Mac OS X Panther Installation

The latest and greatest from Cupertino is always exciting. I too pre-ordered my copy of Panther, the latest major release of the Mac OS X operating system. Installation went fine except for one step, which needed a little help.

Basically, any major operating system upgrade involves booting from an installation disk, and feeding disks thereafter, if any. My installation of Panther failed during pre-processing of the second of the three installation CDs.


Error on Disk 2 of Panther Installation

Fortunately, the critical files are on Disk 1, which installed flawlessly. Otherwise I'd guess that the odds of ending up with an unbootable system would have been pretty high. The way in which the error occurred suggested a scripting flaw that caused the installation script to abort if any component failed. An examination of Installer's log file - File, Show Log - quickly revealed a problem with the iTunes module. Since my present iTunes worked perfectly, I wasn't worried about it.


Installer Error Log During Panther Installation

Happily, each installation CD has its own installation meta-package, with file names like InstallCD2.mpkg. Insert each disk, and run this file to initiate the job. In the case of Disk 2, you'll need to choose Custom, and deselect iTunes. Then everything will install famously. Repeat the process for Disk 3. (Obviously the process is the same if some different component fails to install properly also.) While you're at it, install the Xcode developer tools CD.


The Installer Customize Button

That done, now you can get a fresh copy of iTunes manually. You're done!

One of the casualties of a Panther upgrade may be Eudora Mail. It requires a Kerberos patch, as well as a program update. Other casualties include the OmniWeb (broken) and Internet Explorer (MIA) browsers. I can see that there will be some time invested in poking around for software updates as things crop up.

It also appears that the Panther version of lookupd, a unix application that runs in the background, takes longer to perform a host name lookup than before. When it's one or two hosts, what's a few milliseconds between friends? But if you're delving through thousands of hosts as the case will be if you applied the procedures for redirecting known ad servers to the great queue in the sky, then those milliseconds add up to minutes of pegged CPU time. Not good. For now, you may want to reinstall your original list of machines, given in the same article.

Among the many virtues of Panther is one that was predicted months ago in this very column. With Panther, Mac OS X now bundles an X Window System server, Apple X11, with the operating system. This is big news where integration into a unix/Linux environment is important. A Mac in such an environment already got you the best of both worlds, namely, X11 connectivity together with a fantastic desktop computing experience, provided you installed X11 yourself. Now they're both supported natively. Sweet. You'll still want to tweak a few things to get X displays to forward and display properly, as given in Ten More Mac OS X Loose Ends Part Two. Then it'll all be just about perfect. Enjoy the experience. Ciao.