August 27, 2002



This evening I've upgraded my Powerbook 800MHz to Jaguar: overall it's been a pleasant experience.

In the past 5 years the desktop I used was Linux, and each update meant a complete reinstall of the system, with little being reused other than some personal data. Over these years I think I installed Linux on more than two dozen times on various desktop and laptop systems. This was driven primarily by my curiosity in playing with new desktop applications, just to get a feeling of how things evolve on Linux. Each time I would end up sticking to my favorite tools, WindowMaker as the window manager, XEmacs for editing, a highly customized version of exmh for mail reading, and a custom compiled version of rxvt as the terminal application. Each time I felt the quality and extensibility of the new tools was far less than what I wanted to have.

When I first switched to MacOS X, on 10.1.2, I was surprised to see how many applications were still in their infancy. As I noted in my first report on MacOS X, one of the primary tool I needed,, was very poor in features and capabilities. In the past months, I was essentially forced to use, ahem, Microsoft Entourage, which was surprisingly powerful and well designed.

Given my past experiences with system upgrades, I liked how easy and smooth the update to Jaguar was. I chose to maintain the current filesystem and upgrade to the new OS. After the installation, I had to do some minor changes of the global settings, as I inadvertently stopped the installation midway through, which caused these settings to not be transferred in the new system.

After the new system was installed, I configured my HP DeskJet 970Cxi printer, which is accessed over the network using an HP JetDirect 500x using AppleTalk. The printer installation was really nice and smooth, as opposed to the installation on MacOS X 10.1, for which I had to search for drivers and figure out how to install the network printer.

I found Jaguar's to be a much more improved application. It finally has good email sorting capabilities. It would be good if it had also the option to run an AppleScript as action when a message is selected. This could give even more power in the hands of demanding users.

But even as it is, it's quite usable, and I think I'll switch to using it. It was able to import all my Entourage email without any problems (about 20,000 messages in the past 3 months). One thing I don't know how well it handles, is the ability to connect to external POP3/IMAP/SMTP servers living outside of a firewall, by tunneling through a Web proxy (Entourage has this). I'll find this out tomorrow at work.

One thing I really like about is the fact that it doesn't use a proprietary file format to maintain its emails. With Entourage I was really worried that in only 3 months of using it, its database file grew to almost 2Gb in size, and the app was crashing quite frequently lately. I suspected the size of this database might have something to do with it, so I started to delete emails. This fixed the problems for a while, but they kept reappearing.

I'll check the much praised junk mail filtering tomorrow at office, where I receive about 100 junk mail messages per day. is a very good application, very similar to the one I'm used to from the old NeXTSTEP days and to rxvt. No surprises here.

The biggest problem is that initially I couldn't get XFree86 to start-up. I depend on XFree86 to run my favorite editor, which unfortunately is not yet ported to MacOS X.

I had installed the XTerm upgrade to prevent X11 from crashing, but it would still not run. I then discovered that in the process of upgrading, the /usr/X11R6 and /usr/local were not moved to the new location. I had to manually move them from their location in /Previous Systems/Previous System 1, and reinstalled the XTerm patch. I managed to get OroborOS X up and running, but my XEmacs would not startup because of missing symbols in shared libraries. I need to recompile it.

Mozilla works just fine, no problems so far. I haven't tried IE yet, but I'm not too worried about it.

One problem is that SSHAgentServices does not work on Jaguar. I rely on this little hack to enter the password for my SSH keys only once per login session. I tried recompiling the login plugin, without success. I need to investigate more what's going on.

ProjectBuilder seems to have been improved a lot. I've noticed it now has the ability to run shell scripts on the selection, a crude way of scripting, but better than nothing. I'll give it a try as my development editor for a while, to see if I can switch to using it.

I didn't have time to investigate whether I could write an AppleScript that gets notified each time the network location changes. I've found the /System/Library/Core Services/System Events application, but this doesn't seem to generate any notifications when the network location changes. I'll do some more research.

DiskCopy seems to be still hopeless in the ability to burn Windows CDs. I may be missing something however, many other people would have complained so far.

I'll come back with some of my findings in the next days.

Posted by ovidiu at August 27, 2002 02:58 AM |
Copyright © 2002-2016 Ovidiu Predescu.