A number of programs have undergone recent updates in order to fix problems or tweak performance under Mac OS 8. To attempt to list every update would be madness, but in this article I list several recent updates that have caught my eye. In many cases these updates not only improve Mac OS 8 compatibility, but also add improvements of interest to System 7 users.
No Default on Default Folder Updates -- St. Clair Software has been hard at work on Default Folder, a handy utility that enhances Open and Save dialog boxes with several of the features that many have come to rely on in software such as Now Utilities, which has serious problems under Mac OS 8. Any version of Default Folder starting with 2.7.4 runs under Mac OS 8, but the latest version (as of this writing) is 2.7.6. Default Folder is shareware and costs $25. English, German, and Japanese versions are available as 300K downloads.
A Bare Bones Fix -- After noticing instability problems running BBEdit under Mac OS 8 on 68040-based Macintoshes with virtual memory enabled, Bare Bones Software has identified a bug in Mac OS 8. Although Bare Bones expects Apple to fix the problem in a future version of Mac OS 8, the company has released the VM 8.0 fix, an extension that corrects the problem and may improve stability for 68040-based Macs regardless of whether BBEdit is running. The download is a slim 3K in size.
Casady & Greene Catch a Conflict -- Casady & Greene has released CC 4.0.3 Updater v2, which updates Conflict Catcher to version 4.0.3 and corrects a problem wherein users could accidently disable the Appearance Manager and then be unable to start their Macs. A few other minor changes don't relate to Mac OS 8 but slightly improve the user interface. If you already ran the updater, but you downloaded it from 25-Jun-97 to 29-Jun-97, get the CC 4.0.3 Update Fixer, which corrects a few problems with that updater. CC 4.0.3 Updater v2 is about a 750K download; the Update Fixer is about 70K.
Connectix Patches RAM Doubler -- Last Friday, Connectix released the RAM Doubler 2.0.2 updater. The patch solves problems relating to running RAM Doubler while mounting floppy disks on some PowerPC-based Macintoshes or while using a DOS compatibility card with Power Macintosh and Performa 61xx computers. It also makes it so the About This Computer window correctly recognizes RAM Doubler. Finally, the patch increases reliability in Netscape Navigator/Communicator and avoids a problem with an "upcoming Apple PowerBook." The patch is a 234K download.
Norton Utilities Updated -- Symantec has updated four of the utilities that comprise Norton Utilities for Macintosh, each from version 3.5 to version 3.5.1. For Mac OS 8 users, the primary fix prevents Norton Disk Doctor from inaccurately reporting "incorrect Finder settings." Other fixes include Norton Disk Doctor not identifying a "b-tree records out of order" problem reported by Speed Disk, several minor Speed Disk problems, and FileSaver conflicts with "variations of PPP software." In addition, the new version of CrashGuard works better with a number of applications, especially Virtual PC and Netscape Communicator 4. Downloads are available in a number of different formats, with download sizes ranging from 500K to 1 MB.
Toasters Fly Under Mac OS -- In addition to "fixing a problem where After Dark would not work with Mac OS 8," the AD 4.0.3 Updater (a 780K download) corrects problems such as the Screen Posters extension crashing on startup on some PowerPC-based Macs with 601 and 603 processors, the Password on Startup feature failing to function, the speaker volume being mistakenly cranked to the maximum setting, and freezing while rebuilding the desktop.
OneClick Clicks Up -- WestCode Software's OneClick v1.0.3 Updater updates OneClick to version 1.0.3. The new version works with the Appearance Manager and corrects problems with the OneClick menu in the menu bar under Mac OS 8 and the new zoom box on Mac OS 8 windows. The download is 176K.
The Next Best Thing to a Babble Fish -- Apple has released the Language Kit Updater for Mac OS 8, software that makes eight different language kits compatible with Mac OS 8. Also, note the version of Adobe Type Manager that ships with Mac OS 8, version 4.0.2, has fixes in it for several bugs relating to Mac OS 8 and the language kits. The updater consists of two separately downloaded disk images (about 1.5 MB each); the second disk is only required for updating the Arabic Language Kit. The disk images are in Disk Copy 6.1 format.
Novell Nets New NetWare Client Software -- Novell's NetWare Client for Mac OS v5.11 fixes several problems under Mac OS 8, including not being able to log in via the Chooser when using NetWare Encryption and failure when using Open Transport and a NuBus networking card. The download is 164K and contains new versions of NetWare UAM,
NetWare File Access, MacIPX Ethernet, and NetWare Print Chooser.
Adobe Illustrates a Fix -- Although I can't identify any fixes specific to Mac OS 8, I'm including this update anyway. The Adobe Illustrator 7.0.1 Updater updates Illustrator 7.0 and fixes problems including printing Illustrator EPS images from PageMaker and QuarkXPress, opening Illustrator files saved from Illustrator 7.0 in Illustrator 6.0 format, and printing to Scitex imagesetters. The new version also adds new features including JPEG export with image mapping and a diffusion dither in the GIF export.
ObjectSupportLib -- And finally, those of you who have had run-ins with ObjectSupportLib will be pleased to learn the shared library is built into the Mac OS 8 System file, so it's safe to remove any stray copies that may be on your hard disk. I've heard reports of problems if Microsoft Excel attempts to use an older version that's still on the hard disk.
I realize this article is not all-inclusive; for a more complete look at available updates, check out the Compatibility and Bugs section of MacInTouch's Mac OS 8 Special Report.