Confessions of a MacOS X hater, Two

©copyright 2007,2008,2009<, Howard S. Modell,/h3>

Making proper use of my status as a Univ. of Phoenix faculty member, I got a discounted (*) copy of MacOS X® 10.3 (Panther). I put in my pre-order a few weeks back and was (1) surprised when the "shipping" notice came last Thurs., and was (2) astonished when the package actually showed up on Friday.


I wish it known that I showed admirable, commendable, praise-worthy restraint and "paternal responsibility" in that Beth was down from college for the weekend and Spent Time With Us for a change and I didn't do more than open the box to look at the pamphlet-sized documentation while she was on hand.

It was trial and a tribulation and if Pope John-Paul II doesn't add me to the next round of Beatifications, than .. well, it's all just Politics is all I have to say. :-)

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest ..

Before trying the upgrade/install, I took at least a couple of the precautions that MacFixIt recommended: I ran DiskWarrior® to physically clean up my OS X partition, and used Disk Utility to "repair permissions". I also moved apps and utilities that I'd added out of Applications and Utilities into my home dir (I'm so glad that even "pseudo-MacOS" (always remember that when you talk about "Mac OS X" you're not talking about an operating system, but rather a GUI "Mac Emulation" layer on top of Unix. .. MacOS X is no more an OS than "KDE" or "GNOME" on top of Linux are.) still handles moved directories and files that way MacOS always have; that as long as they're being moved on the same volume, the "Finder" auto-adjusts things so that the move is transparent to the usage.

Anyway, I was now ready for the upgrade/install. I thought I had to boot from the CD but turns out you can put it in while logged in and just double-click the installer. It then restarts into the CD. It auto-selected "upgrade" which was fine, and then I customized the install, chucking the Asian-language support, adding X11 install, and a few other tweaks. Then let it go.

I got a minor scare when "Basic system upgrade" (Disk One) was finished and the system rebooted into Panther for the first time. Norton Personal Firewall® kvetched at me that something was non-kosher but I figured I'd find out what was wrong later. Didn't get the chance, actually, as the upgrade auto-continued. All the "optional software" went in, and then (I think?) there was a second restart. No warnings/messages from NPF so it may have been a spurious, while things-were-unstable situation.

On the other hand, when I log in, I get a message that Norton Privacy Control® is uncompatible with Panther and Live Update® hasn't yet found an update for it.

My last requirement was to upgrade the development tools. No problems there.

I did a "Repair Permissions" run with the newly installed Disk Utility just for general principles.

Everything seems to be nice and stable and content. I don't know what things didn't install because my hardware (300MHz iBook®, no Firewire, 1 USB port, no AV ports, etc.) doesn't require or support them. The major stuff seems to be there. Nothing seems broken that I can tell .. which in itself is amusing.

Actually, I should qualify that. Nothing Major seems broken.

  1. Panther installed StuffIt® Engine 8.0 which "broke" my 8.0.1 installation .. couldn't even unstuff the 8.0.1 upgrader! I had to find my 8.0 install CD, re-install it, then I could unstuff the 8.0.1 upgrader and re-upgrade. With that "fix", Stuffit is happy.
  2. I have Unsanity's "Application Enhancer" installed and some of its "haxies" (FruitMenu, FontCard, Xsounds, WindowshadeX) and while A.P.E. itself has been upgraded for Panther, the 4 haxies listed have not as yet. A.P.E. automagically disabled them and I'm watching Unsanity's website ( for notice when those tools are re-ready.
  3. SafariIcon (a tool that lets you change the icon theme in Safari) works but seems to have some ill-defined problem. It changed the icons as directed, but I couldn't quit the app (had to force-quit).
  4. Onyx (a tool that provides access to some hidden properties of Finder, Dock, and such as well as some maintenance help) seemed to have some problems when I told it to rebuild/update a couple of UNIX-level system databases .. but I'm not sure if it's a dangerous problem yet.

That's all I have for the moment. I'm going to post this to my "pseudo blog" and will add to it as I play with Panther more.

I still hope that they name one of the next MacOS releases "Ocelittle" .. it would please Beth.

(* $60 instead of $130 .. not a discount to ignor)