Support for ancient machines and operating systems

Perry E. Metzger perry at
Mon Jan 8 18:33:40 UTC 2024

The question is very simple. "Does anyone using MacPorts actually depend 
on the machines in question for their daily work". Not "could someone in 
theory do so". Not "is there a way that you could do such a thing if you 
really really wanted to". Does anyone *actually* do it.

My assumption is no, or possibly a very, very small number of people. 
You can buy a much newer and better machine for a pittance on eBay or 
the equivalent.

I will note, however, that there are a huge number of people who rely on 
Sonoma on Intel or ARM as their daily work machine.


On 1/8/24 13:17, Sergey Fedorov wrote:
> I do not particularly get the question. By “not using as a hobby 
> project” you mean using it commercially? Obviously, “the latest 
> software” condition restricts this to open-source.
> I can name at least a few areas where macOS PowerPC /can be/ used 
> either commercially or with the latest software but rather for 
> not-too-demanding academic applications. Obviously, even the best 
> machines from 2005 cannot compete speed-wise with the modern ones, so 
> if a commercial application is sensitive to processing speed (or 
> portability), PPC is not a reasonable option.
> There is nothing preventing one from using a PowerMac today for print 
> media design and prepress, commercially. But software won’t be the latest.
> There is nothing preventing from using a PowerMac for something like 
> econometric models in R. Perhaps not a very commercial stuff, but not 
> a hobby project either. Everything I did for Bayesian modelling on an 
> Intel Mac I can do on a PowerPC.
> What is the real stopper is portability. If someone would give me a 
> PowerBook with G5 quad or at least dual cpu, I could use it as the 
> to-go machine.
> Single G4 – no, thanks, that is only good for a hobby project.
> On Mon, Jan 8, 2024 at 11:45 PM Nicklas Larsson via macports-dev 
> <macports-dev at> wrote:
>     Hi all!
>     I’m seriously curious: does anyone still today use a PPC machine
>     today as (1) main/only workstation with (2) necessary use of
>     latest software and (3) without using it as hobby project?
>     Best regards,
>     Nicklas
>     > On 8 Jan 2024, at 15:50, Perry E. Metzger <perry at>
>     wrote:
>     >
>     > There's been a bit of tension recently because of a group of
>     people who are very interested in keeping MacPorts working on
>     PowerPC hardware, none of which has been made for the last 18
>     years or so.
>     >
>     > I'd like to float the idea that we create a fork of the MacPorts
>     repository that is devoted to operating systems and hardware that
>     is more than (say) a decade old, and that we allow the people who
>     are interested in maintaining that software to freely work on it.
>     It doesn't hurt the rest of us after all, and it absolves us of
>     the need to keep the main MacPorts repository complicated by
>     patches to support very old systems.
>     >
>     > This way, people interested in old systems can keep them
>     running, and their work doesn't take up time for the rest of us
>     and vice versa.
>     >
>     > Perry
>     >
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