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Author Topic:   Mac OS X Public Beta

Posts: 588
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted October 30, 2000 00:33     Click Here to See the Profile for kimagure   Click Here to Email kimagure     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Disclaimer:This review deals only with my experience with Mac OS X (10) Public Beta, heretofore (spell) simply known as "OS X" for the purpose of this review. I’ll post my opinions on what I like and dislike, and what Apple could/should improve, or just leave as is for the final release. Any screenshots you'll see here will surely be different from what you may have. In other words: YMMV

The hardware I'm using as guinea pig is:
my "Gossamer-class" (read beige) Power Macintosh G3 minitower (333 Mhz) with factory installed Ultra Wide SCSI 9 GB hard drive (partitioned in 2 volumes), 384 MB of RAM (real geeks can't have enough RAM ) plus two after-market expansion cards: 1 IXMicro Ultimate Rez video card (yes, I know. They went out of business ), and a Keyspan USB card. Mac OS (Classic) version 9.0.4

So what do I have to say about OS X? It's pretty much stable for a beta release. In the 2 weeks that I've had it I only had to do a forced restart twice (the second time being last night when I was about to finish the previous incarnation of this review... )

I installed OS X in the "second" partition of the hard drive. I don't know what Apple refers to as first half of the hard drive in their documents. It works just fine on my Mac.

^_^ Cute Digimon icons, eh? ^_^
Tentomon is my Mac OS 9 (aka Classic) volume, and Lillymon is the OS X boot volume.

I can choose which volume from which to boot from with the System Disk utility. You can also boot up from OS X into OS 9 by holding the option key after restarting.

Support for connections (FireWire, USB, SCSI, ADB and serial) is a mixed bag. I don't have FireWire so I can't comment on that. My Logitech USB mouse works fine, albeit without the "MouseWheel" which I don't use that much anyway. My USB KritterCam seems to work (the blue "pilot" light under the lens is on, but I can't access it: Reel-Eyez and Oculus refuse to work when I boot the Classic environment). My SCSI Zip drive works, but I haven't tested my SCSI Umax scanner yet. I have the Wacom ADB tablet currently unplugged, but I will publish an update as soon as I test both the scanner and the tablet. As for serial (Printer & Modem) ports: OS X won't "see" my Personal LaserWriter NTR printer, however my Global Village 56k modem works like a charm. Go figure.

When OS X boots it shows only a "Mac OS X Public Beta Build whatever" startup screen with an Aqua progress bar underneath. Since OS X doesn't use INITs like Classic Mac OS, the startup screen instead shows text strings that read "Tuning System"; "Checking Disks", "Starting Application Services", etc. The the user/password dialog box appears, although that can be disabled in the "Login" pane in System Preferences.

For a full-sized version please click here.

The OS X desktop differs from the Classic OS 9 desktop in that there's no Apple Menu or Applications menu (although you can "put them back" with third party software).
The menubar clock at the top right is third party app I downloaded. There are 2 new menus: Go and Window. Also There are no hard drive icons mounted on the desktop. Instead you must use the Go menu and select "Computer" (or press command-1) to open the “Computer” window where all the volumes (including removables) and network access reside. How Windows/NeXT-like!

The Window menu shows how many Finder windows are open. Pretty Straightforward.

Open Computer window

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Another Windows-like feature: When getting info on two files at the same time, the Inspector (Info Window) shows something like “2 selected items” showing the combined size of both.

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OS X being based on UNIX installs many folders that I wouldn’t mess up with (no System Folder as we’ve known it).
There is a users folder which contains sub-folders for every one who uses the computer. Since I’m the only user there is only my folder (named “josegil”). For more info check MacAddict or MacCentral

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Then there's the Dock down there at the bottom of the screen.

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As you can see I've customized it heavily. Both the Dock and Desktop are background running applications with preferences that can be changed nonetheless.

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The Disks and Finder tabs are for choosing if removable disks will mount in the desktop, or if a new window will appear when opening a folder (instead of opening in the same window, etc.)

When launching a Classic (Pre OS X) application the Classic Environment (Mac OS 9 emulator) launches. You can also set it up so that it launches at System startup, and also which OS 9 System Folder it uses when launching. There’s some performance hit, but that seems to depend on the size of the Classic app being launched.

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(FYI Carbon apps are Classic apps that can launch on both OS X and OS 9 (with CarbonLib installed). Cocoa apps are native OS X apps that won’t run on OS 9.

Files can be shared between both environments. Some OS 9 apps can open most OS X files (some translation required via OS 9’s File Exchange control panel)

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What I Like About OS X:

1-The icons!

Applications bundled with OS X

Apps I’ve downloaded

Bye Bye Control Panels, Hello System Preferences

Some new file icons

Utilities bundle

More bundled apps.

2-Protected Memory Which means that when an application goes bonkers, only that app will quit leaving the system and other apps unaffected. Or, it also lets me do this:

The Terminal and ProccessViewer apps can also be used for that, too.

3-Speed Even on a first generation (supposedly slower) G3 app launching, etc. feels faster.

What I Don’t Like About OS X: (Public Beta anyway)

1-Some things seem to be more ''beta'' than others. HTMLEdit only launches 2 out of 5 times, and PDFCompositor doesn’t have any tools to create a PDF.

2-My printer won’t work. Some Classic apps won’t either. I assume the release version will ressolve this.

3-Some windows refuse to keep their View settings That also includes the Toolbar with the shortcut buttons at the top of each window.

4-Classic internet applications can’t connect. They keep trying to access TCP/IP through Classic rather than through OS X. Which means that whenever I want to read E-mail or chat on ICQ I have to boot in OS 9. I don’t like Mail, btw. And Microsoft has yet to release Outlook Express for OS X.

What Apple could/should improve:

1-A way to change the Aqua interface to Platinum at will This would help some fellow Mac users to adapt to OS X.

2-A way to move the Dock to the sides of the screen or to another monitor. See #1

3-A way to disable system security (password entering) for every change of a system preference that requires it (Startup Disk for example). That works perfectly for a multi-user environment, but in the case of a single user with no chance whatsoever of anyone else messing around with the computer (like me) that feature becomes annoying IMHO.


Well that’s all for now. When I perform the tests on the SCSI scanner and the ADB graphic tablet I’ll let you know. Also when I find/remember other bugs I’ll post ‘em here too. Any corrections are welcome.

Useful OS X links:

Thank You.

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Posts: 411
Registered: Dec 1999

posted October 30, 2000 00:51     Click Here to See the Profile for Nitrozac   Click Here to Email Nitrozac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kiggy! Excellent review! Thanks very much for posting it here. You obviously did a lot of work, thank you for sharing.

I can't wait to install X!

Kig ROcks!

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Posts: 1242
From: Columbia, SC, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted October 30, 2000 08:45     Click Here to See the Profile for supaboy   Click Here to Email supaboy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got something out of the review, too. But it's going to be a while before I can break the habit of saying "oh-ess-eks".

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Posts: 1399
From: Canada
Registered: Jan 2000

posted October 30, 2000 10:40     Click Here to See the Profile for Snaggy   Click Here to Email Snaggy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Magnificent Valour kimagure!

What great report, that's a lot of work! Thanks. Hopefully others will be inspired, it's great to see a "normal person" report.

oops, hope I didn't just insult you with that "normal person" line. heh

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Posts: 588
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted October 30, 2000 20:06     Click Here to See the Profile for kimagure   Click Here to Email kimagure     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YAY!!! I got a "Magnificient Valour"!!!

I'm so happy I could just JUMP!

Snaggy: oops, hope I didn't just insult you with that "normal person" line. heh

That depends on your definition of "normal"

Tonight I'll get a chance to test the SCSI scanner and the ADB tablet (I'm preparing a surprise Halloween message) ^_^


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Posts: 588
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted October 31, 2000 00:03     Click Here to See the Profile for kimagure   Click Here to Email kimagure     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Unfortunately neither the ADB tablet nor the SCSI scanner work under OS X Beta

Apple better fix that

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Posts: 1113
From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Registered: Feb 2000

posted November 02, 2000 10:54     Click Here to See the Profile for Saintonge   Click Here to Email Saintonge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent review, kiggy. 4 stars. I don't use a Mac, and never have, but I learned from it.

If I were teaching, I'd copy this (with permission, of course) to use as a model of good reviewing.


My God, can't somebody shut him up!

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