WebKit, Gecko, and Presto browser engine up and running, and Shiira is currently filling the WebKit role for me nicely on the OS X 10.4 machines - and Chrome likewise on the Macintel (OmniWeb is also based on WebKit)

Incidentally, Dan Knight says that after I filed my column, he installed Opera 10.53 on his Dual 1 GHz Power Mac G4 running Tiger (10.4.11), and encountered no problems on the few sites he had tested (LEM and YouTube).

OTOH, Opera 10.53 managed to reinstall itself on my Pismo last Thursday unbeknownst to me until the page load stalls, spinning beach ball, and so forth clued me in to that something was not right. I trashed it, reinstalled Opera 10.51, and everything returned to normal.



Cruz and Stainless Do Run on PowerPC

Hey Charles,

Just a heads up: Cruz and Stainless both run great on my Power Mac G4 in Leopard. Latest versions too - not sure why you say in your latest article that they are PPC incompatible. They do require Leopard however.

Still, Tiger is on the way out. Camino might be one of the better options - or OmniWeb for that matter. Never been a fan of Opera, though I do keep an eye on it.

Nathan Hill

Hi Nathan,

A big "Doh" on my part. I ran them both on my 17" PowerBook. Brain fade.

What I should've said in the "support" article was that they won't run on the Pismo unless you have a hacked Leopard install.

I notified Dan, and he corrected the error. It now reads "they don't support Tiger."

Thanks for the heads-up.

And, yes, Tiger is losing its roar. Hard to believe that it's been more than five years since it was first released.


Tiger Browsers: Give Camino a Try

From William:

I saw your article about the browser situation for Tiger users today on the Low End Mac RSS feed, and I've got some comments that you might be interested in.

I'm honestly left wondering why there has been such a rush to drop support for the Tiger operating system. As a very happy user of Windows 2000 over in the PC world, I've had no problem maintaining a current browser and satisfactory computing environment. I expect that even with the end of official support looming that I will still be able to run Windows 2000 for a while.

Thus far, I've been doing okay with Tiger, but I wonder when the day is coming that it will no longer be satisfactory at all, and I think that is unfortunate.

Despite having several newer machines, my most used Macintosh is a heavily upgraded Quicksilver 2002 G4 system, with an upgraded CPU from Sonnet Technologies, 1.5 GB of installed RAM, and an ATI Radeon 9800 AGP video card. I really like this system, and while I'm sure it would run Leopard very well, I haven't wanted to fix what really isn't broken. I've held onto it just because Apple still hasn't come to market with anything that fills the niche this machine does. (A Mac Pro would be overkill, and while I really like the Mac mini, I have some need for expansion slots.) It's very rare in this day and age, but I do still boot into Classic on this system from time to time.

To get back to the question of browsers, though....

As I don't find Safari that interesting of a browser, and since I prefer the Mozilla browser platform anyway, I have been using the Camino browser on that system. Since it wasn't mentioned in your article, I thought you might like to know about it. Its current version does still run on Tiger/PPC and seems to run very well. There is nothing I haven't been able to do with it.

In closing, I do want to mention that Apple's policy on software updates strikes me as confusing. Apple wants to make inroads into the corporate computing environment, and there can be no doubt that they have. However, many businesses - even today - still run older systems and software for as long as the manufacturer will support them. Despite Microsoft's many faults, they do a good job of supporting their older software releases. So too do many commercial Unix and Linux vendors. I think this policy of support for only one version behind what is current hurts Apple, but I do believe their resources could be spread a bit thin with all the markets that they are presently in.*

I haven't used Opera too much, but they were one of the last developers standing of a current web browser for the OS/2 platform. (Yes, I've used a lot of different operating systems.)

It might sound a little crazy, but I was going to suggest contacting Opera about the problems you've had with their browser on a Pismo PowerBook. I suppose there is a good chance that they might say "you really do need a newer/faster/pricier system" but given that they are a relatively small concern, they might also say "although we can't guarantee anything, we will look into it".

I have found that the Opera team is generally very responsive, and there's nothing to lose by trying!


* Editor's note: According to the May 2010 operating system usage share figures compiled by MarketShare, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger has more users than Windows 2000 (0.66% vs. 0.50%). 12.5% of all Mac users are still using Tiger, while 37.2% are on Leopard (the last version with PowerPC support), and 44.4% are using Snow Leopard - that's 81.6% using OS X 10.5 or later. Only 9.4% of Mac users are using an operating system older than OS X 10.4. dk

Hi William,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Apple has a habit of quickly losing interest in and terminating support for its older software, although in fairness, they do still support Tiger with Safari, at least for now.

I really don't feel like I can complain too loudly about browser support for my 10-plus-year-old Pismos, which still do a pretty amazing job for me. Pretty well all Macs built since about 2002 can run Leopard, which apparently is still available by phoning an Apple sales representative, although no longer offered on Apple's Website.

However, it's very ironic that Apple's "You'll Love A Mac" promotional campaign brags:

"Designed to last.

"A Mac is designed for a long, productive life. AppleDesigners and engineers spend countless hours ensuring that each Mac is precisely built - inside and out. From the down-to-the-micron fit of each internal component to the finish of the enclosure, every detail matters. Take MacBook Pro, for example. Its unibody enclosure is machined from a solid block of aluminum. The result is a MacBook Pro that is thin and light, looks polished and refined, and feels strong and durable."

True enough, but it rings a bit hollow when they throw users of perfectly serviceable older Macs under the bus OS-support-wise.

I don't think Apple has much anxiety about lack of enterprise enthusiasm for their OS. They make a ton of money at the consumer end, and, more irony, enterprise users seem to need more hand-holding and want volume discounts.

I'm actually using Camino 2.0.3 this week on my MacBook in place of my usual Firefox. I check it out from time to time, but I tend to revert back to Firefox as my Gecko engine browser on the Intel machine and SeaMonkey on the Pismos under 10.4. I like the looks and features of Camino better, but SeaMonkey's more rudimentary GUI seems to tax the old Pismo's ancient graphics support a bit less than Firefox or Camino.

I did contact Opera about the problems I've had with version 10.53 refusing to start up at all on my MacBook, in either OS X 10.5.8 or 10.6.3. It just crashes at launch and sends up a dialog. They got back to me promptly, asked that I send them the crash logs, which I did, but I haven't heard anything further. That was about a month ago. The issue is still unresolved (I tried installing a fresh download this week).

At least version 10.53 starts on the Pismo; it just gums up the works when it's running. 10.52 beta 2 and 10.51 are performing smoothly on the two 'Books respectively, so it does seem to be two separate 10.53 issues. I do hope they get it solved, at least for the Intel machine. It's a tossup between Opera and Google Chrome as to which is my favorite browser, but they are my two favorite browsers.

Incidentally, Opera has released a version 10.60 alpha build, with further expunging of Carbon code, and there is no Java support whatsoever in 10.60 for OS X 10.4, although it can still run in Tiger.


Editor's note: I am a longtime Camino user; it's been my default browser for years on both my Tiger and my Leopard Macs. I prefer Camino because it's more Mac-like than Firefox or SeaMonkey and seems to run a bit more smoothly on my hardware (dual 500 MHz, dual 1 GHz, dual 1.6 GHz G4 Power Macs plus a 1.25 GHz eMac). The biggest drawback is that Camino will not store multiple IDs and passwords for a website and the CSS3 rendering - used to create the buttons near the top and bottom of LEM pages - falls far behind what other modern browsers offer. If Camino was at parity with Firefox, that problem might disappear, but Camino's features always seem to be a version behind. (For Flash content, such as Farmville, Firefox seems smoother than Camino.) dk

Camino Supports Older Mac OS X Versions

From Lukas:


in your Miscellaneous Ramblings column of May 25, one browser was unfortunately not mentioned, and that's Camino.

It uses the same layout engine as Firefox and SeaMonkey and feels a lot faster compared to both of them, as it uses a native Cocoa UI. Firefox and SeaMonkey use a cross-platform UI, called XUL, which is interpreted at runtime. Camino also integrates nicely with all the native Mac OS X frameworks like Keychain and Bonjour. Interestingly, it's actually even older than Firefox.

The Camino people have traditionally supported old Mac OS X releases for a very long time and certainly deserve a lot of praise for that. Version 1.6.11, released this March, still supports OS X 10.3.9, although it is the final release for Panther. Version 2.0, first released in November and updated to 2.0.3 yesterday, will likely support Tiger for another few years.

There's an interview with Camino lead developer Mike Pinkerton over at the Mozilla Memory project that's definitely worthwhile listening to. The interview explains in great detail the history of the Camino project.

Mike works at Google on Chromium nowadays. Chrome/Chromium doesn't support PowerPC machines, because the V8 JavaScript JIT-compiler lacks a code generator for PPC. Also, Tiger support seems to be impossible due to its lack of support for sandboxing:

Best regards,

Hi Lukas,

Thanks for the comments and links.

I certainly appreciate the efforts of the Camino development team, and as I noted above in my reply to William, I'm currently checking out Camino 2.0.3 this week on my MacBook in place of my usual Firefox. I check new versions of Camino out from time to time, but I tend to revert back to Firefox as my Gecko engine browser on the Intel machine and SeaMonkey on the Pismos under 10.4. I like the looks and feature set of Camino better, but SeaMonkey's more rudimentary GUI seems to tax the old Pismo's ancient graphics support a bit less than FF or Camino. Perhaps the demands of Cocoa partly?


MacBook Heat: Leopard vs. Snow Leopard

From Blaine:

Hi Charles,

Was reading some of the comments on the heating issues on MacBooks running Leopard and Snow Leopard. It's interesting to me, your issues with L. vs. S.L. on your 'Book after the upgrade. I just recently bought a refurb 2.26 GHz Unibody 'Book from Apple with Snow Leopard preloaded. I'm coming to that from running an AlBook and a Pismo with Tiger, so I'm quite impressed with the system. So far, I've had no problems with heating nor with any of programs I've been running. It just fascinates me that there are so many issues with upgrades to Snow Leopard. Is there some bizarre difference between the upgrade and the preinstall? Isn't it the same software?

Of course, I haven't been running this system long and don't have many programs loaded. No major tweaks to the OS on my part. All I'm running right now are iWorks for personal productivity, Bean for quick notes when needed, and NeoOffice for work stuff where I need a greater compatibility with Office documents. I use Safari exclusively for my web browsing, webmail, etc. And I occasionally pop up a utility program or two when I specifically need them.

I have discovered a few oddities, but those are all in the software compatibility line. I use an Excel spreadsheet as a timesheet. iWork Numbers doesn't like the way it's set up and demands to give me a list of errors whenever I try to open it there. NeoOffice spreadsheet opens and runs it without a single burp. But the formatting in the Word document I use to do title covers confuses the NeoOffice word processor to no end. Pages opens it without complaint and handles all the odd formatting with aplomb.


Ah, the wonderful world of computers!

- Blaine

Hi Blaine,


As I noted in the article, my MacBook runs significantly cooler in Leopard than Snow Leopard. For example, right now running Leopard on a two week or more old bootup and with 18 applications running (including three browsers, Thunderbird 3, iTunes, and MacSpeech Dictate, with a half hour or so of uptime on a warm evening in the house, the MacBook's CPU underside temperature (as measured by Temperature Monitor) is a relatively tepid 56° - 57° C. I dare say it would be more like at least 70° C under similar conditions in Snow Leopard (later addendum: back in Snow Leopard last evening, the MacBook ran in the 75° to low 80°s range with the fan running almost constantly).

However, particular versions of software seem to have a significantly different thermal effect. For example, the last two betas (at least) of Thunderbird 3.1 cause the MacBook's temperature to spike, so I'm still back in T-B 3.

I'd be interested in knowing how hot your 2.26 GHz MacBook's processor temp is. My 2.0 GHz MacBook doesn't feel very hot to touch even when the processor temp climbs above 80° C.

In his review of the new 2.4 GHz MacBook, Laptop Mag's K.T. Bradford says that after playing a Hulu video at full screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad reached a tepid 81° F, and the underside of the 'Book 94°, with hottest area nearest the hinge on the bottom, which measured a whopping 120° - much hotter than the previous generation, which had only reached 97° during the same test.

Most systems being upgraded to Snow Leopard from an earlier version will have an accretion of add-ons and user preferences to contend with that are not in play with a fresh, clean factory install.


Hi Charles,

Thanks for you reply.

I'll admit that I am being entirely subjective when talking about heat issues on my MacBook. Noting only how hot it "feels". I know my AlBook, running Tiger, got warm enough you could feel it through the keyboard as you typed. And my Pismo, if used for a long period of time, would probably have been somewhat uncomfortable to have sitting on your lap. The MacBook has been very well behaved by comparison.

I'll have to check the processor temp on my 'Book. If I can remember what to use to do it. Though, probably the most intensive thing I do on mine is watch the occasional DVD while I'm on the road.

If when I do a check, I'll let you know. I'd be interested myself.


Hi Blaine,

I use Temperature Monitor.

My 1.33 GHz 17" PowerBook used to get pretty hot to touch, but interestingly my 550 MHz G4 upgraded Pismos stay surprisingly cool. I barely notice them warming up at all. Right now, my 2.0 GHz aluminum MacBook booted in Snow Leopard and with the CPU temp ranging from 72° - 80° C, feels just barely warm on top, and warm but not hot underneath, but I prefer running in Leopard, where it mostly stays in the 60°s with the same suite of software running.

See my full review of Temperature Monitor on Mac Opinion for more information.


OS X 10.5 Works on the Late 2009 Mac mini

From Steven:

We have a couple of Mac minis (late 2009) onto which I have installed 10.5.8 despite them shipping with 10.6.something. They are used to drive digital signs, and Snow Leopard was causing a silly problem which was not present in regular Leopard.


Hi Steven,

I've noted several silly problems is Snow Leopard that don't manifest in Leopard.


Editor's note: The Late 2009 Mac mini was released less than two months after Snow Leopard, and it was pretty much a clock speed upgrade from the March 2009 version, which shipped with OS X 10.5.6. It was undoubtedly developed before OS X 10.6 was finalized. This would explain it running under 10.5.8. I've updated the profile to note OS X 10.5.8 compatibility. dk

In our case, Snow Leopard would disable the screen saver when Keynote was running. I guess that's a feature, but not when you're running a digital sign and don't want people to see the desktop when the slides loop.

Read 800K Mac Floppies with a Catweasel Card

From Aaron:

It's expensive, and therefore only a viable option if you have a lot of old floppies to read, but a Catweasel Mk4 Plus will read 800K Mac floppies. (And basically every other old, obscure floppy out there; it's a really, really programmable floppy controller.) It's 99 Euro at They also have the very old Catweasel ISA, which will also read 720K, 800K, and 1440K Mac floppies, for 40 Euro, but you'll need a DOS PC to stick it in.

Unfortunately, the MacOS X drivers never really materialized, so it only works under Windows and Linux (well, and AmigaOS), but it's a good tool for someone who needs to deal with lots of old floppy formats.

Not the sort of low-budget answer Troy was looking for, but perhaps useful for an archivist.

And no, I have no idea why it's called a "Catweasel".

- Aaron

Thanks for the tip, Aaron.

I hadn't heard of it previously, but at that price, I don't imagine there are many sold.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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