Have an old Mac at home that you no longer use? An old Mac with a G3, G4 or G5 CPU can easily be used to browse Internet. Even older machines can be recovered and used for a wide variety of purposes.
If you are a fan of long-standing Mac users, you probably still have some old Macs at home. Old Macs can be used for word processing, for drawing, if they’re not too old to even create an ftp server, a multimedia server for audio and video, turn them into a NAS for the home and many other things.
Can you surf the internet with an old Mac?
If you have a Mac that is not old, but of the PowerPC generation (eg an iMac G5 or a PowerMac) you can easily use it also to surf the internet. The latest versions of applications like Firefox, Safari and Chrome are not available for these systems but there are third-party developers who offer alternative browsers, updated and compatible with older generation machines.
TenFourFox, for example, is a new generation browser compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5, perfect for reviving old PowerMacs. It is a modern browser based on FireFox. The developer uses the source code that Mozilla provides, adapting it for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and Mac OS x 10.5 Leopard (operating systems that run on machines with G3, G4 and G5 PowerPC processors).
TenFourFox is optimized for PowerPC processors, supports Altivec (a particular set of instructions implemented on the latest versions of PowerPC processors) and allows you to open even the most recent sites without problems. From the developers’ website you can download the Mac version with G3 processors, G4 and G5.
And for even older Macs?
If you have an older Mac, and you want something that will allow you to surf the Internet, there is Classilla, a browser for Mac OS 9, the classic Mac OS, in other words the “grandfather” of macOS. Incredible as it may seem, still many people use Macs with the old operating system.
After so many years there is no lack of inflexible and undeterred users who refuse mandatory obsolescence, have an unshakable “faith” in Mac OS Classic and organize themselves in various ways to distribute, develop and obtain software that can be used with old but still functioning machines.
Where to find various programs for old Macs?
Obviously there are various websites where it is still possible to download old applications for Mac. A starting point is the “download” section of the Apple website. Here you can find the old versions of iTunes, QuickTime and various support files.
You have an old PowerBook, an old iMac or even older machines (Macintosh LC 475, Quadra 800, Macintosh SE, etc.) and are looking for software for Mac OS 9, Mac OS 8 or Macintosh PowerPC with CPU 68040 or 68030 yet older with System 7.5.2 and System 7.6.1? Good points of reference are the following sites: Macintosh Repository, Macintosh Garden, UMich Old Macintosh Software Archive, MacOS 9 Lives, Vintage Mac Museum Software Links, PowerPC Mac Software archives and MacPowerPC.com.
Old Mac emulators
On these sites it is also possible to find software such as Mini vMac, a Mac emulator with System 7, which can also be used on recently-generated Macs with High Sierra. For the execution of the latter it is necessary to identify the ROM files (everything is explained in the supporting documentation).
These applications are identified by recent versions of macOS as coming from an unidentified developer. You can allow the execution by opening System Preferences, selecting “Security and Privacy” and choosing “Open Anyway” in the “General” section. Even if you don’t have an old Mac using an emulator of this type you can have the thrill of trying System 7, System 7.5, System 7.6.1 and the latest Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9.
An application on all to try on these old systems? Hypercard, Apple’s clever hypertext software that, even before HTML, allowed the creation of hypertexts, anticipating the future of those years and what is now possible with the web.