A Mac OS Classic Software Gold Mine

A Mac OS Classic Software Gold Mine

While researching an upcoming post for this blog, I had reason to track down the original source of a program that the post will feature. I was sure that I had gotten the program at the excellent Macintosh Garden site (http://www.macintoshgarden.org), or perhaps the Macintosh Orchard (http://www.macorchard.com), or maybe even at Pure Mac (http://www.pure-mac.com), but my efforts to find it at any of these sites proved fruitless.There are more than a few places on the web where one can find collections of Mac OS Classic software, and so I started hunting around – I had to have gotten this program from somewhere!

Eventually I arrived at one site that I had nearly forgotten, but which should have been at the top of my list: the University of Michigan software archive. It is MASSIVE, but it has the drawback of using an old style FTP GUI, which makes it less “friendly” to work with than many of the others. You can see this clearly in the screen shot below:

UMich Interface

Despite this limitation, it is a VERY rich source of Macintosh “abandonware”, and I want to draw your attention to it, for those of you who may be looking for that hard to find program. If you know the program’s filename, you can easily scan the lists of titles and see if it is there. In my case, I did in fact find the program I was looking for at the UMich archive, where I must have picked it up originally.

You will find lots of other wonderful programs at the UMich archive as well, many of which are not featured at the more commonly searched sites. Doing this may not be as easy as it could be unfortunately, due to the above mentioned FTP style interface, which shows only the program’s filename. In many cases a program’s filename may not be enough for you to guess what it does, and to decide whether you might want to try it or not. Happily, there is a way around this. Each folder has an index file called 00index.txt, which provides reasonable details on each file in the folder. 00index.txt contains a brief, few line description of each program in the folder, sorted by filename. Trolling this list can be very enlightening and will almost certainly lead you to all sorts of new things. In my case, I found another item that I have been looking for FOREVER – a good load meter for Mac OS. I will post on this separately, but simply finding it at UMich, after failing to turn up such a capability anywhere else, demonstrates the point that there are many unique and hard to find titles at this archive.

To visit it, point your browser at http://www.umich.edu/~archive/mac/. As a good citizen of the web, let me note that UMich prefers you to access the archive with a browser only as the course of last resort, since this makes use of the university’s general web server. They prefer AFS or Gopher as first choices. If you have access to either, I am certain they would appreciate it if you would use it.

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