Mac OS X Feedback

On Sunday, 12. November, 2000, I attempted to install Mac OS X - Public Beta onto my PowerBook G3. I was hoping to get my laptop set up so I could work on some web application ideas using PHP, Apache, Perl and MySQL. It seemed like a good chance to play with Apple's new Unix.

What follows are the comments I sent in via Apple's feedback form. My impression of the OS wasn't that good.

Note that I'm tacking new material on at the end. It seems there's plenty to grump about if I try.

Bug 1: Insert Mac OS X Public Beta installer CD. Into WallStreet
(first revision, medium screen, fastest CPU).
Reboot per directions. Machine hangs.
Realize there was DP3 as well as DP4 on this machine, and it's probably trying to boot into X directly. Reboot from HD, run System Disk to choose a working Mac OS 9 disk, reboot again, holding down C key, and I'm in the installer.
Bug 2: Click through all the defaults in the installer. Get about 25-30% into the install, when it fails, saying: No such file or directory. Please try installing again.
Oh, and the Darwin 1.0.2 install is even worse. It appears to install correctly, but simply hangs before I can do anything.
I've been using Mac OS since 1988. I've been using Unix since 1983. So far, every release of Mac OS X has just combined the user- friendliness of Unix with the stability of Mac OS 6.0.6. Feh.
As a stockholder and Apple developer, you're scaring the hell out of me with this.
-DaveP
p.s. See also http://www.osopinion.com/Opinions/JohnHolmes/JohnHolmes2.html

update: 14. November, 2000
The solution to the first part of bug 2 is to find the correct Mac OS X public beta CD. Apple sent developers two copies, and while the CDs look identical, apparently the first one is bogus. I was wondering why I got two copies. I suspect someone in the mail room (remember, I'm a one-person office) threw away the paper that came with the CDs without inspecting it closely. D'Ohh!

The problem with the Darwin install is that it ships with System Disk 3.1. Version 3.3.1 seems to work fine on my PowerBook. I've got Darwin running, and am starting to try and configure and rebuild apache (with mod_perl and mod_php) and get mysql built and stuff like that.

The other problem with the Darwin (and Mac OS X install) is that Darwin doesn't work if any part of the partition you're putting it onto is more than 8Gbytes after the beginning of the hard drive. Of course there's no warning telling you there will be any problem, and it doesn't even seem to be written up in the Darwin bug database. Now that I think about it, I remember griping about this back at WWDC when DP4 (or was it DP3?) came out. Once I reformatted the hard drive with different partitions, things went much more smoothly. A warning that things aren't going to work sure would be nice.

We still don't have Darwin 1.0.2 running on the brand-spanking-new Indigo iBook (366), but I suspect that's related to the darned thing needing a firmware update. Sigh.

update: 23. November, 2000
Oh, and just after I wrote this, Darwin 1.2, which has functionality equivalent to Mac OS X public-beta finally got released. Why wasn't Darwin released simultaneously? In spite of being a Mac bigot, the only part of Mac OS X I'm currently interested in is Darwin. And as Stephan Somogyi points out, NetInfo has at least the same set of problems the Windows registry does. Progress indeed.
Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:08:55.