Apr 122010


Last week I posted an article about acquiring a 333 MHz PowerBook G3 “Lombard” to add to my collection of classic Apple computers. During my research about this computer I discovered that it has the ability to operate under three different major versions of the Macintosh operating system: 8, 9, and X.

Thus was born my idea to configure the Lombard with the ability to boot into each of these operating systems so that it might be a self-contained demo of the evolution of the Mac OS from 8.6 (May, 1999) through 9.22 (December, 2001) all the way to 10.3.9 (April, 2005).

While the Lombard will reportedly run Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) using XPostFacto to trick the installer, my Lombard doesn’t yet have the RAM to support it, so for now I’ll settle for Panther.

Since the Lombard came with 96MB of RAM and a 5GB hard disk the first order of business was to boost the amount of RAM and the hard drive size. Fortunately I have a scrap Pismo that I was able to scavenge for two 128MB RAM modules and a 30GB Apple branded hard drive.  Excellent instructions for this process are available from lowendmac.com

Once the larger hard drive and 256MB RAM were installed it was time to boot the Lombard from a Panther installation CD and launch Disk Utility to format the drive into three partitions. I elected to go with two 5G partitions for the Mac OS 8 and 9 systems and leave the remainder for Mac OS X.  I was careful to insure that I selected the option to install drivers for Mac OS 9 to insure compatibility. I named each partition after the codenames of the OS versions (Veronica for 8.6, Sonata for 9.2.2., and Panther for 10.3.9).

Panther Box

After the partitioning was complete I ran the installer for Panther, then restarted and completed the brief setup assistant. I decided to hold off on installing the various SW Updates for Panther because I was too eager to see if I could get the other operating systems installed first.

Mac OS 9 Box

Then I booted the Pismo from a Mac OS 9.2.1 installation CD, ran the installer, and restarted into 9.2.1 on the hard drive and completed its setup assistant. It hung at the final step, so I quit it and ran SW Update which found three updates (AppleScript, Mac OS 9.2.2, and iPod SW 1.3). The updater ran speedily but failed with a prompt to check the log for details. I restarted and found the 9.2.2 updater folder on the desktop, ran it again from the installer inside, and it finished successfully. After a restart I ran SW Update and was prompted to install AppleScript Update 1.8.3, Authoring Support Update 1.1.9, CarbonLib 1.6, AirPort SW 2.0.4, and iPod SW 1.3.

The next time you hear someone accusing Apple of orphaning products to get you to buy new ones you might remind them that all of these updates are still available from Apple servers nearly a decade after the last version of OS 9 was released.

The updates completed successfully and running SW Update after the restart confirmed that my OS 9 software is “up to date.” On to installing OS 8!

Mac OS 8 Box

The only OS 8 installer CD I had was an 8.5 version. I hoped to boot from the OS 9 partition on the Lombard, and launch the 8.5 installer on the CD then update the installed System with the 8.6 updater. No luck. The installer on the 8.5 CD refused to run on the Lombard (no doubt because the Lombard requires 8.6). Fortunately a colleague had a genuine 8.6 installation CD, so I borrowed it. Initially it complained about not being able to find Drive Setup, so I unchecked the option to update the drivers in the Installer options, and the installer then ran without complaint. After the completed installation I used the Startup Disk control panel to boot into 8.6 on the Lombard and had fun selecting an appearance theme and turning on Platinum Sounds.

I’m off to run the Panther updates and afterwards I’ll post screenshots of the different “About this Mac” windows from the Lombard booted under each version of the Mac OS.