A little less than two years ago we published a story, “Top Ten Reasons We’re (Still) Fine with Leopard on PowerPC.” It’s been a popular article, but 2015 has afforded an opportunity for us to revisit.
We still feel Leopard is a good choice for Power Macs but with some security caveats to be aware of (when running an operating system as old as this release from Apple). Users should refrain from running outdated Flash and Java versions on these PowerPC machines in order to be safer, first and foremost.
Another thing to consider (if you’re comfortable working from the command line in Terminal) is visiting Cameron Kaiser’s TenFourFox Development blog to learn how to implement his newly constructed bash to secure your Macs from vulnerabilities attributed to older, unpatched versions. Kaiser’s version also works on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, too, as Snow Leopard, like Leopard, is no longer receiving security updates from Apple.
Since unpatched bash vulnerabilities are one of the biggest areas of concern for Leopard (and Snow Leopard) users, I would recommend implementing Kaiser’s bash version. The instructions are excellent, easy to follow and I was able to complete them within minutes. Bash vulnerabilities affect all versions of OS X machines and Power Mac users can be safe as well after patching their Macs with Kaiser’s excellent creation. Another place to find information on this as well as other security concerns for Leopard users is to visit Dan at PPC Luddite.
The original article we wrote here in 2013 discussed briefly the plight of Microsoft XP users who faced the prospect of Redmond pulling the plug with respect to further security updates. We are not going to be updating anything for XP users. These workarounds are not something I can speak to as I no longer run any XP machines.
So, on to the year 2015 reasons (some of which are the same as 2013) to keep running Leopard on Power Macs:
- No need for anti-virus. People who run Linux variants on their Power Macs know this to be true as well. While older versions of bash, Java and Flash should be avoided, there is no need to tax PowerPC processors with anti-virus software. And to be clear, there are no current versions of Java and Flash that can be installed on Power Macs. So, use older, outdated versions at your own risk. The bash issues can and should be addressed as indicated above.
- 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.
- Although Microsoft has dropped support for Mac Office 2008, it’s become my go to word processor for PowerPC Macs once again. LibreOffice 4.0.2 remains available for download but requires outdated Java, so user beware.
- Roccat, TenFourFox and Leopard WebKit browsers. My favorite for overall speed and functionality on my wireless connection is now Roccat. TenFourFox is a close second with Leopard WebKit also available and a good choice. I especially like that new versions of Roccat auto update.
- No iCloud but there is Cloud for PowerPC online storage.
- I can upgrade the hardware on my Mac—you can do that with Leopard era machines. You can learn a lot from using unsupported operating systems (and machines) and thereby avoid expensive repairs because you do them yourself if need be.
- 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.
- 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.
- 2 GB of RAM is all you need. Can you say, “No unnecessary bloat?”