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Mac OS X 10.3.7 to improve graphics, FireWire audio

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Less than two weeks after releasing Mac OS X 10.3.6, Apple is already circulating builds of a successive update to its Panther OS.

Apple Computer late last week began internally distributing the first builds of Mac OS X 10.3.7 Update, the next maintenance release for the company's Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther" operating system.

According to the usual suspects, the first pre-release builds of Mac OS X 10.3.7 belong to the '7S20x' milestone and arrive in the form of a 15MB Mac OS X image. The software requires approximately 50MB for installation.

While details surrounding these very early builds are scant, sources say Mac OS X 10.3.7 will deliver enhancements to FireWire Audio, OpenGL, CoreGraphics, Multicast DNS, mLAN Audio, CoreFoundation, and AppKit.

The update is also said to include revisions to the Mach Kernel, PDF and PostScript rendering, ATI Radeon graphics drivers (8500, 9700), and Nvidia GeForce graphics drivers (3, 2MX, FX).

Although there have been wide-spread reports that the recently released Mac OS X 10.3.6 Update has re-introduced data loss bugs for users with external Firewire drives, the Mac OS X 10.3.7 Update shows no signs of an immediate fix. Withal, Apple is reportedly working on a solution to this problem, which appears to be affecting FireWire drives based on the Oxford 922 and 911 chipsets.

Mac OS X 10.3.7 is expected to be released by year's end, meanwhile developers should begin receiving builds of the system update sometime in the next few weeks.
post #2 of 19
an update with low level changes in OS suggests new hardware support... Let's skip Christmas and just take us to January 11th 2005 now!
post #3 of 19
New hardware requires a few specific things that don't look to be included in this update. Simply updating the kernel won't do it.
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post #4 of 19
This data loss problem is getting out of hand. A firewire hard drive is what I use to back up my data. I shouldn't have to be scared about plugging it in.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by bdkennedy1
This data loss problem is getting out of hand. A firewire hard drive is what I use to back up my data. I shouldn't have to be scared about plugging it in.

No kidding. I boot off an external hard drive. In fact, right now it's my *only* drive. For some inexplicable reason, a complete external drive enclosure is less than 1/3 the cost of a simple Mac IDE card ( ), so I went that route when I needed a new drive and the 160GB drives were on sale. Now I've gotta worry about having an unusable computer if I update my OS. This is a PC kind of problem, and us Mac users shouldn't have to deal with it.
post #6 of 19
i just bought a slick external firewire case for 3.5" hard drives, and i am waiting for prices to drop a little more before placing an order. i want to use the drive to back up my internal drives, and periodically transfer the whole mess to offline optical media. but i have heard of these data loss issues, and want to feel a bit more confident about the idea before i invest in it.
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post #7 of 19
Will anyone care to elaborate on exactly what the data-loss thing is?
-Justin Winokur

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-Justin Winokur

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post #8 of 19
Well this is interesting...

This is what Apple has to say:
http://www.apple.com/support/downloa...te_10_3_6.html

Quote:
Apple has identified an issue with external FireWire hard drives using the Oxford 922 bridge chip-set with firmware version 1.02 that can result in the loss of data stored on the disk drive. Even with the improvements available in this update, Apple recommends you update the firmware on your FireWire drive. Please contact your drive manufacturer for more information.

And this is what Oxford has to say:
http://www.oxsemi.com/
Quote:
Oxford Semiconductor are aware that problems with external FireWire drives are being reported, following an upgrade from MAC OS 10.3.x to OS 10.3.6. We have carried out testing and currently have NOT seen a failure on a product which is Oxford based. We will continue to monitor the situation for developments.


We would always recommend that the latest version of drive firmware is used. Please consult with your drive enclosure manufacturer for the latest updates.


Please note that these problems are not in any way associated with the Oxford Semiconductor OXUF922 bridge chip as reported on the Apple website. The separate issue with the OXUF922 was resolved during the week in which OS X was first released.
post #9 of 19
Hopefully no one has forgotten this from early Panther days. Well Granite Drives were one of the few not effected by the data loss problems. Picked up one of these and have had any problems with early Panther or now.

They had a disclaimer back then that stated why their drives were not problematic. Ah well. Apple shouldn't be doing this, and yeah I believe it IS Apple's fault on this. If they are really tweaking FW and requiring people using updated firmwares bundle a firmware update with the OS X point release. IANAD (I Am Not A Developer) but couldn't OS X detect the firmware of an external enclosure and act accordingly?
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post #10 of 19
Unless it isn't plugged in. And some reports state that the corruption happens... you guessed it, when the drive is plugged in. In other words, there's no way to quarantine the drive, check the firmware, and offer to upgrade it for the user.
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post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
Unless it isn't plugged in. And some reports state that the corruption happens... you guessed it, when the drive is plugged in. In other words, there's no way to quarantine the drive, check the firmware, and offer to upgrade it for the user.

Couldn't the updater 1) check if there is a firewire drive mounted, 2) if so, unmount it, and 3) offer to update the firmware of the firewire enclosure, all before attempting to install 10.3.? update? My guess is that if the drive is unmounted, you wouldn't have weird data corruption.
post #12 of 19
I am planning to buy a new La Cie hard drive for my home videos. These kind of data issues belong in the PC world.

On a note, Apple has enough cash to either a) request the graphics card suppliers to develop video drivers b) hire more competent people to write the graphics drivers. I have been following up on the graphics issues that are making the Mac version of World of Warcraft inferior to the PC version. You would think that after 10.3.5 and 10.3.6, Apple would have fixed the Open GL implementation; they haven't. Now WoW goes retail with a pathetic Mac version at release which will be patched after the graphic drivers are fixed.
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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by Boukman
Couldn't the updater 1) check if there is a firewire drive mounted, 2) if so, unmount it, and 3) offer to update the firmware of the firewire enclosure, all before attempting to install 10.3.? update? My guess is that if the drive is unmounted, you wouldn't have weird data corruption.

That works great... if the drive is plugged in. If, however, you're following good backup practices and keeping your backups sets at least partially offsite and rotating them through, it's not bloody likely.

The best you could do is include a disclaimer in the installer manual "Make sure to plug in all your external drives before installing." Riiiiiiight. Because if something goes wrong (say, lightning strike down the street that hits the power line or phone line), you certainly want all of your data cabled together in the same place... :P
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by TheToe
Well this is interesting...

This is what Apple has to say:

Isn't that what Apple has saying since 10.3.0? So what's 'new' in 10.3.6?

Firmware updates were released last October.
JLL

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JLL

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post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by JLL
Isn't that what Apple has saying since 10.3.0? So what's 'new' in 10.3.6?

Not sure, but http://www.oxsemi.com/ references 10.3.6 right on their home page.... They don't seem very happy with Apple, either.
Quote:
Please note that these problems are not in any way associated with the Oxford Semiconductor OXUF922 bridge chip as reported on the Apple website. The separate issue with the OXUF922 was resolved during the week in which OS X was first released.
post #16 of 19
I have three external Maxtor OneTouch FireWire 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB cache drives, and one external ADS FireWire enclosure housing a Western Digital 250 GB 7200 RPM 8 MB cache drive, all connected to my PowerMac MDD DP 867, running under 10.3.6 -- all are FireWire 400 only -- never saw any problem with data corruption, nor performance issues of any kind -- drives are plugged into the FireWire 400 port on the back of the PowerMac, and daisy-chained together.

I, too, use the external FireWire drives for backup of the PowerMac MDD 867's four internal 250 GB ATA drives, and have restored several individual files from backup without any problems with backup file integrity.

I also have a boot partition on one of the external FireWire drives, though I have not tried booting from it -- don't anticipate any issues.

Rowdie
post #17 of 19
Actually, the data-loss issue is old news; as far as I'm aware, there are no new data-loss problems with 10.3.6.

The 10.3.6 issue is that certain external firewire drives are failing to mount. Specifically, certain drives with Initio Chipset 1430 aren't being recognized by the OS. No data is being lost in these cases, and the drives will still mount (with all data intact) on computers running 10.3.5 or earlier.

The trouble is that the only current fix for this problem involves updating the hard drive's firmware, which can only be done after the drive has mounted. Since the drives won't mount on 10.3.6, affected users have to either find a friend who hasn't run Software Update yet or else run the firmware update from a Windoze PC. The latter situation would involve reformatting the hard drive, which is obviously undesirable.

So unless I'm missing something, there's no new data loss problem. Someone just confused the new Firewire "failure to mount" issue with Apple's old warning about potential data loss (a totally separate issue).
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally posted by YakkoW

The trouble is that the only current fix for this problem involves updating the hard drive's firmware, which can only be done after the drive has mounted. Since the drives won't mount on 10.3.6, affected users have to either find a friend who hasn't run Software Update yet or else run the firmware update from a Windoze PC. The latter situation would involve reformatting the hard drive, which is obviously undesirable.

You are correct sir! You summed this up perfectly. I don't know why so many people are having such a hard time following this, especially when it's their job to do so.

In addition to what you describe as the solution, many drives can be updated if you have a Mac that can boot to OS 9.

The best bet is to always read the release notes and check for such things before upgrading.
post #19 of 19
Another option for applying Firmware updates:
If you have previously partitioned your primary HD, you can install an earlier version of OS X on a different partition, reboot from it and run the updaters there. For myself, I have a second partition with 10.2.6 that i can switch and boot from. (Actually, I have 5 partitions, but that is another story/thread :^)
This should work for anyone with an available partition/volume.
(Of course, this may not be an option for those with one 10.3.6 volume/partition already bitten by this new HD 'bug' and no way to save off their data to create multiple partition/volumes.)
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