The simple Mac

by Giles Turnbull

In the interests of simplifying my life (and partly as an effort to Get more Things Done), I've been giving some thought to the way my computer works and the way I set it up. What's the simplest setup I could use?

Yesterday I had a chance to find out. Having experimented with Ubuntu Linux on my G3 iBook for a couple of months, I decided the time had come to put OS X back on it. I picked Panther, just to see if 10.3.9 would be faster and more reliable on this old (600MHz) machine than Tiger (some people have suggested this might be the case, in their experience).

So with my shiny fresh Panther install, rather than going through my usual list of must-installs and must-downloads, I paused and considered: how many of these extras do I really need? What could I get away with leaving out? To what degree could I get by with the tools provided by a plain fresh install?

There were some things I had to get on the computer: Camino, natch, and Quicksilver, Tweak Freak, QuickImageCM, and TextForge. But that's where I stopped; I'm going to wait and see how well I can get by on this machine without clogging it up with unnecessary junk.

What's the least you could get away with on a fresh, clean Mac


2005-11-17 11:17:54
I know exactly what you mean
I too ran Ubuntu (5.04) on my G3 iBook for awhile and then reinstalled OS X. And, just like you, I looked to do a minimal install. I do tend to go through phases where I try out lots of software, but really I prefer to run my machines pretty light.

My iBook, like yours, is running Panther. This is down to the amount of RAM I've got in it. I'm told it is very unwise to run Tiger unless you have enough.

My minimal install is more minimal than yours. I do agree it can be worth having a second browser, because some websites are not standards-compatible and one browser may be able to guess what some standards-incompatible webmaster wanted while another may not. I haven't put a second browser on as yet, but I agree Camino is a good choice. But, frankly, there's just no way I'd put Quicksilver on any of my Macs. I don't recognize some of the other programs you mention. At present I use TextEdit on that machine, but I may add the Coding Monkeys excellent SubEthaEdit.

Actually, I even haven't got an FTP client or an RSS client or an NNTP client or a Bit Torrent client on it. Neither have I got any office software on it, and I haven't installed Garage Band. All this I can do on my desktop machine.

I did discover that I could uncheck the option to install Stuffit Expander. I regard Stuffit Expander as unreliable bloatware, so I did. Consequently, I needed a program to unpack with, and I installed Scott Anguish's OpenUp:

Currently, that's the only third-party program I've installed on my iBook.

2005-11-17 11:46:37
simple mac
First off, What's "natch"?

I fight with the need to simplify my mac on a daily basis. In the most general sense I just install Quicksilver. But if it's a machine that I'm going to use on a daily basis for work I install NetNewsWire, Pages, Camino, Transmit, TextMate, Adobe CS2.

2005-11-17 13:11:10
simple mac
"natch" is slang for the word "naturally".
2005-11-17 13:13:37
I know exactly what you mean
You wrote: "But, frankly, there's just no way I'd put Quicksilver on any of my Macs." Why is that? I personally find it indispensable, sort of a commandline for the GUI. What's your reason for not installing it?
2005-11-17 13:13:50

Though I have to hope that Giles isn't going to start telling us that Macs are the best computers, fo' shizzle. And even Wikipedia seems to have walked away from "slip the donkey". A shame, because they'd just got my attention.

When I do a new install (which I tend to do each time my iBook goes to have a new logic board installed - having blown the sixth Apple are talking about replacing it) I also pick up a copy of desinstaller
and delete all the things that the installer didn't ask me if I really wanted or not.

Language packs, IE, etc.

2005-11-17 15:31:46
I know exactly what you mean
I have to stick Quicksilver on, otherwise I'm endlessly hitting Command+Space and getting nothing, which drives me crazy (natch).
2005-11-19 10:07:39
Speedier on an iBook G3
Actually, your post inspired me to downgrade my Mac (an 800 mHz iBook G3) to 10.3.9, out of the memories of when it used to a run a lot speedier. And, sure enough, it runs much smoother.
2005-11-25 14:42:01
Speedier on an iBook G3
Good to hear.