The Adventures of Systems Boy!

Confessions of a Mac SysAdmin...

MacOSX 10.4.3: What's Fixed and What's Not

I have to say that, so far, Mac OS X v.10.4.3 is a worthwhile upgrade. Actually, it's solved a good many of my main complaints thus far, and that ain't nothin'. Unfortunately, not everything is fixed. But what else is new? Here, now, for your perusal, is a list of problems, both fixed and unfixed. And mind you, this list is culled from my own personal set of experiences and complaints.

The Unfixed:
• The ever annoying Safari window bug is still present. Why won't this thing die? Why aren't more people bitching about it? This is major for me. I swore if they didn't fix it in 10.4.3, I'd switch for good, and damn it, that's what I'm going to do. Sure, Firefox is slower to launch, slower to load, and not quite as pretty. But you know what? It works. I don't care if it doesn't pass the Acid test. (Does anyone give two shits about this?) It works. On every page I go to. And that's what counts.
• The Finder's Inspector window, which is supposed to dynamically update its contents as you select files, still incorrectly shows the ownership when switching files, i.e. select a file owned by systemsboy, then select one owned by root. Everything in the Inspector updates, except the owner of the file. It still says the owner is systemsboy. To see the correct ownership, you have to close the Inspector and reopen it, which kind of defeats the purpose of the Inspector in the first place.
• I've recently been having a problem whereby switching between local and networked users with Fast User Switching sets my display profile to "Generic RGB Profile." Entering the Display Preferences pane and setting it back to my calibrated profile does not fix the problem. The only fix when this happens is to log everyone out, and log back in. This remains broken in 10.4.3.
• There is a bug whereby binding to a Panther Server is delayed for about 3-5 minutes after a reboot of a Tiger client. This means that, if you're a network user who's just rebooted a Tiger client, you'll get the shaking login window (as though you've typed the wrong password) until the Tiger Client can connect (bind) to the Panther Server. This persists in Tiger 10.4.3.

The Fixed:
• At last, some good news. One of my least favorite bugs has been corrected. Mail now properly handles tabs. You remember tabs, don't you? Those fixed-width whitespaces handy for table creation? Well, in previous version of Mail, they turned into plain old spaces (four, to be precise) right after you typed them. Now they behave properly. Yay!
• And good news on the Spotlight front: Spotlight responsiveness really is significantly improved in the new version. Typing is no longer delayed in the middle of pounding out a term. You can type as slowly of as fast as you want. It never gets stuck. Nice!
• Another Spotlight boon, for me anyway: Spotlight will now search the contents of files ending with the ".sh" suffix. As my primary use for Spotlight is to search my myriad shell scripts, almost all of which end in ".sh," this actually makes Spotlight potentially useful to me for the first time. Cool! (Yes, I have decided to end each of these bullets with an exclamation of some sort.)
-Update: Never mind. This is actually not true. There do appear to be some new options here, one called "Source Code" as a file type that I don't remember from before, but Spotlight does not appear to search its contents, only its name.
-Update 2: Scratch that last part as well. It's exactly the same in 10.4.2. Nothing's changed here.
• Another annoying bug that seems to have been cleared up (though I've thought this before and been wrong, so I won't swear by it) is that annoying scroll-wheel jump. You know the one I'm talking about: you're in your browser of choice, and you begin scrolling the page, ever-so-slowly, and WHAM! Next thing you know, you're at the bottom. Yeah, that seems to be fixed. Groovy!
• Finally, and this has huge implications for me and the lab where I work: Moving files across NFS filesystems (sub-volumes) which reside within another volume no longer writes zero byte files and (blessedly) works properly. This means we can go back to mounting user home accounts the proper way, with a simple automount call and a mount map. (For more details on this, you can read the full posts.) Sweet!

On a side note, as happy as this last bit makes me, I must say, I can't help being a bit cynical about it: We've had this problem for months now. I've spent months on it. And only in the last week or so have I been able, with much hard work and late nights, to come up with a workaround, and an elegant one at that (if I do say so myself). And now it's obsolete. As I wrote to a friend:

Mac OS X 10.4.3 fixes the FCP problems moving files across filesystems. Holy shit. One week after I come up with a workaround they release a fix. Is all of life this big a waste of time, or just systems work?

His response:

Just systems work...

I figured as much.

Oh well. I guess all my loginhook knowledge can be now put to good use elsewhere. Still, this seems like one of those things that might've been best fixed by just sitting on my ass and doing nothing but waiting (which I'm not very good at, apparently). And that leaves me feeling like I just wasted a whole bunch of time on this one.


Anyway, this latest update doesn't fix everything, but it fixes a lot of important stuff on my list, and it doesn't seem to break anything so far (though TextEdit's "lists" feature did just start acting funny, and I don't know why). Was it worth the unendurably long wait? Well, I don't know about that. I sure wish the NFS problem had been fixed months ago, for obvious reasons. But I'd go so far as to say that, at least so far, as far as my experience goes, this update is a keeper, and, on first impressions at least, I highly recommend it.

Happy Halloween, kids. Now go forth and update. (Go on. I dare you.)


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11:42 PM

Has anyone noticed that Tiger destroyed the file system integrity? Files copied with Finder from an OS X drive to a shared W98SE drive loose the modified date stamp.

A couple day ago Finder/OS X gave the files a zero date. 10.4.3 plonks in the current system time.

This bug negates the reason I spent $5k for apple hardware and $2,200 in software.

Is there a quick fix for this? Apple knows about the bug or they wouldn't have filled in the zeros to patch the previous bug. Why are amateur programmers working on low level code without supervision?

(btw - I agree 100% about Spotlight. Turn it off but don't cripple Mail and similar programs. I wish I could revert to 10.3.2 all the way around, but the new machines shipped with Tiger.)

Jeff Johnson
www . Grip Cam . com    

1:31 AM

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.    

1:33 AM

I did not know this. Bummer.

Here's a related thread. Doesn't sound like there's a fix yet, though.


6:49 AM

There's a new bug for me. There's an option to ignore trackpad input when a mouse is present. Since 10.4.3 my Powerbook believes there's always a mouse present, so the option should really be relabeled "Ignore Trackpad input forever making it impossible to do anything until tomorrow when you can get your hands on a USB mouse."    

2:19 PM

That sucks. I hate it when an update that's supposed to fix stuff introduces new problems. So far, with this one at least, I've been lucky, and have not had any such new issues. So far...    

12:21 AM

Hi again,

> systemsboy said...
> That sucks. I hate it when an update that's
> supposed to fix stuff introduces new problems.

yeah... it's a very *microsoft* atitude.

> So far, with this one at least, I've been lucky,
> and have not had any such new issues. So far...

I've tried to get Apple to respond to this and fix the core unix assembler code that's been broken... but no one seems to cares. I read the discussion you mentioned, and similar threads are showing up on usenet and other forums.

It's only a matter of time before someone like the NSA or CIA decide to do one of two things: 1) Demand Apple fix it -or- 2) Dump apple as a user friendly front end to unix. The digital photoraphy industry keeps the 8.3 single date file system for world wide compatibility with all the older machines still in service.

I've been told to join the apple developers group and throw some old fashoned weight around... not my style, but maybe that's what needs to be done. It would be a shame to have the problem surface in a hospital somewhere in the world when a restored backup with corrupt file dates causes loss of life.

Enough rambling. Someone bet me they'd fix it by then end of the day today (Monday November 7)... Looks like I win the bet in a couple hours. :(

Jeff Johnson    

1:40 AM

Wow. This sounds like a pretty nasty bug. I'm fortunate it doesn't really affect me, but I can see where, if it did, I'd be pretty pissed. This is basic functionality. Interestingly, other than in the aforementioned thread, I've seen little mention of it. Here's the only other discussion I could find on the topic:

I guess there aren't a lot of folks out there working cross-platform. I know we do, and I'm curious to see this bug in action, but it probably won't affect me or my users in any serious way. I'm hoping you guys who are affected are submitting this bug to Apple. They need to hear about it, and the more they do, the more likely they are to fix it.

Here's the link to submit feedback to Apple:

Good luck kids. Hope this gets worked out soon.


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