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Panther... An improvement? - Bobson's Bits

Nov. 20th, 2003

02:56 pm - Panther... An improvement?

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Well, I wrote this post, went to look up one last link, and Xjournal crashed on me. I hadn't saved, because I don't want a copy on my HD once I submit it... So now I need to rewrite it... Maybe I should look for a keystroke recorder...

I finally ordered Panther last Sat. night. It shipped Monday. I got it Tuesday. Nice and fast. And that's the only unqualified praise here.

I wanted to back up my HD before installing Tuesday night, so I could roll back if I needed to. So I downloaded Carbon Copy Cloner, which I've used before, and ran it to clone my laptop's internal drive to a disk image on one of my external drives. About 4 hours it, about halfway through, it stalled. So I decided to try it again, only backing up what wasn't backed up the first time. I forgot to rename the first disk image, though, so it started overwriting, so I restarted again from scratch. It got maybe a fifth of the way done, then stalled again. So I gave up on CCC from the boot drive.

Instead, I booted off that external drive, which has my clean 10.2 install for emergency purposes installed on it. Then I ran CCC again, but it couldn't clone to the boot drive, which makes some sense. After all, you don't want to override the currently running OS with whichever one you're backing up. However, it makes no sense for disk images. Oh well. I decide to manually image my internal drive. So I launch Disk Copy, drag in my internal HD, and go to bed. This is around 2 AM.

Next morning, I get up, and it's still running. At noon, it's still running. At 1, it's still running, and I'm bored with none of my usual software available, so I plug in another firewire drive to mess with that. Finder crashes. And relaunches. And crashes. And relaunches. And crashes. Repeat ad nausium. I knew I needed to restart, or at least log out and back in... but I couldn't do that without interrupting the disk imaging process which was getting close to finishing. So I just ignored the Finder. Let it restart and die every 5 minutes or so (the time between restarts got longer each time). I just navigated around with the terminal and used the open command to launch other programs, like Safari. Made me glad I had a Mac. Imagine Windows when explorer.exe dies instantly whenever it starts. How useable would it be? :)

Anyway, my backup finally finished around 4 PM yesterday. So, time to install. I put in the first CD, launch off it, and start the install process. I choose to upgrade my 10.2 install. It runs fine, and restarts to start working from the second disk. It loads the background for the installer window, but no text on it, and a spinning beachball. So I go to dinner (time: 6:15). Come back around 8, and it's still spinning. So I force-reboot, and it does the same thing. So I go back to the first disk's installer, upgrade again, and repeat the above problem. So I go back to the installer and do an archive and install instead. It installs, restarts, and actually starts looking for the second disk. It installs off the second, and prompts for the third. Installs off the third, finishes, and restarts. Panther is now installed!

Panther loads... I login... and everything I open crashes. I can log in just fine from the console (type >console in as a username from the login window), but logging into the GUI starts everything I open crashing. Terminal, Mail, Cocoa Fortune, Finder... I reboot again, and try again. This time, I log in with the shift key down, and everything is fine. I finally trace the problem to TransportMonitor (or something like that) which I think has something to do with my Palm. I get rid of it, and go looking for updates for everything else that launches at startup. MenuMeters didn't need to be upgraded, Little Snitch did, iClock I just got rid of, Cocoa Fortune didn't need an update. Neither did CodeTek Virtual Desktop, and I still haven't checked the Palm stuff. Everything else, I just left alone because they weren't causing problems and I didn't use them.

Finally, Panther's stable. What follows is a list of all the features I've remembered to try in Panther. Keep in mind when reading this, that I have a two-and-a-quarter year old TiBook 400, with 384 MB of RAM and 8 MB of VRAM (No Quartz Extreme for me).

Speed boosts: What speed boosts? I haven't seen any speed boosts. Everything seems to be running the same as before.

Expose: Eh. When using both monitors, I get one frame of each window slightly shrunken, and then the final result. Ditto in reverse. When only using the builtin screen I get a few more frames, but it's nothing amazing. Between the second monitor, and Virtual Desktop, it's not particularly useful. I'll try it again when I have a large number of windows open while coding or something, but I'm not sure if it'll be something I use regularly.

Threads: Threads may be useful, but not yet. They group together otherwise unrelated messages from months apart with the same name. I display my mailbox with the most recent messages at the top, and I'm the only one who I've ever seen do that. Threads are a little weird with that behavior. I'll probably use them for a few mailing lists, but for the most part, threads are staying off.
More settings: More settings are always good. Nothing wonderful, though.
Overall: Not much of an improvement, if one at all. Links that point within an HTML email don't work any more. It may be marginally faster, but not enough to be worth considering.

Metal Finder:
Metallic look: Doesn't bother me. I don't mind brushed metal. It'll take a little getting used to, though.
Sidebar: Very useful. Nothing especially new, but more useful than it was in Jaguar. I'll be using it a lot, but I could live without it.
Opening animation: I haven't heard anyone else mention this, that I remember. Instead of the standard zooming in, it does an expand-and-fade with the icon that you double clicked. It's a bit weird, and it'll take some getting used to, but it's a nice little bit of eye candy.
Fast Search:

Activity Viewer: Looks like it could be useful. Certainly better than Process Viewer.

Disk Utility: I'm not sure I like it. My impression is that DU is a big program (at least in terms of screen real estate, if not in memory and/or idle CPU usage - I didn't check those), whereas Disk Copy was a small one. Disk Copy also supported dragging and dropping folders to image them. I haven't been able to get DU to do that yet. I can sort of understand the logic behind combining them, but I don't think it was a good idea.

Xcode: So far, I am not impressed. I haven't actually coded anything with it yet, so judgment is reserved until my next major coding project, and we'll see if my issues with it are resolved by actually working with it or not. I am annoyed, though, that it preserved the toolbar layout from a Project Builder file (which doesn't work so well in Xcode) and threw away my Project Builder syntax coloring preferences.

Overall, I'm not particularly impressed with Panther. I like the journaled file system. I can deal with the new Aqua look. I need a new MU* client that has spawns. I haven't tried a lot of programs yet... I'll see how things go.

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed