OSX 10.3 Review

Decorate your mac“Mac OS X version 10.3 “Panther” contains over 150 new features and provides significant enhancements to its modern, UNIX-based foundation...” So goes the blurb from Apple. After installing OS X about 3 weeks ago I have to say it’s an improvement on 10.2 but not worth the upgrade price of ?99. However, it is worth the upgrade if you’re jumping from OS9. Now would be a good time to upgrade.

There are many enhancements to the operating system from a UI point of view. It’s funny when a new operating system is launched Appple try and get rid of the things that they perhaps saw as outdated and “old” technology in the previous operating system. Several of these things have now re-appeared in 10.3. Apple is listening to it’s users. Back are labels for folders and desktop printers. Also from a UI perspective there’s the addition of fast user switching, which is fine if you have a multi-user computer. The much touted Expose is great, it reveals all your open windows, applications or documents or hides them, very useful.

Decorate your mac

Applications wise there’s a few additions and improvements, although there’s one thing which is a bit dodgy - The Font Book. In theory it sounds good. In practice, it’s not and Suitcase is much better. The problem with Font Book is it copies fonts from the specified repository to the users font folder instead of what all creative professionals are used to which is just refer to them. It could make manageing your fonts a bit of a difficult task.

Mail has been updated to display HTML emails a bit better, also there’s a spam filter. It’s ok, but i’d still prefer to use Entourage, especially now it’s become exchange server enabled.

Safari is now much, much better. By far the best browser on the mac, and as Microsoft have stopped development on IE I wonder about the future of IE on the mac, because it simply can’t compete with Safari as it stands. It’s fast, reliable and stable.

The good
- Much faster GUI rendering on G3 based machines
- More complete OS, inclusion of older OS features. Feels more comfortable.
- Lots of native applications available

The bad
- Font Book - get Suitcase instead
- The price, ok for a one-off, bad for an annual upgrade cost

Previously : Decorate your Mac!