View Full Version : January 16, 1997: 7.6 Brings a Taste of Obsolescence
Jan 16, 2007, 10:48 PM
Link: January 16, 1997: 7.6 Brings a Taste of Obsolescence (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20070116224828)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug
Jan 17, 2007, 12:16 PM
IIRC, version 7.5.1 (the one that must have immediately preceded the one from this article) was released to be compatible with the widest possible range of Macs. This was brought as the one that would be the last version for certain older models.
Version 7.6 introduced new features that not every Mac could use right aways, but it was thought at the time that there would be another version, like the 7.5.1., that would be usefull for a wider range of models then the initial 7.6.
I am not sure whether that ever came. However, some 8.x and 9.x also had specific releases that supported very ancient models.
In fact, Apple stated, during the "classic era", that it would support a certain model for at least the next five years with new releases of the OS. I have seen models that were older (up to seven years after being introduced) that could still benefit from newer OSses. This was one of the things I used to contrast the Mac and PC.
However, during that time, you shouldn't have looked at an OS release as something monolithic (in contrast to Windows). It was still possible to upgrade technologies seperately, such as QuickTime, MacTCP or it's successor (OpenTalk?) and others. It meant that it was still possible to at least benefit from some improvements.
With OSX things changed a bit, but not drastically. It is often a matter of whether the model has enough power to drive a newer OS rather then a restriction the OS imposes for running on that model. (And there is always PostFactory for those who want Leopard running on the original 128K Macintosh)
I, too, want all OSses compatible with every Mac I own, but it just ain't so. Almost always, there are good reasons.
Jan 17, 2007, 12:24 PM
IIRC, OS 7.5.5 was the last OS that ran on every Mac ever made up to that point excluding the 128k and 512k (the 128k is restricted to OS 3.x and the 512k OS 4.x or something like that.)
OS 7.5.3 was buggy and slow compared to 7.1.x, but 7.5.5 was pretty decent. In my opinion (based on using several 68030 and 040 machines), 7.1 is faster and more stable, making it the better choice if you don't need/want the features present in 7.5.x. Some of the '040 machines run fast with 7.5.5, making that a winner, but 7.1.x was the best pre-X Mac OS in my opinion.
7.6 was a bit of a disappointment - I remember using a new PowerMac 6100/66 (66MHz PowerPC 601) and thinking, "crap, this thing not only looks like my Quadra 610 (25MHz 68040), it doesn't run much faster!". It wasn't until OS 8.x that the OS took better advantage of the PowerPC architecture.
Jan 17, 2007, 03:01 PM
The big deal (at least for me) was that Apple dropped the original Sound Manager APIs from the system software in 7.6. So many games that worked fine on systems 6 through 7.5.5 (StuntCopter, Crystal Quest, many others) became silent in 7.6. (They remain silent today, even though those apps will run in Classic on PPC Macs running 10.4.)
I was rather upset by this when I upgraded my Quadra to 7.6 and later to 8.1. (Fortunately, I still have my SE :) ) One of these days, I will have to get an appropriate emulator for my modern Macs - that SE won't last forever :( .