tinyapps.org / docs / Install and Optimize Leopard on Unsupported Macs

I wanted to run Leopard on a 400MHz Power Mac G4 (AGP graphics) for OpenVPN and L2TP VPN testing (here is the result in case you're interested). Since Apple has arbitrarily restricted the Leopard installer to 867MHz or greater CPUs, a workaround was necessary. But before that, Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.2.8 had to be installed from within OS 9, otherwise the Leopard DVD would not boot (thanks to Charles for the heads up).

Once it was all up and running, performance wasn't half bad (wouldn't want to edit any video on this thing, though). It would be nice if OS X offered a Performance Options preference like Windows XP to turn off all the eye candy. Oh, and Steve: please lose the "Are you sure you want to change your home page to Google Search? We make money when you use Safari's search field." warning - it's unprofessional.

I. Open Firmware Hack to Fool Leopard

Rather than the onerous patching process mentioned previously, Dylan's Open Firmware hack takes just a few seconds and makes Leopard think you're running at 867MHz:

  1. Boot into Open Firmware (Cmd-Opt-O-F)
  2. Insert Leopard DVD
  3. Enter the following, pressing Return after each line:
  4. Proceed with install. The CPU setting is cleared upon reboot.

There is an OS X app to automate the process if you prefer: LeopardAssist.

II. System Preferences

After installing and updating Leopard to 10.5.2, it's time to tweak a few UI settings:

  1. System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop > uncheck "Translucent Menu Bar"
    (My ancient ATI Rage 128 Pro AGP card didn't support the translucency to begin with, so this option does not appear. For more information, see: Leopard Scales Back Graphics On Older Macs and Mac OS X 10.5: Menu bar appears solid instead of translucent)
  2. System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop > Solid Colors > click desired color
  3. System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Start screen saver: Never
  4. System Preferences > Displays > Display > Colors: Thousands
  5. System Preferences > Dock > uncheck "Animate opening applications"
  6. System Preferences > Sounds > Sound Effects > uncheck "Play user interface sound effects"
  7. Finder > Preferences > General > uncheck "Spring-loaded folders and windows"

III. Terminal Commands

  1. Change the Dock from 3D to 2D:
    defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES; killall Dock
  2. Disable Dashboard:
    defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES; killall Dock
  3. Disable Spotlight:
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist

IV. GUI Apps

Here are several freeware apps that include performance tweaking features:

  1. IceClean
  2. MainMenu
  3. OnyX
  4. TinkerTool

created: 2008.02.17, updated: 2021.11.13