Plan About Making Use of My Old PPC iMac

My father bought a Macintosh Plus when I was a baby, I guess it was rare for an individual Japanese to purchase a Macintosh PC at late 80's. I didn't understand English (or any language including Japanese) at that time, but I remember I enjoyed graphic and sound effects of MacPaint and PlainTalk, and was traumatized by the image of Death and music of Funeral March in Shadowgate. I can proudly say I walked alongside of Apple Macintosh.

Almost a year ago, I got a 1.8GHz PPC iMac G5 from my big sister. Because I love Macintosh and I have an old game collection that requires a PowerPC or Classic environment, I jumped to her offer about adopting this orphan (oh Apple, how cruel your decision was). However, I quickly found I don't use this machine often. It's main use was just for a data storage and media server, its 1.8GHz CPU is just sitting there, covered with dust. I'm only using this iMac in a data-centric way, whose function can be easily replaced by a simple USB storage or NAS. I gotta use it as a processor for some routine works, like a compiler or video encoder.

I already got video encoders like FFmpeg installed in my iMac, and the OS is Mac OS X 10.5, which comes with libraries for several architectures (ppc7400, i386, ppc64 and x86_64); that means under my iMac I can cross-compile a program for 32/64-bit PowerPC/x86 architectures. What I need is a plan and an easy access to these wasted processing resources. The following are what I came up with:

  • Run Git / Mercurial server daemons at system launch (via launchd)
  • "distcc" for compiling over network
  • Migrate some versioned/non-critical development tools to my iMac, and make them available modularly over network (via NFS)
  • Some user-friendly interface for over-the-network encoding batch process

Hmm, where should I start ... Setting up Git/Mercurial servers is currently the most realistic option, I'll see to it.


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