Sure, it’s pointless, but… well… that’s the point

I have a pair of old Macs that have been sitting unused, or almost unused. The “hemisphere” iMac G4, dating back to 2002, has been the kids’ computer, sort of… except for the fact that they don’t really ever use it. And the “toilet seat” iBook G3, from 2000, has been gathering dust in our bedroom closet for the past year or so, since I tried and failed to install Ubuntu 7.10 on it.

Today various factors came together to lead me to bring the iMac, and the desk it was sitting on, down from the kids’ bedroom and into my office. Now that I have it, I might as well do something with it. And that something is installing the PowerPC version of Ubuntu 8.04. And as long as I had set up desk space for antiquated Macs, I lugged out the ol’ toilet seat and decided to, at the very least, get it back up and running with an OS it was more comfortable with, that being Mac OS 9.1. (I’m working on upgrading it to 9.2.2 at the moment, but 9.1 was the most recent “Classic” installer disc I had on hand.)

And all of this leads to the following, most improbable of photographs. What’s the point? Well… I got to take this photo! Is that point enough for you?

iMac G4 running Ubuntu 8.04, and iBook G3 running Mac OS 9.1

What’s next for these two old beasts? Well, I’m going to boot up the Ubuntu Live CD on the iBook, just to see if 8.04 is more friendly to it than 7.10 was. If so, I’m going to install Edubuntu and make it the kids’ new computer. If not, well at least it’s got a stable OS now, and I’ll still make it the kids’ new computer. I can probably round up some pre-OS X kids’ software for them, and they can always use it to watch DVDs.

Meanwhile, the iMac is possibly going to turn into a local file/media/web server, or at least be another system for me to play around with Linux on. I do have Ubuntu 8.10 on my main MacBook, but having to reboot into it is usually more trouble than it’s worth.

Update, a few minutes later: I went for it with the Live CD on the iBook. Good news. After a few fretful minutes watching the display do some very weird things during the boot process, I stepped away to deal with some kid antics. I came back to the iBook to see this:

Ubuntu 8.04 running on a "toilet seat" iBook G3.