Unix software from pkgsrc for Mac OS X 10.4 (PowerPC Tiger)


PowerPC Macs were produced in huge numbers, and a lot of this hardware is still viable for use today, with professional software such as Photoshop CS2 and Propellerheads Reason. They're still good workstations, with lots of productivity software, and no always-online tracking or distractions. Originally, I got mine for running NetBSD, but found the pull of 20 year old commercial software too tempting to resist.

Regardless, how usable is Mac OS X 10.4 for Unix professionals, software developers, and command-line junkies? A surprising amount of free software can still run, often with some simple adjustments. The pkgsrc framework offers a platform-netural repository with powerful frameworks that allow wide porting of software.

Pre-built PowerPC binaries for popular software are available, including PostgreSQL, ImageMagick, Python 3, Wget, cURL, FFmpeg, OpenSSH, OpenSSL, Apache Web Server, nginx, yt-dlp, SDL, Midnight Commander, and many more.

Note: I make no guarantees about the security or up-to-dateness of these packages, though I pinky promise they're better than what Tiger includes by default. No warranty. Your fridge may explode. Also, you may find you're suddenly able to connect to servers that use modern encryption.

How to install software


Download the bootstrap kit

Extract the bootstrap kit on 10.4, set your PATH:

$ sudo tar -C / -xzpvf bootstrap-tiger.tar.gz
$ export PATH=/usr/pkg/sbin:/usr/pkg/bin:$PATH
$ export PKG_PATH=https://ftp.NetBSD.org/pub/pkgsrc/misc/nia/tigersrc/packages/All/

Add the last two lines to ~/.bash_profile.

Installing packages

Browse the repository

$ sudo pkg_admin findbest '*ffmpeg*'
$ sudo pkg_add ffmpeg2

Challenges building modern software on 10.4

Part of this project is just for fun. Since I'm a developer specialized in build systems, I get enjoyment out of pushing pkgsrc as far as possible. Therefore, others should get to learn from this too.

Refer to the mk.conf used for this repository, containing some non-upstreamed workarounds, and the allowlist of packages.


See also

nia from the domain pkgsrc.org
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