What happens when you try to use Mac OS 9 for a few days?

“Here I am on a battered PowerBook that will barely hold a charge, playing with classic Mac OS (version 9.2.2) and trying to appreciate the work of those who developed the software in the mid-to-late ’90s (and to amuse my co-workers),” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica.

“We’re now 12 years past Steve Jobs’ funeral for the OS at WWDC in 2002,” Cunningham writes. “While some people still find uses for DOS, I’m pretty sure that even the most ardent classic Mac OS users have given up the ghost by now—finding posts on the topic any later than 2011 or 2012 is rare.”

Cunningham writes, “So if there are any of you still out there, I think you’re all crazy… but I’m going to live with your favorite OS for a bit… [One thing I’ve found is that] installing Mac OS 9 on an old PowerBook in 2014 does not actually show you what it was like to use Mac OS 9 in 1999.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It was pure bliss, especially compared to the upside-down and backwards dreck to which the masochistic ignorati were consigning themselves.


  1. We still use an old DOS system at work as a back office system because all of our industry specific systems are windows based shit that cost a fortune and don’t work properly. Our DOS system was well designed (my father consulted on it) and runs rock solid without any support in 15 years. It’s dated, but I have to say it’s a great bit of software as it does exactly what it needs to and does it properly day in day out. You can’t say that about much anymore, even Apple stuff increasingly. Since 95% of our work is email and web based we just use Macs for everything else.

  2. Installing and using OS 9 was a breeze compared to what I had to do with WinNT and the installation of serial numbered CAD apps.

    I never understood the associated terminology with daemons (more like demons) and command line crap which had no guarantee of working and rarely did without help.

    After spending $5k for a 3D CAD app, I call for tech support on installation and the tech support says “Give me to your IT guy.” I say, I’m the only guy here, I work by myself.

    OS 9 was a breeze. I do remember Conflict Catcher was needed to keep extensions in line, but it wasn’t hard.

  3. I’m cleaning out my storeroom and ran across a 5500 and a G3 All in One. I fired up the 5500 because I couldn’t even remember what it was. Running the last iteration of OS 9 it snapped to attention like a modern SSD would. I poked around a bit and played some games. Not that I miss the limitations, but I do miss the speed. Even on my fastest Mac with max memory and SSD, the response is not up to OS 9 with hardware of its day. I remember thinking back then that when we got Macs with multi Gigs of RAM capacity everything would open when I just thought about it. Didn’t happen.

  4. I still remember 6.0.7.
    Today I still occasionally use OS9 with DATATON equipment; media interface boxes steering slide projectors, DMX gear, RS 232 equipment
    Another OS9 computer to use with a AGFA ALTO slide writer; you make a slide the computer and send it to the Agfa who prints it on E6 35mm or 6×6 or 4×5″slide film.
    Another use is using a TOPAZ scanner with OS9 because I am to stingy to invest is OSX scanning software

  5. There was an old game called Crystal Quest that I loved to play when we got our first Mac Classic. That was in System 6/7 days. I would love to get my hands on a OS X version.
    MacOS 9 was during the time that Apple was at the lowest ebb and then started to pull out of the quagmire. I was one of those who signed up for OS X Public beta and it was a lot of fun playing around with a total new system. Even in those early days I know Apple was making something special.

  6. SheepShaver still works! I Mac OS 9 on it occasionally in order to use some favorite old programs that never graduated to Intel CPUs. There are still Mac OS 9 features Apple never bothered to move on to OS X, so feature fans end up having to reproduce them via third party software.

    One of the favorite Mac OS features is now dead: There is now NO way to customize the OS X GUI apart from killing off the Finder and using something like Path Finder. How deeply I’d love to UN-Jony Ive El Capitan’s juvenile GUI.

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