PowerPC popularity 2018-beyond ?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Macbookprodude, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. Macbookprodude macrumors regular

    Macbookprodude

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Location:
    ЗША
    #1
    How many more years will PowerPC Macs still be able to work and function as things get harder on the web ? My G5 Quad is now starting to have issues with heavy java based websites. My PowerBook G4 1.67 DLSD seems to suffer also.

    Realistically, how much longer will PowerPC Macs continue - could they go into the next decade ? Have we seen the end for PowerPC Macs as the years keep climbing ? I am sure this forum will still be here 20-30 years from now, though it would be amazing to see how a G5 Quad can run in 2030 ?
     
  2. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    32-bit operating systems, like Tiger and Leopard are realistically limited to the year 2038 as detailed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

    That's not to say you can't just wind the clock back...

    I imagine vintage enthusiasts will continue to find uses for PowerPC Macs into the next decade quite easily as there doesn't appear to be any revolutionary changes to computing or internet communications around the corner, but by the 2030's, who knows?

    I don't imagine Youtube or other video sites dropping all of their SD content anytime too soon. It's still a preferred choice on mobile networks [which charge by the MB] to watch something at 240 or 480p instead of HD.

    In terms of Java, I wouldn't even ask a G5 to try to accomplish much. And modern Javascript in TenFourFox (or Leopard WebKit) is only bearable on a Dual G5 as a minimum. I think it's up to web developers to rethink their money grubbing, click-baiting, bloatware approaches and go back to basics. Nobody likes a clunky, overly cluttered website (or is it just an advertising space?), even on modern hardware.

    In terms of the longevity of the hardware... Well, if many of the Pro-level PowerPC G4 and G5 Macs are continuing to operate almost as-new 15 years or so after they were built, they should easily continue on for another 15 years or more if maintained in the right conditions.
     
  3. TC_GoldRush, Apr 26, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018

    TC_GoldRush macrumors 6502

    TC_GoldRush

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2017
    Location:
    Nevada, USA
    #3
    I can see them continuing well into the future, like mentioned above the year 2038 will be a big testimony for these aging computers. Wifi with WPA2 security is already impossible without an AirPort Extreme card, and it's only a matter of time before parts for these machines become scarce. Only time will tell, though.
    Edit: These are also Steve Jobs era machines, they aren't going as anywhere anytime soon.
     
  4. z970mp macrumors 65816

    z970mp

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2017
    #4
    I give the G5 until about 2025. I imagine they'll be useless for most people by then. 2020-2022 for the G4.

    G3 may as well be already dead.

    That is, if you don't have an insanely retrofitted build like Aphotic does. Otherwise, it's a pretty safe claim.

    I get the feeling TenFourFox will end somewhere in 2020, when 10 years of TFF have passed, and Dr. Kaiser has long since made great acquaintance with his Talos II. Maybe his Quad will break. Who knows.

    Personally, I see them as good secondary/backup machines and direct windows into the past. What once was. Which is really quite interesting, especially when accounting for all the old, long since abandoned games and applications available on the Web. They really are a dusty, cobwebbed old time machine, which is a very intriguing concept to me at least...
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #5
    I can't see PowerPC beyond the next ten years myself. It's more about how computers are used versus hardware I think.

    Sure, PowerPC is strong enough to survive beyond that but so are a lot of really old computers. But how we use them changes over time.

    For instance, I imagine that there are a few TRS-80 computers out there that are functional. But who is using these for daily tasks?

    What we do today requires a certain level of processing power and capability. What we do tomorrow will require even more.

    Or put another way, I am no longer using a DOS-based word processor because there are certain things I require out of a word processor that can't be met by software that old.

    Now there are always exceptions. Distraction free writing, simpler apps compared to the current version, certain removed features, etc. But overall the need for an application to do a specific thing has steadily increased over the years.

    So while capable, I see the limitations of software strangling PowerPC at some point.

    I would just state this however. As much as I like my Macs and specific models, I fell into PowerPC because it was in line with my budget. As my older Macs die and the early Intels move into that same price range more of those will replace my PowerPC Macs. I've always seen it as a sliding scale. I'm "X" amount of years behind Apple's current product. But as Apple advances, so do I.
     
  6. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #6
    My primary return to computers was to make music and all my Macs - from early Intels to G3 can do that...so if I'm still alive in 2030 and I still have a G3/G4/G5..I can still make music as much as I can today.
     
  7. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Location:
    505 USA
    #7
    It all depends on use. If you're web driven then powerpc certainly has a limited life span. If you're software driven using old boxes to drive old software, then powerpc could suit one's needs quite literally until the box dies. Who knows how long that would be.

    I too entered the apple eco system based off of price point and continue that way. A new mac? What's that?
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #8
    That's very true. But it also assumes no change. That's just fine when all the box is being used for is say a file server, TM backup, retro-gaming, etc. But none of that assumes a daily driver - unless of course what you do requires those certain aspects.

    I used a word processor as an example as most of us have used one. I could probably get buy with using a very old one. But hand coding bold, italics, etc and only being able to extract a txt file for my trouble is not anything I am prepared to do anymore. My requirements have changed.

    And that's my point in my original comment. Change will affect PowerPC at some point because even the best and most high end of them will be unable to meet the changing requirements that we have of them.

    Each of us will come to that point at different times. Some of us won't get there at all because they are comfortable where they are at and see no need or have no reason to change.

    But for myself, I'm liable to be there soon. I am already feeling the squeeze of not being able to use some websites on a Snow Leopard Mac. I don't even try with my PowerPC Macs. I just shift to my Windows PC. But the requirement for me has changed and that's what drives this for me.
     
  9. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #9
    2018 will probably be the same issues that 2017 had with PowerPC. They're going to be larger problems, but it's going to be "more of the same."

    I'll go out on a limb, though, and say we're going to be in some serious pain in PPC usage before 2020. Something will likely come that will kill PPC internet usage before 2020 or make it hurt so badly that you won't WANT to use it. I hope it happens on the 2020 side of things rather than the right now side of things.
     
  10. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #10
    While I agree with the general nature of your post I did want to call out this example. The TRS-80 and other computers of that generation were really limited to begin with. We tolerated their limited capabilities because we had to.

    I just recently acquired a Mac IIci for which I need to buy a hard drive. I want to keep it as original as possible so I am specifically interested in a 40 or 80 megabyte hard drive. When I look at a modern computer I realized just how small that it. Compared to a TRS-80, Apple ][, Commodore 64, or Atari 800 it is absolutely huge. If I wanted to I could install Word on the IIci and do most of my personal word processing on it. Or I could use Excel for most of my personal Excel needs. Is it the ideal platform? Not really but it would be useable for some of these things.

    Now compare that with a G5 which can run much more capable versions of Word and Excel. For the vast majority of users even an older version of these programs will meet their personal, and probably a lot of business, needs. It's a much more capable system than the IIci. If all one were doing is these couple of things (or things like it) I wouldn't be surprised if many people could continue using one well past 2020.

    However users have other requirements for which a G5 is inadequate (I consider web browsing among them). As you've mentioned it really doesn't make sense to keep one in service when more capable systems can be had for similar money.

    My rambling really amounts to early generation computers, such as the TRS-80, were more hobbyist in nature. Yes they could do some limited, light business / personal tasks but nothing too complicated. A G5, OTOH, can still do some serious work. I see things such as higher resolution video, VR, games, maybe still photography making them inadequate but for many tasks, if the software were there, they would be perfectly suitable.
     
  11. AL1630 macrumors 6502

    AL1630

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    #11
    Yeah, eventually something is bound to happen that will force PPCs off most mainstream websites. Hopefully that doesn't happen in the next couple years.

    This is my line of thought too. Why buy a new Mac when I can do everything I need with old macs I got for 1/10th of the original price and upgraded?

    So, eventually PPC will probably be unusable on the internet, but for offline things, especially basic stuff, they should be somewhat useful indefinitely. In a few short years we'll be using 20 year old computers to do work. It's pretty crazy to think about that.
     
  12. pochopsp macrumors 6502

    pochopsp

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Location:
    Napoli, city of sun and pizza!
    #12
    My iBook G4 still suits my needs. I can surf the web (maybe not so fast as modern computer, but fast enough for me) watch youtube vids, anime and tv series, play some games and manage my files... I don't know when it won't be usable anymore for the web, but, until then, I'll keep using it as my main laptop
     
  13. dbdjre0143 macrumors regular

    dbdjre0143

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2017
    Location:
    West Virginia
    #13
    My first Mac was a Powerbook G3 Lombard I got back in 2009, like many of you, because I wanted to learn about Macs and that was what I could afford. At the time, I was a freshman in high school and snagged it for $100 on eBay. I added a USB WiFi dongle and used it as I would have any other computer for a couple of years. I didn't feel like it felt at all out of date, and I used it to do all the same things I did on my Windows Vista laptop I had at the same time. In fact, I remember being really surprised at how snappy the 400 MHz (IIRC) CPU felt, and attributed it to the architecture difference, especially compared to sub-GHz Intel boxes I'd used. ;)

    Then, about 2 years later, someone my Mom worked with lucked into a 1GHz iBook G4 that she brought home to have me service. That thing felt lightyears ahead of my Powerbook, and she saw how excited I was to play around with it. I did a clean install of Tiger, and sent it back to its owner. But Mom surprised me by buying it from the fellow and giving it to me for my birthday a couple of months later. I used it, like with the G3, as I would have any other computer, for a couple of years. I have a fair amount of patience with older tech, so I never felt limited in any way. It did everything I asked of it, including the (then) "modern" web. When I went off to college, it stayed behind and I committed to using my Windows laptop which by that point had been upgraded and was noticeably more "capable", at least in terms of speed.

    Shortly after I graduated in 2016, I renewed my interest in the iBook, but I found that by that point, the web had made using it "normally" a bit more challenging. After I got married and set up my home office that summer, it began a life mostly serving as a Spotify jukebox on my desk while I worked. I tried to bring it up to what I would consider "Daily-Driver" capable performance by maxing out the RAM at 1.5GB, but still found that the 1Ghz CPU was struggling to provide what I would deem as sufficient performance for daily "normal" use. I considered upgrading to an SSD, but after spending time lurking on this forum, I decided my money could be better spent tracking down one of the last-gen DLSD Powerbooks. So, after awhile, I snagged one, maxed out the RAM, slapped a mSATA SSD in a cheap PATA enclosure, and was back to feeling capable.

    That is still the machine (machine-type at least, as many of you know my first DLSD died) I'm using now as a DD, typing this post on it currently actually. Though there are a few things I use regularly that don't necessarily work as "normal" (thinking about YouTube, Gmail chat as the biggies), but workarounds (thinking of PPCMediaCenter and iChat for those cases) keep me able to use it for virtually anything I want, and my work computer (2013 MBP) and personal Windows desktop fill in the occasional gaps.

    I say all that to say this. The Lombard was still feeling decently spry until it was about 14-15 years old. The iBook was about the same, if not a little less. The 15 year cutoff for my A1139 would then be 2020. However, I don't expect the same time period to apply to it. I am always amazed with the community around these PowerPC Macs, especially in this forum. With the DLSD being the last, best PPC portable, I would predict that the awesome community of folks keeping software alive for PPC in general, will still be keeping it useful in two years. By that time, I expect that the large majority of G4's will be what I consider outside the realm of possibility for daily use, but I'm hoping the "latest" ;) PPC machines will gain a couple extra years of longevity, since at this point it is already love of the platform, and an awesome community of tinkerers keeping them relevant. :apple:
     
  14. AphoticD, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #14
    Kudos on sharing your story @dbdjre0143, you’re certainly on the same wavelength as most of us here who choose to show interest in what many people would otherwise consider unusable hardware and software.

    Despite all of humanity’s technological advancements, it’s worth taking a moment to put ourselves into the mindset of appreciating “out of date” technology for what it is capable of and not to dismiss it for what it can’t do.

    From cars to computers and big screen TVs. It is truly amazing what we have available to us, in the world, at this point in time. Almost anyone can afford a second-hand computer. And there are thousands (if not millions) of machines which end up in landfill prematurely, when all they needed was a little attention to repair and repurpose them.

    The idea of repurposing computers opens up massive opportunities to many parts of the world with people who might otherwise not be able to afford to ever learn computing skills.

    I think the PowerPC platform is currently holding an interesting position for enthusiasts like ourselves because of both price and build quality. Personally, I love the idea of being able to buy a Mac which I once considered the best computer EVER, but could never afford, now for less than the cost of a pair of school shoes for the kids or for half the cost of filling up the car each week.

    In terms of ongoing popularity, (within our niche), I believe the G4 will likely be the longest surviving architecture of the PowerPC era. With PowerBook G4s, iBook G4s and the Mac mini G4 outliving Power Macs, iMacs and eMacs.

    I really wish I held onto my beige Mac collections. All of those 601/603/604 Power Macs were wonderful machines, but I can only imagine them mostly rotting away now back into the earth.

    If anyone wants to invest some time into compiling some stats, check out the per-release download statistics (on sourceforge) for TenFourFox over the past few years. Being possibly the most popular (free) PowerPC software, this is likely to give us a clear picture of growth or decline in popularity.
     
  15. eyoungren, May 2, 2018
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

    eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #15
    Your message posted during an extremely busy time for me so this is the first real opportunity I've had to respond. So, here goes…

    My example of the TRS-80 was to make my point. Yes, it was underpowered, but for the majority of people who used them it did what was needed. By 1984 when I got my Commodore 64 what the TRS-80 was capable of was no longer sufficient for me. My needs had changed. That made the TRS-80 obsolete.

    By 1989, I had a Commodore 128 and the Commodore 64 was obsolete to me because it was no longer sufficient to my changing needs.

    By 1990, my first IBM 286 eclipsed my C128 and again, because of changing needs, the C128 was insufficient. In 1993 I got a second-hand Amiga 1000. Even at that time I couldn't do anything but play older games on it. In 1994, my IBM 486 obsoleted my old 286 and I began using MS Word while the old DOS based word processor went by the wayside. Again, changing needs.

    In 1997 my Pentium II obsoleted my 486. In 2003, my TiBook (my first Mac) obsoleted my PII.

    The point in all this is that as additional power, capabilities and software features became available what I had before was no longer sufficient.

    I have a IIci with a 40MB HD and 128GB ram in my garage. It's got an external 1GB HD and I use my tabloid flatbed scanner with it. Or, I would if I ever needed to. It's got QuarkXPress 3.11 on it. But I've never needed to go back that far. Nothing on that Mac is sufficiently capable to do what I need now. It even has a network card, but the speed would be so slow it's not attached to my home network.

    I'm with you here. But that goes back to what I said earlier. If your needs are basic, then this will suit you. But my needs have changed over the past and will continue to change. Right now my Quad is my daily driver and it's quite capable with older apps. But there will come a day when it will be insufficient for what I need it to do.

    Totally with you here.

    And therein is the rub. Sure, if the software was available. But it's not. And anyone holding on to hope that a major company at some point will magically make brand new modern software for PowerPC is bound to be disappointed. Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etcetera are not coming back to this platform.

    That means relying on the generosity of community forum members who develop for free. And that's a great thing because it keeps us relevent for a little longer. But it's not a major committment from major companies to the platform.

    Again, if your needs are not that demanding then PowerPC will last quite a long time. But, and I know there are others like me, if your needs change over time it will eventually obsolete.
     
  16. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    #16
    I understand you were giving an overview of your needs and how they've changed over time. I would assume you're not unique with the requirement for increased capabilities from your systems.

    I was making a more general comment. In the days of the TRS-80 computers were suitable for a narrow set of tasks (due to their limited capability). The narrow number of tasks limited the number of people who could / would use them. IOW the capabilities limited the market for them. Contrast this with the PPC where the tasks it can perform greatly exceed those of the TRS-80. The increase capability greatly expanded the number of people who could use them. I would say the number of people who could satisfactorily utilize a G5 today exceeds the total number of people who could satisfactorily utilize a TRS-80 era system.

    No matter how it is sliced and diced time marches on and the G5 will eventually be nothing more than a hobbyist level system much like a TRS-80 is today.

    I think many people have basic needs which can still be met by G5 era systems. It's my opinion software is contributing to obsolescence for many people. Case in point: I recently installed a copy of Office 2007 Professional on a new PC. When I went to activate it I was informed I've exceeded the permitted number of activations. I was further told phone activation was no longer available for such an old product. IOW I am unable to use a perfectly licensed copy of Office because Microsoft no longer supports it. I don't deny them the right to stop supporting it. But to stop activating it? My only option is to buy a new version. New version means new HW requirements. I don't need a new version of Office. 2007 does everything I need it to.

    I don't expect software developers to provide endless support. That's why we continue to use contemporary software which meets our needs (as the Office 2007 example I just mentioned). There is software, tax software being an example, which could easily run on a G5 if the developer choose to do so. It's understandable why they don't, just merely pointing out there's no technical reason. Tax preparation software isn't resource intensive.
     
  17. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    #17
    With all due respect they are already obsolete. Sure you CAN work with them, but why use a big, inefficient behemoth like a G5 when a $100 phone will do a better job these days.

    Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of vintage computing - I own an Amiga, a PPC Cube, loads of old games consoles. But I've never understood the fascination with trying to bring them up to date. It is especially prevalent in the Amiga scene, I'm sure you've all heard of Morph OS. I just don't get it, I like using old computers for nostalgia, not to try and make them do a second-rate job at modern tasks.
     
  18. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    Old dog meet “new tricks” :)

    I think there are quite a few regulars here who love pushing the old hardware to accomplish new and exciting things.

    In fact just this evening I put in a 3 hour “Power”’session of dedicated coding time for one of my Xcode projects using just my iBook G3 12” 700mhz with 384MB of RAM, running Tiger. I was able to work on editing existing Project NIBs and then wrote a few hundred lines of mostly glue code in a couple of new classes. Compiling is slow, but it gave me a chance to take a break after completing a long series of connect the dots (and rest my brain before bed...)

    In the morning, I’ll easily move a copy of the project back to my Mac Pro (via USB thumb drive) and just Add (Import) the new classes into the project in Xcode 8 (El Cap) to compile and test the latest additions under High Sierra on my iMac C2D 21.5”.

    I could have accomplished the same task on any of my Intel portables, but I wanted to use Tiger specifically for the older version of Interface Builder and the little Opaque “SnowBook”’ was calling out for a run. The battery held up perfectly and still has about an hours charge in it. :apple:

    Far from useless or even inefficient IMO.
     
  19. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #19
    Responding to the part of your post I have highlighted…

    Why?

    Because requirements. InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Suitcase Fusion, Acrobat with Pitstop Pro, connecting to a Windows 2012 file server and sharing files, and being connected to three displays at work and six at home.

    I have yet to encounter a single phone that can do that. And if there were I guarantee you it wouldn't be $100.

    PowerPC still can. For now.
     
  20. eddjedi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    #20
    Maybe a phone was a bad example, but a modern $250 Windows laptop or even a 10 year old Intel Mac would run all of the apps you mention better than a PPC Mac will, maybe with the odd exception. That's the part I don't understand. I like to use old computers for things they are better at, not things they are worse at.
     
  21. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #21
    I don't think your example was bad. You just didn't account for use cases such as mine. I am NOT typical of the average computer user. Many of us in the PowerPC forums here actually are not.

    Most people get a PC (Mac or whatever) and they use that and don't really think about it as long as it's doing what they need.

    I, on the other hand have multiple computers both at home and at work and I tend to push those computers to the maximum potential. Hence six displays on my Quad G5 at home (and a G4 before that). Most people are NOT hooking up six displays to their computer. Hell, most aren't doing what I do at work with three displays.

    But just like with the hardware I also try to push the boundaries of the software and the OS. It's a fun thing to make these things dance. And you learn things, such as the fact that the G4 case design is very poor thermally when loaded out.

    So, for most people your example would probably work. But most people are not here in the PowerPC forum. They are in the Intel Macs forums.
     
  22. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #22
    Very true. It’s kind of hard to believe that my Mac Pro 3,1 is now a 10 year old computer. In my opinion, it absolutely rockets along with 8x 3.2Ghz Xeon cores and “only” 16GB of RAM, 480GB SSD boot volume, striped RAID 2x1TB 7200rpm internal storage, plus another 5TB external eSATA storage and a monster, CUDA capable GeForce GTX 680 2GB GPU. This 10 year old Mac is likely to see me through for many more years and is surprisingly only 3 years junior to my last gen, Late ‘05 Dual Core G5.

    I think for most users it just comes down to sticking with what works, especially when it comes to workflow and specific versions of software which we have wrangled into behaving as we expect. So for a power-user like @eyoungren it doesn’t make much sense to uproot a capable Quad G5 system, decked out with enough Graphics cards to power 6 displays and replace with a different architecture. There will be an increase in processing speed for sure, but typically also a lengthy process of ironing out software compatibility, expanding hardware capabilities and dealing with configuration issues. All of which will go on to cost even more money for newer software versions, expansion, etc

    Each to their own here... we all have our reasons for choosing PowerPC hardware.

    My reasons were originally due to a decent investment in Pro Audio hardware and software, but I did spend the money to bring all of that up to date and moved production across to the Mac Pro. I then went headfirst into obtaining several PowerPC Macs to learn about and experiment with and now I’m hooked on the ‘99 - ‘05 vintage Macs.. plus a little ‘06 - ‘10 Intel for good measure :apple:
     
  23. Slix macrumors 65816

    Slix

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #23
    I haven't been following this up until a few years ago, but wasn't there a period of time that the PowerPC Macs couldn't really access the modern internet because TenFourFox wasn't around yet? I imagine that if there's a desire to make them work, there will bound to be people that make them work, regardless of the "limitations" we impose.

    If web developers just focused on making their sites work on older hardware a little more and made webpages more lightweight again, we'd be fine forever. :p
     
  24. AL1630 macrumors 6502

    AL1630

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    #24
    Most modern web design isn't even too fun to use on a modern computer (at least for me), even though it looks smooth. I don't see anyone returning to more basic web design anytime soon,unfortunately, because so much of the internet is based around the smaller screens of phones now, many of which smash most PPCs in benchmarks.
     
  25. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Location:
    505 USA
    #25
    I tell you one thing, I certainly underestimated the amount of popcorn I’d need to get through this thread.
     

Share This Page