Welcome to Macintosh

Making the Case for a Truly Modern, Up-to-date Browser for Mac OS 9

- 2007.10.25

Bong! . . . :-) . . . Welcome to Macintosh!

Hear ye, hear ye! Now hear this! Leopard will be introduced to the world on October 26th! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

That's cool and all, but what about Mac OS 9? Where's the love? Sitting all alone in the corner over there, being treated like an old, but still good, comfortable pair of shoes collecting dust. Where's the justice? There's a lot of dance left in the ol' dame yet!

For those of us who remember the Classic Mac OS days, Leopard puts the final nail in the coffin for any remainder of the "true" Mac OS. As of Leopard, Classic mode ceases to exist. Sure, we have SheepShaver, but it's not the same.

Granted Classic mode wasn't what you'd call a pillar of strength, but it at least kept the flicker of the flame alive for the G-crowd (those who use G3 and higher based Macs that can run Classic mode).

Mac OS 9 has a lot going for it even now. Its simplicity in terms of user interface, which to this day OS X still doesn't entirely match, is a major strength.

It's greatest weakness in terms of modern appeal? Lack of a good browser.

Classic Mac Browsers

Let's look at the lineup for OS 9 browsers.

First you have the truly yucky and deplorable Internet Explorer 5.1.7. Buggy, slow - need I say more? Netscape 4.7, 4.8, or even 7.0.2? They're okay. They're passable - but buggy and slow to a point.

Then there's iCab. This is the browser I used on the tail end of my dialup days before I switched to DSL last year. My main purpose for using it to begin with was because it was the only browser that I could use to log into the CompuServe forums and chat rooms, something that no other browser could do. iCab is a great browser, but it's slow on dialup and even lags on DSL. Kudos to the makers of iCab for continuing OS 9 development. I pray you'll continue to keep development going, because iCab is getting better all the time.

WaMCom (based off Mozilla) and WannaBe (a text-only browser) I haven't tried yet, but I reckon I should.... (Download WaMCom here.)

Then there's Mozilla. I never thought of using Mozilla until I recently visited my good friend Sean. He uses Mozilla 1.2.1 on 9.2.2 running on his Molar Mac (G3 AIO). It impressed me, even for a browser that is no longer being developed for OS 9. It has reasonable speed and is still current enough to handle most things. But Mozilla still lacks in that it can't render some sites at all, which is sadly what all OS 9 browsers suffer from.

A Plea to Developers

I'd like to make a plea to software developers out there who still program in OS 9. Maybe it's the old-school in me, or maybe it's the nostalgia, or the fact that OS X still hasn't completely won me over - nevertheless, I issue a plea to all OS 9 developers out there to help the makers of iCab in developing a modern browser that will keep OS 9 alive.

OS 9 is still viable even in an age of OS X with all its unnecessary, resource-hogging eye candy. For those of us with older Macs, it's apparent that Apple is zooming at the speed of light to forget about older Macs and their users. But lest they forget, were were the ones who supported them during their darkest days.

Maybe we're not ready to give up on our beige beauties and the early colored beauties too! Hear our call, developers! Let's keep OS 9 alive! Let's prove that the last iteration of the "true" Mac OS won't go down without a fight!

Feel free to drop me a line at thomas(at)lowendmac(dot)com with your thoughts. LEM

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