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.

Reporting: the new System Profiler

Apple System Profiler is now simply System Profiler, and it has had a complete makeover. Information is now presented more granularly, in a paned interface. All individual information panes are copyable to the clipboard and can be pasted as plaintext in any application. Also, System Profiler features a new XML-based save format for saving an entire System Profile, which can then be emailed as-is and opened on another computer running Mac OS X 10.3 System Profiler.

[System Profiler overview pane] The Overview pane displays information such as your machine model, underlying CPU type, the number of CPUs in your machine and the speed of each, how much L2 cache you have, how much total memory, your bus speed, Boot ROM version, and your machine's serial number.

[System Profiler memory pane] The Memory pane shows information on each individual memory chip, including size (number of megabytes), type (such as SDRAM), and speed.

[System Profiler AGP pane] The PCI/AGP pane shows informations on your graphics card and other PCI cards. For my iMac's built-in graphics card, it showed me the amount of VRAM, the vendor, an internal device ID, revision ID, and firmware version, as well as the current resolution and depth settings.

[System Profiler ATA pane] The ATA pane shows information about any internal ATA hard drives and CD drives in your machine. On my iMac, it showed the size, vendor, and internal serial number of my hard drive and my CD-ROM drive. Note that this is different from the volume-level information you can get in Disk Utility. System Profiler gives information about the drives themselves, not any particular partitions, so it works on unformatted drives and removable drives with no disc inserted.

There's a SCSI pane which presumably gives information on any SCSI buses and devices you have. I don't have any, so no screenshot.

[System Profiler USB pane] The USB pane gives information about your USB devices. On my iMac it gives me the vendor, speed, internal product ID, and power specs on my USB keyboard and mouse. Note that the display is hierarchical, on my iMac I have my mouse plugged into the keyboard, and the display reflects this (albeit subtlely). The old Apple System Profiler had a flowchart-like graph of the connections. Same information, but presented differently now.

[System Profiler Firewire pane] The Firewire pane gives information about your Firewire buses and devices, and any mounted volumes on those devices. On my iMac I have an external Firewire hard drive and an external Firewire CD burner, and System Profiler shows me the make, model, and firmware revision of each, as well as the specs on the single partition on my external hard drive.

[System Profiler Airport pane] If you have an Airport card, the Airport pane shows you the vendor and firmware version. It also shows information on the wireless network you're currently connected to (if any).

[System Profiler modem pane] If you have a modem, the Modem pane shows you vendor and firmware information, as well as the full path of the modem's device driver.

[System Profiler applications pane] The Applications pane shows you version information about each of the Applications in /Applications/ and subfolders. It will not show information about applications installed outside /Applications/.

[System Profiler extensions pane] The Extensions pane gives information about the installed device drivers and other kernel-level extensions. Extensions are typically installed in /System/Library/Extensions/. Learn more about extensions.

[System Profiler view menu] There is one pane which is hidden by default, called Frameworks. To show it, select "Extended report" from the View menu.

[System Profiler frameworks pane] The Frameworks pane shows information about system frameworks, which are similar to shared libraries under OS 9 and DLLs under Windows. Frameworks are typically installed in /System/Library/Frameworks/, although third-party applications may install theirs in /Library/Frameworks/ instead.

[System Profiler network pane] The Network pane gives a summary of your network ports (built-in Ethernet, Airport card, modem, irDA port on TiBooks, and so forth) -- similar to the information you could get in the Network pane of System Preferences. It also shows information about any VPNs you may have installed.

[System Profiler logs pane] The Logs pane shows a few critical log files, including /var/log/system.log.

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