OS X on Pre-G3 Power Macs

As far as I’m concerned, the best news of the week came from Sonnet Technologies, which announced some of its G3 and G4 upgrade cards will be compatible with Mac OS X.

Performa 6300The only Mac I own that even has a chance of running OS X is my Power Mac 6400, with its 300 MHz G3 upgrade. Odd duck machines like the 6400 and 6500 were out of the running for G3 and G4 upgrades – until some enterprising soul figured out a way to build an upgrade card that would work in the level 2 cache slot.

Nothing’s guaranteed yet; Sonnet so far is only announcing OS X compatibility for its most conventional upgrades, the ones that use either daughter card slots or ZIF sockets. Still, the company’s press release said a statement on L2 upgrade compatibility will be coming soon, so I’m hoping for the best.

Also noted: That same Sonnet press release said there will be a statement on the compatibility of its NuBus upgrade cards with OS X. It’s a stretch, I think, to picture a 6100 running OS X, even if the likely problem of OS X not supporting the NuBus architecture can be solved. Given the limits of the first generation PPC machines, running OS X on one of them will be like towing a 747 with a VW Beetle. You can get where you’re going that way, but only very slowly and with much embarrassment for all concerned.

Macs & Unix

Better, I think, to see about porting one of the PPC Linuxes over to the x100 line. (BTW, why hasn’t this been done? MkLinux, the Linux Apple supported a few years back, runs on pre-PCI Power Macs. Unfortunately, it’s a touch slow compared to the monolithic kernel Linux you can buy for PCI era machines.)

Speaking of things Unix, my new project is to use MacX to run apps remotely from an A/UX deck. That sounds grander than it is: I have a copy of A/UX 2.x and some older machines. One of the machines gets A/UX; the other gets MacX. I run a LocalTalk cable between them and, with luck, I’ll have my own little Mac/Unix network.

Of course, I have absolutely no reason to take on this particular task; for that matter, I don’t have any real solid reason for owning as many Macs as I do.

It seems to come down to – stuff happens, and if you’re so inclined, the stuff that happens gives off older Macs. That’s how half of mine fell into my orbit, and I have a friend on the PC side who says the same sort of thing happens to him.

Of course, he’s wise enough to keep his computers in a workshop out in the garage, so I suspect his significant other doesn’t have a real good handle on just how much has accumulated. Both he and she seem happier that way.

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