A picture of my iMac G4 sitting on a desk

The computer I wrote this on.

A few years ago I bought an old iMac G4 that was in a very rough state, completely
disassembled, its parts loosely collected in a box, and with a bad PSU the owner thought
they could “fix”. Despite my better judgment I put it back together, got the PSU
working, installed OS X 10.4 and promptly let it sit in a closet for another two years.

Why let it sit? Because frankly the iMac wasn’t really useful in a modern or a retro sense,
though I expect some will debate its retro merits. Originally I wanted to install Linux on it to see
if I could get some use out of it, but PPC Linux is in a dire state in the 2020s so I
pretty much gave up on it…until I learned OpenBSD still maintains their OpenBSD/macppc

After dragging the iMac out of storage, installing an IDE-SD adapter, and installing OpenBSD
I have to say I am very impressed not only by how well OpenBSD runs on it, but by how useful
the computer still is when setup this way. After this success I tried OpenBSD out on a variety
of computers I own and I’ve come to this conclusion: If you’re happy with OpenBSD, probably
any computer is good enough.

While I fully acknowledge there’s a lot you can’t do on a system like this (Docker, anything
GPU related) it’s still able to do a lot of productive work without feeling like a total dog
to use. I’ve been programming on it for a few days, emailing, listening to music, chatting,
and more with no problem at all and for me? This computer is basically able to cover all
my daily computing tasks.

That fact leads me to another question I’ve not considered before: How much computing power
do I really need on a day to day basis? I don’t really know the answer, but I think after
this experiment I can safely say I probably don’t need as much as I thought I did.

To finish off I want to be clear, I am not suggesting you try to use a legacy computer in
2023 with OpenBSD…but if you find yourself in the position of doing so the experience is
really very good, far better than one would expect.

For those interested, here’s the system info from neofetch:

OS: OpenBSD 7.2 macppc 
Host: Apple Computer, Inc. PowerMac4,5 
Uptime: 54 mins 
Packages: 95 (pkg_info) 
Shell: ksh v5.2.14 99/07/13.2 
Terminal: tmux 
CPU: 7450 (Revision 0x201) (1) @ 800MHz 
Memory: 61MiB / 512MiB 

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