Took the day to see how things regarding the old PowerMac 9500/180MP were with a newer XFree86. Apparently, XFree86 4.2 doesn't support the XVideo extension for the imstt adapter, which is quite a pity.

What this means is that I am not able to use Xine or Mplayer to efficiently play videos on this computer.

I can see some things that make this computer slow:

  • It has a modest amount of RAM for today's standards (64MB, which is particularly little for PowerPC);
  • I don't know if it's RAM chips are in an interleaved configuration or not;
  • If it had a faster/better supported video card (say, like a ATI Mach64), things would perhaps be better, but this is just a guess. I don't know if the Mach64 sports XVideo support under PowerPC, but perhaps the Gatos project might help here;
  • I have no idea why this computer, while having a SCSI interface and drive, is so slow while it is using the disk. I see two things: it freezes most things the user (that's me!) whenever it is writing (reading?) anything to (from?) the disk and the transfer speeds are quite sloooow. I wonder if this is a problem of the Linux SCSI infra-structure, if it is a problem of the hardware or if it is a problem of configuration. It probably isn't a problem with Linux, since I also see the slowness with MacOS Classic (8).

Anyway, just for fun, I tried to install MacOS X 10.1 on this old computer. The catch is that MacOS X can't be installed on anything this old. Well, at least, that's what Apple says. I had to grab a copy of MacOS 9 (in German!) just to bootstrap the system. Then, using XPostFacto, the installation was quite smooth (and slow). But with one gotcha at the first reboot: a kernel panic.

After that, I went to sleep.

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