Mac OS 9.1 Available Online at Nearly 70 MB -- Apple has quietly released Mac OS 9.1, the latest version of its shipping operating system. Mac OS 9.1 improves support for Multiple Users and iTools, and offers a number of under the hood enhancements including AppleScript 1.5.5, AppleShare Client 3.8.8, OpenGL 1.2, revised FireWire software, a new process manager (enabling faster task switching and better performance for some background applications), and a substantially revised nanokernel. Mac OS 9.1 also improves the Finder's Get Info functionality, adds a Window menu to the Finder, and simplifies the top-level folder structure of a newly set up drive to match that of Mac OS X more closely - installing only System, Documents, Apple Extras, and Applications (where Utilities and Assistants now reside). Mac OS 9.1's system requirements are unchanged from Mac OS 9: an Apple original PowerPC-based system with at least 32 MB of RAM (64 MB of RAM or more recommended). Apple does not support third party PowerPC upgrades; although Mac OS 9.1 may work with them, you may wish to let more-ambitious users test the waters first. Also, Mac OS 9.1 and the Mac OS X Public Beta are incompatible; Mac OS 9.1 breaks Mac OS X Public Beta's Classic environment.
The Mac OS 9.1 Update for U.S. English systems is available online for free, but it's a substantial download: nearly 70 MB for 15 segments or a single file (available shortly). A better option may be to order a CD; Mac OS 9 owners in the U.S. can order a full Mac OS 9.1 installation CD for $20 from Apple if they can provide one of Apple's proof of purchase coupons or a copy of a dated sales receipt. Please note that owners of early NuBus Power Macs and Workgroup Servers must use a complete install CD to upgrade to Mac OS 9.1. Similarly, if you use a language kit with Mac OS 9, you must have the full Mac OS 9.1 CD to update your language kit. Localized versions of the Mac OS 9.1 Update are available online for several languages; more should be available shortly. As with any system software update, be sure to perform a complete backup before installation. [GD]