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Apple's Mac OS X logo. Click here to visit the Mac OS X website! Lastest Mac OS showing teething problems? (UPDATED)
(Thursday, April 5, 2001 - 19:27 EDT)

Apple's much-hyped OS X might give users a headache initially...

Mac OS X, Apple's revamped (and much hyped) operating system which the company describes as 'the world's most advanced' may have a lot of attraction to prospective users thanks to its visual gloss, but early converts are finding that it isn't quite ready for the prime time yet, it seems... The new OS, based on a Unix-derived foundation called Darwin, is apparently causing headaches for users of numerous digital imaging devices, to the point that our friends over at the Digital Camera Resource Page are compiling a list of what works (or doesn't, as the case may be) to aid users in deciding whether to upgrade or wait.

Thus far, the list seems to be showing the majority of products in the 'won't work' column, although this may be as a result of the tendency to only report when something fails to go according to plan... Regardless, though, if you're considering upgrading to OS X it seems very adviseable to check whether your digital imaging kit will be useable right off the bat, or whether you'll have to wait to be able to use it.

It isn't just the little fish whose products aren't working swimmingly with Apple's new OS, either - according to Jeff's list, owners of Canon's PowerShot and Nikon's Coolpix series of cameras will find things problematic, as will HP PhotoSmart and Olympus C-3000/C-3030Z users. Ricoh's RDC-7, Kodak's DC240 and Sony's DCS-F505 will also refuse to cooperate with OS X, whilst the newer Sony DSC-F505V, -S70 and -P1 will all work, but refuse to unmount.

Numerous flash-card readers are reported not to work, including devices from Lexar, MicrotTech and SanDisk amongst others... The only cameras believed to work perfectly thus far are Fuji's Finepix 1400, 2400 and 4700, Kodak's DC4800 and Olympus' C-2040Z, E-10 and E-100RS.

As for products known not to work, the news isn't exactly rosy... SanDisk say they'll have USB ImageMate drivers 'soon', but Lexar say users will have to wait 'a couple of months', and Nikon can only promise Coolpix camera users OS X drivers by fall!

Check the DCRP's list for full details, and if you've already tried your own digital imaging products with the new OS, please check and see if they're already listed. If they're not there, go ahead and email Jeff with the details - whether the results were good or bad - so that the list can be updated... Only by noting both the negative and the positive results can we get a real picture of whether Mac OS X is ready for digital imaging users. Thus far, it is looking like the answer is a resounding 'maybe'! ;)

2001-04-06 13:42ET: Letters from IR reader Brad Weber and our webmaster William Edward Bailey II add a counterpoint to this news item... Brad noted:
"I don't doubt that there are compatibility issues with OS X and existing (pre-X) device drivers. There are compatibility issues with hundreds (thousands?) of applications if you are only considering the native OS X environment. That will be the case until software vendors have a chance to finish testing their products with the final OS X release. That is why the 'Classic' environment is part of OS X. Users can continue to run their OS 9 applications in the Classic environment with the same compatibility that they enjoyed prior to their upgrade.

So, if I were to amend your article, I would advise your users that there is (virtually) no risk in upgrading to OS X, but it may be a few weeks or months before all of their applications are able to run in the 'native' OS X environment. In the meantime, they can run their existing applications in the Classic environment and enjoy all of the benefits of the new operating system and all of the applications which are already 'native'."
William adds:
"While OS X is a 'release' product, Apple has repeatedly stated that the current release is geared toward 'early adopters.' Their major thrust for getting it out now is for the manufacturers who clamored for a full release before they would support the OS. The OS won't be preinstalled on Mac machines until July (which should tell the non adventurous user something :-).

While the devices mentioned may not work natively in Mac OS X, Mac OS X users still have the ability to boot into the current 'classic' version of the Mac OS (Mac OS 9.1) and the majority of their devices will continue to function normally."
Indeed, you can use 'classic' mode for finicky apps, and this should allow them to work - although we have heard of problems here too and there are no guarantees. However, by using 'classic' mode, you're essentially losing the benefits of upgrading in the first place, but still gaining the risks that go along with using any brand-new operating system. Hence, we'd still recommend exercising caution in upgrading, and possibly waiting for others to find the bugs whilst you wait for all of your hardware and software to be supported under OS X. Hopefully, this will indeed be a relatively short period, but as noted in the article above it could be months, in some cases. Thanks for the comments!

Source: Digital Camera Resource Page website

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