Panther Sparks Software, Hardware Updates

The range of enterprise-level fixes to Apple's Mac OS X 10.3 include fixed for a flaw that can affect external FireWire drives.

Apple Computer Inc.s delivery of "Panther" (a k a Mac OS X 10.3) has prompted a wave of third-party updates. New releases range from interface enhancers to major enterprise-level databases

Even Apple got into the update action. Earlier this week, the company released a maintenance update, Version 10.3.1, which fixed a number of issues with security.

Another update for Panther includes fixes that mitigate a potentially damaging issue involving the new OS and external FireWire 800 drives.

As previously reported by, Apple released a special message to potential users of all versions of Mac OS X after reports emerged on the Web of issues with external FireWire drives. The message identified drives based on Oxford Semiconductor Ltd.s 922 bridge chipset with Version 1.02 firmware as the source of the incompatibility, which could result in the loss of data.

Apple is currently stating that updating the drives to Version 1.05 of the firmware will prevent the problem from arising. Manufacturers such as Century Global Inc., Ezquest Inc., Firewire Depot, Firewire Inc., Glyph Technologies Inc., Lacie USA, Macpower Peripherals Ltd., Other World Computing, TransIntl LLC and WiebeTech LLC have all posted firmware fixes for their product lines. Apple warned that it is vital to apply the updater provided by the drives manufacturer.

In other third-party software news, Prosoft Engineering Inc. announced that its Data Rescue, Data Recycler, Data Backup applications and NetWare client have all been tested and certified for use with Mac OS X 10.3 as well as the Power Mac G5. Prosoft added that it will supply to users a bootable emergency disk version of Data Rescue, which recovers data from a damaged hard drive. In addition, the company is offering a $10 discount to customers purchasing Data Rescue X as a result of drive corruption due to Mac OS X 10.3.

Integos Virus Barrier 10.1 update adds Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility for Integos antivirus software. The company says that users must get the new version through Integos NetUpdate feature. The company has also brought to date its Personal Backup backup utility, its NetBarrier firewall and security software and ContentBarrier Web screening application for Mac OS X 10.3 support.

REALbasic 5.2.2, a free update to REAL Software Inc.s software-development tool, gains Mac OS X 10.3 support. It also features a revised REALbasic Project Manager that provides the ability for team collaborative work on a development project and improved support for Unicode and migration of projects from a Visual Basic code base.

For corporations without perfect spam-blocking capabilities, or small companies that dont have a dedicated firewall, Subsume Technologies Inc. has released SpamCop 1.3.0, an add-on to Apples Mail client that adds easy forwarding of unwanted emails to the SpamCop spam reporting service. Suggested donation is $10.

Programmer Alessandro Montalcini has revised his popular USB Overdrive USB device driver for Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility, adding support for Fast User Switching. Its shareware, with a $20 suggested donation.

Smith Micro Software Inc. released FAXstf X Pro Version 10.5 for Mac OS X 10.3. This update enables different accounts that rely on Fast User Switching to receive faxes to separate in boxes. In addition, new features include Auto Print, Auto Email and more.

RagTime, ComGrafix Inc.s office suite, gains Mac OS X 10.3 compatibility as well as new plug-ins for importing FileMaker Pro data and thematic mapping.

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