My Turn

Passing of a Free OS

Stuart Bell
2001.03.16

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Rev. Bell sent this letter to the Apple Software Licensing Department on Thursday, March 15, 2001.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I write to express my disappointment, sadness and anger that you have, apparently, required the historic Apple enthusiasts' web site www.mac512.com to desist from making available downloads of very old Mac system software - almost exclusively prior to System 6 - to other enthusiasts.

I note than none of that software was ever sold by Apple, but was available free of charge. I note that Apple used to distribute it free, but you no longer have it on your ftp site. I note the the owner of The Macintoshthe site made no money from the project. I note that he did not duplicate anything available on Apple's own ftp site. I know from my own personal experience how useful the Mac512k site was for those with an interest in old Macintosh computers.

There is a large number of people 'out here' who collect, restore, and use very old Macs. Very often, as in my case, those machines co-exist alongside much newer Macs, which are used for 'serious' work. Invariably, we are the people who tell friends and family to got out and buy a new Mac when they are changing their computers.

What has Apple gained from cutting off this support? How can stopping GY from distributing, for example, System 2.0/Finder 4.1, which runs nicely on my 512ke, in any way be to the benefit of Apple Computer?

It can't. All you have done is to score a massive PR own-goal among your most loyal customers, some of whom have been buying Macs since 1984.

Perhaps we enthusiasts can do nothing about this. It certainly will drive underground the passing on of copies of ancient software to support newly-found old Macs. It is also totally undermined by the huge number of academic sites across the globe whose ftp sites continue to carry this stuff.

On the other hand, my site and I were recently featured in the New York Times in an article which described the concept of the 'Power Colo(u)r Classic'. Somehow, journalists find the mix of a Church minister who also collects and modifies very old computers strangely appealing. (My current count is 25 compact Macs).

I really don't want to go back to the media with a story about 'Apple pulls the plug on old Mac collectors'.

So please don't make me. Rethink your decision about www.mac512.com.

Thank you.

Rev. Stuart Bell

Stuart Bell loves older Macs, especially the Colour Classic. His Power Colour Classic site is the most authoritative site on Colour Classic upgrades in the English language. And he is still looking for an L2 cache for a 575.

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