2017 in Review

Despite some big hopes and dreams to develop SimpleMarkPPC more, 2017 ended up being a quiet year for the site here. I didn’t get as many updates as I wanted, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s not as if PPC software is exploding with new entries. We are essentially a somewhat viable fringe legacy platform. So, here’s a quick rundown of some of the intriguing news of the past year:

TenFourFox remains the most vital application for our G5s to stay connected and relevant on the internet. Cameron deserves his wide appreciation for the coding he does. Great guy! In fact, FPR5b1 is available as I write this.

LeopardRebirth is also a fun little package that updates the look and feel of your Leopard machine. It also includes a solid little PPC Store app. It’s getting updates and features some apps that I’m not familiar with but seem really useful. In some ways, this makes G5Center a little less relevant, but that’s fine. Grab it here.

On the negative end of things, Dropbox has officially stopped working on my G5. Did the server side have enough tweaks to close down our little loophole? Whatever happened, it gave my G5 a final countdown and no longer connects. I haven’t had free time to take a stab at fixing it, so we’ll see if CZO finds a workaround on the old thread here.

In 2018, I am going to do some more experimentation with a few products that might give us a syncing option with our older and newer Macs. Cross-platform would be the best – something relatively simple and brainless to setup too. I’m also going to post a few articles about vintage Macs here and there.

In truth, I feel that 2017 brought us closer to the “end” for our PPC Macs. Once TenFourFox doesn’t become viable, our G5s will still be useful, but they will be useful in the vein of other older vintage Macs. Software will keep on going, and they can serve a purpose – but the temptation to upgrade to even older Intel-based dual Macs will be irresistible. Heck, I picked up a $150 Core2Duo iMac for this purpose, and it’s getting more use as my regular writing/home office machine. Change happens.

Here’s to a great 2018!

— Nathan

Celebrating a Birthday

No, not my birthday… but the fact that our little hack to keep Dropbox operational on Power Macs is still going strong, one year later.

Read the thread for the full scoop if you missed it the first time. Fun little story of tinkering and experimenting. I sort of got the ball rolling with a nagging idea that Dropbox was only checking for the system version, which prevented the client from loading and syncing. It worked! Forums hero Czo did the real heavy lifting, packaging it together in a much more elegant solution. His most recent update, getting rid of an annoying timer, was also super clever.

Just a fun reminder of the PowerPC community at work, keeping our machines going.

— Nathan

Dropbox Logged Me Out But It’s Not Over Yet

Dropbox is logging out PPC users left and right, deporting us from the land of simple file syncing functionality.

But the battle ain’t over yet.

I just did some goofy sleuthing around and experimenting, and I got Dropbox to log back in (for now). I don’t think this is a long term solution. No doubt, Dropbox will probably invite one of their programmers to block this solution (somehow) rather than figure out a simple legacy way to keep file syncing operational. For PPC users, if we want to keep using Dropbox, we will have to find another solution that is more permanent.

But click, read, and try if you really need to.

The fact that this goofy trick worked makes me laugh.

— Nathan

Dropbox Alternative: Box

We are around 2 months away from Dropbox unceremoniously logging out PowerPC users, kicking us to the curb via a digital eviction notice.

There is no sign that the growing thread in the Dropbox forums is changing anyone’s minds, although there were rumors someone was going to try to port the newer Python framework to Leopard. We’ll see.

In the meanwhile, let’s begin to look at some alternatives to syncing and sharing your files online.

My first choice is to point folks to Box.

Box screenshot

Box is similar to Dropbox in that it gives you a folder that can be synced across different computers. It also has the ability to share files and public folders via a few easy clicks and includes access via some fairly decent mobile apps. The web interface is very useable, and the client (if it works on your computer) is similar enough to Dropbox. I’ve had a Box account for a while with a nice amount of space, but I couldn’t get into it because it initially had an issue with some Mac files with bundles. That is now fixed.

In a quick glance, here are the ups/downs:


It tends to be generous with space. Dropbox starts you off with a few GB though you can add more via pay or referrals and stuff. Box tends to be more generous – I got 50 GB through some deal for free.

Webdav support is awesome. You can mount your Box folder via the command line or using Go -> Connect to Server.

Generally has similar features to Dropbox and integrates with other services.


There is no client for PowerPC Macs. You will have to rely on its built-in WebDav protocol to mount and make use of your folder.

Copying files is not particularly fast via Webdav. I’m not sure if I have something setup incorrectly or if it’s just a slow protocol. This is annoying. I’m still waiting for 4 files to copy totaling 410k in size after at least 5 minutes. A Webdav client (like CyberDuck) may not have these issues.

FTP access is possible for paid accounts, not for free accounts.

Update: Here’s a quick follow up reading to help get you started with Box. It seems Box support recommends using third party clients to map your drive in Mac OS. Good to know. CyberDuck does work a bit smoother in some initial testing.

In summary, Box is a reasonable option to check out. You can still have access to the same pool of files across a variety of devices, keeping in mind that your G5 will still feel a bit like a second class citizen without the great sync features of Dropbox. As you give it a test run, let me know how it goes.

The Beginning or the End?

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Today, Dropbox blasted emails out to Leopard and Tiger users to let them know that as of May 18, they will be dropping support for these older operating systems.

This is a huge bummer. For one thing, it might mean that I move completely away from Dropbox. I loved having a sync option that worked on all of my computers, from Windows to iOS to new and older Macs. But if my G5 can’t use it (except through its rather less useful web interface), then I may have to look at rolling my own.

I’ll have to do some fresh exploring of this in future blog updates. If you didn’t get the update, here’s the info below.

Hi Nathan,

We noticed that you’re running the Dropbox desktop application (client) on an older operating system (OS X Tiger 10.4 or OS X Leopard 10.5). We’re writing to let you know that as of May 18th, Dropbox will no longer support these older versions of OS X.

Don’t worry – your files and photos aren’t going anywhere! But you’ll need to update your computer to OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later to access them through the Dropbox desktop application. Apple’s instructions on how to update your operating system can be found here.

If you don’t want to update your operating system, your files will still be available through the Dropbox website. However, on May 18th you’ll be signed out of your Dropbox account on your computer and the Dropbox desktop application will no longer be accessible.

We apologize for the inconvenience. For more information, please check out our Help Center.

– The Dropbox Team

Not happy, Dropbox. Not happy at all.

Here are some followup links to add your voice:

Maritn Kukac posted an open letter to Dropbox on his blog.

Many PPC users are posting on the Dropbox forums with their feedback to this decision. Add your voice.

— Nathan