How to Make an iMac G3 useful again.
It’s a shame when people throw out perfectly good equipment just because it isn’t up to today’s standards anymore, for example that iMac I found cause someone threw it away. But let me get to the point, this post will have links and how to’s, in order to make the iMac do the following.
Surf the web
Play Music MP3’s
Connect to a Server file share
Connect to a network printer (Not really, I gave up cause of driver issues)
Write up Homework Documents
Now this is what most computers do right? But in this case we need it to do only that and to do it well. I tried doing this with Ubuntu and Debian on that old powerPC but that was epic failure on the PPC part, or the video drivers, and other than that it performed at about the same speed running OS X. (no Speed improvement) So Mac OS 10.3.9 it is. That’s the latest this machine can handle I think, it has 512 ram and 120 GB Hard drive, it’s maxed out hardware wise too. So it was going to be a challenge I see. First let’s take care of the business
Homework and Writing. I had to look for a good office Suite for this thing. There’s Office 2003 for PPC Mac, but it’s slow, expensive and outdated. I don’t mind the slow and outdated, but the expensive part drew me away, and no, I was not going to install it illegally. I tried to search for OpenOffice but it’s too new, so was Neooffice. But eventually I found an old version of OpenOffice 2.3 that worked just fine. Note. I first tried out Abiword, the older version but it was too unstable and it had unusable font spacing. So I went the the OpenOffice.
http://www.oldapps.com/mac/openoffice.php?system=mac_os_x_10.4_tiger_powerpc Get open office from here, the correct version for your system.
I also had to install X11 tools.
It’s included on the install Cd’s so you can also use that one if the new one from the Apple Site doesn’t work anymore. But you NEED X11 to run OpenOffice. For some reason it opens up a Terminal whenever it runs, and if you close it you close out OpenOffice so leave it running and it’ll function normally. Plus homework looks great in OpenOffice.
Videos and Media: For my brother connecting to my home server and watching whatever movies he wanted at anytime was necessary. Talk about important! So setting up shares was super easy, my Linux Box was already using Samba so iMac G3 just found it and he accesses my stuff with ease. The only problem was that Quicktime was more like Quit-Time and refused to play most video files. So i went to VLC and found an old version that just works much better.
VLC Player 0.8.6i for 10.3.9 can be found here. This one worked for the 10.3.9 Mac OS.
This page helps out if you have older or other versions of Mac OS. It’s nice of VLC to make it easily accessible for those of us on really old hardware.
Surfing the Web: I used firefox 2.0 here is the latest one that will work for 10.3.9 it works fine except for the addons and youtube is slow. I was expecting that anyways. but you can also try the Camino Browser with works alright. Just don’t touch that IE! Actually kidding aside, it worked, barely.
iTunes: The old version of iTunes played the music fine, most my songs are in mp3 and aac anyways, plus it even connects to my Rhythmbox home music share (on Debian). So awesome! Keep your music collection simple and if you want you could also just use VLC player and have that manage your music too.
Connecting to Network Printer: No drivers where available, Generic drivers all failed, and I gave up. I’ll try again some other time.
So all in all the computer is now useful! Yay! my bro can just put his stuff on a network share and print it out on the server so the network Printing was the only thing that didn’t work, plus i didn’t try very hard due to lack of time so we’ll see in the future. Alright so that’s all for today folks. I do hope this reminds you all that just because a computer is old, does not mean it’s useless.