Jaguar Upgrade: Belated Introduction

by Michael Alderete on 8/25/2002

This is the seventh in a series of posts I’m writing about my upgrade to Mac OS X 10.2 “Jaguar”.

Series Overview

  • Belated Introduction
    What is this series, who am I, and why am I qualified to tell you anything. (This posting.)
  • Prequel
    Just a short post that I thought served as an introduction, until I re-read it today.
  • Install Options
    Describes the four different upgrade options available from the Jaguar Installation CD, with some details of what they’ll do.
  • What Gets Archived
    Details what files and directories get archived when you use the Archive & Install option to perform a “clean install” upgrade to Jaguar.
  • Post-Install Setup
    There’s a fair amount of work to do after an Archive & Install; this is the first set of things I did, focused on the Mac side of things.
  • Post-Install Unix Stuff, Part I
    There’s work to do on the Unix side, too, if you’re using tools like MySQL and PHP. This post is mostly about fixing MySQL.
  • Post Install Unix Stuff, Part II
    More Unix configuration work, this time for PHP and Apache.

I realized today that I really didn’t provide a good introduction to this series, what the purpose was, etc. So I’m going to pause in the regular postings, and start at the beginning.

I’ve been a Mac user continuously since 1984, and have used virtually every version of Mac OS. My first job was doing end-user computer support for more than 100 Mac users, and I worked there in various roles for more than five years. I’ve even sold Macs, as an Apple Student Rep in college. I’ve also used Windows, mostly Windows 2000. I’ve used Unix quite a bit, mostly since I got into doing web development, and became frustrated with the limitations of Mac OS as a reliable server. And I worked at Be Incorporated for three years, where I fell in love with the idea of an operating system that effectively married a beautiful GUI with a powerful Unix-like subsystem.

So, I’m hardly a typical Mac OS X user, or at least, hardly a typical Mac OS X user who is “switching” from the Classic version to the New version. I love Unix, and I’m not afraid to admit it in public. For me, Mac OS X is a beautiful piece of work. Deeply flawed (file meta-data, anyone?), but still brilliant. I switched from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X 10.1 shortly after it came out, and I can literally count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve booted back into Mac OS 9 proper since then — most of those to run DiskWarrior.

My goal in writing these postings was to start to develop the body of knowledge that I once had for Mac OS Classic. In particular, the “best practice” of doing a clean install when upgrading to a major new release of Mac OS was something I understood extremely well.

But with Mac OS X, the rules have all changed. The core operating system is still stored in a directory named “System”, but that directory is vastly more structured and complicated. And there are dozens of other places where system components and preferences are located, to say nothing of the many more locations where third-party software can be installed.

It’s a brand new world, and while I was sure that doing a clean install was still a best practice, I no longer knew how to perform a clean install, or at least do one efficiently. My Jaguar upgrade was to be my first, and I not only didn’t want to lose a scrap of hard-won knowledge, I wanted to share it with others, and learn from them, so that I could get up the knowledge curve quickly.

So I started these postings. Hopefully they are moderately interesting or useful. This series isn’t supposed to be a review of Jaguar; everyone else is doing that, much better than I could. This is working knowledge, and I hope you’ll read and learn, and share with me the things you know that I don’t.

Final thought: I don’t talk about it in the articles themselves, but I made a total of four full-system backups before I started. Two of them were stored off-site. Yes, I’m paranoid, but with good reason. Back up your system before you upgrade.

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