My Favorite Software
for Apple Computers

Copyright 2002 by Ronald B. Standler

Table of Contents

Upgrading from an older Apple computer
My Favorite Software
         Music Composition Programs
         Internet Programs
         Utility Programs
DOS/Windows Compatibility
Running OS9 on Apple with Intel Microprocessor


In May 1992, I purchased a computer-controlled synthesizer so I could hear some of my arrangements of baroque and classical keyboard works. At that time, the best music notation software was primarily developed for the Macintosh platform, so I purchased an Apple IIci computer to control my synthesizer. There are two reasons why professional music software was principally a Macintosh product:
  1. The Macintosh operating system was better suited to graphical notation (i.e., staves of music) than early versions of Windows.
  2. Most musicians were not knowledgeable about computer hardware and software. The fact that the Macintosh operating system was much easier to operate than the Windows operating system made the Macintosh a more comfortable environment for musicians; the Macintosh was much less intimidating to musicians than Windows.
I immediately found the Macintosh operating system 7 (OS7) to be superior to the then current Microsoft Windows3.1 in many ways.

I am currently running Macintosh OS9.2 on a Power Macintosh G4 in a minitower case.

I have posted this webpage to share my observations on software and hardware for the Apple computers. Many of the links in this webpage go to the homepage of a website, to avoid broken links, as other websites are revised in the future, so you may need to descend through a hierarchy of webpages to get to the current location of the relevant information.

Analysis of the logfiles for my personal website from 10 Aug 1999 through 19 March 2002, when there was a total of about 162,500 requests for webpages, showed that 79% of the requests were from users of some version of Microsoft Windows, 16% from unknown operating systems, and 3.2% from users of some version of the Apple operating system. While Apple had a small share, it was still four times greater than Linux.


Apple Computer maintains an extensive online collection of technical information on their software and hardware in their so-called Knowledge Base. Information released prior to Nov 1997 is stored in their Archive.

Since the mid-1990s, Apple computers have been shipped with minimal printed manuals. Therefore, one probably needs to purchase a third-party book to fully understand how to use the Apple operating system. I found the following books helpful in July 2001 when I upgraded from OS7.5 to OS9.2:
  1. Maria Langer, Mac OS9.1, Visual Quickstart Series from Peachpit Press.
    This is a short book (only about 350 pages) with pictures of each menu to guide users. This book appears to be more suitable for beginners who are not yet comfortable with computers.

  2. David Pogue, Mac OS9 – The Missing Manual, from O'Reilly.

  3. Lon Poole and Todd Stauffer, Mac OS9 Bible, IDG Books.
    A encyclopedic book (about 860 pages). Unlike most authors of books about Apple computers, Mr. Poole earned a B.A. degree in computer science.

  4. Gene Steinberg, Mac OS9, McGraw-Hill/Osborne.
    Another encyclopedic book (about 880 pages). This book is my personal favorite out of the bunch.

  5. Sharon Zardetto Aker, The Macintosh Bible, Peachpit Press.
    An even longer book (about 1040 pages for the Oct 2001 edition).

These same authors have also written many other books about Apple computers and software, so I suggest that one search an online bookstore for these authors' names and pick books with recent edition dates, in order to obtain the latest information.

The computer manuals from IBM in the 1960s and 1970s, and manuals from Hewlett-Packard in the 1970s and 1980s, were written in formal English. In marked contrast, the books for Apple computers are written in informal English, with occasional remarks about a topic being too technical or too complicated for the reader to understand. These patronizing remarks give the impression that Apple computers are toys, not intended for serious work by professional computer programmers, scientists, and engineers.

Despite my unhappiness with the style of books about Apple computers, the information in the books about how to use the Apple operating system seems to be correct. However, when the authors digress into an explanation of hardware, the authors often make glaring errors of fact, probably because most of these authors have a formal education in neither electrical engineering nor computer science.

Upgrading from an older Apple computer

I have a now-discontinued Keytronic ergonomic keyboard that uses the Apple Desktop Bus (ADB), which I wanted to continue using with a modern Apple computer that has only Universal Serial Bus (USB) for the keyboard and mouse connections. I have been happily using the Griffin iMate adapter that converts ADB to USB.

But, modern Apple USB keyboards have a key to open the compact disk (CD) tray, which key is absent from the old ADB keyboards. So, if you want to continue using an old ADB keyboard with a modern Apple computer, look in the OS9.2 distribution CD-ROM for a folder "CD Extras". Inside that folder is an "Eject Extras" folder. Drag the program to open the internal CD tray to a location your hard drive, make an alias to that program, and put the alias in the System Folder/Apple Menu folder.

Some of the modern Apple computers no longer have a microphone input, although they do have a speaker output connection. Griffin also makes the iMic, which allows both a microphone input and audio input via USB.

I also have dozens of 3½ inch floppy diskettes with software for a Macintosh that I acquired between about 1992 and 1995. Modern Apple computers no longer have a floppy drive, so I am using a VST floppy drive that connects to the computer via USB. Teac, a respected Japanese manufacturer of high-quality floppy drives also makes an external floppy drive that connects to an Apple computer via USB port. However, these USB floppy drives will not read the floppy diskettes that were formatted for 800 Kbyte capacity, which diskettes were common for distribution of Macintosh software up to about 1996, for reasons given elsewhere.

The older Apple computers used a SCSI-2 interface to connect with external peripherals (e.g., scanner, disk drives, Zip disk, etc.) The new Apple computers have only USB and FireWire ports, so I added an Adaptec model 2906 SCSI-2 interface card inside my Apple G4 computer. Adaptec also makes a model 2930 interface card, if you need the 20 Mbyte/s data transfer rate of a SCSI-3 interface. I use adapters for connectors from Granite.

I created a 3 Gigabyte partition on my principal hard disk for installing OS9.2 and all of my legacy applications. That keeps the old software completely separate from new software for OSX.


Music Composition Programs

The initial reason that I purchased my first Apple computer in 1992 was to use Finale music notation software to create/edit music and to control a 16-channel synthesizer. In 1992, Finale had little competition: it was clearly the dominant program for orchestral music composition.

Although I have not personally evaluated Finale's competition, one might also consider Sibelius,   Cakewalk/Overture,   and Mosaic.

Internet Programs

I refuse to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer webbrowser software (or any other Microsoft applications software) on either my PC's or my Apple computers, because of Microsoft's longstanding, evil, monopolistic practices. There are three other major webbrowsers for the Apple:
  1. Netscape, which was my principal browser before Sep 2003.
  2. Opera browser from a company in Norway.
  3. i-cab browser from a company in Germany, which has been my principal browser since 24 Sep 2003.
Strangely, web browsers for Mac OS 9 often do not properly display HTML character entities, such as the section symbol (§), the Greek mu (µ), the symbol for one-half (½), or the multiply symbol (×), because of limitations in the fonts on the Macintosh.

There are two common non-Microsoft e-mail programs for the Apple:
  1. Netscape Communicator, which is part of the Netscape browser, and
  2. Eudora.

Traditional Telnet is not secure. A better alternative is the MacSSH program, which is freeware written by Jean-Pierre Stierlin. His website is at . Additional instructions for use of MacSSH are posted at:

Firewall & Anti-Virus Software

My essay Examples of Malicious Computer Programs, at my professional website, describes the immense harm done by computer viruses and worms. Users can protect themselves against such malicious software by installing an anti-virus program and regularly updating its virus definition files. Another essay at my professional website, Tips for Avoiding Computer Crime, explains why users need firewall software.

Although most malicious code is written to attack users of Microsoft operating systems, users of Apple computers still need anti-virus software. The most common anti-virus programs for the Apple computer are:
  1. Norton Anti-Virus for Macintosh

  2. McAfee (formerly Virex from Dr. Solomon in England)

  3. Sophos in England

  4. Intego VirusBarrier.

I have seen estimates that, as of the year 2001, there are only about 80 known viruses or worms that are specific to the Macintosh operating system. (Compare this to more than 61000 viruses and worms for Microsoft Windows known in May 2002.) An exact number of viruses and worms is not possible, because of uncertainty about how to count variants of a virus or worm. As a consequence of this relatively small number of viruses for the Apple, It is probably adequate to update the antivirus definitions for anti-virus software on an Apple computer every two months. (This suggestion is in contrast to advice for users of the Microsoft Windows operating systems, where weekly, or even daily, updates of anti-virus definitions are prudent).

Owners of an Apple computer who also use Microsoft Word wordprocessing software (versions Word6 and higher) are vulnerable to macro viruses that use Visual Basic for Applications, which also affect computers running a Microsoft Windows operating system.

There are only a few firewall software programs available for the Apple operating system:
  1. Norton Personal Firewall, which is actually written by Open Door.

  2. Intego NetBarrier.

  3. Sustainable NetSentry.

Utility Programs

I have used the Norton Utilities for Macintosh since I purchased my first Apple computer in 1992. There are three utilities that I find particularly useful:
  1. Speedisk A disk optimization program that defragments files and organizes files on a disk. In the Options menu, I suggest checking "Verify Data" to enable a read-after-write, which verifies that the data were written correctly.

  2. Norton Disk Doctor (NDD) A program that is useful to repair corrupted files and also checks the integrity of hard disk drives. NDD allows one to delete the desktop file, which is a better way to rebuild than the way that Apple recommends.

  3. File Find A small utility program to find the location of any file on the hard disk if one knows at least part of the name of the file. I like File Find better than Sherlock in Apple OS9.
In July 2004, Symantec announced that they had discontinued development of the Norton Utilities for the Macintosh. A good replacement for Norton Disk Doctor is DiskWarrior.

TechToolPro is better at testing hardware than the Norton Utilities. There is also a "TechTool Lite" version that can be downloaded at no cost.

All Apple hard disk drives are formatted at the factory. If one purchases a hard disk drive from another vendor, then one must format that drive with a non-Apple utility program, commonly FWB Hard Disk Toolkit.

In the Apple environment, the standard file compression method is Stuffit (with file suffixes .sit or .sea), which was developed by Aladdin. Apple OS9 includes Aladdin's program for expanding compressed files. If you want to compress files, then you need to purchase and install Stuffit Deluxe.


The final release of the WordPerfect wordprocessor for the Apple Macintosh computers is version 3.5e, which has an August 1997 file date. Corel, the owner of WordPerfect, discontinued support for all versions of WordPerfect for the Macintosh on 29 Oct 1999. WordPerfect for the Macintosh is no longer available at the Corel website, but the last version is now a free download from several websites. There are three files that you will need to run WordPerfect3.5e on a modern Apple computer (either MacOS9 or Classic Mode in OSX):
  1. The WordPerfect3.5e program with a 2 August 1997 file date (approximately 28 Megabytes).
  2. WordPerfect 3.5e Updater.sit (approximately 1.8 Mbytes), after running this patch the WordPerfect program will have an 1998 file date.
  3. WP Updater for OS8 and 9.sit (approximately 400 Kbytes), after running this updater the WordPerfect program will have a 1999 file date.
One can find these updaters, along with a large collection of macros for WordPerfect for the Macintosh, at:
One can also use a search engine with the query:
WordPerfect 3.5e download
WordPerfect Macintosh download
to find other sources.

An informative explanation for how to use WordPerfect3.5 on modern Apple computers is given here.

Despite the fact that WordPerfect3.5 is now an unsupported product, it is still a fine product and does everything that I expect a wordprocessor to do. Moreover, I prefer WordPerfect3.5 for the Macintosh to both WordPerfect8 for Windows98 and WordPerfect10 for Windows98.

I have two sources for fonts to use on my Apple computer:
  1. Adobe PostScript fonts. These are beautiful fonts from Linotype, Monotype, and other vendors.
  2. TrueType fonts from Bitstream.

Finally, if you do not want to use the now unsupported WordPerfect, but you refuse to use Microsoft Word, then you might consider:
  1. AppleWorks (formerly called ClarisWorks) contains a wordprocessor in its integrated suite of programs that also includes database, spreadsheet, and graphics programs.

  2. Mariner Write.

  3. Nisus Writer, although the Nissus Writer Express for OS X received bad reviews in late 2003.

Apple Hardware

I hate the reliance of both the Windows and Macintosh operating systems on a mouse to point to commands. The mouse is just an invitation to repetitive motion injuries! Of all of the pointing devices that I have tried, I prefer the Kensington trackball, which they call a "Turbo Mouse" for the Macintosh. The ball has a diameter of 6 cm and can be rolled with the palm of one's hand, without putting additional stress on one's fingers.


Computers use an internal battery to maintain the parameter memory (PRAM) and real-time-clock (RTC) when the ac power is off.

The official Apple website lists the Apple part number for the proper battery for each of their computers, but does not permit a link directly to their page, so:
  1. click here
  2. then click on topic = "My Computer and its parts (hardware)"
  3. enter in the search box:     11751
  4. click the "next" button at the bottom of the page
  5. on the next webpage, scroll down to the list of documents and then click on "Macintosh Family: Batteries and Part Numbers"

Charles Phillips has posted a useful webpage on batteries used by various Apple computers. Pre-Fix has a document showing the batteries for various models of Apple computers.

Many Apple computers use a 3.6 V lithium battery in size ½AA, Saft model LS14250. Replacement Saft batteries are not commonly available in the USA, but can be ordered from

One should save the PRAM data in a file on the hard disk by using the TechTool utility program, which was mentioned above, before replacing the battery.

DOS/Windows Compatibility

It is necessary for the minority of people who use Apple computers to somehow be compatible with the majority of people who use some version of the Microsoft Windows operating system. There are two ways to run programs for DOS or Windows on an Apple computer with a PowerPC microprocessor (G3, G4, or G5):
  1. Use software to emulate an Intel microprocessor's commands on the Motorola microprocessor in the Apple computer. The best-known PC emulator software is Virtual PC from Connectix, which was purchased in mid-2003 by Microsoft.   Virtual PC 4.0 emulates a Pentium II microprocessor with the Intel Triton chipset, a S3 Trio SVGA card, and a Creative Labs SoundBlaster card.

  2. Install a card in the Apple computer that contains a genuine Intel microprocessor. Such cards were manufactured by Orange Micro and Apple, but are not currently available.
I have personally used Virtual PC 4 for DOS (which comes with IBM's PC-DOS2000) on an Apple G4 computer that runs at 733 MHz. Norton Utilities8 for DOS SysInfo reports that the emulation is about five times faster than a plain Pentium microprocessor running at 66 MHz. However, Norton Utilities for DOS version 8 reports errors in both the Register Test and the Arithmetic Test for the numeric coprocessor (i.e., floating point processor) when run in the Virtual PC environment.

Users of DOS or Windows should have current anti-virus software.

In addition, there are numerous utility programs to convert wordprocessing files, graphics files, and various formats of text files. The file conversion utilities that I currently use on both my Windows98 and Apple computers are made by DataViz. Most wordprocessing and other programs have options to write files in different formats when using the SaveAs command from the File menu. Also, most wordprocessing programs have a limited set of file conversion programs included, which operate automatically when one tries to open a document file that was created in another wordprocessor.

In the early 1990s, Apple computer users needed to purchase separate software from Apple, called "PC Exchange", to be able to read/write/format floppy diskettes in DOS format. Apple operating systems after System 7.5 included PC Exchange in the standard operating system.

Running OS9 on Apple with Intel Microprocessor

Mac OS 9.2.2 (which was introduced in December 2001) was the final version of Mac OS 9. In May 2002, Apple declared OS 9.2 to be dead. That was ok, because users who wanted to continue using software written for OS9 and earlier could run those old programs on an Apple computer with a PowerPC G3 or G4 microprocessor and OSX in the so-called "Classic" environment under OSX version 10.4 or earlier.

In June 2005, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would stop using the PowerPC microprocessor and begin using Intel microprocessors. The decision to use Intel microprocessors ended the easy use of old programs for OS9 with modern Apple computers. However, it is still possible to run the old programs on a modern Apple computer with an Intel microprocessor, by installing a software emulator to translater PowerPC instructions to Intel instructions. Consult the following websites for more information: Note that the Sheepsaver emulator can run OS 9.0.4, but not later versions of OS9.   If you can find a version of OS9.0, Apple has an updater to convert OP9.0 to OS 9.0.4 updater for OS9.

I emphasize that I have not personally used OS9 on an Apple computer with an Intel microprocessor. I provide the above information with the hope that it might be useful.


So-called computer experts have been predicting the demise of Apple since the mid-1980s. But Apple has consistently maintained its market share, and even attracted new customers with its low-cost iMac line. The experts often attribute the failure of their predictions to the allegedly fanatically loyal Apple customers. We are not fanatics, we just recognize a better operating system than Microsoft Windows.

Apple computers are recognized leaders in not only desktop publishing, but also manipulation of audio and video files. I use an Apple computer mostly for websurfing, e-mail, arranging music, and some wordprocessing.

Unfortunately, many software vendors (e.g., WordPerfect) began discontinuing support for the Apple platform around 1998. I hope the release of Apple operating system X, which is based on the Unix operating system, will attract new users to the Apple platform. I have a separate essay on System X, which I really like.

This document is at
created 8 March 2002, most recent changes on 10 Sep 2005,
information on running OS9 on Apple computer with Intel microprocessor added December 2007

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