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Busman's Holiday
Veronica (Mac OS 8.6)
by Steve Wood
May 10, 1999



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System 8.6The name Veronica has a nice ring to it. Mac OS 8.6, Apple's free update to the disappointing OS 8.5, on first look appears to be all it should be. It fixes a number of existing bugs, adds a bit more zip to some computers, adds a few new features, leaps tall buildings in a single bound, but most of all, appears more like the solid System 8.1 than the troubled 8.5 in stability.

Lots of other folks had an early peek at Veronica through beta testing or other sources. Most of them seem to be saying nice things about the update. I had to wait and download it with everyone else. But, for free, you can't beat it.

Bill Fox of Macs Only once again gets the hands-down, thumbs-up award for easy installation advice. His best gem is the one about making sure to activate everything in whatever system you are updating, so that the installer will update all of the files. My problem was that I had some very, very old extensions in the "Extensions Disabled" folder which caused a couple of crashes when restarting into 8.6 for the first time.

I actually had more trouble unstuffing the update than anything else with the install. I downloaded overnight on my PowerMac 7500/G3 at school and StuffIt kept throwing disk errors, even after I corrected the file type and creator code. Interestingly, MindExpander unstuffed it without a hitch. It may have been using the StuffIt Engine for it, but neither Expander nor Deluxe (5.1) were doing any good with it!

The installation on the PowerMac 7500 with a Newer 250 MHz G3 card went flawlessly. I was a bit chagrined when I got a dialog that Disk First Aid had found and fixed a couple of problems on the hard drive before installation! At home on my beige 266 MHz G3, I remembered to run Disk Doctor before installing. I also ignored the advice that a "Utilities" folder already on the root level of the hard drive would stop the installer in its tracks. It didn't matter as the installer never even hiccupped during installation.

The install on the 7500 took about 8 minutes, while the one on the G3 minitower took only 5, even though the installer predicted 7, but then I spent another 30 minutes dealing with the crashes and freezes until I got the system folder cleaned up.

From my installation experience, I'd recommend disabling the G3 Cache Control panel if you use it before installation. It caused a freeze during startup after installation, but worked fine afterward. As far as the other crash is concerned, I think running a 1996 version of the MetroWorks MetroNub extension was just asking for it. But then, I still have CodeWarrier 9 as my latest programming environment. I suspect Apple, Symantec, Microsoft, and others may wisely look elsewhere for coding expertise.

Before installing, I did take a good look at several reports, including the Macs Only report mentioned above and Dave Hamilton's First Look for MacObserver.

Version Tracker once again is maintaining a page of necessary third-party updates to use the 8.6 update and their usual listing of recent Apple updates that have newer versions of system software pieces than the 8.6 update.

MacFixIt has their usual, very reliable Troubleshooting Mac OS 8.6 report pages.

The MacCentral/MacFixIt Mac OS 8.6 Forum and the Macintosh News Network's Troubleshooting Forum appear very busy with about an even mix of horror stories, possible conflicts, and raves about the update. With all of the Macs that 8.6 can be used on, I suspect the initial returns are pretty positive.

Where to get it?

Apple's own OS 8.6 page gives download options. You can also download directly from Download.com.

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updated and reposted to the new MATH DITTOS 2 site 6/18/2000
©1999 Steven L. Wood