pmuellr is Patrick Mueller

other pmuellr thangs: home page, twitter, flickr, github

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

resuscitating a 2006 MacBook

One bad assumption I made about leaving IBM is that I'd be able to get a new MacBook Pro quickly. Nope. 2-3 weeks. NO LAPTOP! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE TIME OFF AND RELAX?

Poking through my shelves of computer junk, I spied my two old MacBooks. I forgot I had two of them.

The first was a G4 (PPC) iBook. That was the laptop I bought in 2003 to kick the tires on Apple hardware and OS X 10.2. I was hooked.

The second was a Intel Core Duo (x86) MacBook. 2 2Ghz x86 cores, 2GB RAM, 120GB drive. I bought that in 2006, and remember it being a productive machine. Eventually replaced that with a line of MacBook Pros IBM provided me, up until this week.

Hmmm, is that MacBook still usable? Powered it up fine. Poking around, it seemed like constraints on hardware / OS levels were that I should try to get this box from OS X 10.5 to 10.6. Also - this being a 32-bit machine - some number of apps wouldn't run. Eg, Chrome.

Luckily I still had an OS X 10.6 DVD lying around in my piles of old stuff. Upgraded easily. So now I can run PathFinder, Sublime, iTerm, Firefox, and Skype. Can't run Chrome, Atom, or Twitter. Or io.js. Again, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE TIME OFF AND RELAX?

The build requirements for io.js looked like something that I might be able to meet. Rolled up my sleeves.

First I wanted to update git. Currrent version was at 1.6. It was already complaining about git clone operations on occasion. So, first installed homebrew, then installed git 2.4.

That was easy. Now to install gcc/g++ - they were not already on the machine, and the latest stable at brew is 4.9.2. After a long time, it installed that fine. But it doesn't override the built-in gcc/g++. Instead, it provides gcc-4.9 and similar named tools for that version of the gcc toolchain.

To get the iojs Makefile to use these instead of the built-in gcc tools, I set env vars in my .bash_profile:

export CC=gcc-4.9
export CXX=g++-4.9
export AR=gcc-ar-4.9
export NM=gcc-nm-4.9
export RANLIB=gcc-ranlib-4.9

Ready to build iojs! Ran ./configure - it completed successfully but was a little complain-y about some unrelated looking things. Ran make. And then fell asleep. Woke up, it had completed successfully, so ran a little test and ... WORKED! Finally ran sudo make install and NOW IT IS EVERYWHERE.

Got some test failures, but they may be environmental. Tried some typical workflow stuff and things seem fine.

Not a dream machine, by any means. Slow. Constantly watching memory usage and quitting apps as appropriate. And the fan is quite noisy. And the display seems like it doesn't have long to live (display adapter problems are my lot in life as a MacBook owner).

But kinda fun.