What's New in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther

Disclaimer: although I am an Apple Certified Trainer by day, this guide is not endorsed by or affiliated with Apple in any way, nor is it indicative of future Apple Training courses. It is based entirely on my own personal experience and research. Any inaccuracies are my fault. Comments and corrections welcome at f8dy@diveintomark.org.

I would like to thank Colin Grady, Maciej Ceglowski, and Joey deVilla for mirroring these screenshots during the first-day crush, and Joshua Schachter for teaching me more about Apache performance tuning than I ever wanted to know.


The Installer menu has a new "Choose Startup Disk" option which offers the same functionality as the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences. Also, if you quit the installer manually, you are given the option to explicitly set the startup disk before rebooting.

Also under the Installer menu, Disk Utility is greatly expanded. More on this later.

"Customize" has more options. You can unselect individual additional applications (such as Internet Explorer, iTunes, iMovie) to save space. Safari 1.1 is the default browser for Mac OS X 10.3, so Internet Explorer is no longer needed. You can also install additional speech voices and the X11 subsystem, although neither is installed by default.

There appear to be significantly more printer drivers included in the default install, and even more available in the custom install, including the open source GIMPPrint drivers that were previously available separately. You can save a nontrivial amount of space by deselecting the printer drivers you will never use; all told, they take about 1 GB.

Finder and first impressions

[Default dock] The default dock now includes Safari (instead of Internet Explorer), as well as Mail, iChat, Address Book, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iCal, QuickTime Player, and System Preferences.

[Application switching menu] Application switching (command-tab) no longer uses the Dock, but instead pops up a pseudo-window displaying the currently running applications (like Windows). You can navigate through the applications by repeatedly pressing Tab, or by moving the cursor over a particular application. An application is chosen when you release the command key or click the mouse.

[Finder window] The most obvious thing you'll notice in the Finder is the new style of browsing window. The window has the brushed metal look familiar to Safari and iTunes users.

[Finder preferences Sidebar tab] The icon toolbar, which used to be along the top of the window, is now along the left. By default, the icon bar includes all mounted disks and partitions, removable discs, and mounted file servers. This is configurable in the new expanded Finder preferences window, on the Sidebar tab.

[Open file window] The open file browser includes the same sidebar as Finder windows. It also has an option to display in list view instead of column view, and your view settings persist system-wide.

[Finder preferences General tab] Mounted hard disks, partitions, removable discs, and file servers will also show up on the desktop by default. This is configurable in the Finder preferences window, on the General tab.

[Finder preferences Advanced tab] The Advanced tab of the Finder preferences window contains a grab bag of other options: showing hidden file extensions, warning before emptying the trash, and selecting languages for full-text searches.

[Setting labels] Labels are back! Everyone's favorite feature from OS 9 returns with a new in-line menu widget for setting an item's label.

[Finder preferences Labels tab] Labels are configured in the Labels tab of the Finder preferences window.

[Connect to Server] The Connect to Server window still allows manual connections to remote AFP, SMB, NFS, FTP, and WebDav servers, but it no longer contains a browseable list of AFP and SMB servers.

[Network window, click to enlarge Instead, the "Browse" button in the Connect to Server window opens the Network window, which acts like a normal Finder window and allows you to browse and connect to remote file servers.

Next: process management »