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Anything System 7.5 can do that OS9 can't?

xjas

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Jul 9, 2015
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Vancouver Island
I have a G4 Cube that I just set up with OS9.2.2 and got going. Very nice little machine!

I also have a PowerMac 7200/75 that is pretty complete but I've never really gotten around to playing with. I have some accessories for it (MIDI interfaces, extra SCSI HDD, etc.) but not a huge amount of stuff. I'm waiting on an ADB mouse for it but those seem impossible to come by.

Am leaning towards just keeping the Cube and selling the PowerMac; it's an interesting piece of hardware but I don't see much need for it. I have very little experience with pre-OSX machines at the moment. Like the title says, is there much I'd be missing out on?
 

trr94001

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Jan 9, 2014
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Connecticut
I may be wrong but I don't think MacOS 8.5 and up can switch into 24-bit memory mode. That might make it hard to run some very early programs written for System 6 and earlier but that's all I can think of.

Of course, now that I think of it i don't think that 24 bit mode works on PowerMacs anyway so the point is probably moot.
 

gsteemso

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Sep 28, 2008
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north of Seattle, USA
It seldom has much relevance to everyday retrocomputing, as few of us are privileged to have any need to give someone else their own account on a vintage Mac, but only the last few versions of classic Mac OS have genuinely helpful Multiple User support. I haven't looked it up in decades, but I believe the following unsorted miscellany of statements is probably more often vaguely accurate than not:

The Multiple Users extension set is included beginning in one of the middle-numbered OS 8 revisions, and may or may not work when manually added to any of various earlier system versions (I'd be surprised if it worked under 7.6 and absolutely flabbergasted if it worked under 7.1). It only became moderately secure under 9.something when they changed the system boot process so a password was still required if you restarted the machine with extensions off. Files on a fixed local drive were never logically secure from other users on the same physical machine; you could use any of various third-party utilities to individually encrypt them, but any user could delete them. I think, starting under 9.x, shenanigans were employed such that users' home folders were somewhat better protected from other local users.

There was also Sherlock, if that's your idea of a good time.
 

ClassicHasClass

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Multiple Users actually appeared with OS 9. It *may* run with 8.6 but I would be surprised if it ran on 8.1, and it will definitely not work with 7.x. Although it evolved from At Ease, which of course does run with System 7, I find Multiple Users rather more seamless.

The 24-bit memory mode is irrelevant since this is a Power Mac; all pre-OS X Power Macs always run in 32-bit mode. The distinction only matters for 68K systems.

To the OP's note, actually, yes, there are a few things that work better in System 7 than OS 9. For example, the PPCToolbox (that's Process to Process Communication, not PowerPC) and other apps that depend on remote AppleEvents may have problems in 9.x. 9.1 and up also enforce use of the MMU, which can mess up applications playing fast and loose with where they write in memory. These issues are pretty unusual, though, and OS 9's compatibility with older software is generally considered excellent. I have a 7300 and it's just better in 9.1 because of all the new features in 9 relative to 7 or even 8.

I'm surprised to hear you're having difficulty sourcing an ADB mouse. A cursory search on eBay turned up oodles. Virtually any ADB mouse will work.

The Cube is a cute Mac and people love them, but they aren't particularly expandable and even then not without a lot of work. The 7200 has moderate expansion potential because of its PCI slots and lots of ports, but is largely hobbled by the 601 CPU, which is soldered to the board. If you wanted a beige Mac to play with that you felt like tricking out, a 7300, 7500 or 7600 (or even an 8600 or 9600) would serve you much better. If you just want a classic OS 9 Mac to run those apps on, however, the Cube is perfectly satisfactory.
 
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GiGaBiTe

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Yes, System 7.5 can do something 9.2.2 can't - It's not as bloated.

If you can imagine when System 7 first came out, think of an open grass field. By the time 9.2.2 came around, it was a strip mall with apartments, a casino and an airport landing strip.

Apple was plagued by bitter infighting and empire building for over a decade which resulted in their next flagship OS (which turned into OS X) being continually delayed. As a stopgap, Apple went on a spending spree and bought up the rights to lots of third party extensions to the OS and included it in the OS itself. So by the time 9.2.2 came around, it was pretty much just cobbled together bits of 3rd party code in a bouillabaisse of insanity. The OS footprint was huge and the OS itself could be very unstable.

The only thing that 9.2.2 offers over 7.5.x is more of the OS has been ported to PowerPC instead of relying on an integrated 68k emulator so it can be faster in certain situations. OS 9 also had some libraries (like carbon and quickdraw 3d) that some of the last classic Mac OS applications needed to run.
 

Unknown_K

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Depends on what hardware you want to run.

The 7500/8500 series were the most upgradable Macs I ever owned. G3 upgrades are dirt cheap, 8 slots for tons of RAM (1GB Max). Lots of Mac PCI cards for SCSI, IDE, SATA, etc. Stuff like Radius Telecast video editing suites that won't work under OS 9.
 

ClassicHasClass

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The OS footprint was huge and the OS itself could be very unstable.

But that's all relative. Remember when 10.0 came out and everyone complained on and on about how slow it was and how much it sucked and how OS 9 was so much better? 9.x is definitely bigger than 7.x (and, for that matter, 8.x), but the nanokernel is more efficient and the OS is perfectly performant if you have the memory.

True, 9.2 and up were better tuned for running under Classic instead of natively and I wouldn't run it on an Old World Mac, but that's not true of 9.0.4 or 9.1. I won't dispute that 8.1 or 8.6 are sweetspots for lower spec machines, but 9.1 works great if you have the RAM.

I do quibble with the stability question, though. I don't think OS 9 was any more unstable than any other version of the classic Mac OS, and I've never found it to be so in my heavy personal usage even to this day. Like any version of Mac OS with a capital M, once you get a stable set of extensions and control panels, it usually "just works."
 
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