Vintage Mac Living

Making the Move from Jaguar (OS X 10.2) to Panther (10.3)

- 2006.04.11

This week a friend of mine upgraded to Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4) on his machine, and he offered me his copy of Panther (OS X 10.3), since he had no need for it anymore.

I accepted it with great gratitude, because I'd been waiting for a chance to play around with Panther on my own machine

I've wanted to upgrade to Panther for quite a while, but I never made the leap (the main reason was that until a few weeks ago I was still using my Beige G3, and I really didn't want to push it further past the red line than it already was).

But now I have a Power Mac G/450 (see What to Buy When the Old Beige G3 Is Just Too Sluggish for that story) and sufficient power to try Panther. So when I got it, I popped the Panther install CD in the drive and started the installation process. It took about 45 minutes, which was longer than I was expecting, because I wasn't installing the whole OS, just upgrading it.

Anyway, I got it installed and started playing around with it.

Here are the features that really caught my eye:


Exposè is a very neat tool that allows you to see all of the windows you have open on the screen at once. This tool is very handy when I have multiple windows open in multiple applications simultaneously.

The ability to see every window from every open program is a big advantage for me, because I normally have several programs and dozens of windows open at the same time.

Fast User Switching

Fast User Switching is a very neat tool that allows multiple people to be logged in simultaneously. This is also a very nice tool, because if someone needs to use my machine, they can login without disturbing any of my work.

Vicki (the new MacinTalk voice).

Vicki is a remarkably smooth, natural sounding voice (OK, it's no HAL 9000, but it's light years ahead of Victoria).

DVD Player 4

DVD Player 4 has a better controller with more options, like on screen information in full screen mode, something that the version that came with Jaguar (OS X 10.2) never had.

Google Earth

Those are the things built into Panther that I really like, but the coolest program you can use doesn't come with Panther: Google Earth.

Google Earth is a phenomenal program that uses satellite photos to take you anywhere in the world in seconds.

Not only that, but Google Earth seems to know where every street, grocery store, gas station, restaurant, landmark, hotel, and ATM machine in the world is. And that's not all - you can even tilt the photos up to 90° to see 3D terrain!

This has to be about the most amazing program I have ever used, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the earth.

One Drawback

The only real problem I have encountered with Panther is that my graphics card (a 16 MB AGP ATI Rage 128 Pro) has been slowed down significantly. To give you an idea of what I mean, the iTunes visualizer was getting about 30 FPS in Jaguar, and that's down to about 16 FPS in Panther. Yes, it's the same version of iTunes.

I guess the only cure for that is a $20 32 MB ATI Radeon Mac Edition card; I've read it's about twice as fast as the Rage 128.

Other than the problem with my graphics card, the decision to upgrade to Panther seems to have been a good one. LEM

  • Jaguar List, Low End Mac's email list for OS X 10.2.x users.
  • Panther List, Low End Mac's email list for OS X 10.3.x users.
  • Tiger List, Low End Mac's email list for OS X 10.4.x users.

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