What OS to run on this G3 iMac?

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003
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I purchased this iMac:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=003&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=130095322363&rd=1&rd=1

This will be the first mac I own that runs anything higher than 7.6.1.

So I am wondering, what would be the best OS for me to run on it? 9.2.2? Or one of the versions of OSX? I have no idea what the differences between the different versions of OSX.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Panther

Bump the RAM up to at least 512mb and install Panther (OS 10.3). That would be a happy place to be with that machine. 600mhz is a decent speed. You probably want to surf the net with it, right? So you don't want to hang out with just OS9. OS9 cannot handle the demands of the web anymore. Panther is a fast efficient system for a G3 at that speed. You could do Tiger, but that may put more demands on your processor than are worth the benefits. But definitely, kick up the RAM and get past 9. Jaguar is sluggish, so at least Panther.

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I agree...

Since it uses PC100 RAM load it up and OS X will run better.

Forget OS 9 unless you have a specific need for it and cannot find an OS X substitute.

OS X breakdown IMHO:

10.0 or 10.1 (Puma and whatever) - avoid it ! 10.0 was a public beta release and 10.1 is a little better but is very limited on what software you can get for it and still has issues.

10.2 (Jaguar)- the first "real" version of OS X that is usable. Good version but a lot of newer software requires OS 10.3.

10.3 (Panther) - adds some cool features like Expose' and has been tweaked to run faster than previous versions. My favorite choice for G3's and early G4's. Most OS X software runs on Panther.

10.4 - More eye candy and tweaking but needs more Mac to run well. Your iMac has 16MB of VRAM which is sufficient to run the OS but you won't see the Mac run at it's potential. Tiger's GUI is more taxing than Panther. Many people don't realize that their computer may be running faster than it appears. The video cannot keep up with the other hardware so it seems slower. And what you see is what you get in most cases.

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003
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Thanks, now should I look for

Thanks, now should I look for any specific version of 10.3 (10.3.1, 10.3.2, etc) or should I just use the last one? And are there like different versions of it for PowerPC, intel, G3, G4, etc?? That is what really confuses me. What should I be looking for? Can somebody post a link to some RAM that will work with this iMac? If I see a stick of RAM I will be able to find the rest.

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Re: Thanks, now should I look for

003 wrote:

... should I look for any specific version of 10.3 (10.3.1, 10.3.2, etc) or should I just use the last one?

You need a *retail* version of 10.3, which will likely be 10.3.0, or possibly 10.3.5. Machine specific versions (like those that say "iBook," "PowerBook G4," "Power Mac G5," etc. -- even those that say "iMac") will check to see whether you're trying to install on the *exact same model* that the CDs shipped with, and if not, it won't install.

You can then use an internet connection and Software Update (under the Apple menu) to update to 10.3.9.

BEFORE YOU INSTALL OS X ON THIS MAC, make sure you run all your software updates under Mac OS 9. This will include a firmware update, without which you will cause yourself *tremendous headaches.* Even after running the software updates, if you're not certain whether you got the firmware update, you can find it here:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75130

Failure to install this firmware update before attempting to install Panther will result in *no video.* There are ways to fix it after the fact, but SAVE YOURSELF THE HEADACHES NOW and install it pre-emptively. If it's already installed, the Mac will tell you when you try to install it again.

003 wrote:

And are there like different versions of it for PowerPC, intel, G3, G4, etc?? That is what really confuses me.

The retail version of Panther is universal for G3 and G4 Macs (built up to the release of Panther) with built-in USB and at least 128 MB RAM. This would describe your machine.

G5s and some later G4s are going to require a later version of Panther (usually the version that shipped with them), and Intel Macs require 10.4.4 or later (and will not work with the retail versions of Tiger, which are for G3/G4/G5 Macs only). But you're not dealing with Tiger, a G4, a G5, or an Intel Mac.

I hope this is more helpful than confusing.

003 wrote:

Can somebody post a link to some RAM that will work with this iMac? If I see a stick of RAM I will be able to find the rest.

You need PC100 or PC133, 168 pin SDRAM. You'll be able to use up to two sticks, each of up to 256 MB, for a total of up to 512 MB RAM. These are sticks designed for desktop computers of the era, and are about 5 inches long.

You *do not want* 144-pin notebook RAM, which is only about 3 inches long. You also *do not want* registered memory, which is built for servers that are specifically designed to use registered memory.

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Re: Thanks, now should I look for

cwsmith wrote:

You need a *retail* version of 10.3, which will likely be 10.3.0, or possibly 10.3.5. Machine specific versions (like those that say "iBook," "PowerBook G4," "Power Mac G5," etc. -- even those that say "iMac") will check to see whether you're trying to install on the *exact same model* that the CDs shipped with, and if not, it won't install.

I'd recommend the retail version as well, since it's technically the only legal one to install, but in my experience the 10.3 "restore" DVDs will work to install *OS X* on any machine. The machine-specific lockout only kicks in if you try to install the additional applications. (iLife and friends. There's a way around that, but I'm not saying what it is.) The 10.4 DVDs *are* locked up from what I can tell, alas.

Quote:

You need PC100 or PC133, 168 pin SDRAM. You'll be able to use up to two sticks, each of up to 256 MB, for a total of up to 512 MB RAM. These are sticks designed for desktop computers of the era, and are about 5 inches long.

The slot-loaders will work with 512MB sticks, allowing 1GB. If you can get them for a reasonable price I'd recommend them instead of 256.

Of course, looking at:

http://www.ramseeker.com/memory/iMac_(350_700mhz)/

It doesn't look like the current prices are particularly reasonable. ($56 each is a lot for such an old computer.)

--Peace

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Re: Thanks, now should I look for

cwsmith wrote:

You'll be able to use up to two sticks, each of up to 256 MB, for a total of up to 512 MB RAM. These are sticks designed for desktop computers of the era, and are about 5 inches long.

Wrong! they WILL take 512 Sticks. I know that, because the iMac DV (400MHz) has a 512 in it and sees the whole thing

They will take up to 1GB total

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003
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Re: Thanks, now should I look for

cwsmith wrote:

BEFORE YOU INSTALL OS X ON THIS MAC, make sure you run all your software updates under Mac OS 9.

Wait, so I also need Mac OS 9 first before I can install 10.3? Will I only need it once, for the FW update, and then I can just install 10.3 alone without OS 9? The machine I bought comes with 9.1 installed, if I run the updater will that get me the firmware update?

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Re: Thanks, now should I look for

003 wrote:
cwsmith wrote:

BEFORE YOU INSTALL OS X ON THIS MAC, make sure you run all your software updates under Mac OS 9.

Wait, so I also need Mac OS 9 first before I can install 10.3? Will I only need it once, for the FW update, and then I can just install 10.3 alone without OS 9? The machine I bought comes with 9.1 installed, if I run the updater will that get me the firmware update?

You'll probably want Mac OS 9 anyway for older applications written for System 7 thru Mac OS 9. These older programs won't run natively in Mac OS X, but will run in Classic Mode if OS 9 is also installed.

I recommend Mac OS 9.2.2: it's the very last version of OS 9. If you can find an earlier version of OS 9 (again I recommend a retail version), you can get free updates from the Apple web site for 9.1, 9.2.1, and 9.2.2.

Again, you'll need to do an OS 9 install and make sure it's fully updated (specifically the firmware update) before you try to run OS X on this machine. Trust me on this, please.

Regarding 512 MB sticks: hadn't tried it myself, so I didn't know for sure that they'd take 'em. If you guys have had success with 512's, I'll defer to your expertise.

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Dozens of Macs; a handful of PCs; Apple ][e, ][c and ][gs; a few iPods; lots of parts
17 guitars, 2 baritone guitars, alto guitar, 6 bass guitars, bajo sexto, 3 ukuleles, mandolin, banjo, sitar
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003
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I will do the FW update. I am

*edit*
double post...

003
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I will do the FW update. I am

I will do the FW update. I am looking on e-bay at all the 10.3 install discs, and they all seem to be on DVD. Does the iMac I got even support DVDs? If not where do I get it on CD for a decent price? Also I would like a bootable copy, so you can boot off the install disc. Are they all bootable?

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Retail version should be on C

Retail version should be on CDs. The DVDs are likely to be system-specific installers, which will not install on a machine they didn't ship with.

In eBay, do a search for "mac panther retail." You'll come up with several options like this one:

link

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3/4 scale upright bass, 4pc drum kit, congas, travel congas, bongos, cajon, cabasa, 12 harmonicas
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doug-doug the mighty's picture
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lone voice crying in the wind...

...Since this is the first machine you will own above 7.6.1, might I suggest you set the iMac up for 9.2.2 and play with that for a while?

You can always go up to X later. Rather than trying to kill yourself maxing out the RAM and all to make X.3 as best as possible for this machine, ease into it. The big question you need to ask yourself is 'what do you need X for that you cannot do with 9?

I am not saying 9 is better, just asking you to consider your needs before you take it as far as it will let you (X.4). If everything else you have is Classic, why change?

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Theoretically, yes, taking ba

Theoretically, yes, taking baby steps might be smart, and you can live fine with 9.2 and 256mb RAM, especially if you're not going to use the machine intensively on the internet. But an extra $30 buys you enough RAM for a comfortable X, and the difference between 9 and X is significant enough that, if you're planning to stay with Macs, why spend time learning 9 when you're going to have to learn many things anew with X eventually? It just seems like somewhat a waste of time to be learning 9. Might as well just jump in and enjoy the sport as it is today. But I'll never knock frugality, if that's the strategy and it's not excessive. You can live fine in 9. It just might make things annoying at times, like when you hit those web videos, and when those banner ads start messing up your rendering completely. 9.2 is otherwise, a great stable OS.

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Yep, browsing on OS 9 is pain

Yep, browsing on OS 9 is painful on modern sites. At least Win98 still runs the current Mozilla (that'll change soon though) so I don't see a reason nobody has done a more recent build for OS 9, other than the general lack of interest? Maybe make one last build before they upgrade to the new rendering engine, and give one last breath to Carbon for OS 8/9/10... Browsing is really the only reason I gave up trying to use my 3400c. I hoped it would be a nice basic browsing station. That hope faded rather quickly. At least a G3 running 10.2 can run Mozilla/Firefox. I haven't tried it with a 603/604 running X with XPostFacto.

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Re: Yep, browsing on OS 9 is pain

Jon wrote:

... I don't see a reason nobody has done a more recent build for OS 9, other than the general lack of interest?

iCab isn't too terribly outdated, at least in comparison to the other choices available for OS 9.

My main concern is that 003 will need OS 9 in order to run that *critical* firmware update. Without it, this thread is likely to become much longer and more panicked.

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003
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Don't worry. I have already o

Don't worry. I have already obtained a copy of Panther and, the machine comes with OS 9.1 installed, so I will do the update before I install it.

But my main question:
When I do the FW, update, I only have to do it once and that it, right? Like if I ever go back to something earlier than X and want to install X again, I won't have to do it again, right? I assume this is true, because it is a firmware update.

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Yes, one it's done that is al

Yes, one it's done that is all you need to do. Unless you install another motherboard or something drastic...

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I remember with the earlier i

I remember with the earlier iMacs there was more than one type of firmware update--the motherboard, the CD drive, the modem. I don't know about the later G3's. Was there only one firmware update for those models? The optical drive and the modem firmwares probably wouldn't have anything to do with OS X, though.

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Another wrinkle

... for you to consider is that the iMac is bootable from OS 9 now, natch. That is a useful property to retain, if you can, even after using it for the firmware update. ($0004.19f1, called 4.1.9 for short, is what you need. Look in Apple System Profiler at the foot of the first page to see what boot ROM version is present now.) Installation strategies to consider are 1) OS 9 on a small partition and OS 10.3.9 on the remainder; 2) OS 9 and OS X on one partition; 3) OS X alone. If you reformat the drive before using either of the latter two strategies, you will lose the ability to boot from an external OS 9 startup volume as well as to boot from OS 9 on the hard drive, unless you either install the OS 9 hard disk driver from an OS 9 install CD or from the OS X application Disk Utility.

If you reformat and partition the HDD for the first strategy, you will need to reinstall the OS 9 hard disk driver again to be able to boot from the OS 9 partition or from another OS 9 startup volume. Why worry about booting from OS 9? In strategy 1) the answer is obvious, and in 2) and 3) you thereby retain an alternative means of booting the iMac if OS X falls over (which 10.3.9 rarely does). And then there's another catch. You should certainly opt for OS 9.2.2 in Classic Mode within OS X. If, however, you install OS 9.2.2 on its own partition, you will not be able any longer to boot from an external volume with OS 9.1 or lower installed, notwithstanding any OS 9 HDD driver installed.

Notwithstanding all of that, enjoy!

de

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Re: lone voice crying in the wind...

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

...Since this is the first machine you will own above 7.6.1, might I suggest you set the iMac up for 9.2.2 and play with that for a while?

You can always go up to X later. Rather than trying to kill yourself maxing out the RAM and all to make X.3 as best as possible for this machine, ease into it. The big question you need to ask yourself is 'what do you need X for that you cannot do with 9?

I am not saying 9 is better, just asking you to consider your needs before you take it as far as it will let you (X.4). If everything else you have is Classic, why change?

Why Change ? Progress, stability, usability, dependability, sanity and whatever else......

Unless you have any OS 9 specific apps you want to run I wouldn't bother with OS 9 at all after you do the firmware update(s)
And once it's updated into the firmware you can put whatever OS will run on it. But why ? You have Panther now.

OS 9 really sucks for use on the internet because of outdated browsers and frequent system freezes when using them. Honestly, if I had to surf with OS 9 or Windoze right now, I would choose Windoze. OS 9 is a decent OS for non-internet applications, but surfing really is a pain.

OS X is light years ahead of OS 9 at this point so why bother with it on a Mac that will run Panther comfortably with 256MB of RAM. There's no need to max the RAM out. 256MB of RAM will do just fine in Panther and 512MB is plenty for about any use. Any more is a waste in your iMac in my opinion.

I would say forget OS 9 and learn OS X. OS 9 is becoming history. And there are lots of things you can do with OS X that you cannot do with OS 9. For instance you can run the Mac for a very long time with no crashes or freezes. That alone is more than enough reason to skip everything in between System 7.6 and OS 10.3. You are not missing much in between anyway.

I can't honestly say the Mac OS got better after System 7 until OS X came along. System 7.6 was/is a good solid OS.

I still kick myself once in a while for not switching to OS X sooner. I was stuck on OS 9 for the apps I spent a lot of money on so I had a reason, but looking back I realize I should have switched sooner.

Not to mention the gobs and gobs of Open Source freeware available for OS X. As well as tons of commercial software.

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Another good reason

... for retention of some OS 9 capability is for its networking interoperability with older OSs and Systems. 10.3.9 will still talk happily to OS 9.1 over AppleShare, but less than that is fraught. 10.4.9 doesn't support AppleShare at all, but only TCP/IP connection to and from OS 9.1 and up. If your iMac can boot into OS 9 it can exchange files with Macs running any OS/System down to 7.5.5. The value of networking lies not so much in Web work here as in filesharing. You've already run into software preparation and distribution difficulties to your SE/30 that can be almost completely avoided with fast and reliable download to your iMac under 10.3.9, followed by distribution of the software unexpanded and un-decoded to a target machine for expansion and decoding when it gets there. When this is available, who needs floppies ever again?

de

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Feedback from a G3 iMac user

I am wroting this on an iMac 333 with Panther 10.3.9, 384Mb RAM and 40Gb 7200 HD. So only the original processor and video are the same since I buy it. It's a slow machine, you got to accept it's limitations. It will not run any game, there is no 3D opengl for Panther (only some classics in OS9 like Tomb Rider III), no CorelDRAW and no Flash, and if you open many windows, you'll see a gay circle rolling and rolling... But I still can use Freehand, Dreamweaver and Photoshop CS (it's a miracle!). But you got to be patient!

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Re: Another good reason

grannysmith wrote:

... 10.4.9 doesn't support AppleShare at all, but only TCP/IP connection to and from OS 9.1 and up.

Perhaps, but just so you and others know, you can connect fine from 8.1 to 10.4.8... Just not the other way around.

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Calling up Tiger

"Oelmuvun" wrote:

... you can connect fine from 8.1 to 10.4.8... Just not the other way around.

Very true from AS 3.8.6, by using the IP address of the Mac running Tiger, but not through the Chooser window.

de

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*OS 9 really sucks for use on

*OS 9 really sucks for use on the internet because of outdated browsers and frequent system freezes when using them. Honestly, if I had to surf with OS 9 or Windoze right now, I would choose Windoze. OS 9 is a decent OS for non-internet applications, but surfing really is a pain.*

I have been using Wamcom Mozilla 1.3.1 on my Lombard 333, 320 MB RAM with OS 9.2.1 (haven't gotten around to the last update) with a Wavelan Turbo Silver to talk to my DSL or whatever wireless network I'm close to. The only real difference I have noticed is that it's a bit more awkward to use a trackpad than a mouse, and occasional bits of website don't show up that I know are there from surfing on my iMac G5 with Tiger. I haven't noticed any bizarreness on websites and it's not all that slow with a fast connection to start with. I can cruise eBay no problem and check my webmail without frustration.

I would back the idea of messing around with the 9.1 that's already on the machine first. I know when I went from 8.6 to 9.1 I had a lot of adjusting to do, because I was used to 8 and 7. See how you like it. No reason not to add X later, I like it OK and there are things you can't do except with X, but I still really like 9.

I should add that I recently passed along to my grown daughter the identical iMac. I wiped it and partitioned it so it has half 9.2.2 and half 10.2 (only because that was the only retail X I had). She seems happy with it.