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Info on System 6 for the Macintosh

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First of all, why would anybody in his right mind use anything as old as System 6, from 1989, on his or her Macintosh?

Well, we pro-6-ers donít just mean any Mac, of course. Most modern Macs canít even use it - the active System 6 era ended with the arrival of System 7 in 1991. But for somewhat older Macs with 68000, 68020 and 68030 processors, the Sys 6 Operating System often performs better than System 7 on these machines. It combines a number of worthwile features: itís much smaller than later MacOS versions (takes about 350 Kbís of RAM!), itís faster, and most of the time, itís more stable. Very often, System 6 will keep running on systems where the somewhat bloated and messed-up Sys 7 lets the user down. Ever tried to do word processing from a floppy, or reaching the Internet from a disk when your hard disk breaks down? Not so easy with System 7, but it can be done with Sys 6, and the speed is more bearable too. So, as far as Iím (and others) are concerned, older is simply better, sometimes.

Iíve put together some info specifically suited for the users of System 6. At the moment, itís nowhere near exhaustive, but I hope itís a good starting point for getting some of the most relevant stuff and for reaching the most suitable links in one go. I also hope people will give me some extra data for these pages so that itíll grow into a better System 6 resource.

The two main subjects on this page concern software and info. You can get some System 6-ready software here, as well as info on the System from a Forgotten Era (well, almost). I hope to make more Sys 6-compatible stuff available here (help appreciated!)

SOFTWARE:

- System 6.0.8 (free from Apple). This was the latest-and-greatest version, and is free.

- THE SYSTEM 6 STACK  80 Kb Hypercard stack, summarizing all kinds of info on the use of System 6. Includes lists of Sys 6-compatible programs, games and Macs, as well as a list of appropriate WWW links for System 6 users. It more or less mirrors the info on these and other obscure pages, but itís easier to browse later than looking through all kinds of loose Web pages... This basically has all System 6 information I could find in one file, one easily clickable index. Which is readily readable on a System 6 machine, of course. You only need Hypercard Player (available from Apple for free). NOTE: Updated, extended version - now at v1.1! With thanks to all the people who helped me with information.

- Nisus Compact 3.47. Freeware word processor ((c)Nisus), works fine under Sys 6. Visit www.nisus.com for more info, tips and updates. No registration required. Very small - it fits on one 1.4 floppy disk with System 6 on it; nice for those harddiskless Mac Pluses, Classics and SEís!

- vMac. Freeware Mac emulator; make System 6 (and many old apps/games!) run on your zooperfast, OS XXX turbo Powermac. Note: thereís also a version for yer Linux box on www.vmac.org. Needs at least a 120 MHz PowerPC for full speed emulation.

- Zoominí extension. Makes windows open/close faster under Sys 6 (and 7). Really effective for making your older (and probably slower) System 6 Mac feel faster, and it hasnít caused me any trouble over the years.

- ResumeToFinder 2.0 and BombShelter. Two little gems that reduce the chances of having a non-recoverable crash under System 6. Neat Ďn handy.

- Extensions Manager 1.8. An older version of todayís Manager, which works with Sys 6 and helps to keep the number of superfluous extensions - and thus, problems - down. You may need to enable one extensions set and (also) disable the other with this one, btw.

- AppleShare File Server 2.0.1. This is Appleís old software for turning your System 6 Mac into a file server. Officially, this is payware, but it isnít available anymore - and basically, does the same as AppleShare in the free System 7.5.3 and up. I figure itís no big deal if I put it up here, so that people can enjoy using it on their older Systems as well. If Apple disagrees with me here and contacts me, Iím willing to take it back down. (Although that would be rather silly, given the fact that the free System 7.5.3 is already... etc.) Note: this software claims your Mac whole, so it can only be used as a file server (no Finder!). The only way around this (afaik) is using a file manager desk accessory like DiskTop.

- Desktop Manager. This extension from Apple stops those unwanted desktop rebuilds every time you switch between System 6 and Sys 7.

- Disk Copy 4.2, a really useful freeware program from Apple for using disk images on your Mac. This older version works (better) on System 6 machines.

- Acrobat Reader 1.0 (disk 1-2) and (disk 3-4). Read Ďn display PDF files on your System 6 machine! Up here by popular demand. A pretty rare piece of software, this. The disks I downloaded elsewhere on the Net didnít install (there was a rather big error in the install routine), but once figured out, I was able to shorten the install process significantly and put it all in two System6-ready files (Stuffed Disk Copy 4.2 images). Note: V1.0 doesnít read all modern PDF files, of course, but most should still work. Note II: installer alters your system file (installs fonts), so make a copy first.

NOTE I: Thereís a list of all kinds of System 6 compatible software, ranging from applications to games, in the System 6 Stack elsewhere on this page. Iíd be happy to hear about any titles that arenít included yet.

NOTE II: If anyone has knowledge of a program from the System 6 era that has been declared freeware by now (apart from the ones already mentioned in the Sys 6 Stack above), please contact me. Iíll be happy to put more programs up here.

NOTE III: This page is mirrored at Wanadoo.nl. It may move there later this year.

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