Is Classic Really, Seriously, Dead?


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:, 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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