OS9. WTF? VNC. FTW!: With this highly acronymised yet catchy title, a few days ago my friend Grant Hutchinson posted an entry on his blog detailing his most recent server configuration to control his Web server at home from elsewhere. What’s lovely about it is that:
The server itself (running the very site you’re viewing) is an 11 year old Power Macintosh 9600/200 dual processor with 256MB of memory and a pair of 4GB hard drives.
The choice of the Web server software is interesting as well: Grant is using WebStar 4.4 by Kerio (formerly 4D). Sadly, as the brief Wikipedia article informs, “On June 30, 2008, WebSTAR was officially discontinued. Technical support for the product will end as of June 30, 2009”. It’s too bad. However, don’t miss the first external link referenced in the article: The Crack A Mac Story from the TidBITS archive. You’ll understand just how good this piece of software is.
Now back to Grant:
Keeping the VNC server company alongside WebStar is an old school version of Maxum’s Rumpus for FTP and the unbeatable Summary for raw log crunching. Sophisticated Circuit’s iDo Script Scheduler keeps things tidy by firing off a series of maintenance AppleScripts, while Rebound! handles monitoring and recovery tasks for when various application or system events go kerflunky.
The lesson here is always the same: vintage Macs can still be quite useful, you just need a purpose and a good bespoke configuration — as I did with my PowerBook 5300. Nowadays finding software for pre-Mac OS X systems (sometimes even pre-Mac OS 9) may be harder than back in the olden days, but hunting is fun and the results can actually be rewarding.