System 10.2 Hardware Requirements
Mac OS 10.2 ‘Jaguar’ is the latest and greatest version of OS X and comes on two CD-ROMs. It is important to note that the disks can be used to install a fresh set of OS X system files and applications as well as for updating earlier OS X installations. As such, Mac OS 10.2 is best considered a new operating system release, rather than merely an incremental upgrade as was the case with Mac OS 10.1.
Unsurprisingly, this new version of OS X retains the same stiff hardware demands as previous versions of OS X, requiring a stock G3 or G4 computer and plenty of RAM and disk space. Certain third-party SCSI and video cards are incompatible with the OS X installer and need to be removed for the installation. Although OS X will work on a machine with 128 MB of RAM, with OS X the more RAM the better, and 256 MB seems to be the minimum for comfortable performance. Disk space requirements are just as steep, 2.5 GB for the standard install, a few hundred megabytes more if you install some of the developer tools as well. On top of this you’ll need space for your System 9.2 system folder, your applications and all your documents.
Obviously a big hard disk is essential, but strangely there is a limit to the disk size compatible with the beige G3s, G3 iMacs, and G3 PowerBooks as far as Mac OS 10.2 is concerned. For these machines, 10.2 can only be installed onto a disk (or partition) 8 GB or smaller. Is it worth partitioning a drive for any other reasons? Some users advocate placing System 9 and their documents on one partition, and OS X on another. This was popular with early adopters who used the OS X public beta and the early (pre 10.1) releases of the operating system. Supposedly, this speeded up OS X and reduced the chance of any crashes or bugs in the new operating system messing up data and documents on the other partition. But now that OS X has proved itself to be speedy and stable, these concerns aren’t really relevant. The only really useful advantage that partitioning the drive allows is the one-key booting trick. If your Mac has more than one disk or partition, holding down the Option key brings up a screen that allows you to choose which drive or partition to boot from.
Running the Installer
The OS X 10.2 Installer differs slightly from previous versions. For one thing the installation comes on two CD-ROMs. (How long will it be before the system software comes on a DVD, I wonder?) The main system software installer is on the first disk, while the various accessory applications like iTunes come on the second disk. Clicking the installer application icon on the first disk causes the computer to restart, booting from the CD instead of the hard drive. This gives the user a first look at the new start-up screen, a rather plain affair ornamented only with a silhouette Apple logo and a new symbol to show time passing, something that looks a bit like a child’s drawing of the sun.
Once up and running, the usual information screens pop up, and then the all-important installation preferences panel. There are two subsets of settings, ‘Options’ and ‘Customise’. The former splits three ways: upgrade an existing OS X installation, install a clean system but archive the old system safely away, and erase the disk or partition completely and install OS X afterwards. Upgrading is the most convenient if you already have OS X installed, but it does seem to be slow. When I tried this, it took well over an hour to complete the installation. Archiving your existing OS X installation is much faster, but you do need enough disk space for the new 10.2 installation as well as the safely tucked away old system folder. The idea is that once the installer has finished, you can go through your archived system folder moving any third-party modifications such as fonts and control panels. Quickest of all is erasing the disk or partition and installing from scratch. Obviously you will need to back up any documents and re-install applications from their original disks, but this installation mode only takes about thirty minutes.
The ‘Customise’ panel allows you to choose what you want installed in addition to the system software, for example the BSD Subsystem, iTunes, localisation files, and Asian fonts. Judicious use of this panel can save you a great deal of disk space. With all your settings made, let the installer do its work while you go off and have some tea, read a book or whatever. There isn’t anything to do while all this is going on, and whatever route you take it’s going to take some time. If it helps, think about the frustration of installing System 7.5 from floppy disk; for those that don’t know, there were about twenty of them and you had to sit there feeding them into the computer every couple of minutes.
Welcome to OS X 10.2!
Assuming you have done a clean install, the next stage is the set-up assistant that lets you enter the your log in name and password, the name of the computer, Internet settings, and so on. This is similar to previous versions of the assistant, going back to System 8. One slightly irritating thing about the assistant is that you can’t skip it anymore as you could with pre-OS X versions. If you don’t have an Internet connection and won’t (or can’t) fax Apple you personal registration details, having to give your computer this information is a waste of time. Otherwise the assistant is useful and simple to use.
Now is the time to re-install your OS X applications, retrieve documents from your back-up disks, tweak your system preferences, etc. Although OS X is less configurable than previous versions of the Mac operating system, there is still plenty to do. So to continue AppleLust’s look at moving to OS X, let’s take a long hard look at Jaguar’s system preference options.
– Dr. Neale Monks