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An important message from System 7 Today founder Dan Palka
 Topic: An important message from Dan (Page 1 of 2)
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  dpaanlka (Profile)
  1024 MB
Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:48 pm
The System 7 Today Forums Will Be Permanently Closed October 1st, 2016

Please read below for the reasons and where we go from here…

Over ten years ago I started System 7 Today from my Bradley University dorm room. Back then I was still actively using Mac OS 7.6.1 on a daily basis using a PowerBook 1400c/166. I was also an aspiring web developer, using System 7 Today as a platform to learn to code. This was an era before smartphones and tablets, before HTML5 and CSS3, and before TLS encryption became the norm, not the exception. It was an exciting time and I learned a lot along the way.

Later in college I had the opportunity to take control of decades-old Info-Mac websites, which the previous owner was looking to shut down. I decided to take what I learned from System 7 Today and create a new online portal to encompass all Apple products. I worked very hard with help from some friends from System 7 Today to integrate all Info-Mac content going back to 1984 into this new, database-powered and searchable website. I’ve also tried nursing a new community that wasn’t specific to System 7, although that part hasn’t been as much of a success. Nonetheless, Info-Mac has been my primary focus for the past 8 years.

After graduating college I started a career and interests have taken me elsewhere. I rarely stop by System 7 Today anymore. I no longer own any functioning System 7 machines (although I do still have Mac OS 9 around on a Kanga G3). Because of this, the System 7 Today codebase has languished.

But this alone is not the only motive for my decision — after all, why can’t I just let System 7 Today continue on, even without my involvement? There are a couple critical reasons for this which I will explain below.

The technical problem.

System 7 Today is powered by phpBB version 2, updates and support for which ended long ago. Since then, there have been two major versions of phpBB released, and in the next couple of months they are about to release another. This means that System 7 Today’s core backend software will be 3 major versions behind. It’s actually even worse than that, because System 7 Today is not even the latest version of 2.x — it’s several bugfix versions behind there too.

When I first created System 7 Today I made it a goal that the website be accessible in browsers that actually ran on Mac OS 7. To achieve this goal required heavy modifications of the phpBB 2 codebase. This turned out to be a huge mistake, because every update to phpBB wound up being a tedious and frustrating process, and it only got worse and worse as subsequent updates took phpBB further and further away from the version I originally modified to create System 7 Today. Eventually, I stopped trying.

phpBB 3 marked a huge change in the platform, the largest update ever. I tried on several occasions to sit down and figure out how to migrate System 7 Today completely over to phpBB 3. Each attempt ended in failure and reverting back to phpBB 2. Finally I stopped trying, as I no longer have the time to dedicate to this like I did as a college student. System 7 Today is incredibly obsolete and will never be updated. Ever.

The security problem.

Being one of the most (possibly the most) popular online forum software, phpBB is subject to an incredible amount of attacks from would-be hackers and thieves. Whenever a security vulnerability is discovered (whether by the phpBB team’s diligent effort or by a successful exploit by a hacker) phpBB rushes out an update to close whatever security hole exists. System 7 Today is missing 6-7 years of these updates.

On top of this, System 7 Today is served to your browser in plain text. This was the norm in 2006, but in 2016 secure TLS encryption is quickly becoming the standard across the entire Internet. System 7 Today will never have this, and I have no doubt in the next few years browsers and search engines will begin throwing error messages when you try to access System 7 Today. The continued use of System 7 Today poses a security risk to all of us.

The usability problem.

System 7 Today was designed entirely without CSS, in old-school HTML using <table> objects for layout. I tried exactly mimicking Apple’s late 90s website design, down to the color, fonts and element positioning. I did a really great job, actually! Unfortunately in 2016, System 7 Today is usability nightmare. It’s not pleasant to use on ANY device, smartphone, tablet, or desktop — quite a feat in bad design! Regretfully, this will never be updated either.

The solution.

At this moment I find myself juggling the management of two large forums, in addition to my day job and all the other stuff I do in life. One of these forums is completely 100% up-to-date with the latest software, security and usability standards. The other is not. Shutting down System 7 Today is both a difficult and at the same time an easy choice to make.

I value all of your contributions and conversations over the past 10 years, and I don’t want to lose that sense of community we’ve all built. If you haven't already, I would like to invite you all to register at Info-Mac, and continue the conversations over at the Vintage Macs section specifically. We’re the same people, just transitioned over to a website that doesn’t suck. If you haven’t visited Info-Mac in awhile, you’ll find the website is fast, secure, and works great on Macs, iPhones, iPads… and even Androids and Windows devices! It also has a lot more features that come with any modern phpBB board that were never enabled on System 7 Today.

I know for some of you, this will be the end of the road and we won’t see you over at Info-Mac, and that’s totally okay too. It’s your choice in the end, but I hope more of you will come than don’t!

Starting October 1st you will no longer be able to post new topics or reply to existing topics at System 7 Today. New users will not be able to create accounts either. I will let the website remain as an archive, however visitors will be encouraged to head over to Info-Mac to post any new discussions.

Feel free to share any concerns, rage, comments or questions you may have here in this discussion. Hope to see you around!

- Dan
  ovalking (Profile)
  32 MB
Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:37 am
They do say all good things come to an end.

Thank you for your efforts of running the website over the years. I appreciate it must be hard to continue if your heart is no longer in it, but I'm pleased S7T will be retained as an archive.

I was confused by your comments about the S7T interface design though. I've always found it pretty good whatever machine I use, and it is very quick.

Unlike info-mac. I've just registered, but it was hard work - it's really difficult to read that captcha! It's slow, there's far too much white space, and it doesn't seem to even respond to any system 7 web browser.

Good luck with your future projects.
  feeef (Profile)
  64 MB
Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:23 am
Thank you very much for what you have done!

Thanks to this website I managed to give a new life to my PM 9500 with System 7 and managed to even do some professional work with it until last year. I was doing traditional 2D animations with it.

I know that this computer will never be a computer for the Internet (well, it has never been built for that purpose anyway) but it is still a very capable machine for visual creations.

I have now made a full move to free software but I still love to use my old macs.

Again, thank you for all your hard work with this website and forum! I am glad the website itself will still exist. It is indeed a great archive with a lot of great info!
  reukiodo (Profile)
  16 MB
Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:57 pm
Thanks for the site.

Aside from security concerns, I would prefer to leave S7T running as-is. How much maintenance does it take to run this?

Are you planning to migrate the content over to InfoMac or just let it archive itself here?
  reukiodo (Profile)
  16 MB
Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:58 pm
I tend to agree with OvalKing... InfoMac is both ugly AND slow.
  massi13 (Profile)
  64 MB
Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:40 am
Thank you for all the times i need help, for upgrade my experience in system 7, your work is incredible!!

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