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The Mac Orchard is a community resource - a carefully cultivated list of the most vital Internet applications and related resources for Macintosh Internet users, along with Internet software reviews contributed from The Mac Orchard's audience. These pages represent the most complete, most up-to-date collection of Macintosh Internet applications available anywhere on the Internet.

December 15, 2010 — The Natural Conclusion

On December 15, 1995, The Mac Orchard was born.

It's been a crazy 15 years – years that have seen me through: some of the most important professional work of my life; some serious health issues (which I am well past!); and a huge transformation in the Mac as we know it.

I could write forever about what these last 15 years have felt like, but I have been postponing this little essay for too long, and I don't need any more excuses.

Many of you might have noticed by now that there have been no updates to The Mac Orchard since July 25 of this year, when I announced that the site was on "hiatus."

It's time to let you all know that the The Mac Orchard as you know it will no longer be updated.

There are a number of reasons for that:

  1. The vast majority of Mac users don't go out of their way to choose an alternate web browser or email client anymore, because what comes with the Mac is really, really good.
  2. People aren't using the wide range of protocols that they used to. Remember Gopher? WAIS? Archie? Even NNTP? Most everything people want is on the web these days.
  3. The Mac isn't an underdog anymore. Most people know other people who have Macs, and it's just not difficult for people to look online or ask a friend for advice about how to achieve what you want with your Mac. This is an incredible change that many folks wouldn't have imagined possible 15 years ago!
  4. What is a Mac, anyway? Most Mac users that I know of have an iPhone or iPad in their arsenal, and these tools are an essential extension of the Apple-centric Internet experience, which brings us to my last – and perhaps most salient – point.
  5. The future of application distribution is clearly the App Store. I am pretty sure those of you who have iPhones and iPads agree that it sure is great to have the App Store update all of your applications so that you don't need to track down updates individually. It became pretty clear to me that Apple was going to have to extend that metaphor to the Mac. So when they did this past fall, I was actually relieved, and wrote Steve Jobs a letter about that. (No, he didn't respond.)

Of course, there's still the hardcore user who doesn't fall into any of the above: users who still read Usenet news, play MUDs, and who run servers, or IT staffs who need network analyzers, VPN clients and the like. But that's a really, really niche group of people, and maintaining a site for those folks that is updated with any meaningful regularity really isn't a wise use of time for me right now given the legion other resources available that are better targeted to these folks.

On top of all this, there are personal reasons for my moving beyond the current Orchard. I have a house to maintain, and family obligations. And I have a fairly consuming job as the CTO of an incredible little company called Cognisight in Rochester, NY. We are doing some great things that should ultimately change healthcare, and I think that's a more important set of objectives these days.

That said, I am not going anywhere – I'm keeping the domain, and will slowly be converting it to function in a very different form.

I have been in the process of negotiating the transfer of a fair amount of the content to a person who will make good use of it; that transfer is in progress, and I hope make an announcement soon.

And most importantly, I will still be keeping track of Mac Internet software behind the scenes, and I will still happily take emails from people who have questions about what is available or what I think is "best."

So I'm not going anywhere. But it's time for The Mac Orchard to move on. Thank you for a great 15 years; I will never forget what this experience has brought me (friends and experiences that are beyond imagining) and taught me (experiences that most people would be very lucky to have.)

Thanks again to you all, for all of your dedication in helping me keep this site up to date, for all of your well-wishes when I was down, and for all of your interest in this little journey of ours. It's with a great deal of sadness that I sign off with this message, but it's with a great deal of hope that I look toward the future, to new things...to great things!

Cheers & regards,

Drew

Application Types on The Mac Orchard

  • Chat & Talk applications, including instant messengers (IM), IRC, and conferencing.
  • Classics that run only on pre-Mac OS X systems.
  • Connectivity applications (VPN, PPP, etc.)
  • Email software, including clients and spam filters.
  • File Transfer, including FTP software.
  • Helper applications, like file decoders and selected browser plug-ins.
  • MUSH/MUD applications.
  • Network applications, including analyzers, optimizers, and firewalls.
  • Older Protocols, including Gopher, WAIS, VRML, and the like.
  • Other applications that don't fit into other categories.
  • RSS newsreaders.
  • Server applications.
  • Sharing applications, such as LimeWire, BitTorrent, etc.
  • Terminal emulators.
  • Usenet newsreaders.
  • Web Browsers and related applications.

Also See . . .

Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:

Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.