hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Top Ten Reasons We're (Still) Fine with Leopard on PowerPC

Microsoft Windows XP wordmark official.

Microsoft Windows XP wordmark official. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Microsoft is ending support for its venerable Windows XP operating system Apr. 8, 2014, and barring a Jay Leno retiring and unretiring scenario (Microsoft has kept XP alive for security and hot fix patches far longer than it originally intended to), this looks to be XP’s last gasp.
XP was given a reprieve in the enterprise community when Microsoft’s Vista did not bolt from the starting gate—being plagued by a host of third party driver and disruptive interface/GUI issues at its onset, before eventually maturing into a decent OS. By the time this happened however, XP had already been given a new lease on life; many consumers “downgraded” from Vista back to XP when they found things like their printers no longer working in Vista’s early days.
Microsoft is finally forcing its remaining XP customers’ hands with Windows 8 being touted as its successor. Personally, I prefer Windows 7 (plays better than XP in a mixed network environment of Linux, Mac and Windows boxes more so than any Microsoft operating system I’ve used—anyone want to donate a Windows 8 box for my experimenting with so my testing experience is up to date?). But those Microsoft XP customers that haven’t already migrated to Windows 7 may consider jumping ahead to Windows 8 to keep pace with Microsoft’s latest offering.
As a predominantly Mac OS X Leopard, Windows 7, Linux Mint PPC and Ubuntu user, the whole XP users finally moved away from their favorite OS (this time for real!) thing has me shaking my head—not at the unfortunate XP users being left behind by Microsoft, but at how so many years after winning the desktop computing wars, Microsoft becomes like Apple in respect to operating system releases: it wants John Q. Public to buy new computer operating system releases every two and one-half to three years (Apple’s “XP”-OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard users, although given a mid March security update by Apple, undoubtedly will be discarded next). Did I tell you Microsoft would also appreciate your support of their popular Office productivity suite software with a similarly timed purchase? And the computer manufacturers with Microsoft operating system licensing agreements would also appreciate your accompanying new hardware purchase to run Office and Windows 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 to infinity, more efficiently.
Windows XP screenshot

Windows XP screenshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Windows XP users will find it difficult to continue running their operating system without regular Microsoft patches. Microsoft’s security patches to Windows operating systems are like fingers to leaking dikes—they must be applied regularly. With that in mind, here are my top ten reasons to keep using Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on your PowerPC Macs:
1. I don’t need no stinking anti-virus or malware protection. Leopard is not a target anymore, if it ever was. And PowerPC machines are not subject to the infestations of Intel Macs. If you are interested in avoiding any possible threat you can run Leopard WebKit, disable older versions of Flash and any Java. In reality, although fear mongers may say otherwise, the potential threat of issues is low.
2. Leopard WebKit to utilize HTML5 in place of older Flash versions for things like YouTube—you’re probably safer watching video this way than with the latest Flash player on Intel Macs and PCs—Flash has long posed security issues, requiring constant updates to avoid vulnerabilities.
3. LibreOffice 4.0.2 for PowerPC—I haven’t tried it, but now that Microsoft has dropped support for Mac Office 2008, it’s already downloaded onto my desktop and ready to go.
4. Other Web Browsers OmniWeb, Roccat, Sea Monkey and TenFourFox—four up to date browsers available for OS X Leopard 10.5.8 PowerPC Macs.
5. Still Other Web Browsers Camino, Stainless and Opera. On some days, Opera 10.70 on my PowerPC Mac just seems to make my browsing experience fly…until it hits a page it has trouble rendering and stalls or unexpectedly quits (you can’t have everything!). People criticize PowerPC users for lack of good browsers, but honestly, there are still more available than many realize—the regularly updated AuroraFox is another particularly nimble one worth trying.
6. No iCloud—don’t have an iPad or tablet of any kind, only have an iPhone and web-based mail accounts. There’s Dropbox for those times when something needs transferring or sending.
7. I can upgrade the hardware on my Mac—you can do that with Leopard era machines.
8. Unparalleled durability and longevity of PowerPC Machines on Leopard—countless years of torturing the hardware under intense loads with more software that wasn’t ready for prime time than I care to admit—and never needing to nuke and pave even once.
9. Saving on not needing to purchase AppleCare extended warranties or extended warranties of any kind. Hello value computing, goodbye unnecessary insurance policies for new hardware.
And finally, my top tenth reason for using OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on PowerPC machines:
10. Because I can, and because I suspect much like Windows XP fans, Leopard (and sister cat Snow Leopard–once dropped from security updates by Apple) users will still be finding a way where Microsoft and Apple would have preferred they not, long into the indefinite future.


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  1. Seth

    I agree. Running Leopard on a stock G4-500 Cube which hosts Crush FTP and Filemaker Pro databases in addition to serving as a general purpose drop box for me via AFP; open to the net via DMZ on my router – uses OS X’s firewall for security. No problems. Running 24/7/365 for the last 5 years or so. It isn’t even supposed to be able to run Leopard and yet it does year in and year out. Also runs Printopia to provide printing services to iOS devices via my LAN. Response to remote Filemaker access is instantaneous on this 12 year old Mac. Will run it till it fails then replace it with a Mini – or maybe buy another Cube.

    • The Power Mac G4 cube is one of my fave form factor Macs of all time! I remember the day the non-profit I worked for took it out of the box and let me take it for a spin; it was running OS 9 and also had, if my memory serves me correctly, OS X 10.1 Puma on it–heady stuff for 2001 and my first foray out of the Mac Classic OS. Nice hearing how your machines are serving you just fine present day and I thank you once more for your great comments, Seth.

  2. I love running Leopard on a 17″ Macbook Pro from 2003! I love running it because I can haul it around and throw it around, and never worry that it is going to be the end of the world if it gets stolen, dropped, etc.! Never heard of Leopard Webkit before so I was glad to read this! Thanks!

    • I think you mean, PowerBook, but, thank you for reading and also for taking the time to leave comments. Hope Leopard WebKit brings your 17″ portable PowerPC Mac some increased zip on the web–I certainly enjoy the developer’s efforts. When you add ClickToFlash (prevents Flash from loading automatically) and ClickToPlugIn (prevents plug-ins from loading automatically) extensions for Leopard WebKit, it really gives surfing on the web with our Leopard-running PowerPC Macs, a new lease on life. Enjoy!

  3. johnnyace1971

    I totally agree. And if I feel like something different once in awhile, my G5 dual boots into Debian But I mainly run Leopard. I spent 3 days recently without it, having to use a Windows 7 machine and I couldn’t get back to my G5 fast enough. Web browsing is very stressful on Windows 7 (not to mention the system glitches). At least when u browse on a powerpc Mac, you dont have websites trying to install toolbars and other crap you dont want or need! I use the Roccat browser myself which is still updated. Long live the PowerPC!

  4. jake

    i use an imac g5 in my room hooked up to a 5.1 pc suroundsound system it runs great mactubes for youtube great when my macbok pro is charging. my 15 inch powerbook died on me i was watching mactubes and the screen randomly went crazy lines everywere. the lines apear when hooked up to an externel moniter is it ram or the gpu any ideas.

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