Posted on Nov 24, 2003

I finally got around to installing MacOS X 10.3, also known as Panther. A couple of hours after selecting "Yes, blow all of that old stuff away!" I was ready to do some work. It's always interesting to re-create your environment on a 'fault in' approach, as you discover what you really need and what was simply cruft.

Here's a list of the things I installed (so far):

  • uControl, so that I don't have to re-train my fingers,
  • SSHKeyChain means that ssh-agent is usable under Aqua,
  • FuzzyClock, just because I like it,
  • Kung-Log to write things here,
  • Fink is one of the easiest ways to get any missing Unix-like sofware. So far I've installed:
    • w3m, so that Emacs can render HTML in email messages,
    • ispell, for spell-checking my outgoing email,
    • irssi, for those days when Emacs is playing up (rendering erc unusable),
    • wget, because I can't get used to the command line options of curl,
    • cvs-proxy, to allow access to CVS servers through an HTTP proxy,
    • gnupg, so that WanderLust can sign, encrypt and check PGP messages.
  • Emacs, built from CVS to get Aqua integration. After installing Emacs itself, various emacs-lisp packages are useful:
    • apel, flim and semi, to enable...
    • WanderLust, which is a great IMAP supporting mail reader written in emacs lisp,
    • erc, because it has an interface that works better than irssi or XChatAqua,
    • emacs-w3m, to support browsing and HTML rendering with w3m,
    • BBDB so that I can keep an eye on my friends and no-friends alike.
  • Microsoft Office v.X, because I have Word and Excel documents that I need to edit,
  • iStumbler, just because I can,
  • MenuMeters, which make it easy to see when the CPU is spinning uselessly (as seems to happen when Emacs orphans a running openssl process).

Over the next few days I expect that I'll need OpenOffice and a VNC client, but not yet.

So far Panther looks pretty good. It feels somewhat faster in general use. The improvements to the Preview application are really great - it's now possible to use Preview to read something like the IEEE 802 specifications, which didn't really work acceptably well before (too slow, no searching).

Apple appear to have fixed a bug with ptys that was annoying Emacs, which means that it's okay to set process-connection-type to t again. This makes shell-mode and various other things (including emacs-w3m) work much better.

The command-tab switcher is how it should always have been and Expose looks interesting, but it will take some time to get into the habit of using it.

Overall: excellent!

Update: I'll update the list above to account for near-term changes...