Everyone has been complaining for the last few years about System 7 needing 2 MB of RAM to run. Given the low price of memory (about $40 per MB), getting another megabyte shouldn’t bankrupt too many people. Still, is 2 MB enough? I personally consider a 1 MB Mac Plus pretty unusable for the level of things I do (OK, so I run out of memory on my 8 MB SE/30 – what if I’m a tad spoiled), will a 2 MB Classic be much different? We’ve been testing that recently, since Tonya just got herself a 2 MB Classic that we haven’t gotten around to upping the memory yet. We are still learning the best way to manage its memory, but it looks as though verdict will be that if you want to run memory hogs like Word 4, you will be a bit limited in what you can do and everything will slow down, sometimes rather significantly. We have also run into some strange problems with the System 7 files sharing on our mini-LocalTalk network between the Classic and the SE/30 (the SE/30 is running 6.0.5). We will report on the details of the strange problems if we ever figure them out (it looks like later tonight we will install DataClub, which may work more smoothly).
These are the basic System 7 memory guidelines from Apple, though we are not yet convinced of their complete accuracy. If you currently have 1 MB, use System 6 and one program. If you have 2 MB, System 7 and one program will work fine. 2.5 MB of RAM allows you to run System 7 with maybe two programs, and anything over 3 MB allows you to run even more programs or a single memory hog like Photoshop. Of course, if you have a ton of INITs, whoops, extensions, the amount of extra memory shrinks rapidly. Another place memory might disappear is if you use file sharing, which eats another 260K to 300K of RAM.
We heard that CE Software does not plan to make version 2.5 (soon to be released) of their popular QuickMail package completely System 7 compatible. The client software will be System 7 compatible and 32-bit clean, but the QM Server and the QM Administrator will not be. CE says that they talked to their largest sites and decided not to make 2.5 compatible because the sites weren’t upgrading their servers to System 7 and because it would entail a significant rewrite of QuickMail. CE will undoubtedly support System 7 in the future, but since it’s taken a while for them to finish 2.5, it could be a long time before a System 7-studly version of QuickMail arrives. With Microsoft as competition, this doesn’t seem to be a terrifically bright move on CE’s part. If you are interested in participating in the discussion and wish to make your feelings known to CE, there are two things you should do. First, send mail to CESOFTWARE at AppleLink ([email protected]) or America Online. Second, there is a QM-L LISTSERV at Yale for discussing QuickMail. To subscribe, send a one line mailfile saying SUBSCRIBE QM-L Your Name (replace Your Name with the appropriate information – I’m sure you can all figure it out) to [email protected]. You’ll then get information on the list along with messages sent by other people. CE monitors that list.
On a related note, I’ve just heard of a new LISTSERV dedicated to talking about System 7. I haven’t had time to check it out, what with getting married and all, but it should be interesting if you’re having trouble with System 7 or are concerned about issues surrounding the upgrade. To quote from the announcement: "The new list, SYS7-L, is specifically dedicated to the problems of installation, configuaration and features of the new system, as well as issues relating to product compatibility. We hope that this will serve the Macintosh community well, by providing a hopefully closer look at this new product without diluting the excellent quality of existing Mac mailing lists." To subscribe to the list send a mailfile containing SUBSCRIBE SYS7-L Your Name (same deal with replacement as before) to [email protected]. If you have questions, comments, or problems, ask David Remington, the list’s owner, at DAVIDR@UAFSYSB or [email protected]. I recommend that you follow a list like this for complete information on System 7, since there’s no way TidBITS can carry all the good information about System 7. We’re sticking with the most interesting and most important stuff, but there’s lots of other useful information we can’t include.
Apple’s Compatibility Checker claims that Disinfectant 2.4 is not compatible and should be upgraded to 2.5. Unfortunately, there is no 2.5 – it’s a myth. Disinfectant 2.4 is compatible with System 7 as long as you leave the @Disinfectant INIT in the System Folder proper, not the Extensions folder. John Norstad has said that he is working on Disinfectant 3.0, which will take full advantage of System 7 and knowing John, it will be truly snazzy to boot. Along with balloon help and the ability to drop icons on the Disinfectant icon to have them checked, Disinfectant will have an AppleEvent that allows other programs to ask Disinfectant to check files. That should help when downloading. I believe that the only thing Disinfectant will be unable to prevent is infection via file sharing, so watch the rest of the people on your network carefully. 🙂
Finally, in a thread discussing why Mac word processors don’t do typesetting like TeX, Brian Diehm mentioned that he’d heard that Interleaf for the Mac was a major test site for System 7 because it was the first major application being written from the ground up for System 7, rather than being ported up from System 6. Brian thought that a new release of Interleaf for the Mac, complete with a full Macintosh interface and System 7-studliness, might be coming soon. Of course, if I remember correctly, Interleaf was so expensive that only a site that used it on workstations as well and wanted the compatibility would use it. Perhaps this release will also bring a price reduction and put Interleaf into the world of the affordable.