A few posts back Zen, who always tells it like it is, gave credit where credit was due and nominated some PowePC friends among us. I’d like to go a step further and nominate some PowerPC heroes among us. My definition of a hero is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty, and these folks have certainly done that for a platform Apple abandoned many years ago now.
For those who don’t know Dr. Kaiser (yup, he is a bona-fide MD, with degree, and unlike this DVM can also code) is the man, the myth, the legend behind both Classilla and Tenfourfox. During the day he practices the finer medical arts on homo sapiens. At night he is almost single handedly is keeping viable browsers alive on not one, but two PowerPC operating systems. In 2013 this is no mean feat, and has required many selfless hours of coding and pathching in front of a PowerMac G5. Classilla is, for the one person reading this blog not already aware of it, the only browser anyone should be using on Mac OS 9. Now at version 9.3.2, Kaiser is focusing on a series of security rollups that will hopefully bring Classilla on a par with Mozilla 1.6 in the near future. You might not want to do your internet banking with Classilla, but for routine tasks it is surprisingly usable. Even if you don’t use or like Tenfourfox we all owe an enormous debt to Kaiser and the rest development team for keeping a Mozilla browser at source parity with Firefox in 2013. Dr. Kaiser also consistently declines all donations, as he thinks money would cloud things up. He’s probably right, but I wish I could give something other than praise and thanks to this most noble cause.
An important contributor to Tenfourfox, Tobias is also the developer behind Leopard Webkit. Leopard Webkit gives you an up to date webkit-rendering engine in the skin of Safari 5.0.6, turning what was a terrible web browsing experience with Safari on Leopard into something…frankly awesome. The hybrid gold ringed Safari/L-webkit icon is now my go to browser on 10.5, something I would have never thought would happen.
Marc is the guy behind Click to Plugin and I belive also now maintains Click to Flash. These are Safari extensions that give a delightful one-two punch to the most hated software ever made (that would be, I don't like to even say the word, so I'll just sign it out Freddy Mercury style...."Flash-ahh-haaaaa") and replace it with Quicktime on not only Youtube but also a surprising number of other commonly visited web sites. It may seem ridiculous at first to have both extensions installed, but as the very useful macrumors forum poster B-G discovered, Click to Flash not only blocks Flash but also presents itself to the server as Flash 11.5. This fools even the BBC, I had all but given up ever watching clips on the site in Leopard but now most video gets served up to my PowerPC mac with no complaints. The Click to Plugin extension takes over at this point and gives you several file quality playback options in either the native HTML 5 player or Quicktime. On a lower speck G4 ibook Quicktime in 360p works…awesome. You may not think 360p is all that, but Quicktime does it good. Combine that with a Quicktime Pro license and you can also download the file once it fully loads. They are just....awesome extensions.
Jeroen hails from the low country across the pond and is the lead developer and chief cheerleader of MintPPC. Taking a basic Debian PPC install and slapping the Mint LXDE desktop on top of it in 2009 was a stroke of genius, and has breathed new life into many an old mac. Jeroen has removed most of the major headaches from your typical Debian PPC install, though even a casual browse of the MintPPC forum will show there are still tons of issues. Most of them due to the exotic mobile hardware choices Apple made back in the day. Lets face it, Apple never intended for Linux to run on an ibook G4, and the fact that it does at all, let alone well, is pretty remarkable. Jeoroen is always helpful to those with difficult hardware, always willing to compile the applications people want for MintPPC, and never gets impatient with people less technically savvy than he. Which would be almost everyone. An honorable mention must also be made here to os911, a regular MintPPC contributor who has written some excellent installation manuals, and is also uniquely helpful, especially with old world macs and all the challenges they bring to the table.
Yes. That Microsoft. Microsoft still provides regular security updates for Office 2004 and 2008 for PowerPC. Apple doesn’t do anything similar for its in house apps, and credit is where credit does, the behemoth from Redmond gets some respect from a former hater.
Well, those are my nominations for PowerPC heroes. Please feel free to disagree, or nominate anyone else you think worthy in the comments and thanks again to the above for keeping this architecture “Alive and Kicking…”. Man, I just had a Freddy Mercury and a Jim Kerr moment in one post. Its officical, the Doctor is old. Very old.