Mac OSX Info

This page contains all the info I have gathered on OSX
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At this time OSX is not compatible with the 6400/6500 family of Macs so all the info I post on this page was gathered from my B&W G3. I hope that sometime soon OSX will run on our Macs!

Using OSX for a week: Well I thought I would give you all a little bit of my first week of using Apples latest greatest operating system, OSX. Many of you may have read on other sites about all the shortcomings it has at the moment? Well they are right :( I have tried to use it as my main OS since it came out but for at least the first 5 days, I was unable to even get a good running Classic mode (OS 9.1 in OSX). So I lost a week of work while trying to get everything straightened out and find out what all the bugs were in OSX. I think I have it all figured out now, for at least my system :) Here is how it went.

There are a lot more issues when you start to get in to games and apps that need hardware control so I will stop here. Basically 3D games, or any game that uses Apples input sprockets as the only way to set up your controllers, won't work. And most any app that needs direct access to hardware may not work.

I don't want to discourage people from buying OSX, but its just not ready for the heavy computer user. For email and web access its all there and wonderful if you use the carbonized apps. For really working on your computer, I suggest you stay in OS 9 or earlier until Apple get things worked out. It will happen and I will be there when it does :)

PS: if you have an AQUA Theme for OS 9 then keep it when using it as Classic. Classic uses the OS 9.1 Appearance manager so every Classic app still looks like, well, Classic. You don't get the cool OSX look in Classic apps :( But OS 9.1 Themes and Kaleidoscope do work! So you can make it less noticable if you keep the AQUA Themes turned on when running Classic. This is just a suggestion :)

4/21/2001 OSX 10.0.1 released: Apple released an update to OSX. 10.0.1 or 4L13 is the latest version and is only available from the software update feature of OSX. I installed it on my B&W G3 and it has made the OSX Finder much snappier then it was before! Live window dragging is still a lot slower then Windows 2000 but getting better. I still don't think its ready for prime time as there are still to many little quirks that I don't like as I mentioned above.

5/5/2001 Mac OSX 10.0.2 released: This release has more performance enhancements and bug fixes, plus it adds the ability to burn CDRW's with iTunes finally! (iTunes 1.1.1 for OSX is required for burning CD's) Both OSX 10.0.2 and iTunes 1.1.1 are available from Apples web site, the OSX Software Update application, or the software folder in your iDisk. Apple is making good on their word to add the features that are missing from OSX that we have come accustomed to in OS9. I hear Labels are on the way as well :)

I installed both and I don't really notice much of a difference but as I said before, most of the apps I use are classic compatible only and I don't have a CDRW on my B&W G3 to test burning, but I hear it is working great! There is a new problem I am having that seemed to start with 10.0.1 and 10.0.2 did not fix? That is now when I boot, I don't know if I will be in OSX or OS9? It seems my B&W is not holding the startup disk settings anymore and reverts to OS9 for some reason? Not much of a problem since I still prefer OS9 for most of my work but when the time comes to stay in OSX, I hope it works!

5/19/2001 Mac OSX 10.0.3 released: This release has more performance enhancements and bug fixes. OSX 10.0.3 is available from Apples web site and the OSX Software Update application.

It doesn't update much and most people only notice some speed improvement. But that is saying a lot for OSX :) It hasn't changed any of the issues I noticed?

6/23/2001 Mac OSX 10.0.4 released: Apple just released OSX 10.0.4 update and its available through the software update app in OSX. It fixes many little issues for OSX including the wake from sleep crash on these new iBooks when classic was started in OSX. I can now put my iBook to sleep and it wakes up just fine. Previously it seemed to not even go to sleep as the sleep indicator would not even light up if classic had been running?

OSX on unsupported Macs installer: Here is a link to a site with info on an installer that will allow OSX to run on unsupported Macs. It does not list the 6400 as it is made for 604e systems. But it makes installing OSX so much easier on these systems! Please email me if any of you try this on your 6400/6500. Thanks

10/5/2001 Apple releases OSX 10.1 update!: I know must of you cannot run this OS but I just wanted to say that this release, being a huge improvement, has still yet to address my issues with moving fully into OSX. Here is just a short list of what I would like.

1. Finder Labels - I use labels to make all my web pages as being updated or not. This makes it easy for me to see which ones need to be uploaded and which have not changed. OSX does not have this feature and I will have to use another method instead.
2. Multiple users in OSX are single users in classic - this one really hurts me as I had set up each family member with their own settings in OS 9.2.1 but in OSX running classic apps, they all use the system settings which are the owners (namely mine)! Sure the OSX native apps adhere to the MU settings but all classic apps are treated as single user mode and all share the system preference folder and documents folder instead of the pref and documents folder in each users folder. This to me is unacceptable so I cannot switch to OSX until this is fixed or I no longer need classic apps.
3. Firewire support - I know OSX has firewire support but if I try to connect my DV camera and FW hard drive at the same time, iMovie will lockup and I lose all FW use until I reboot. Also I cannot boot if the FW drive is running and it must be off until after boot. This may not affect all OSX users but it does affect me with my Oxford 911 chip based firewire case.
4. Battery usage on notebooks - OSX 10.1 has made great strides in battery drainage issues for iBook and Powerbook users but its still not as good as OS 9.2.1 and older. My iBook uses more battery power while asleep then it used to in OS 9.2.1. Apple needs to find out why OSX needs so much juice while sleeping.
5. General feel of the OS - To me, OSX just feels unfinished. I think it mostly has to do with needing the classic layer to much but it seems to fight me more then just letting me get work done. Apple has done a great job getting classic to work with more hardware items then it used to be able to but that integration does not extend into OSX native apps. Take my Sandisk smart media card reader. It did not work at all in OSX 10.0.4 but in 10.1, it runs in the classic environment but with a hitch. Since the card reader mounts a virtual disk on the desktop for you to access your pictures, this disk image is not displayed in OSX but it is mounted. Only OS 9 apps can see it and from their open/save dialog boxes. It works fine in this manner but I have to open each image in an OS 9 app and then save it to a folder so I can reopen them in an OSX app. Quite a lot of work to just get the images off the card. And then you must eject the card before removing it from the reader but OSX does not see the card to be able to eject it. Luckily, most all OS 9 apps have an eject button in their open/save dialog boxes so I can just select the disk image in one of them and eject it that way. Not the best method but it works and it's safe.

So once issues like these are fixed, I could finally leave OS9 behind. I think it will take another year before that happens :(

2/28/2004 As you can see I stopped updating this page with every new OSX release. It was starting to need a web site of its own and I don't have the time to do that :-) Basically 10.1.5 is the latest OSX release that as of this writing, works on the 6500. For more info on installing OSX on our Macs, please click here.

Trashing the system folder and resinstalling is not a completely clean install? 10/5/2001

I know most of you aren't running OSX because it doesn't work on our Macs but for those that do have a Mac that can, and is, running OSX, here is some interesting info I found out the other day.

I was trouble shooting an issue I have on my B&W G3 running OSX 10.0.4 build 4Q12 where no 3D game would run. They all crashed on launch but did not bring my Mac down. The funny thing was that these same games (Q3A, CroMag Rally, and Return to CastleWolfenstein beta) worked on my new iBook with the same OS setup. I thought that perhaps some of the third party OS tweaking utilities I had used on the B&W may have caused this so I wanted to remove any damage they may have done. I could not easily find away to remove what they did so I thought I would just reinstall the OS to get back to square one. This both worked easily and did nothing?

I booted into OS 9.2.1 and then trashed the OSX System folder, Library folder, Mach.sym file, and Mach file. I left the User folder so I would not lose my user settings since they are shared with OS 9.2.1 users and I also did not trash the OSX Applications folder so I would not have to reinstall any apps I had recently downloaded.

I then inserted my OSX install CD and ran the installer. After the install was complete and it rebooted, I was shocked to see that nothing had changed? All my settings were intact right down to who the admin user was and TCP/IP settings! Its like I didn't trash anything? I thought this was very odd and tried my games again which none worked still. So the next thing to try was to trash the Preference folder for the admin user which is found in the Library folder of the admins User folder. Yes this is complicated till you can see what I am saying. I then rebooted and it still remembered who the admin user was and still retained all network settings but this time it did default my Finder settings which is a good start. So I tried my games again and they still failed?

I then went to several Mac help sites to read up on OSX issues and on's forums, I found that OSX does not have hardware support for my Radeon card yet. This would explain why no 3D game worked as there is no 3D support for my video card. I then tried an older Rage128 VR card and each game now works just fine :) I hope that OSX 10.1 has hardware support for the Radeon or I won't be switching OS's anytime soon!

The main reason I wrote all this was to say that OSX is going to be a very rugged OS once its fine tuned and supports more hardware. I mean how many operating systems can you completely trash and still retain all their settings on a clean install. But then if you want to do a real clean install, how would you? I think there must be many invisible files, which are also invisible in OS 9, that store network settings as I am sure I trashed everything I could find that should have had OS preferences stored in. So either finding and trashing invisible files or initializing the HD will be needed to do a really clean install. This may be a good reason to install OSX on a separate partition from OS 9.x as some have suggested. Then you only need to lose data that pertains to OSX and not everything.

10/18/2001 Update on trashing OSX to do a clean install: Patrick sent me this info on what files need to be trashed to completely remove OSX. You will need an application that can see and trash invisible files to do this. Thanks Patrick.

[Regarding some comments you made on

Yes, as you figured, your prefs aren't trashed by getting rid of the visible Mac OS X files. Most of them are kept in ~/Library/Preferences, where ~ means the currently logged in user's home directory.

To completely trash everything, you have to use a tool that will show hidden files. I used MPW shell the other day. Here's the complete list of directories you need to trash to really do a clean install:


Some are symbolic links / aliases, and some are directories.

Making changes to OSX user and group settings and permissions 10/21/2001

Here is a letter I posted on Apples forums to help others with setting up their users and groups lists in OSX. Its no where near as easy as in Classic Mac OS but this does work for those that need it and the Terminal apps is not needed for this :)

[I have some help for you. Check out this link

It has some good info on getting started with groups in OSX. The main issue is that to my knowledge, all HD's except for the drive that has OSX installed on it (and this includes partitions on drives) have the owner name as the "person logged in" and the group is "unknown"

I think it defaults this way so that any user can log in and have access to non startup drives. I think Apple must have had issues where people where not being able to access other partitions or drives, specially removable drives, so they made all non startup drives show as unknown. Even if you change the access privileges, they do not stick as the next person to log in becomes the owner so the point is mute.

But the link above shows you how to change this. It is working as I have tried it. They suggest using xFiles to change the groups and owners assigned but I found it didn't work. It said I had no privileges to do this? OK so then I tried the Get Info app also mentioned and it works sort of but it does get the job done!

The access privileges did not change for me with Get Info but I could change Owners and Groups with it. Once you change the Group to anything other then "unknown", you can then use Apples Show Info to change the permissions. Just be warned that they don't always stick and it takes a few tries sometimes? What I found that works is to change the Owner and Group and then update the folder or disk. Then switch to Apples Show Info and make the permissions you want. Then 9 times out of 10 they change and stick. You will not see the change until you click on a different folder and then back on the folder you tried to change. If it doesn't work then try again.

Get Info warns you that you do not have access to make these changes but then allows you to enter the admin password to get access. I assume it is switching to root access for this change to work and then logs back out of root when you close the window? It asks for each folder I have tried which is why I think it works this way. xFiles does not ask for your password and just says you cannot use it. If you where to get root access I think it should work as well?

Now that you know how to change the permissions, just be careful how you set them up. You can really make your users lives miserable if you set things up wrong :-(

I should add that you still need Apples NetInfo Manager to create new groups and those instructions are on the link I provided above.

I forgot to add that one of my partitions refused to change the permission or groups and I found that I had to initialize that partition using OSX's Disk Utility. It seems that all non startup partition and drives have a little check box in the Show Info window that says "Ignore Privileges on this Volume". The startup drive does not have this check box and same with the partition giving me trouble!

Once I initialized that partition, the little check box appeared and I was then able to make the group and permissions change with no more issues. I don't know what was different about that partition but its changed now and works as advertised.


Another note is that any file you move or create in OS 9 will not have any permissions when you switch back to OSX so just be warned. This goes for any drives you initialize in OS 9 as well. You will need to re-setup any permissions on these once booted back into OSX or they will also show the owner as the person logged in and the group as unknown :(

USB PCI card support on a 6400/6500 running OSX? 5/27/03

Craig would like to know if anyone has gotten a USB PCI card to work under OSX on our Macs? These are supposed to be supported with Apples native drivers under OSX I thought? If anyone has info on this, please email me. Thanks.

[Saw the recent posing on USB support issues with OS9. Has anyone gotten the PCI USB adaptor card working under OS X on the 6400? I have OS X 10.1.5 om my power tower pro 225 and it does not see the USB PCI adaptor card unless I boot into classic. Any solutions would be greatly appreciated.

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This page last updated 2/25/2004