If you're new to UNIX, the concept of file permissions can be somewhat daunting, to say the least. In a nutshell, permissions control who is able to do what to any given file or directory. It's important that they're properly set, otherwise certain things (such as CGI's for your web server, or shell scripts) may not work as you expect them to.
Read the rest of this article if you'd like an introduction to managing permissions in UNIX. Although quite detailed, this is not intended to be a complete education on file permissions; a good UNIX book is still recommended as the best way to further increase your knowledge.
If you logon as any user other than 'root' and you find that you are unable to launch an application, check the permissions on the Applications folder. The quickest way to fix the problem is to give the group 'Everyone' Read&Write access and copy this to the rest of the folders. Even though the permissions are correct further down the tree, the permission at the top level seems to matter.
One of the known bugs with the PB is that when you reboot into OS 9, one or more of your drives may have become invisible. It won't show on the desktop, but Sherlock will find items on it, Disk First Aid will see it, etc. For some reason, the visibility bit on these drives is being turned off (or the invisibility bit is being turned on ;-). OS X ignores the bit, so the drive shows up. OS 9, however, respects the setting and promptly makes the disk(s) invisible.
Alsoft has published a free utility that will restore the visibility of these disks when you boot into OS 9, and has a further description of the problem and its cause. You can read about and download the fix from this page on Alsoft's site.
You'll have to fill out a short form to get the program, but it's free of charge.
If you open a new Finder window at its (hopefully changeable in the final!) default size, you'll see a xxx MB available message on the left side, just below the Computer icon. If you expand the width of the window, the display will change to read xxx MB available, y items.
If you leave the window at its default size, however, and click on the xxx MB available message, it changes to read y items. Click on it again to change it back. Not sure how useful this is, but I thought it showed some ingenuity to think to program it that way. Who knows, maybe OS 9 does this too, but I've certainly never noticed it.
While browsing the Mac OS X Forums (currently down for a server swap), I found a reference to a very detailed paper on how you can use BSD (the UNIX system underlying OS X) to stop spam and trojan horse programs from reaching your machine.
The author is Brett Glass, and he's posted the article on his website. It's very interesting reading. Highly recommended if you're remotely curious about this type of stuff; required if you're using the OS X version of sendmail as your mail server!
Under OS9, an often suggested fix for misbehaving applications was to "trash the preferences." While I haven't heard many reports of misbehaving apps under OSX PB, you can still try a similar trick if you are having troubles.
Each user's preferences are stored in the directory /Users/username/Library/Preferences/. Navigate there, and you'll see a bunch of different preference files, all ending in ".plist". If you want to get rid of one, I would recommend taking a "better safe than sorry" approach, since this is beta software. Instead of just deleting the pref file for the application in question, rename it to something like "appname.bad". That way, if for some reason your fix causes more problems than you had previously, you can go backwards.
When you now launch the troublesome application, it will create a new ".plist" file, since it can't find the old one. If everything works as expected, you can now go back and delete the ".bad" file.
As a side note, you can also view the contents of the preference files, since they're stored as plain text.
The Apache web server includes the ability to process CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts. By default, this functionality is disabled and needs to be manually enabled in order to function. Read the rest of this article for step-by-step instructions on how to enable CGI's (enabling SSI (Server Side Includes) is also covered. SSI is a way of using environment variables to return some variable information on a web page.
Most CGI's are written in Perl, but you can also find a few in C, C++, and some of the UNIX shells (sh, ksh, csh, etc.). The CGI Resource Index (see below) also lists six CGI's written in Applescript!
Once you've enabled Apache, you'll probably want some scripts to run. Here are a few of my favorite sources:
Browsing a few of the other boards and forums over the last few days, I noticed a few people have figured out how to make their Harmon Kardon Soundsticks function under OS X.
Navigate to /System/Library/Extensions/ and either rename (probably safer!) or remove the file AppleScreamerAudio.kext. You will probably have to be root to have permission to change this file. Here's how I'd do it via a terminal session. Comments are in [brackets], so don't type them!
> su [become root; you'll need to enter root password]
> cd /System/Library/Extensions/ [change to the directory]
> mv AppleScreamerAudio.kext AppleScreamerAudio.bak [rename the file]
> exit [ends root session]
> exit [ends terminal session]
Restart OS X and your Soundsticks should be working! Since you're disabling a portion of the system software, no guarantees on what else might break. However, others have reported success with no side effects.
If you regularly switch back and forth between OS X and Classic, and would like to keep all your bookmark and history information current, it's actually quite simple. This thread on the MacFixit Forums discusses a number of ways to do it, but "Toyin" has the best solution.
Start by making aliases of your Favorites.html and History.html files in OS 9. These are stored in System Folder:Preferences:Explorer. Take the aliases, and move them into /users/username/library/preferences/Explorer/. Replace the existing files (make a backup first if you wish), and (obviously, I hope!) replace username with your OS X user name.
Now whether you surf under OS 9 or OS X, your history and bookmarks will be common between both environments. You could probably reverse the process as well, and make aliases of the OS X files and place them in the OS 9 prefs folder (but I haven't tried that yet to be sure).
There's an interesting thread in the MacFixIt Forums about bringing Eudora mailboxes into the OS X mail application. It turns out it's possible, but requires a bit of file editing and directory structure creation.
Basically, you need to convert the Mac line-endings in each mailbox file to UNIX style line-endings, and then create a directory structure that matches what mail.app expects to see.