It doesn’t seem all that long ago that my boss prohibited me from bringing the Mac OS X beta to work due to its lack of DVD support, or the years that followed when Mac users everywhere decried Quark’s slow progress away from Mac OS 9. […]

bootupIt doesn’t seem all that long ago that my boss prohibited me from bringing the Mac OS X beta to work due to its lack of DVD support, or the years that followed when Mac users everywhere decried Quark’s slow progress away from Mac OS 9. Six years after Mac OS X’s debut, the Classic Environment has gone the way of operating systems past, a digital graveyard of bits and bytes. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was forced into the Classic Environment, by way of some antiquated software.

In six years’ time, as our Windows brethren have moved from Windows 98 to ME to XP and now Vista, we’ve seen Mac OS X grow and develop through each of its cat-themed releases. Yet the foundation of Mac OS 9 (Classic) remains an option. Should I need to, I can boot the Classic Environment and open ancient apps. I can open the Control Panels and amuse myself with Platinum Sounds effects, launch Key Caps, or tinker with the Chooser.

But rather than being useful, it’s like walking through a museum. Take a look, for instance, at the bundled Search engines in Sherlock. You won’t find Google or Yahoo! here. Instead, you have second-tier sites like Alta Vista, Excite and Lycos, along with others you probably haven’t heard of in a while: GoTo.com, HotBot, and DirectHit.

Sherlock’s Search Engine Offerings

By now, in the second half of 2007, every technology laggard has either finally released an OS X capable application, abandoned the Mac, or given way to a new, faster-moving competitor. Is there any reason for Classic any more? What’s the likelihood of finding a need to boot into OS 9 for more than misguided nostalgia? Or was Steve Jobs right when he told developers in 2002 it was time to bury the OS, once and for all? (CNET | YouTube Video)

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  1. The only uses I have for Classic now are to open v6 Quark docs in v5 to convert to v4 for use in InDesign and to check the occasional font in Fontographer.

  2. Considering none of the Macs that Apple currently sells will run Classic… yes I’d say that it is really, seriously, dead.

  3. I miss it, a little. But give up my Intel MBP to get it back – ? Never! :)

  4. The last few times I have tried to run Classic it crashed faster than Windows 95. The last time I tried it was to play Riven which would run for a few minutes and then drag the whole Classic environment down with it. Before that I wanted to play around with an old audio app called MixMan but it wouldn’t work. If it wasn’t so tiny I think I would have deleted my Classic System Folder years ago.

  5. It’s really sad. My work still boots Classic on a daily basis. I work for a paper in a small town near Charleston, SC. We still lack a website and forget to upgrade to new OS’s. I bring my Macbook into work with my own updated software because running Classic maybe “fun” but not productive.

  6. At work, we still have an old G4 that boots up into Classic. The main reason we have it: We print to the Epson RIP software. In the past it was impossible without the RIP to print EPS files. But, today, that is not an issue. However, printing without the Epson RIP gives us inaccurate colors. I’ve tried other color settings without the RIP and still the colors aren’t close to matching. We also have an old Epson Stylus 3000 printer that uses an older type of ink.

    If anyone has a better solution using OSX with or without a newer RIP solution, I’m all ears… I just haven’t found any that don’t cost a fortune.

  7. Um, there is no way to play Warcraft II rather than in Classic environment. Yes, yes, I know there’s Warcraft III, I still like this classic game of old ages.

  8. @pluto: You’re right. No Classic on Intel Macs forces the obsolescence just a tad more, doesn’t it?

  9. Unfortunately, there are lots of educational titles and kids’ games that require Classic. Some of them even mention System 7 in their requirements (these tend not to run well even in Classic, so I stay away from them). Luckily, we now have an Apple retail store nearby which carries a wide enough selection of software that it is possible to find OS X native titles. Still there’s the odd kids’ package on their shelves that would require Classic to run, even though there’s not a machine under their roof capable of running it.

  10. It’s funny how different people’s uses are.

    I have owned a Mac for 5 years (OS 10.2), and not once (NOT A SINGLE TIME) booted into Classic.

    Aside from Quark, I can’t even think of a single reason why you ever would have…

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