Thursday, 7 May 2020

22 years of the imac G3

The register had a post this morning that it was 22 years to the day that Apple released the iMac G3, the machine that arguably saved Apple from going under.

I had a couple of these machines, but never as OS X machines:

One, a genuine 1998 G3 iMac, I got given as I was known to enjoy experimenting with extending the usable life of redundant hardware by installing linux (otherwise known as buggering about with linux on old machines), the other I actually bought from a government disposal site for a few dollars.

Both were useful, and I actually used the original old G3 machine as my main desk machine for a couple of years.

But of course, what killed it was the lack of mainstream linux support for the PowerPC architecture.

Yes, even now you can still get distros that work on old PowerPC Macs, but most of these are purely volunteer supported - nothing wrong with that - and a little rough around the edges due to the need to reverse engineer support for Apple's varying mix of hardware and boot environments.

Most work well, but sometimes there needs to be a bit of goat sacrifice involved to get it to run, and that's not really suitable for a production environment. It's no use extending the life of hardware if your support costs go through the roof by having to cosset machines - they're machines, not cats.

Without a reliable, easy to install version, it wasn't tenable to advocate to people that they extend the lives of older iMac hardware by installing Linux.

So, I moved on, and the machines went to the recycler. But I still remember them with affection. Definitely fun ...

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