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Mac OS 8 vs 9 for a G3 bondi blue

lowlytech

Well-known member
Just a quick question.  I have several macs in my collection and I have a pretty good grasp for system 6 and 7 differences, but I don't have a single mac in the collection that is running OS 8. 

I have a Bondi Blue G3 which may be a good candidate that currently has OS9 installed, and wondered if OS8 would be a better match or what the differences in compatibility would be between the two OS's .  That being said OS9 runs smooth without issues currently on the G3, just didn't know if there were certain things that needed OS8 or if it was more like anything OS8 can do, 9 can do better?  

 

beachycove

Well-known member
You need USB support for the G3 Mac, so that would mean a minimum of 8.6, if I remember correctly. OS9 introduced some new features, like a primitive user account, and rolled certain older add-on technologies into the standard release, like Worldscript and Remote Access, along with a somewhat more complete Unicode integration (still very, very imperfect, and used by almost no applications). It is also more resource hungry; I have seen 604e or 604ev machines that will run faster under 8.6 than 9.1. I have also read someone claim that multiprocessing (for the 604e, at any rate) was better in 8.6 than it is in 9.x. I am not sure that is 100% reliable, but I have a 8600 604ex2 with a 1MB L2 cache that is seriously quick under 8.6, and buttery smooth in the Finder when multitasking.

On the other hand, there are definitely applications that need MacOS 9. I have come across an Adobe product, Framamaker 7.x I think it is, that needs OS9, so there must be technologies that mark 9.x out as truly different than 8.x. On the other hand, I have not encountered software that needs 8 rather than 9, so you will not likely break anything with 9 on there.

As the machine is unlikely to see what you’d call daily use, I’d probably put 8.6 on it, just to say I had one running it. Nice system, and not often seen, as we collectors tend to go directly to 9, or even X on these things. But 8.6 is a very stable, fast and pleasing operating system for machines suited to it. 8.5, on the other hand, is seeming best avoided.

 
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Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
For my own part, I'd go directly to 9.2.2 non-stop, no questions asked. I reserve 8.1 for '040s and very slow PPC macs where HFS+ compatibility is relevant, and don't really put 8.5/8.5.1 or 8.6 on anything I run.

In general, 9.x is Classic Mac OS but with all the batteries included - USB is there, iTunes is there/supported, all the networking works basically as well as it ever will, so-on and so-forth.

That said, like, it is your machine and if you have any specific nostalgia for those versions then they should run fine.

nd wondered if OS8 would be a better match or what the differences in compatibility would be between the two OS's 


In general, any G3 is fast enough to run 9.2.2 without trouble.

The only good reason to go back to 8.5 (or 8.1 if yours allows it) would be if you had the stock 32 megs of RAM, at which point my advice is to just put more RAM in it.

You need USB support for the G3 Mac, so that would mean a minimum of 8.6,


The original iMac came with 8.1 install/restore media, so that works fine, although, yes, USB didn't get good until at least 8.6.

but I have a 8600 604ex2 with a 1MB L2 cache that is seriously quick under 8.6, and buttery smooth in the Finder when multitasking.


This machine will probably be pretty good in 9.1 as well, although I have the /300.

I haven't tested this thoroughly enough but my guess is that "fast enough for 9 to be fine" basically starts at 604e/200 and 603e/200, possibly slightly lower.

 

lowlytech

Well-known member
Thanks for the input.  So it sounds like it is split between 8.6 and 9.2.  I may go the 8.6 route as I have a G4 iLamp that allows booting into OS 9 still and I would like to be able to cover all the different versions of OS in the collection, I just haven't had anything yet that had 8 on it so I have never used it. I think the next system older than the Bondi Blue I have is a Centris 610 which may be too sluggish for OS 8.

 
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Daniël

Well-known member
You could also try dual booting OS 8.6 and OS 9.2, and just try both, switching between the two. That should give you some more flexibility, and potentially allow you to figure out which one appeals the most on the Bondi.

 
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